During the summer of 2016 the IHFF board was notified of an upcoming sale of a comprehensive Irish aviation memorabilia archive owned by the Swiss collector Mr. Ronny Vogt.
Two members of the IHFF board visited Mr. Vogt and reviewed his collection which contains a unique set of documents and paraphernalia related to the history of Irish aviation. Following a period of negotiation the IHFF agreed to acquire a key part of Mr. Vogt’s collection to become part of the Foundation’s assets.
This collection forms the core of the IHFF Archive and contains items that connect Ireland with pivotal developments in the history of international aviation. It complements the IHFF fleet and helps build the foundation’s role as a source of information about the history of Irish aviation. Among the contents of the collection, which amounts to over 3,000 individual pieces, are the following;
- IHFF Archive2Alcock and Brown Flight. A unique collection of letters, envelopes, menu cards and photos signed by both John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown ahead and after their record breaking first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in June 1919 when they land in Clifden, Co Galway
- Bremen Flight. A large collection of maps and documents signed by the three pilots that managed the first East West non-stop flight between Baldonnel in Ireland and North America in 1928.
- Foynes commercial proving flights documents including items signed by the flight crews during the mid 1930s when establishing commercial air services on the Atlantic.
- A comprehensive set of papers, timetables and route maps connected to the establishment and development of the national Irish airline Aer Lingus commencing in 1936.
- Letters and cards signed by Irish aviatrix Lady Heath and Lady Bailey who broke records and helped establish female pilots at the forefront of aviation development.
- Items signed by members of the record breaking Balbo Italian flying boat formation which crossed the Atlantic from Londonderry in 1933.
The IHFF intends to utilise the Archive to promote the Foundation, provide education material about the unique history of Irish aviation and to support events that profile the key role Ireland played at critical periods in the evolution of aviation in Ireland and internationally.
The Archive will be digitised for the purposes of access via the IHFF website during 2017. In addition, the existing collection is being catalogued to ensure every item is described in detail.
Further details on the IHFF Archive will be provided later in 2017 as events take place to introduce the collection to aviation and history enthusiasts.