Learn more about the first human flight and the man behind it.
In 1709, the Portuguese priest and naturalist Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão presented a petition to King of Portugal, seeking royal support for his invention of an airship.
A popular early satire on the onset of "balloon mania" which began with the first balloon trips in 1783.
The world's first passenger airship, powered with a steam engine of the French engineer Henry Giffard reached a speed of about 10 km/h (1:50 scale model).
This model shows the first airship with an electric engine (1:50 scale model).
First successful airship driven by a gasoline engine. (Model 1:50)
Since 1882, Ottoman Anschütz was busy outsmarting the "moment". His "focal plane shutter" was, in addition to sensitive photographic material, the key to producing so-called "momentary photographs". They were the prerequisite for imaging moving objects. A series of flying storks was one of the first instant photographs in 1884. Anschütz became the most important photographer of the flying Otto Lilienthal.
Composed from photographs, this stop-motion animation shows the first human flight by Otto Lilienthal.
Das erste erfolgreiche "Flugzeug" der Geschichte (Replik)
This is the first flying vehicle in a serial production. We know that at least nine people bought the original glider. Four of these are preserved in museums in London, Moscow, Munich and Washington.
Lilienthal described his vision for steering control, stating: "The biplane design has the same lifting capacity of a single wing with twice the span, but the shorter span is more responsive to changes in the center of gravity." The results were convincing. The original lower wing is preserved in Vienna.
Lilienthal also attempted to add a wing-flapping mechanism to his gliders.
The bird flight was the main inspiration for Lilienthal's invention.
Decoded - the mystery of the wing
Lilienthal’s first well-documented experiment: Are flapping wings the key to human flight?
Lilienthal published a paper about the properties of artificial wings featuring work that is still valid today: the so called "polar diagram".
Another famous invention
For the last century or so, historians engaged in research with the life and accomplishments of Lilienthal had come to the conclusion that, apart from the few preserved gliders, probably no original product of the Lilienthal machine works has been preserved. That's why it was a big surprise when the museum got to know a few years ago that a Lilienthal steam engine existed in Australia.
Otto Lilienthal as an actor in the Berlin "Ostendtheater" which he transformed into a "Volksbühne" (community theatre) as a co-owner. He also became the author of a play with strong autobiographical features for the theater.
Award of the "Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Luftfahrt" (Scientific Association of Aviation)
front: "OTTO LILIENTHAL MDCCCXLVIII-XCVI NON OMNIS MORIAR" (1848-96, I will not die), verso:: "für hervorragende Verdienste" (distinguished merits)