City Council is to meet with the Ulster Aviation Society to
discuss ways of commemorating Dromore man Harry Ferguson's1909
flight which marked the beginning of powered aviation in
Ireland. The inventor, who became world famous as the designer
of the successful Massey Ferguson tractor, also designed and
built Ireland's first powered aircraft.
Members of the Council's Economic Development
Committee watched a presentation by representatives of the
'Ferguson Flight Project 2009' at their September meeting.
This included a number of photographs showing
memorials the council could consider erecting to celebrate the
centenary of the flight.
They were also given details of other ways of
commemorating the event such as special stationery and postage
stamps, tours, lectures and aviation fairs.
Prior to receiving the deputation councillors
were reminded a major commemorative project at 'Growell', the
Harry Ferguson homestead, was already under development and due
for completion in April.
They were told this included information
boards, off street car parking and a memorial.
Most of the information at the site will be
about Mr. Ferguson's tractor linkage system but his wide range
of inventions and interests will also be covered.
Members recommended the council meet with the
Society to discuss ideas on an appropriate way forward.
A letter will also be forwarded to Royal Mail
regarding the proposal for commemorative stamps. One of Harry
Ferguson's first flights in an engine powered aircraft began on
the beach in front of Newcastle's Slieve Donard Hotel.
The year was 1910 and he took to the skies in
an attempt to win a �100 prize offered by the town for the first
powered flight along the strand.
The first take-off ended in failure but
eventually the monoplane lifted off the sands, and according to
a contemporary newspaper report: "He flew a distance of almost
three miles along the foreshore at a low altitude varying
between 50 and 500 feet."
A stone commemorating the feat is located on the
seaside resort's promenade.