Lilienthal Glider

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    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side.

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    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side.

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    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side. Highlighted in this image is the tail of the Lilienthal Glider.

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    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side.

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    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side. Highlighted in this image is a wing of the Lilienthal Glider.

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    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side. Highlighted in this image is a wing of the Lilienthal Glider.

    7 of 12

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side.

    8 of 12

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side.

    9 of 12

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side.

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    Lilienthal Glider

    Lilienthal Glider on display in the Early Flight gallery at the National Mall building.
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    Lilienthal Glider

    The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. 

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar

The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. During this period, Lilienthal made close to 2,000 brief flights in 16 different designs based on aerodynamic research he conducted in the 1870s and 1880s. Like the example in the National Air and Space Museum collection, most were monoplanes with stabilizing tail surfaces mounted at the rear. Control was achieved by shifting body weight fore-and-aft and from side-to-side.

Beyond his technical contributions, he sparked aeronautical advancement from a psychological point of view, as well by unquestionably demonstrating that gliding flight was possible. He was a great inspiration to the Wright brothers in particular. They adopted his approach of glider experimentation and used his aerodynamic data as a starting point in their own research.