Aviation pioneer Karl Jatho

On 17 December 1903, the Wright brothers succeeded in flying the first motor-powered aircraft in Kitty Hawk on the Atlantic coast of the US Federal State of North Carolina. According to the history books, the biplane, "Flyer I", weighing 272 kg stayed in the air for 12 seconds, covering a distance of 36 meters.

On 18 August 1903 – some four months before the Wright brothers’ flight – Karl Jatho, a magistrate from Hannover, was propelled into the air for the first time on the Vahrenwalder Heide. His hang-glider System Jatho powered by a 12 PS one-cylinder engine, flew 18 meters at a height of 1 meter.

By November, improvements made to the engine had already enabled Jatho to jump 60 meters into the air – although this isn't mentioned in any history book. However, private documents, photographs and witnesses' reports stored in Hannover's History Museum prove that this was the case. There is also a model of the hang-glider there.

The Working Group for Technology, Industry and History (AK TIG) and Hannover Airport have been working for months to correct the history books regarding the first motorized flight and, by doing so, enhance Hannover’s and Germany’s image on an international level. The aim is to honor in a fitting manner Hannover's aviation pioneer, Karl Jatho, 100 years after his first motorized flight. At the time, Jatho was ridiculed by many and considered insane. The Working Group is working hard to produce a working replica of the first motorized flying machine with the help of sponsors.

Harald Lohmann from Neustadt am Rübenberge offered to reconstruct the historic Jatho biplane at Fürstenwalde Airfield to produce a model as faithful to the original as possible. Over the past 50 years, he has produced countless airworthy models and 1:1 scale aircraft.

Lohmann, who is 72 and was recently awarded the "World model construction champion" title in Las Vegas, enjoys an excellent reputation as an aircraft builder among the critical inspectors of the German Federal Aviation Authority. He drew up detailed construction plans for the Jatho Project some years ago. He could start work immediately on the reconstruction of the first German motorized airplane, which preceded that of the Wright brothers, and, if necessary, take on some qualified unemployed people from the economically underdeveloped region of Fürstenwalde. Lohmann guarantees that the biplane will be able to take off from Hannover Airport in October 2003. The only obstacle so far has been the lack of funding available.


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