History of aviation

This is how it all started

Otto Lilienthal – the world’s first flyer

Do you sometimes dream of being able to fly too? Well, you’re not the only one. It was dreaming of being able to fly that inspired Otto Lilienthal to research tirelessly. He observed birds and studied their flight for almost 20 years.

He built wings just like theirs and started to build various models to test them out. He wrote all the discoveries he made in a book, the first important book about the art of flying. Lilienthal made 2,000 attempts at flying and in 1891 he then made his first successful flight. A huge dream of mankind came true. He was the first person to fly over long distances by gliding. He managed to fly up to 250 metres with his various contraptions.

The Wright Brothers – the pioneers of motorised flight

The brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first official motorised flight in the world in 1903. They were also fascinated by the idea of flying above the clouds, so they took inspiration from Otto Lilienthal’s attempts. After lots of tinkering around they were successful in flying for 59 seconds over a distance of 260 metres. That was a sensation at the time! Their plane’s propeller was driven using a bicycle chain and a small motor. Just a few years later they circled the Statue of Liberty in New York in a motorised plane. The Wright Brothers founded their own company in 1909 near Berlin and so ushered in the era of motorised flight to Germany.