Otto Lilienthal testing a glider, 1890s

Otto Lilienthal testing a glider, 1890s

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lilienthal testing a glider in Germany in the 1890s. Otto Lilienthal (1848-1896) was a German aviation pioneer, who became known as the "Glider King" for his many experiments with gliders. He made over 2000 flights from 1891, made several important advances in aviation theory, and managed controlled glides of tens of metres. He died in 1896, falling from a glider during a test flight and breaking his back. He died the next day, but his legacy would later inspire the work by the Wright Brothers on heavier-than-air flight.

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