Nelson Airport (CZNL)
One hundred years ago the history of powered flight began. Wilbur and Orville Wright made that momentous first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. A mere 8 years later the very first airplane arrived in the City of Nelson. In his book “Barnstormers to Bush Pilots”, Peter Corley-Smith recounts from a Nelson Daily News article of Sept. 30, 1912, that ‘the aeroplane has arrived in Nelson and the airman is on his way’. Walter Edwards, an American pilot, and his airplane arrived on that day to participate in Nelson’s annual Fruit Fair.
But Edwards was dismayed – he had not realized that the Fair Grounds from which he had to fly from was surrounded by power and telephone lines, as well as fences. “Had I known the lay of the land I never would have agreed to my manager signing the contract to fly here”, he told a reporter. His skill, as it turned out was equal to his courage and he put on a ‘brave and creditable performance’. From these humble beginnings aviation and the Nelson airport have become an economic asset and an important aspect of people’s lifestyle.