A BRONZE sculpture of a 1930s aircraft is to be unveiled at Wick John O'Groats Airport to commemorate the launch of scheduled passenger services to the destination by one of the pioneers of aviation in Scotland.

The first flight took off on May 8, 1933, with Captain Ted Fresson, OBE, piloting a Highland Airways aircraft from Inverness to Wick and Kirkwall. His fledgling airline was to play a key role in the commercial development of the north of Scotland.

A painting by the late Edmund Miller of Captain Fresson's first landing at Wick will be unveiled alongside a bronze statue of a Highland Airways de Havilland Rapide aircraft.

Loading article content

Mr Fresson's son, Richard, himself a former RAF pilot, is to attend the event.

The Fresson Trust chairman, Grenville Johnston, who is also chairman of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), which operates Wick John O'Groats Airport, said: "The arrival of Ted Fresson's first commercial flight into Wick marked the beginning of an aviation revolution.

"Not only did his fledgling Highland Airways open up the skies to paying passengers, it established the UK's first domestic airmail service and the first air ambulance service. Ted Fresson was a pioneer in every sense and we are delighted to honour his legacy in this way.

"More than 80 years on, Wick John O'Groats continues to play an important role as a gateway for the far North and, in particular, for the oil and gas sector, which is vital to the north of Scotland economy. His is a remarkable legacy."