Otto Lilienthal


    Google celebrated the life and legacy of Otto Lilienthal on the Google Germany Search Engine Homepages on the 23rd May 2014. Otto Lilienthal was a German Aviation Pioneer also known as the Glider King. He was born in Anklam, Province of Pomerania on the 23rd of May 1848. He died at the age of 48 on the 10th of August 1896 in Berlin Germany. The cause of his death was a Glider Crash.

    Otto Lilienthal

    Otto Lilienthal is most famous for his glider flights. He was one of the first persons who documented his repeated successful flights with a glider, and played a very important role in the development of flight and aviation as we know it today.

    His first flights ignited a dream of one day creating safe flying and sparked a great interest in aviation and gliding.

    n 1867, Lilienthal began his experiments on the force of air in earnest, interrupted when he volunteered to serve in the Franco-Prussian War. As a staff engineer in various engineering companies, Lilienthal received his first patent for a mining machine. Five years later he founded his own company to make boilers and steam engines. Lilienthal published his famous book Bird flight as the Basis of Aviation in 1889.

    Lilienthal’s greatest contribution was in the development of heavier-than-air flight. He made his flights from an artificial hill he built near Berlin in Germany and from natural hills, especially in the Rhinow region.

    The filing of a U.S. Patent in 1894 by Lilienthal directed pilots to grip the “bar” for carrying and flying the hang glider. The A-frame of Percy Pilcher and Lilienthal echoes in today’s control frame for hang gliders and ultralight aircraft. Working in conjunction with his brother Gustav, Lilienthal made over 2,000 flights in gliders of his design starting in 1891 with his first glider version, the Derwitzer, until his death in a gliding crash in 1896. His total flying time was five hours.

    At the beginning, in 1891, Lilienthal succeeded with jumps and flights covering a distance of about 25 metres (82 ft). He could use the updraft of a 10 m/s wind against a hill to remain stationary with respect to the ground, shouting to a photographer on the ground to manoeuvre into the best position for a photo.

    In 1893, in the Rhinow Hills, he was able to achieve flight distances as long as 250 metres (820 ft). This record remained unbeaten for him or anyone else at the time of his death.