1975, Peru (Republic). Beautiful Large Silver 200 Soles Coin. Aviation Heroes!
Mint Year: 1975
Condition: A beautiful brilliant uncirculated!
Denomination: 200 Soles - Peruvian Aviation Heroes Jorge Chávez & Jose Guinones
Material: Silver (.800)
Jorge Chávez Dartnell (January 13, 1887 – September 27, 1910), also known as Géo Chávez, was a Peruvian aviator. At a young age, he achieved fame for his aeronautical feats. He died in 1910 while attempting the first air crossing of the Alps.
Jorge Chávez Dartnell was born in Paris, France to Peruvian parents Manuel Chávez Moreyra and María Rosa Dartnell y Guisse. He studied at the Violet School from where he graduated with an engineer's degree in 1908.
Chávez attended the school of aviation established by Henry and Maurice Farman where he got his pilot license and undertook his first flight in Reims on February 28, 1910. Afterwards he participated in several aviation competitions throughout France and other European countries. On August 8 of the same year he took a Blériot monoplane to Blackpool, England where he achieved fame after attaining an altitude of 1,647 meters (5,405 ft). He improved his mark by flying at 2,700 meters (8,700 ft) over the city of Issy, France on September 6.
After this successful series, Chávez decided to undertake the first air crossing of the Alps. This attempt was made in response to a prize of $20,000 offered by the aero club of Italy for the first aviator to make the trip alive. After several delays due to bad weather, he took off from Ried-Brig, Switzerland on September 23, 1910, and made his way through the Simplon Pass. Before departing he said, "Whatever happens, I shall be found on the other side of the Alps". Fifty-one minutes later he arrived to his destination, the city of Domodossola, Italy, but his plane crashed upon landing. It is believed that the airplane had been damaged previously and inadequately repaired, which caused the aircraft to break under the heavy winds of the mountains. Heavily injured but conscious, Chávez agonized for four days before dying of massive blood loss. His last words were, "Higher. Always higher." according to the testimony of his friend and fellow aviator Juan Bielovucic.
The death of Jorge Chávez caused great commotion in the aviation world. Brig and Domodossola, the start and end points of his last flight, dedicated monuments to the lost aviator. In Peru, Chávez became an icon for aviation related institutions such as the Air Force. His remains were initially buried in France but repatriated to Peru in 1957, where they currently rest at the Officer's School of the Peruvian Air Force at Las Palmas. The International Airport of Lima, inaugurated in 1960, is named after him. A life-sized replica of Chávez famous Blériot XI monoplane is still on display at the air terminal.
He appears as a character in scenes drawing upon his real-life tragic flight over the Alps in John Berger's novel G. (1972), awarded the Booker Prize in 1972.
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