20. December 2019
A meeting of the pioneers of aviation

The bi­planes con­struct­ed by Lilien­thal and the Wright broth­ers fly to­geth­er for the first time

Meeting of the pioneers of aviation
Meet­ing of the pi­o­neers of avi­a­tion
Image 1/4, Credit: DLR

Meeting of the pioneers of aviation

At Kit­ty Hawk, Ot­to Lilien­thal's ‘Big Bi­plane’ (right) and the Wright glid­er were seen to­geth­er in the air.
Replica of Otto Lilienthal’s ‘Big Biplane’ before take-off
Repli­ca of Ot­to Lilien­thal’s ‘Big Bi­plane’ be­fore take-off
Image 2/4, Credit: DLR

Replica of Otto Lilienthal’s ‘Big Biplane’ before take-off

The Amer­i­can hang glid­er pi­lot An­drew Beem flew the Lilien­thal bi­plane.
Replica of the Wright 1902 glider
Repli­ca of the Wright 1902 glid­er
Image 3/4, Credit: DLR

Replica of the Wright 1902 glider

The repli­ca of the Wright glid­er was flown by Bil­ly Vaughn (Kit­ty Hawk Kites).
Flight in the dunes
Flight in the dunes
Image 4/4, Credit: DLR

Flight in the dunes

The re­cent flights took place in the sand dunes of the Jock­ey's Ridge State Park. As the slope of the dunes is not as steep as it was in the past, the glid­ers were pulled in­to the air by tow­lines.

Replicas of gliders constructed by Otto Lilienthal and the Wright brothers flew together at Kitty Hawk.

For the first time, replicas of two of the most influential aircraft from the early days of aviation have flown together. Between 14 and 16 December 2019, Otto Lilienthal's 'Big Biplane' from 1895 and the Wright glider from 1902 were together during a demonstration at Kitty Hawk in the USA.

Otto Lilienthal is considered to be the first human aviator, while in 1903 the Wright brothers made the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk. "It is pleasing to see replicas of both pioneers together," said Rolf Henke, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Executive Board member responsible for aeronautics research. "Lilienthal's achievements were used by virtually all subsequent aviation pioneers, including the Wright brothers." An employee at DLR Göttingen, Markus Raffel, had already made flights in California at the end of July with the historically correct replica of the world's first biplane from Lilienthal. Raffel was building on the scientific research that DLR had conducted in wind tunnels, among other things, to mark the 125th anniversary of the first human flight in 2016 by constructing a replica of Lilienthal's monoplane.

The recent flights took place in the sand dunes of the Jockey's Ridge State Park. As the slope of the dunes is not as steep as it was in the past, the gliders were pulled into the air using towlines. The Lilienthal glider was flown by the American hang glider pilot Andrew Beem (Windsports, Los Angeles), and the Wright glider by Billy Vaughn (Kitty Hawk Kites).

A video of the flight demonstration at Kitty Hawk is available below and on Facebook.

More information, images and videos about DLR’s Lilienthal project can be found here.

Video: Repli­cas of glid­ers con­struct­ed by Ot­to Lilien­thal and the Wright broth­ers flew to­geth­er at Kit­ty Hawk
For the first time, repli­cas of two of the most in­flu­en­tial air­craft from the ear­ly days of avi­a­tion have flown to­geth­er. Be­tween 14 and 16 De­cem­ber 2019, Ot­to Lilien­thal's 'Big Bi­plane' from 1895 and the Wright glid­er from 1902 were to­geth­er dur­ing a demon­stra­tion at Kit­ty Hawk in the USA.
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Contact
  • Jens Wucherpfennig
    Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Göt­tin­gen and Hanover
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)

    Pub­lic Af­fairs and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
    Telephone: +49 551 709-2108
    Fax: +49 551 709-12108
    Bunsenstraße 10
    37073 Göttingen
    Contact
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Markus Raffel
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Aero­dy­nam­ics and Flow Tech­nol­o­gy
    He­li­copters De­part­ment
    Telephone: +49 551 709-2817

    Contact

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