On February 8, 1912, Emmanouil Argyropoulos (Εμμανουήλ Αργυρόπουλος) became the first Greek pilot to perform a flight in Greece.
After taking off from the Rouf district of Athens, he performed a 16-minute-long flight around the city, including an overflight of the Acropolis.
An hour later he carried out a second flight, this time with Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos as his passenger.
Venizelos was enthusiastic about the concept of aerial warfare, and stated that Greece should immediately take advantage of this newly invented weapon.
Who was Emmanouil Argyropoulos?
Argyropoulos, originally a civil engineer, abandoned his profession and went to Paris in order to study aeronautics.
At the end of January 1912, he acquired his pilot license and returned to Greece together with a privately owned Nieuport IV.G 50-hp aircraft.
On February 8, 1912, Argyropoulos became the first Greek aviator to perform a flight in Greece.
When the Balkan Wars broke out in October 1912, he joined the military aviation with the rank of Lieutenant.
On April 4, 1913, during a reconnaissance mission, his aircraft, a captured Ottoman Blériot XI, fell from a height of 600 metres while flying over the Langadas region near Thessaloniki. Both Argyropoulos and his passenger, the athlete and poet Konstantinos Manos, were killed.
Argyropoulos thus became the first loss of Greek military aviation, and marked the end of air activities in the Balkan Wars