Air and space pioneers

Richard Pearse
120 years ago: The world's first motor flight?

Perhaps he was the world's first powered aviator: Richard Pearse. Never heard of him? Quite possibly! 120 years ago, on March 31, 1903, he is said to have completed a short flight in a self-built powered aircraft in Waitohi in New Zealand.

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Wright brothers
A short flight into history

They are as famous as Columbus: every child today knows Orville and Wilbur Wright as the world's first powered aviators. On 17 December 1903, they made the first short flights with their "Flyer" on the beach of Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.

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Otto Lilienthal
The flying inventor

He is world-famous as the "father of aviation": Otto Lilienthal, who died on 10 August 1896. The day before, after numerous successful flight attempts, he had crashed with a glider he had built himself. It is less well known that Lilienthal also was a versatile inventor and engineer who registered a number of interesting patents in various fields.

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Melli Beese
Germany's first female pilot

Melli Beese was the first woman to acquire a „Flugzeugführerlizenz“. Germany's first female pilot had to overcome enormous resistance before she passed the exam on 13 September 1911. The aviation pioneer, constructor and entrepreneur fought for her place in history - as a figure who was as brave as she was tragic.

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Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon

Lunar landing
The patents that brought the man to the moon

It was one of the greatest events in the history of mankind: the first astronaut walking the moon in 1969. A small step in that very moment for Neil Armstrong, but a giant leap for mankind.

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JoAnn Morgan

Apollo's women
Heroines in the background of the moon landing

Everybody still knows the name of the first man on the moon. But only a few people knew until recently that some women had also played a decisive role in the millennium project of the lunar landing. In recent years, the names of some of these heroines have become known to a wider public. We present some of them in a small series.

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Historic Photo

"Natter" - the first manned rocket
Wooden infernal machine

On 1 March 1945, the first vertically-launching aircraft with rocket propulsion took off. The Bachem Ba 349 may also be called the first manned rocket. The "Natter" (viper, its project name) was a mixed construction of rocket and aircraft with a predetermined breaking point, a partially recyclable disposable interceptor.

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Withehead´s No 21

Wright or wrong?
150th birthday: Gustave Whitehead and the mystery of the world's first flight

Perhaps the world's first powered flight took place on August 14, 1901 in Bridgeport, Connecticut - or maybe not. Few questions in the history of technology are discussed as fiercely as the question of whether the Wright brothers were the first to fly a powered aircraft - or Gustave Whitehead more than two years earlier?

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Historic advertisment for one of Paulus´ shows

Käthe Paulus
Aviation pioneer, acrobat, inventor

Käthe Paulus was a dazzling figure: courageous pioneer of aviation, daring acrobat, clever inventor and lifesaver. On 22 December 1868, the developer of the modern parachute was born in Zellhausen near Offenbach.

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Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Last updated: 15 December 2023