Accident Blériot-Gnôme , Wednesday 19 March 1913
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Date:Wednesday 19 March 1913
Owner/operator:Pierino Primavesi
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Caprino, near Lugano -   Switzerland
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Taliedo airfield, Milano
Destination airport:Campo Marzio airfield, Lugano
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Pierino Primavesi, at the time one of the very few airplane pilots in Ticino (Italian speaking part of Switzerland), took off at 16:30 from Taliedo airfield, Milano (situated west of the actual Milano-Linate airport) to Campo Marzio airfield, Lugano, his home town. After flying over Como he headed to Lugano where he arrived unexpected and did several evolution at low altitude over the town and the lake shore for the sake of the crowd admiring it. The people thought he was Attilio Maffei, a more known pilot, also from Lugano. After the show he turned south-east towards the other shore of the lake where after some unusual maneuverings he disappeared in the water.

The accident was ascribed by Attilio Maffei to a loss of orientation because of the reflection of the low sun on the water as well as to mechanical failure, the plane was reported making strange noises while on the last leg of the flight. Primavesi did not suffer visible injuries but drowned (he was not capable of swimming). His body was recovered only a month later, on April 17. Before leaving Taliedo he was offered a life jacket, which he refused.


Gazzetta Ticinese, March 20, 1913
Gazzetta Ticinese, April 17, 1913
Popolo e Libertà, March 20, 1913


Lugano, 1919. Public Domain ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv/Stiftung Luftbild Schweiz / Fotograf: Mittelholzer, Walter / LBS_MH01-001072 / Public Domain Mark

A Blériot XI probably similar to the one flown by Primavesi pictured in 1913. Pilot was Oskar Bider, chief of the Swiss Air Force during WW1. ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv/Stiftung Luftbild Schweiz / Fotograf: Swissair / LBS_SR02-00033-B / CC BY-SA 4.0, Public Domain Mark. An original Blériot-Gnôme plane is on display at the Smithsonian NASM, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. (See:

Revision history:

03-Mar-2020 17:53 Cobar Added
06-Dec-2020 08:03 Fosco Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Photo]
06-Dec-2020 16:13 Fosco Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Source, Narrative, Photo]

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