Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Otto Lilienthal - The Glider King

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When we look back to the dawn of aviation, we can trace these sweeping changes back to a few pioneers. When we think of the 'fathers of flight,' we immediately picture the Wright Brothers. But they weren't the first to bear that title.

German pioneer Otto Lilienthal (1848-1896) was. Although he never successfully flew a powered plane, he was the first to build and fly winged aircraft. His gliders are the ancestors of today's airplanes and gliders. And his research on the flight mechanics of birds forms the basis of modern wing design.

1 comment(s):

Gareth said...

George Cayley's work predates Lilienthal's, indeed his first glider to carry a person albeit a ten year old boy was flown around the time of Lilienthal's birth. His first adult carrying glider flew when Lilienthal was about five years old. Cayley's early theoritical work dates to 100 years before the Wright brothers' first flight. To quote Wilbur Wright in 1909 "About 100 years ago, an Englishman, Sir George Cayley, carried the science of flight to a point which it had never reached before and which it scarcely reached again during the last century."