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Osmanlı pilot brövesi

Ottoman Army Pilot’s Badge

Pilot’s Badge of the Ottoman Air Force was not an award but rather an unofficial or semi-official honour badge designed after German and Austro-Hungarian qualification badges. Neither any official decree instituting the badge nor award documents are known to exist. It seems that production of the Pilot’s badge that started in 1914 was authorized by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ottoman military, Enver Pasha. It’s most probable he had an intention of having the badge fully authorized by the Sultan at a later date but that never occurred.

The badge consisted of an oval gilt laurel wreath with a pair of superimposed outstretched wings that were connected in the center by a crescent and star. The wreath itself was connected at the bottom by a bow with a date “699” – the year Ottoman Empire was founded. There’s an oval plaque with the tughra of Sultan Mehmed Reshad V, i.e. his calligraphic monogram. Wings, bow and plaque are generally silver in color. 

Pilot’s badges made of bronze, silver and zinc were struck in the Ottoman Empire and in Germany. The former don’t have maker marks while the latter do – on the pin or beneath. The absence of such marks on Turkish-made badges reflects the fact that they were not struck by the Turkish national mint. 

The exact total number of badges awarded is unknown though it seems to be not numerous, not exceeding 1,000 pieces as by the end of the Great war the Ottoman Air Force had 15 Army squadrons and 4 Navy squadrons. As for the German pilots stationed in Turkey they were brought there not merely to fly the airplanes but rather to train Ottoman pilots.

turkish pilot