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Free Content Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger – Inventor of the Spring Prosthesis and Hang-Glider (1811)

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Abstract:

Harsch V, Kriebel J. Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger – inventor of the spring prosthesis and hang-glider (1811). Aviat Space Environ Med 2006; 77:1087–1090.



Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger (1770–1829), known as the “Flying Tailor of Ulm,” started with flight experiments in Ulm, Germany, in the early 19th century. He gained experience in downhill gliding with a maneuverable airworthy semi-rigid hang-glider and then attempted to cross the Danube River at Ulm’s Eagle’s Bastion on the 31st of May 1811. The tricky local winds caused him to crash and he was rescued by fishermen, making him the first survivor of a water immersion accident of a heavier-than-air manned “flight machine.” Though he failed in his attempt to be the first man to fly, Berblinger can be regarded as one of the significant aviation pioneers who applied the “heavier than air” principle and paved the way for the more effective glide-flights of Otto Lilienthal (1891) and the Wright Brothers (1902). Less known are Berblinger’s significant contributions to the construction of artificial limbs for medical use, as well as the spring-application in aviation. His invention of a special mechanical joint was also used for the juncture of the wings of his “flying machine.” Because of his worthwhile contributions to medicine and flight, in 1993 the German Academy of Aviation Medicine named an annual award for young scientists in the field of aerospace medicine in his honor.

Keywords: Germany; flight pioneer; flying tailor; hang gliding; history of medicine; prosthesis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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