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Personage > Dragutin Novak

Although he was born in Zagreb, local people in Križevci regarded Dragutin Novak as their fellow town dweller, since he started a family in Veliki Raven, near Križevci, living and working there most of his life. This tall and proud, though humble and thoughtful, man was remembered for many generations, whom he helped and powerfully influenced. He came to Križevci as early as 1913, getting a job as a mechanic in Veliki Raven, where he met his future wife Anđela Pongrac.Dragutin’s account of the first flight he made reads: I landed near the Church of Our Lady of Koruška, at the entrance to the town. There were lots of people there, since it was a market place, and they started running around, raising dust. The cattle also started running, and an old lady was so scared that she started yelling at the top of her lungs: "People, Judgement Day has come! A dragon is flying around!" She threw herself on her knees and started praying fervently. Some plucked up enough courage to come closer and have a look at "the flying miracle".

In the spring of 1910 he met an engineer and inventor, Slavoljub Penkala, and they constructed an airplane together. It was this plane that Dragutin Novak made his first flight in on 5 July, 1910, flying at an altitude of 10-12 meters. He participated in numerous aero shows in Croatia, Austria, and Hungary. He provided aircraft maintenance, and was a professional military aviator in World War I.

In 1915 he was the first professional aviator in Croatia, and afterwards he became a flight instructor in Bečko Novo Mjesto (Vienna Neustadt). He landed to Križevci in mid March, 1918, making Križevci one of the rare towns in Croatia, or even in the world, to have an airplane landing on its ground.

From 1922 Dragutin Novak lived in Križevci with his family, first working in a steam-powered flour-mill, and later on as an engineer in the town electric power plant "Lightning House", at the Square of Banus Lacković. Dragutin is also credited with founding the first taxi service in 1927. After it became public in 1948, he was appointed the first manager of the town Bus Company. Older local people can still remember Dragutin’s "blue carriage", that is the bus in which they used to drive, sometimes even free of charge, from the railway station to the Upper Town. In 1949 he got a job as an engineer at a property near Secondary School of Agriculture. He was retired in 1950, and around 1970 he moved to Zagreb, where he lived until his death.

Dragutin Novak in Austro-Hungarian uniform

Dragutin Novak in his pilot uniform

Dragutin Novak boards the plane

Flight in  Austro-Hungarian military aircraft

Church of St Ana (Flash not found)
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On This Day:

1936.

Vladimir Kranjčević, conductor and pianist, honourable town member, born in Zagreb
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