The two brothers Otto and Gustav Lilienthal from Anklam in Pomerania made a considerable contribution to future power flying. While they were still very young, both brothers studied the flight of the storks in their homeland Pomerania. They observed that at the beginning of their flight, the heavy birds always placed themselves facing the wind in order to rise into the air. They concluded that when the surface of the wings was blown on, a suction resulted which provided the lift-up for the birds. The results of this discovery were written down by Otto Lilienthal in 1889 in his book “The flight of the birds as a basis for the art of flying”.
In 1891 Otto Lilienthal began with the construction of a flying apparatus, with which he made flying attempts in the Rhinow Mountains. In 1893 Otto Lilienthal got to know the 22 year-old Paul Beylich, whose craftsmanship impressed him. Together with him, Otto Lilienthal then built several gliders with which he made gliding flights from a 15 metre-high hill in Lichterfelde-Ost. During a flight attempt on 9 August 1896 he had a fatal accident. The achievements of the Lilienthal brothers are undisputed. Their gliders and flying apparatus which still exist today are witnesses of their ability and pioneering spirit.
Measurements of the “Normal Sailing Apparatus” of Otto Lilienthal: wing-span 6.72 m, length 5.28 m, surface 13.60m2, weight 20.00 kg.