GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Otto Lilienthal and his Glider (1893)
In this photograph, Otto Lilienthal (1848-96), a leading innovator in aviation, descends in his glider from the May Heights [Maihöhe] near Steglitz, a Berlin suburb. Lilienthal built the flight station – consisting of a 13' shed on a large hill – to ensure that he could fly into the wind during his practice flights. He designed and tested many glider prototypes and carried out basic research on the principles of flying, laying the groundwork for the Wright Brothers' invention. In this photo, Lilienthal flies the model “Maihöhe-Rhinow-Glider” [Maihöhe-Rhinow-Apparat], the basis of the later “Normal Glider” [Normalapparat], which he eventually modified into a biplane. He died from injuries sustained during a glider crash in 1896. Photo: Ottomar Anschütz.