Your Black Friday (and All-Year) Giving List

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With merchants beating the drums of commerce to lure you to their stores and web sites for holiday cheer (at least for the merchants), your editor has some alternative giving suggestions that could help bankroll the future of aviation (if not aviation futures).  Each of these projects would welcome funding, and each has much to give back to all of us. Put Your Face in Space The Perlan Project has initiated a fund-raising program on Indie-Go-Go, with the immediate goal to complete construction of the major parts of Perlan II, a high-performance, high-altitude research sailplane recently featured in the New York Times.  Its planned mission to 90,000 feet in the Polar Vortex could give us new and profound understanding of …

Floating Over the Danube: The Vision of the Little Tailor of Ulm Lives

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The beautiful blue Danube River of Strauss waltz fame, “…Rises in the Black Forest mountains of western Germany and flows for some 1,770 miles (2,850 kilometers) to its mouth on the Black Sea. Along its course, it passes through nine countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. In 1811, Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger, a tailor in the city of Ulm near the headwaters of the second longest river in Europe, tried a novel idea – flying across the river on a nicely sewn-together hang glider.  His splashdown marked the end of his aeronautical career, but made him famous and an unlikely harbinger of things to come. City fathers have announced, “In the spirit of Berblinger, and continuing his vision, the City of Ulm aims to promote …

Berblinger Flight Competition Winners for 2011

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The town of Ulm, Germany holds an annual Berblinger Prize competition to honor the memory of the Little Tailor of Ulm, Albrecht Berblinger, who attempted to fly an early hang glider across the Danube in 1811.  This 200th anniversary year has been marked by special celebrations, including an ambitious aerial challenge for “green” aircraft. 36 applicants were pared to 24 participants in the actual flight competition, and on April 15, a mere 13 started on the flight between Friedrichshafen and Ulm and return.   Eight were able to complete the exercise, according to contest officials.  The rest were unable to compete or finish, “due to insufficient financial backing, technical difficulties or the absence of the appropriate flying licenses the remaining competitors …

The Kindest Cut of All

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

In 1811, an inventive tailor in Ulm, Germany attempted a hang glider flight across the Danube River.  He failed in the attempt, but it became the stuff of legend and at least one television commercial.  Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger (1770-1829) had wanted to be a watchmaker, but was consigned to become a cutter of fabric.  Despite this, he used his spare time to invent things like the first jointed artificial leg in 1808. Perhaps his skills with fabric led to his fabricating a pair of wings, essentially a hang glider, Shunned by his fellows for working outside the discipline of tailoring, Berblinger poured his resources into building and testing his glider.  Leaping from a scaffold built for the attempt by Prince …