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Icons of Industry

18/06/2019 Industrial Services


What would the world be today without the car? For many, a scenario that is virtually unimaginable. Individual mobility is not least characterized by the automobile. Its triumphal procession began in the 19th century - in 1886 Carl Benz registered his Patent Motor Car Number 1. Without his wife Bertha, however, his invention would never have become as successful as it is today.

Bertha Benz

January 29, 1886 - The patent application for the Benz motor car sealed the birth of the automobile 134 years ago. While today it is a persistent rumour that men are the better drivers, it was a woman who made the first long-distance journey in history. Carl Benz is often described as a rather introverted thinker with technical genius, while his wife Bertha possessed the entrepreneurial talent that was necessary to advance the vision of the automobile and successfully establish it on the market. She believed in her husband and his dream of building a motorized car that did not rely on horses for propulsion. To make this dream come true, the daughter of a good family had her dowry paid to provide the financial means for the project.

Bertha Benz significance as a shining example for women who follow their ideals and are not afraid to use all their resources to realize their dream is unbroken. After all, Bertha Benz not only put her wealth but also her health on the scales for success. Two years after the patent application was filed and orders failed to materialize, Bertha got tired of waiting and left Mannheim with two of her sons to join the family in Pforzheim. The 106 km route took the quintuple mother and two of her sons in a little-tried vehicle along paths that were suitable for horse-drawn carriages, but not for motor vehicles. They passed shy horses and scolding farmers. Downhill runs brought the brakes to their limits, sharp climbs had to be pushed. She didn't ask her husband for permission before setting off - with his hesitant nature he would certainly not have allowed the ride. But it is not only the courage to set off in this vehicle that has to be given high credit to the pioneer. After all, she also had the necessary talent for improvisation to remedy the technical shortcomings of the motor car. On the way, for example, she used her hatpin to remove a blocked valve or replaced the worn insulation of an ignition cable with a garter. Incidentally, the experiences of the first long-distance trip led to some technical improvements to the motor car. Later, she admitted that, in view of the insufficient brakes, it was only with luck that she survived the descents unscathed. Without her commercial skill and support, her husband Carl Benz would probably have been denied the social and economic laurels for his invention.

Aviation and Aerospace

Aerospace, as part of engineering and transport technology, is fundamentally concerned with the development and operation of aircraft, missiles, spacecraft and satellites. The road to the first human flight was long and difficult. Otto Lilienthal is still regarded as the pioneer of motorised flight and therefore as a pathfinder for all pioneers after him.

Otto Lilienthal - Pioneer of the motorized human flight

The path of Otto and his brother Gustav to the world's first serial aircraft production was long and stony. The two repeatedly tried to build up a profitable company with various patents. The long-awaited breakthrough finally came with the patent on the coil tube boiler, which enabled the safe operation of steam boilers and, due to its economic success, made investments in aircraft construction possible. Otto Lilienthal attracted thousands of visitors to the famous "Fliegerberg" in Berlin with his spectacular flight tests with ever increasing ranges. Although his practical experiments and theoretical explanations impressively demonstrated the generation of lift by curved wings, the aviation industry initially favoured the "lighter than air" flight principle on which the hot-air balloon was based towards the end of the 19th century. Based on his theoretical and practical experiments, Otto Lilienthal succeeded in transferring the lift phenomenon successfully to aircraft construction. In the course of his life, the engineer built at least 21 flying machines, of which the so-called normal glider even went into series production in 1894. The central discovery of the Lilienthal brothers was the fact that air currents around curved wings generate dynamic lift. In science, this phenomenon is often explained by the fact that the airflow passes the curved and therefore longer orbital surface of the wing at a higher speed on the upper side than on the lower side. According to the Bernoulian equation, the difference in speed between the upper and lower surface results in a different pressure distribution, which causes the dynamic lift. The higher kinetic energy at the upper side of the wing leads to a lower static pressure, which is compensated by the lift in vertical direction.

The Wright brothers later repeatedly emphasized that the work of the German engineer a decade later had made a significant contribution to the realization of the first powered flight. As a sign of their great esteem, the Wright brothers sent a check for 1,000 US dollars to Lilienthal's widow in 1911. The aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal had a major influence on the history of aviation by discovering dynamic lift as the key to human flight. The engineer tirelessly constructed ever new flying machines, threw himself off the Berlin "Fliegerberg" several thousand times, produced extensive practical series of measurements and produced important theoretical explanations. His book "Der Vogelflug als Grundlage der Fliegerkunst" (The Flight of Birds as the Basis of the Art of Flying) is today regarded as the most important aeronautical publication of the 19th century. The fact that aircraft weighing tons take off from the ground every day is due not least to the principle of dynamic lift formulated by Lilienthal.

Hugo Junkers - the pioneer of commercial aircraft

Before Hugo Junkers took up aircraft construction, he had already patented the gas bath heater, whose later development made a career for itself as a continuous flow heater. Hugo Junkers was distinguished by his variety and wealth of ideas. Junkers had manufactured wings for the prototype of the engineer Hans Reissner. For the first time, these consisted of a metal construction. The all-metal construction method used for this purpose made the usual construction method of the time of braced and strutted biplanes made of tubular steel, wood and canvas superfluous. Its construction also showed that the shape of the wings was a decisive factor, because although the wings were made of metal, the aircraft still took off despite the heavier weight. Therefore he also patented the metal wing a little later. Subsequently, he began to build entire airplanes from metal. Together with engineer Otto Reuter, Hugo Junkers designed the Junkers F 13 - the first all-metal aircraft in civil aviation. The engineers used duraluminium for production, which is characterised by its particularly high strength and hardness. Another advantage of duraluminium was its lower weight compared to iron and steel tubing. Junker's low-wing aircraft, which had a 160 PS Mercedes engine, offered space for two pilots and four passengers. The cabin corresponded to a conventional automobile. Junkers equipped the passenger compartment with two front seats and a rear seat. The Junkers F 13, produced in series, covered 70 percent of European air traffic in the early 1920s. But the low-wing aircraft was not only used as a passenger aircraft, the model was also used as a medical and business aircraft. With various substructures such as wheels, floats and snow skids, the Junkers F 13 was able to take off and land on the most varied terrain.The durable and weather-independent aircraft did not need any extra hangars.  With the Junkers F 13, the engineers Junkers and Reuter built an aircraft that was economical in consumption, safe, durable and comfortable. For Junkers it was only logical that his aircraft was made for record flights. In 1919 the Junkers F 13, named "Annelise", reached an altitude of 6750 meters with seven passengers. This resulted in the first series order from the USA.

Hugo Junkers set standards and revolutionised aviation. His groundbreaking concept of metal wings is still used in aircraft construction today. His merit enables us today to fly faster, further and higher. Together with the designer Otto Reuter, they are among the pioneers of today's commercial aircraft.

Henri Fabre and the Hydravion hydroplane

Water and air already played an important role in the early years of Henri Fabre. As the child of a shipping company family, he wanted to build a waterworthy aircraft. While studying electrical engineering, Henri already met some aviation pioneers. They also inspired him to build the Hydravion (French for hydroplane). For example, he used the research ship l'Essor to study aerodynamic issues and simulate the take-off of a hydroplane using an electric winch and piano wire.

His first prototype of the hydroplane was equipped with a self-constructed 25 PS engine and a wooden propeller. The first flight tests in the water were not very promising, because of the comparatively weak engines it was not possible to take off with the hydroplane. With an advanced version powered by a 50 PS seven-cylinder Gnôme rotary engine, the aviation pioneer took off in 1910 in the bay of La Mède near Martiques and covered a distance of about half a kilometre. The very next day, he succeeded in covering the approximately 6-kilometer distance between La Mède and Martiques. After some successful flights, the Hydravion was destroyed during a hard landing. Henri Fabre soon stopped building aircraft due to lack of financing and devoted himself to the construction of floats.

The main feature of hydroplanes is that the conventional wheel landing gear is replaced by two boat-shaped floats. These floats provide the necessary lift when the aircraft is at a standstill and, thanks to their hydrodynamic design, also enable the aircraft to glide with little resistance during the take-off procedure. As an alternative to the floatplane design, hydroplanes are often designed as flying boats with a lower hull section. Both in terms of aerodynamics and seaworthiness, flying boats are superior to conventional seaplanes. Henri Fabre relied on the so-called duck construction method when building his Hydravion seaplane, in which two canard wings are attached to the end of the hull. The double-decker wings also served to stabilize the aircraft in position, while ailerons were dispensed with completely. Fabre was also the first aircraft engineer to use a fabric-covered main spar as a lattice truss, which could be rolled up if necessary. Two longitudinal beams, also made of a wooden lattice framework, served as fuselage on the one hand and enabled Henri Fabre to install a saddle as pilot seat on the other hand. In the following years, Henri Fabre's model was often used as a model for further developments. The German Armed Forces also used these low-cost aircraft for pilot training.

Today, the importance of hydroplanes cannot be compared, because today's aircraft have no difficulty in crossing the oceans. Today, hydroplanes are mainly used for transport between islands or in remote regions without airports. Floatable planes are also suitable for search and rescue flights, since intermediate landings on water are possible. Worldwide, only the Maldives and Canada have seaports that have a connection to an international airport. Henri Fabre is still regarded as the leading pioneer in the construction of seaplanes. The French engineer combined his shipbuilding origins with a strong passion for aviation and invested a lot of time in his dream of his first flight in a seaplane. Fabre's engineering achievements in the development of suitable floats in particular are to be honoured as a decisive breakthrough in hydroplane construction.

Juan de la Cierva - tragic hero of aviation

The young Juan de la Cierva began to design aircraft at the age of 16. His first company BCD was dedicated to the construction of biplanes and mid-deckers with rotary engines. After studying engineering for road, canal and port construction, he obtained his own flying license and became enthusiastic about the idea of autorotation. In 1920, the Autogiro brand was entered in the patent register as Cierva's own word creation. A short time later, the Spanish engineer was able to successfully test the first stable, airworthy gyrocopter of type C.4 on a four-kilometre route. In the course of the following years, he continuously developed his patented gyrocopter technically. Step by step, he succeeded in successfully completing ever longer flights with impressive approach angles. After the Spanish engineer emigrated to England and founded the Cierva Autogiro Company of Great Britain Ltd. there, he also achieved an international breakthrough thanks to the many advantages of the gyrocopter. The PCA-2 series was produced in the USA and used for flights to Mexico and Cuba. Finally, in 1932, Cierva Autogiro GmbH was also founded in Berlin, producing a total of 43 C.30 gyrocopters.

From a technical point of view, the first patented gyrocopter is a combination of helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. The main difference between a gyrocopter and a helicopter is that the rotor of a gyrocopter is not coupled to the engine. The rotor is set in rotation solely by the air flowing through it during flight (principle of autorotation), which generates the lift necessary for flying. Because of its revolutionary flight principle, the gyrocopter is also aptly called a "flying windmill" in expert circles.

The high angle of attack in the inner area in combination with the resulting force in the outer diameter ensures that the rotor turns. In doing so, the rotor automatically takes on the rotational speed required to carry the gyrocopter. Propulsion is generated by a separate propeller engine, similar to the way a conventional fixed-wing aircraft works. One of the central technical components of a gyrocopter is the flapping joint, which Juan de la Cierva invented in 1922 and also had patented. It was first used in the C.4 model and enables the rotor of the gyrocopter to move up and down, thus enabling stable flight. Thanks to the low mechanical load of the self-rotating rotor, a gyrocopter can do without many heavy components and is very light compared to a helicopter. A further advantage of the gyrocopter is the comparatively low operating costs, which amount to 80 to 120 Euro per hour including purchase price, fuel and maintenance.

With the invention of the autorotation principle and the successful patenting of an airworthy gyrocopter, Juan de la Cierva had a decisive influence on the history of the helicopter. Through the continuous development of the gyrocopter, the aviation pioneer helped to lay the technical foundations for the later ascent of the helicopter. Technical innovations such as the flapping joint are still used today in almost unchanged form and impressively underline the engineering art of Juan de la Cierva. The Spanish engineer died tragically in 1936 in a plane crash. The inventor of the autogiro and father of six children was only 41 years old. After his death, the gyrocopter disappeared from the limelight for decades until it was finally able to celebrate its comeback in the 1960s.

Claude Ryan - pioneer of modern aerobatics

The US American was already early in flying fever. After an incident on the runway, which denied him the opportunity to complete his flight training, he decided to study mechanical engineering. However, he did not give up his dream of flying and after initial setbacks he managed to obtain his pilot's license. After his Army time Ryan bought a biplane of the type Curtiss JN-4 Jenny and initially performed short passenger flights at a price of 2.5 to 5 dollars. With his Ryan Flying Company he later offered not only charter flights from San Diego to Los Angeles, but also professional flight training. The Los Angeles - San Diego Airline was finally the first airline nationwide with a regular flight schedule. But flying alone did not fascinate Claude Ryan, as a designer he was also interested in building and operating his own aircraft. The Ryan M-1 was able to convince with remarkable performance features. Based on the M-1 model, the designer even succeeded in 1927 in making the first non-stop flight between Paris and New York possible with the long-haul aircraft Spirit of St. Louis. The aircraft covered the approximately 5,800 km distance in a time of 33 hours and 30 minutes back. Claude Ryan achieved his masterpiece four years later when he constructed the Ryan ST (Sport Trainer), the first series-produced aircraft with an aluminum fuselage and braced wings. The ST-A sports aircraft with 136 PS power is still considered by experts to be one of the most beautiful aircraft ever built and has been further developed and modified several times over the years. This success is due to Ryan's ingenuity, who recognized the trend of the time and designed a sports aircraft with outstanding aerobatic characteristics. The ST sports aircraft was characterized by two open cockpits in tandem construction and an advanced steel-aluminum material combination. The unique selling proposition of the sports aircraft was its flight characteristics, which were almost sensational for its time. On aerobatics flights the aircraft withstood forces of +/- 10 g, which can be described as impressive even when measured against modern machines. The ST series was built in many other variants and was used worldwide. Today there are still some well-preserved models that are regularly presented at aerobatic and sports flying events.

Claude Ryan's lifetime achievement is mainly influenced by the enabling of the first non-stop scheduled flight between New York and Paris and the construction of the Ryan ST-A sports aircraft. As the first series-produced aircraft with an aluminium fuselage and braced wings, this shapely model set new standards in terms of flight characteristics. With the construction of the Ryan ST-A, Claude Ryan paved the way for many other sports aircraft of this type and from today's point of view can be called one of the most important aviation pioneers.

William Bushnell Stout - inventor, engineer and designer

The technophile engineer, who developed a passion for aircraft construction at an early age, was not only the founder of the Model Aero Club of Illinois, at just 27 years old he also became chief engineer at the Schurmeir Motor Truck Company and in 1912 he founded Aerial Age, the first aviation magazine ever published in the USA. He gained his first professional experience in the automotive sector. As chief engineer of the Scripps-Booth Automobile Company, he first designed his famous "Cyclecar" and was then signed on by Packard Motors in Detroit. When Packard Motors entered the aircraft industry in 1916, William Stout seized this opportunity and became more and more involved in aviation. With his own company, the Stout Engineering Company, he also initially built automobiles, such as the prototype Stout Scarab, a Beetle-like vehicle made largely of aluminum. Later, this formed the Stout Metal Airplane Company, with which he pursued ambitious plans for the construction of three-engine passenger aircraft. He drew his inspiration from Germany, from aviation pioneer Hugo Junkers. In 1924, the Stout Metal Airplane Company was taken over by the Ford Motor Company and integrated into the group.

Here he devoted himself to the development of the Stout 2-AT (Air Transport), which was made entirely of metal and powered by a Liberty V12 engine with 300 kW output. The three-engine successor, the Stout 3-AT, powered by three Wright Whirlwind J-4 engines with 200 PS output each, was supposed to be the aircraft of the future according to Ford's statements, but in fact the model failed on the market due to weak performance and problems in maintaining flight altitude. A dispute with Henry Ford finally led to the dismissal of William Stout, so that he dedicated himself from now on to his Stout Engineering Laboratory.

The model 4-AT, later known as Ford Trimotor, with three 200 PS strong nine-cylinder radial engines of the type Wright J-4 brought the hoped-for breakthrough. Thus Ford was able to make its mark in aviation as well. The passenger aircraft Ford Trimotor enjoyed great popularity among pilots thanks to its excellent flight characteristics and was even able to continue flying without problems with only two engines. Series production of the 5-AT variant ended in 1933, attempts to revive the Trimotor concept in the 1960s were unsuccessful. William Bushnell Stout's passionate research and his various innovations in the automotive industry brought him recognition. He also founded the first regular airline in the United States, which later became United Airlines. With the development of the first three-engine passenger aircraft, the US engineer and aviation pioneer laid the technical foundation for the construction of the famous Ford Trimotor aircraft. Despite various setbacks, William Bushnell never stopped Stout from driving forward the technical development in the field of passenger aircraft. His revolutionary trimotor propulsion concept became an unprecedented success story in the early days of commercial flight and has shaped aviation.

Hanns Klemm - pioneer in light aircraft construction

The aircraft of the German engineer and aircraft designer Hanns Klemm became the epitome of light aircraft construction in Germany in the twenties and thirties of the 20th century. With his unconventional idea of an economical, light aircraft suitable for everyday use, Klemm revolutionized an entire industry and developed success-winning light aircraft that generated enthusiasm all over the world. After his studies at the Technical University of Stuttgart, he gained his first experience in bridge and tunnel construction and as an engineer for reinforced concrete and steel construction at the Imperial Shipyard in Gdansk. During his time as a structural engineer and iron designer at Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH, his first contact with light aircraft construction was made. His career was shaped by aviation pioneer Claude Dornier, among others. As a leading designer at Daimler-Flugzeugbau in Sindelfingen, he developed his own individual idea of aerodynamically high-quality aircraft with low mass and low wing loading, and with a weak engine. Hans Klemm's Daimler L 15, went down in history as the world's first single-engined light aircraft. Equipped with an Indian motorcycle engine with only 7.5 PS, Klemm celebrated one light aircraft record after another with the L 15 after initial setbacks. In the successor, the Daimler L 20 light aircraft, Klemm replaced the rounded-off fuselage with a square fuselage and relied on a 20 PS engine from the designer Ferdinand Porsche.

After the merger of Daimler and Benz, Hanns Klemm set up his own company, Leichtflugzeugbau Klemm (LFK) GmbH in Böblingen. Already the L 20 successor Klemm Kl 25 was built 6,000 times and exported to Great Britain and the USA in the form of licenses. With models such as the Klemm Kl 26, Kl 31, Kl 32 and Kl 35, the German engineer continued his success story and finally received his doctorate in 1937 on bonding processes in connection with the Klemm partial shell construction method he had developed. The Kl 35 can be regarded as representative of Hanns Klemm's vision of a light aircraft. While the fuselage was made of steel, Klemm used wood for the wings and tail units and used little light metal for the fairings. A fixed monopod landing gear and damped struts rounded off the mixed construction in combination with a two-spar wooden wing unit. One of the special features of the light aircraft Kl 35 was above all the articulated wing, which was partly made of plywood and made it possible to attach a robust landing gear at the point of articulation. Compared to its predecessor Kl 25, the cantilever low-wing differed mainly by the welded steel tube framework, which replaced the previous pure wooden construction.

Hanns Klemm's aircraft were known neither for their propulsive power nor for their speeds - instead, they convinced with a combination of astounding simplicity and ingenious engineering.

Anton Landolt, Eugen Hostettler and the long Swiss road to Ecolight aircraft certification

Thanks to the use of particularly light construction materials, the popular motorized series production aircraft in the Ecolight class have a very low power requirement. The environmentally friendly small engines of the aircraft are characterized by low fuel consumption and also fly extremely quiet. Ecolight aircraft must meet a whole range of requirements in order to be certified. For example, the one- or two-seater aircraft may only have a maximum output of 120 PS and must have a wing loading of at least 20 kilograms per square meter. While the Ecolight aircraft in the single-seater version may not weigh more than 322.5 kg, its two-seater counterpart may weigh up to 472.5 kg. Taking into account the empty weight of the aircraft and the fuel, it is clear that the payload mass for the pilot(s) and the luggage is very limited. In addition to these requirements, Ecolight aircraft must also meet high standards in terms of noise pollution; the aircraft's emissions must not exceed 65 dB.

In terms of flight safety, microlight aircraft are characterized by very good gliding characteristics. The usual engine with a power of 100 PS allows the aircraft to use large power reserves on short runways or in the mountains. The low weight allows a slow approach to the runway, but at the same time makes the aircraft more susceptible to gusts of wind and unrest in the air. One of the other advantages of Ecolight aircraft is their very environmentally friendly operation. Aircraft such as the FK 12 model from B&F operate with an 80 or 100 PS Rotax 912 engine and are very fuel-efficient. Alternatively, the model can also be operated with a 120 PS strong Jabiru 3300 engine with 3.3 litre capacity.

In spite of this impressive technology, it was decided by a referendum on July 4, 1984, that microlight aircraft would not be permitted in Switzerland. Paradoxically, for environmental reasons. Specifically, the law stated that motorised aircraft with a wing loading of less than 20 kilograms per square metre were prohibited in Switzerland. In response to the ban on this increasingly popular class of aircraft, the Swiss Microlight Flyers Association was formed, which has been known as Swiss Microlight Flyers (SMF) since 1999. From 1996 onwards, Anton Landolt and Eugen Hostettler in particular campaigned for the certification of microlight aircraft. One of the milestones on the way to the lifting of the ban was the introduction of the term Ecolight, which replaced the negatively charged designation Ultralight. In the 1980s, the microlight aircraft, disparagingly referred to as "flying lawnmowers", had technically developed into very economical and light aircraft and should be recognised as such by politicians. The impressive demonstration of Ecolight aircraft in front of the Parliamentary Aviation Group at Berne Airport, among other things, prompted a change in thinking. At a meeting with Anton Landolt, Eugen Hostettler and Hans Pflugshaupt on 26.09.2002, Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger finally gave the general go-ahead for the certification of Ecolight aircraft. As President of Swiss Microlight Flyers, Anton Landolt is still committed to the interests of microlight aircraft. For his passionate commitment, the light flight enthusiast Landolt was awarded the Pro Aero Recognition Prize in 2006.

Anton Landolt and Eugen Hostettler have made a major contribution to the fact that microlight aircraft have been appearing in the Swiss skies again since 2005. In a battle against reservations in politics that lasted for more than 20 years, the passionate supporters of the ultra-light class succeeded in initiating a sustainable rethink. In particular, the definition of the "Ecolight" category is likely to have made a decisive contribution to improving the standing of mass-produced motorised aircraft in the political arena. By founding the Swiss Microlight Flyers Association, now known as Swiss Microlight Flyers, the two project initiators were able to give a voice to the many supporters of microlight aircraft.

Women making history

Even though women in aerospace did not always have an easy start, women are very successful in this industry. Whenever women took a further step in aviation, the press hype was huge and they were adored like heroines. Amelie Earhart and Geraldine Mock are just two examples of outstanding personalities. They created the foundation for aviation enthusiastic women in the industry to follow their dreams and not be restricted by social conventions. Today's equality of the sexes, in the formerly male-dominated aviation, is also due to the aviation pioneers.

Amelia Earhart - an inspiration for generations of strong women

Amelia Mary Earhart was already in her earliest childhood a bright and intelligent girl, who did not want to accept the social role models of man and woman at that time. Her big goal was to become a pilot. In addition to the greatest possible personal freedom, which she expected from this activity, it was also an expression of equality, because aviation in those early years was of course a purely male domain. Even then, obtaining a pilot's license was not a cheap pleasure. The attempt to get her parents to finance it failed. Her will was nevertheless unbroken. With more than 24 different jobs, her dream finally came true. She completed her first flying lesson in 1921 with Neta Snook, another aviation pioneer, who served as inspiration for the young Amelia. From that point on things went relatively quickly: six months later Earhart bought her first plane, which contained both her own money and borrowed money. This was the beginning of a remarkable flying career. But besides her passion for flying, Earhart was above all an advocate of feminism and pacifism. The commitment to equal rights for women ran like a red thread through her life and of course brought her not only positive headlines. Privately, she shied away from marital bonding for a long time, partly because she feared that a child would slow her down too much in her flying ambitions.

One of her greatest goals was to be the first person to complete a circumnavigation of the equator in a plane. Together with their navigator, Fred Noonan, Earhart had already completed most of the journey when they wanted to make a planned stopover on the Pacific island of Howland. However, the duo never arrived there and has been missing since then. Their records and outstanding performances are equally their legacy to future generations. In her first own plane, she set a women's altitude record by reaching 14,000 feet (equivalent to 4267 m). Her first transatlantic flight in 1928 also made headlines, although she "only" flew as a passenger. Another milestone was certainly the participation in the first pure airplane race for women in 1929, but the so-called powder puff race was not well received by the public. The bad press inspired Amelia to join forces with four other female pilots of her time and found the notorious "Ninety Nines" club. This club made it its mission to consolidate and expand the role of women in the male-dominated aviation industry. In 1930 it set women's records for speed over a distance of 100 km with and without cargo. This was followed in 1931 by the altitude record for autogiro and in 1932 by the first solo flight across the Atlantic by a woman - only a few years after Charles Lindbergh. On the side she acted as vice president of an airline. After various other altitude, distance and speed records, Earhart won the first solo flight across the Pacific Ocean on the Honolulu-Oakland route. Her probably last record was the first flight between the Red Sea and India, which was part of her route on the round-the-world trip.

Women like Amelia are still of immense importance for aviation history, because they have always been aware that they were and remain an example for those of their gender who, for various reasons, were unable to free themselves from the tight corset of social norms. They show that the limits of humans and technology can be pushed further and further - and progress thrives on this. The aviation pioneers were always aware that they were and remain a role model for those comrades who, for a variety of reasons, could not free themselves from the tight corset of social norms.

Geraldine Mock - the "flying housewife"

Geraldine - Jerrie - Mock was born November 22, 1925 in Newark, Ohio and was noticed early on for her love of adventure. Like other female pilots of her time, she became a pioneer to whom girls and women of today still pay great respect and consider her a role model. As a married woman and mother of three children, who was never able to complete her studies in aeronautical engineering, she managed to make a dream come true and go down in the history books. Since no woman had successfully completed a round-the-world solo flight until 1962, Geraldine set about realizing her vision in the following two years. In doing so, she pursued the approach of doing without any kind of accompaniment. Actually Jerry's project was overshadowed by a competitor - Joan Merriam Smith. In direct comparison, the "flying housewife" lacked not only a few flying hours and thus experience, but also time. Joan Merriam Smith started with a considerable lead, which she was able to extend even further as the project progressed. After 29 days, 11 hours and 59 minutes and 21 intermediate landings Geraldine was the first to land at the starting point of her journey, because she finally managed to outrun her competitor. In her book "Three-eight Charlie" Mock wrote that she even took a few days vacation in Casablanca. Her further stopovers in the Arab world were a sensation, because nobody expected a female pilot there. At least there she could realize her second childhood dream and ride a camel through the desert.

How the career opportunities of women in aviation have changed can also be seen in the careers of the first female airline pilots. In 1988, Evi Hetzmannseder and Nicola Lisy began their training with Lufthansa, and two years later started their first flight as co-pilots of a Boeing 737. In 2000, they were the first German captains to be allowed to take the pilot's seat, fly the aircraft independently and thus assume full responsibility for the aircraft, passengers and crew. Today, according to company information, Lufthansa employs 417 female co-pilots, of which just under 114 are flight captains. This corresponds to just 6% of all Lufthansa pilots. There is "still a lot of air up there".

Only 20 % of all applications for jobs in aviation are submitted by women. However, airlines are now taking a different course than in the past and would like to see more female staff in management positions. The career opportunities available are equally accessible to women and men in the industry and female applicants meet the necessary requirements just as well as men. Female applicants are also increasingly being considered in the technical and skilled trades, as a balanced mix of employees in the specialist companies brings many advantages. This is also confirmed by the EY organisation's Mixed Leadership Barometer: mixed-gender teams are more successful than groups in which men form the majority.

Over the past three years, the German Airports Association (ADV) has continuously discussed measures to make airports more attractive for women as workplaces and employers. Female personnel should be more present and more involved at all levels. To achieve this, however, the career opportunities for women must be increased, their networks strengthened and women must be more strongly encouraged to work at the airport. There would also have to be more ideas and measures to improve the compatibility of work and family life for female employees. The aim is to promote women and strengthen mixed teams. The potential of women is particularly important for this purpose. In addition, positions on supervisory boards, management boards and in the upper management segment should increasingly be filled by female employees, which is why the recruitment of female applicants must be improved and expanded.

Women's rate at ARTS

ARTS employs 23% more female engineers than the company average in Germany of 15%. One in three ARTS managing directors is also female - Andrea Piontek (formerly Felber) joined ARTS at an early stage. She has been part of the management team since 2004.

Feel inspired and encouraged by the aviation heroes and heroines to tackle your own career planning and dare to enter the exciting aviation industry! Perhaps you will find what you are looking for in the ARTS Job Exchange, we are always happy to receive numerous  applicants. Or are you already working in aviation? In which area do you work? We look forward to your news.

About the Author
Nico Wiegand | Trainee
Nico Wiegand
Key Account Manager Aviation

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