By Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Tuesday commemorated the 95th anniversary of its first flight by pilot Vecihi Hurkus.
Hurkus, who was also an aviation engineer, started constructing the Vecihi K-VI aircraft in 1923.
Two years later, he made his maiden flight on the plane across Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir.
Having taught at the Turkish military and naval academies, Hurkus aimed to expand the aviation sector nationwide.
He is considered an aviation pioneer as he started working when the industry was in its initial phases.
“1923 was the year that the scientific development and research on aviation was still in progress,” Hurkus said in a printed interview in 1925.
He started working on the body of Turkey's first plane by using material from a Greek aircraft captured during the Turkish War of Independence.
But there was a lack of technical expertise in the country.
“There wasn't a single plane engineer in our Air Force at that time, nor was there a single colleague who could examine parts of an aircraft scientifically,” Hurkus said.
"I decided to walk through uncharted territory on my own," he added.
Hurkus was born in 1896 and got his primary schooling done in Istanbul. He went on to join the army and was trained as a pilot.
He fought the Russians in the fall of 1917 and downed a Russian jet.
In 1932, Hurkus established Vecihi Civil Aviation School, the first-of-its-kind in Turkey.
He also built the aircraft Vecihi XIV, Vecihi XV, and Nuri Bey-Vecihi XVI in 1933.
Hurkus died in 1969 but his legacy lives on.