AMERICAN and French aviators attempted to stage Hong Kong's first powered flight, but they were refused permission by the Hong Kong Government on the grounds that they were a security risk. The official line was: ''Government however well disposed towards the airmen, cannot allow promiscuous flying about the island and the territory.'' The authorities finally relented and allowed Charles van den Born, a Belgian pilot, to attempt a flight at Sha Tin. Why a Belgian should be considered more trustworthy than a Frenchman or an American is not clear. On March 18, 1911, the Governor, Sir Frederick Lugard, and thousands of spectators went to Sha Tin on a special train to witness the flight. The cost of tickets ranged from 50 cents to $3 and a ride in the plane cost $75. Unfortunately there was a strong wind and van den Born's Farman biplane could not take off. Most of the disappointed spectators caught the 5.10 pm train back to Kowloon. After the Governor and the multitudes had departed, the wind dropped and van den Born took to the skies watched only by a few despondent water buffaloes and a handful of Hakka peasants. A week later there was another demonstration at Sha Tin. Those aviation buffs who went along witnessed Hong Kong's first plane crash. With a sickening thud, van den Born bit the dust, while trying to avoid a crowd of schoolboys from Queen's College who were playing on the landing strip. Fortunately the ''Winged Walloon'' was unhurt and lived to fly another day. He moved on to Canton, where to put on a flying show for the Tartar general Fu Chi, known as the ''Guardian of the Cantonese''. Unfortunately just as van den Born was about to take off a republican gunman shot General Fu dead. The show was cancelled and once again everybody went home.