Форум Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
President Madero took office at a time when the nation was in turmoil, right at the beginning of what would later be known as the Mexican Revolution. Appreciating the potential intelligence gathering role of aircraft, Madero decided to acquire some planes. He sponsored five young Mexicans to travel to Long Island, New York, to train as pilots at the Moisant International Aviators School. The "Famous Five" were Gustavo Salinas Camina, Alberto Salinas Carranza, Horacio Ruiz Gavino and two brothers, Juan Pablo and Eduardo Aldasoro Suarez. Gustavo Salinas Camina (18931964), who received his first commercial license (number 172) from the Aero Club of America at Flushing Meadows, New York, in 1912, was soon to write his own page in aviation history.
The five young pilots completed their mission and returned to Mexico. Following a coup d'etat in 1913, General Victoriano Huerta claimed power and Madero was assassinated. Madero supporters rallied behind General Venustiano Carranza who assigned two of Mexico's newly acquired airplanes to the command of General Alvaro Obregon in the Northwest.
In April 1914, one of Obregon's gunships, the Tampico, was sailing off the coast of Sinaloa, close to the port of Topolobampo (near Los Mochis), when it came under attack from two Huertista warships: the Morelos and the Guerrero. Obregon ordered Gustavo Salinas Camina to do something about it. On April 14, accompanied by his mechanic Teodoro Madariaga, Salinas flew Sonora, his Glenn Martin pusher biplane, overhead and began bombing the Guerrero. The Huertista warships put out to sea, and the Tampico survived to fight another day. Two months later, however, when the Tampico met up with the Guerrero again, it was less lucky. On that occasion, it caught fire and sank.
The action at the Battle of Topolobampo was the first naval-air skirmish in history. Aircraft had revolutionized the art of combat. War would never be the same again.
The significance of this major shift in warfare was clearly not lost on Salinas himself. Years later, in 1943, when he was chief of the Mexican Army Air Forces and on an inspection visit to Maxwell Field, Alabama, Major General Salinas recounted that, "The bombs I used were home-made, with a charge of 52 sticks of dynamite. Primitive as they were, they worked like a charm. At the time I was flying an old Wright pusher type. It occurred to me that the day would come when we would have planes of weight-carrying efficiency beyond one's fondest hopes, and that then the plane would come into its own as a military assault weapon of fabulous power.