Besarion Keburia – the strange way of the first Georgian pilot

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We offer Valerian akhalaia’s work, which is dedicated to the memory of Besarion Keburia. Published in magazine “moambe” of chkhorotsku Historical Museum”

Besarion Keburia recorded in history as the first
Georgian pilot-designer who presented himself to the world with his mind and courage.

The first Georgian aviator, the founder of Transcaucasian aviation, Besarion Keburia was born in Chkhorotsku, in 1870.

Father was a carpenter, and his mother was a self-taught healer. 14 years old Besarion went with other shepherds to Poti. Arriving in Poti, he first saw the train, which made such a strong impression on the child that he decided to stay on the construction of the railway.

With the help of engineer Slivitsky, who was the uncle of Eldar and George Shengelaia, he began to master a new profession. He worked on the construction of the railway in Poti and Borjomi; Then he passed the exams and graduated with honors from the St. Petersburg Institute of Road Engineering.

He was offered a scientific career, but he refused and decided to learn to fly. He arrives in Tbilisi, He manages to build a bamboo glider with his own design and organizes a flight from the Saburtalo hills.

Pilot’s certificate

On July 25, 1909, French pilot Louis Blair flew from France to England on a monoplane of his own design, which had a profound effect on Besarion, and ultimately decided to become a pilot.

While still in Moscow, he received advice from Professor Zhukovsky, the father of Russian aviation, and then with the help of friends went to Paris, where he enrolled in an aviation school and received pilot diploma No. 209 in the world.

Blerio introduced Besarion to the President of France, who congratulated him on the trip. He then transferred the pilot’s license and was allowed to fly on his own. On August 29, 1910, a Georgian aviator received recognition in Paris.

ბესარიონ ქებურია

Besarion Keburia organized the first demonstration flight in Warsaw, but he was met with an unpleasant surprise when he landed on the ground …
  Warsaw Governor General Scallon fined him 500 gold rubles. The pilot asked in surprise what he was accused of. The answer was this: if you crashed while flying over the city, you would harm people. Then the governor’s wife intervened in the conversation, who ordered not to punish the winners. He asked Besarion to take her as a passenger, to which the pilot gladly agreed.

Besarion Keburia in the presence of thousands of people. organized several demonstration flights in St. Petersburg
Then he successfully organized the show in Moscow, Kiev, Nizhny Novgorod, Saratov, In Astrakhan, Kazan and Baku. Before each flight, he lectured to people
And thereby popularized aviation business.

At the end of 1910, the Georgian aviator returned to Tbilisi. His friends and residents welcomed him warmly. In his hometown, he made several demonstration flights.

 Most of the income was donated to the educational community. People admired compatriots, but there were also those who thought that the plane was controlled by the devil.

Instead of an obsolete device, the pilot decided to build a monoplane of his own design, which already uses a 50 horsepower engine, and made a number of flights to Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Khoni, Samtredia, Poti, Senaki, Sukhumi and Batumi.

The danger happened many times, but Besarion always survived
During a flight to Batumi in 1913, the engine of the aircraft stopped and it landed at sea, when the sailors rescued it, Keburia tried to save the engine, which was quite expensive.

He himself built a plane. He could not imagine his life without a flight, but the beginning of the First World War frustrated his plans – he was drafted into the army. He fought on the Ottoman front and commanded the technical part of the Caucasus Air Force.

After the war ended, the Georgian government invited him to organize air traffic in the Caucasus, where he worked properly
During the Soviet era, Besarion Keburia was one of the leaders in the creation of civil aviation in Georgia. He founded the Society of Aviation Fans, took an active part in the construction of airfields in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Sukhumi and other cities of Transcaucasia. He is one of the organizers of the first routes Tbilisi-Baku-Moscow, Tbilisi-Sukhumi-Moscow. He also first made aerial photographs of the territory of Georgia.

In subsequent years, B. Keburia became actively involved in the work of Dosaaf
Besarion Keburia was one of the first to be awarded the title of Honored Pilot, a personal pension was assigned, and one of the streets in Tbilisi was named after him. In 1945, he was awarded the Order of Lenin on the occasion of his 75th birthday.
A monument to him was erected at the Tbilisi airport,

He built an alternate airfield Chkhorotsku. In 1957, on his initiative, an airport was opened, and a trip was made to Chkhorotsk-Kutaisi-Tbilisi and Chkhorotsk-Zugdidi-Sukhumi. The airport was closed in 1963 due to the cancellation of the Chkhorotsky district.
 Besarion Keburia is the author of the Chkhorotskaya hydroelectric station. He even had drawings drawn, and this became the basis for the design. He also planned to build cement and lime plants based on the Mukhuri minerals.
 He died in 1958 at the age of 88.

His body is buried in the central park of Chkhorotsku. A monument was erected there. The author of the monument is the sculptor Bidzina Gogoberidze.
The museum hosts events to immortalize the name of Besarion Keburia. His grandson Guguli Keburia actively works in honor of the memory of his grandfather.

Besarion Keburia’s corner in Chkhorotsku Museum