CAIRO: The centenary of the first British flight along the Nile River in Egypt, that took place in 1914, was celebrated Sunday at the Child Museum in Cairo under the auspices of the Ministry of Aviation and the British Embassy in Cairo.
James Watt, the British Ambassador to Cairo, and a Minister of Civil Aviation representative inaugurated an exhibition of archival photographs of Irish civil engineer and pioneer aviator Sir Francis Kennedy McClean’s three-months expedition down the Nile.
The Child Museum in Cairo was chosen to host the event because the first flight experiment in Cairo took place from the museum’s garden to the Pyramids.
“We are today celebrating both the centenary of the 1914 Nile flight and the long cooperation between Egypt and Britain in the field of Aviation,” Watt told The Cairo Post.
“We are also celebrating the 100-year-old history of aviation in Egypt,” Watt added.
This celebration highlights the way in which flights can aid in communication between people, Watt said, adding that aviation allowed millions of people to travel to Egypt and enabled Egyptians to visit the world.
He said it was important to look back a hundred years ago when people used technology to solve many of the problems of the world and continue to do so today.
Tom Fletcher, the British Ambassador to Lebanon, also participated in the event, as he is the great grandson of Gus Smith, the mechanic who worked on the 1914 flight .
“I am so proud of the event and I find it an honor to celebrate a magnificent and brave man [McClean],” Fletcher told The Cairo Post.
He also praised the exhibition and the museum’s new design, saying, “I urge everyone to come and visit the exhibition.”
Fletcher added that the 1914 expedition was peaceful and continues to inspire the world.
The Child Museum opened in June 1996 and was renovated in November 2012, Osama Abdel Warith, the museum’s general director told The Cairo Post.
Warith urged everyone to bring their children to the museum to participate in this week’s aviation events.
This museum highlights the tendency to prioritize technology and engineering which is where Egypt’s future lies, Watt said.
He also said that this technological approach would help Egypt contribute to the world’s knowledge economy.
Watt continued, “For me this museum, more than any museum in the world, really represents the country and I think Egypt should be very proud.”
The museum had a model of the S.80 seaplane that flew the 1914 expedition.
During the event, Architect Michael Mallinson, who was assigned to renovate the Child Museum, made a presentation about the 1914 flight and the history of aviation in Egypt.