Armistice 100: Famous pilot who began career in Yorkshire was first to loop-the-loop

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Dateline: November 7, 1918...

On this day 100 years ago, there was sad news that elite pilot Captain B C Hucks, who had become a favourite with Yorkshire crowds, had died.

Hucks was the first British airman to perform a loop-the-loop, which he did in September 1913. Prior to his death, he had visited Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Hull. Although born in Essex in 1884, the youngest of six brothers, his fling career began in Yorkshire with the Blackburn Company’s testing ground at Filey. He learned to fly in 1910.

He was an aviation pioneer, once flying all the way from Aberdeen to Balmoral. Speaking about his loop-the-loop, he said: “When I first tried the stunt I was terrified at the speed the machine developed when doing the long vertical dive and the discomfort of flying in the various altitudes that a machine has to assume before it gets into the upside down position. When once it is upside down, however, things begin to get quite nice. But even then, you do not have much opportunity of looking around you, as you have to be so intent on your controls, or the machine will turn over sideways.”

He added: “There is hardly any sensation at all in loop-the-loop, except a sort of tense feeling that makes one catch one’s breath. You do a vertical dive, pull the controlling lever towards you, the head of the machine rears up... the ground disappears... you do not quite know where you are, then the earth rushes into sight overhead like a drunken thing and then - well, you’ve ‘looped’.”

He also attempted another stunt, flying in the upside down position for more than a minute before bringing the aircraft back level.