aviation

Hans Grade – German Aviation Pioneer

Hans Grade – German Aviation Pioneer

Hans Grade before takeoff, 1912 On October 30, 1909, German aviation pioneer Hans Grade won the 40.000 Reichsmark “Lanz-Preis der Lüfte”, flying a new monoplane design, the ‘Libelle’ (Dragon Fly), the first really airworthy motor plane of Germany. Most probably, you have never heard of Hans Grade, who is also scarcely known in his home country. Nevertheless, he is one of the early pioneers of aviation and today, we will tell…
Robert Goddard – the Man who ushered in the Space Age

Robert Goddard – the Man who ushered in the Space Age

Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) On October 5, 1882, American professor, physicist, and inventor Robert Hutchins Goddard was born. He is credited with creating and building the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket, which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926. Goddard’s work as both theorist and engineer anticipated many of the developments that were to make spaceflight possible. He has been called the man who ushered in the Space Age. Moreover, I’m pretty…
Juan de la Cierva and the Autogiro

Juan de la Cierva and the Autogiro

Demonstration of Cierva C.6 autogiro at Farnborough, Oct. 1925 On September 21, 1895, Spanish civil engineer and aviation pioneer Juan de la Cierva y Codorníu was born. His most famous accomplishment was the invention in 1920 of the Autogiro, a single-rotor type of aircraft, a predecessor of today‘s helicopter. Juan de la Cierva was born in Murcia, Spain to a wealthy family. Although trained as a civil engineer, Cierva became…
Elly Beinhorn and her Love for Aviation

Elly Beinhorn and her Love for Aviation

Elli Beinhorn arrives at Berlin Tempelhof in 1931 Image Source: German Federal Archive, Accession number:102-11633 On May 30, 1907, German aviatrix and stunt pilot Elly Beinhorn was born. In the 1930s she broke several long distance flight records including flying over three continents in a single day. When it comes to the history of aviation, there seem to be less gender issues compared to other technological disciplines, as our growing list…
August von Parseval`s Airships

August von Parseval`s Airships

Parseval in Augsburg source: German Federal Archive On May 26, 1906, August von Parseval succeeded launching his new airship at Berlin Tegel military field. In contrast to his rival Zepellin, Parseval’s airships – also in honor of their inventor called Parsevals – were non-rigid or semi-rigid airships, with little or no stiffening structure inside the fabric envelope. While studying in Augsburg, August von Parseval met his future business partner Hans Bartsch…
Aviatrix Amy Johnson and the Flight to Australia

Aviatrix Amy Johnson and the Flight to Australia

Amy Johnson in India Image by Wikimedia User Dabbler On May 24, 1930, pioneering English aviatrix Ami Johnson safely landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia after a 18.000km flight, becoming the first woman pilot to fly solo from England to Australia. Amy Johnson earned her Bachelor if Arts degree in economics at the University of Sheffield. She was introduced to flying and gained the “A” pilot licence in 1929, followed by the “C” licence…
The Airplanes of Claude Dornier

The Airplanes of Claude Dornier

Claude Dornier in front of the Do K-3 image: German Federal Archive On May 14, 1884, German airplane builder and entrepreneur Claudius Dornier was born. His legacy remains in the few aircraft named after him, including the Dornier Do 18 and the 12-engine Dornier Do X flying boat, for decades the world’s largest and most powerful airplane. Dornier studied engineering at the Technical University of Munich and began his career in Karlsruhe in…
Igor Sikorsky and the Helicopter

Igor Sikorsky and the Helicopter

Igor Sikorsky in his VS-300 helicopter On May 13, 1940, Russian American aviation pioneer Igor Ivanovitsch Sikorsky made the maidenflight with his newly developed helicopter VS-300, which led to the R-4, the world’s first mass-produced helicopter in 1942. Sure we all know helicopters today. They have become an everyday object, although not everybody of us already had the chance to fly with a helicopter. Actually, I had the pleasure to fly…
Aviation Pioneer Harriet Quimby

Aviation Pioneer Harriet Quimby

Harriet Quimby (1875-1912) in the Moisant monoplane she learned to fly inImage: Library of Congress On April 16, 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. She was the the first woman to gain a pilot‘s license in the United States. Although Quimby lived only to the age of thirty-seven, she had a major influence upon the role of women in aviation. Harriet Quimby was…
Umberto Nobile and his Airships

Umberto Nobile and his Airships

On January 21, 1885, Italian aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer Umberto Nobile was born. He was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the Golden Age of Aviation. Nobile is primarily remembered for designing and piloting the airship Norge, which may have been the first aircraft to reach the North Pole. Umberto Nobile graduated from the University of Naples with a degree in engineering and began working on the…
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