12 years before he became the ruler of Egypt, Prince Fuad I headed the organising committee of the extraordinary event.
In 1905, construction of the new suburbs of Heliopolis started, bringing the breakthrough vision of the Belgian industrialist and entrepreneur Baron Empain to life. The new district was built outside the eastern borders of Cairo, with the city's first tram system connecting it to the heart of the capital. The architecture and design of the suburb is so unique and distinctive that it became a standing architectural style on its own, dubbed the Heliopolis style.
In continuation of efforts to modernise the new upscale district, it was announced that the country's and one of the world's first ever air races will take place in Heliopolis in 1910, with Prince Fuad, who later became the ruler of Egypt, being the head the event's organising committee. The event was the first of its kind outside of Europe after a few similar air races took place in Paris just one year before.
Competitors seeking to join the unique air race were subject to a 2,000 franc admission fee, which granted them access to practice on-site for months before the event. The total of twelve pilots, none of whom were Egyptians, were officially admitted to the competition, with the sum of the prizes amounting to 212,000 francs, equivalent to over EGP 17 million today, according to data from the French National Institute of Statistics and Economics.
Here are 9 stunning vintage photos of the extraordinary event:
Photos: The First Air Races Website.