Otto Lilienthal, the Pioneer of Flying Man with Glider

Otto Lilienthal was known as flying man due to successful flight individually with glider. He documented every move he done then published. In that time, flying machine was impossible, but Lilienthal proved what human could do.

He had done several flights, though not mostly succeed. Fatal accident happened on 9 August 1896. He flight and the glider was stalled. He could not control his glider then falling. His neck was broken and died on 10 August 1696.

Personal Life

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Otto Lilienthal was born on 23 May 1848 in Pomerania Province. His father is Gustav and his mother was Caroline. They lived in Anklam and were part of local evangelical church.

He studied in grammar school then he had idea about human flying. He went to technical school for two years in Potsdam. He learned and trained to be design engineer. He also worked at the Schwarzkopf Company.

His wife is Agnes Fischer, married on 6 June 1878. Both had children: Otto, Frida, Anna, and Fritz. Agnes was trained in music and played piano.

Experiment in Flight

He built artificial hill for his first experiment located near berlin using natural contour. He designed glider with control frame. His model looked like aircraft, but only had wide glider. He received patent for this first design.

Besides first glider, he also developed several model, such as wing flapping aircraft, monoplanes, and two biplanes. His attention was stability to distribute evenly weight. In order to control glider, he used center gravity to move body then turned into certain direction.

The test location was the key for his flight experiment. He created artificial hill in some areas. At first, he flight alone, but the crowd came to see what he did.

Worldwide Notice

He appeared in magazine and newspaper that gathered more attention. People visited the location where he flight. Robert Williams Wood and Ottomar Anschutz photographed him.

He put everything in note that was well documented. His experience was published in weekly Prometheus and translated in English for United States publishing. Many people stated that his glider was important for developing advanced aircraft.

Final Flight

Otto Lilienthal went to the Rhinow Hills as location for his flight. He started to attach glider and flight immediately. However, his position was too high at 250 meters. He could not control his flight and went down while still keeping the glider.

He was transported to hospital. His condition was severe due to fracture and damage on neck. He was died next day on 10 August 1896.

His Legacy

He was the pioneer to do manned flight. With his documentation, people learned how to develop glider including the steps to utilize it properly. Several people tried to do what Lilienthal had done.

People know what he had done because many photos are available. Ottomar Anschutz took his action and process constant after 1891. Today, more than 1000 photos are exhibited.

His name is also in several fictional characters. Otto Lilienthal was portrayed in short films related to flying man. Another his legacy is the patent for the first glider design.

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