Karl Jatho

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Karl Jatho 1907/1908 at the wheel of his two-winged vehicle

Karl Jatho (born February 3, 1873 in Hanover ; † December 8, 1933 there ) was a German civil servant and aviation pioneer . According to personal notes and notarial confirmations allegedly provided 30 years later, he is said to have been one of the first people to take a motorized flight. So far there is no source that provides independent evidence for this . His trials and technical experiments did not solve the problem of powered flight.


After attending Realgymnasium I and a preparatory institute in Hanover, Jatho began training in expedition and registry from 1891. In 1892 he entered the service of the Hanover city administration; on April 1, 1901 he was appointed city official. Before he discovered his passion for flying, went karl jatho as cyclists and on the side of his sister as a penny-farthing - acrobat a name. From 1896 Jatho Am Jagdstall built glider pilots at the Lister post mill. Unsatisfied with his first flight and worried by Otto Lilienthal's fatal crash in the same year, he made constant improvements to his aircraft. In addition to his aviation commitment, he continued to work full-time as a magistrate in Hanover and was released from service for his participation in the 1907 International Sports Exhibition in Berlin and the 1909 ILA in Frankfurt.

In November 1913, Jatho and partners founded the Hannoversche Flugzeugwerke GmbH , which, however, was not a commercial success. The company was not included in military orders and had to close again in August 1914. After that, Jatho only dealt theoretically with aircraft construction. Due to health problems, he retired for years, which was finally carried out temporarily in April 1924 and permanent in 1928. He spent the last years of his life in a wheelchair.

Artistic cycling

1900 or 1901 by the Forcke Brothers with the Hannoversche Gummi-Kamm-Compagnie, Act.-Ges. Giant sociable two-wheeler produced for Jatho and his sister

From his youth, Karl Jatho was an avid athlete and was active in gymnastics and ice skating. In 1893 he learned to ride a bike and the following year he joined the 1895 Cyclist Club in Hannover . In the following years he performed successfully as an artificial cyclist on the penny farthing . His parade exercise was a free-standing handstand on a 51-inch high-level bike from the Brennabor factory , from which Jatho also had the "largest high bike in the world" built with a height of 3.60 meters. Later, for 2000 Reichsmarks , he had a 40 kilogram two-seater high- rise bike built by the Forcke Gebr. Wood rim factory, which he rode with his sister.

Jatho's early flying machines

On November 19, 1902,
Seckendorff replied for Heinrich von Prussia to an entry from Mr. Karl Jatho, "Auditor at the City Building Office" Hanover.
The "Jatho-Dragon" in the "triple" version at the International Sports Exhibition in Berlin from April 20 to May 5, 1907.
The “Jatho kite” in the “two-wing” version with five wheels, automobile steering wheel and propeller made of “ash wood frame with sheet metal cover” next to a shed. The picture is from the summer of 1907 at the earliest. The easily recognizable steering column and the automobile steering wheel, which Jatho includes, were not used until the summer of 1907.
The “Jatho-Dragon” in the “two-wing” version with automobile steering wheel and aluminum propeller on the Vahrenwalder Heide in the north of Hanover in the 2nd half of 1907. It is also easy to see that the chassis frame is resting on the ground.
The "hang glider no. 4" with which Jatho participated in the 1909 ILA.

Two different development chronologies

In the sources that report on Jathos development steps in aircraft construction, it is consistently described that Jathos was working on a flying machine from 1900 at the latest, which in autumn 1902 was not yet motorized.

From 1903 onwards, two principally different development chronologies are presented over several years. Sources published up to the end of the First World War in 1918 report flight attempts after the Berlin Sports Exhibition in 1907 and the construction of three motorized flying machines by 1909. Sources published after Jatho's permanent retirement in 1928 report flight attempts and flights from 1903 and more than three flying machines built up to 1909.

Hannoverscher Courier 1907, Rumpler 1909 and Hannoversche Sportwoche 1912

The most recent independent sources for his project come from the years 1907, 1908 and 1909.

“A flying machine designed by Mr. Karl Jatho in Hanover was inspected this morning by a number of interested parties, officers and representatives of the press. Mr. Jatho has been working on the attempt to produce a steerable airship for twelve years. He believes his intention, like the French airship Santos Dumont , to be achieved by a flying machine. The Jathosche airship consists of six sails (a horizontal main support sail, a horizontal control sail, two vertical fixed sails and two vertical control sails), a propeller and a nacelle on which the sails are mounted. The flying machine is powered by a Buchet motor powered by twelve horses. The equilibrium is kept by the horizontal control sail, which is also supposed to steer the apparatus up and down, as well as to lift it forwards and backwards. The basic direction is given by the two vertical control sails, which also serve to describe the lateral curves. The airship is provisionally set up for a driver whose seat is in front of the engine. The whole thing rests on five wheels which are arranged so that they can be tilted in the longitudinal direction from front to back; the front wheel is steerable to indicate the direction when starting on earth, respectively. still to change. When the device, rolling on the earth and propelled by the propeller, has reached a speed of 12 meters per second, the driver, as the inventor assumes, lifts the longitudinal rod of the horizontal control sail against the air and then the wind pressure should lift the device push the rear wheels so that the sails are inclined at the necessary angle to raise the apparatus. The base sail is so large that it can act as a parachute in the event of an engine failure. Mr. Jatho thinks he will climb the Vahrenwalder Heide in 8-10 days. He hopes to first achieve a speed of 70 kilometers per hour with his machine at a height of 10-12 meters. After the planned ascent, we will come back to the installation of the flying machine in more detail. "

- Hannoverscher Courier : No 26955 from Thursday, August 1st 1907

FW Oelze from Hanover reports in his article in the “Illustrierte Aeronautische Mitteilungen” of January 3, 1908 about the “start-up attempts” by Jatho and a “real flight test, how such a flight should take place in the near future”.

“... Therefore, until now Jatho has only made start-up attempts to test the effect of the propeller and the strength of the entire flying machine. Various shortcomings emerge, of course, which are immediately improved.

The apparatus has proven to be solid and durable despite a strong wind of 8 m per second. The uneven and sandy, 200 m long approach track on the Vahrenwalder Heide near Hanover, which only allowed a speed of about 6 to 7 m per second, will be leveled and paved in the very near future.

However, through such constant testing and improvement, only inventors such as flying machines will be able to carry out a real flight test, as one is to take place in the near future, with a chance of success.

- FW Oelze : Illustrierte Aeronautische Mitteilungen , 1st issue 1908, 3rd January 1908

If you follow Rumpler , who in 1909 gave a brief overview of the flying machines made by Jatho up to the editorial deadline of his book in "Die Flugmaschine", Jatho built two motorized flying machines by 1908/1909 and a third machine is planned for 1909.

"Karl Jatho. One of the first to build flying machines in Germany was K. Jatho in Hanover. As early as 1900 he built a glider with an area of ​​10 square meters and later a triplane with a wing area of ​​48 square meters on three wheels, in which a 9 hp Buchet engine was installed. This device was on display at the 1907 sports exhibition in Berlin. On the basis of several attempts, Jatho converted it into a two-decker, which will be described in more detail here. […] The apparatus was placed on a system of five wheels; one was in the front, two in the middle and two in the back, but not all wheels touched the ground, because the rear wheels are slightly higher than the front ones. […] If Jatho has not yet made any significant flights with his apparatus, this is probably due to the far too low position of the center of gravity, to the far too weak engine. Jatho himself recognized this too; because he now wants to install a 35 HP Körting motor of 1200 rpm and a weight of 80 kg in his apparatus. [...] "

Rumpler is confirmed in terms of content if one follows the chronology published in the Hanover Sports Week on December 1, 1912. Jatho built three motorized flying machines between 1898 and 1909. The following are listed in detail:

  1. From 1898 Jatho built a three-decker (two-decker with a height tax attached). This “hang glider” had a “9/12 horse Buchet airship engine” and “rested on five pneumatic wheels”. The triplane "came to an early end, because it overturned when attempting to start in the deep sand of the Vahrenwalder Heide, smashing a sail and the landing gear."
  2. This was followed by a two-decker, in which the Buchet engine was used again. With it “short, jump-like flights” were made before the machine “fell into ruins” in a ditch.
  3. Then a two-decker, with the elevator at the front, was built with a four-cylinder 36 HP Körting engine. Flights four meters high and ninety meters long were carried out before “this apparatus met its fate during the Ila [1909]”.

These listings by Rumpler and the Hanoverian Sportwoche are confirmed in detail from the newspaper reports from 1907 , according to which Jatho exhibited his three-wing unit in Berlin in April 1907 and had his two-wing unit inspected by members of the military and the press on August 1, 1907 , followed by taxi and flight tests undertook.

Leonhardt 2002

If you follow the published reports and Jatho's notes , as Wolfgang Leonhardt explains in 2002, Jatho built six motorized flying machines between 1897 and 1909:

  1. From 1897 to 1903 Jatho constructed a two-decker with an elevator control and a basic support sail "Segel I" with approx. 24 m², a Buchet engine and a gondola with five wheels. A 180 m long runway was used for the taxiing and flight tests. Jatho used this triple wing for four days from August 18 to 21, 1903. On August 18, 1903, the first air jump of 18 m was successful, on August 21, 1903 the machine was overturned, and a wheel and the sail area were damaged.
  2. From August 22nd to September 11th, 1903, the defective triple wing was converted into a double wing with 24 m² sail area and 12 m² height control. On September 23, 1903, an aluminum propeller is built and assembled. This machine was used until November 1903.
  3. In 1904 he built another two-wing "Jatho III" with the Buchet engine of the 1903 double wing, similar to the version from 1903 with 51.8 m² sail area on a tricycle frame, but did not achieve any improvements.
  4. In April 1907, Jatho showed a three-wing fan with a Buchet engine and a propeller made from an ash frame with a sheet metal cover in Berlin.
  5. On August 1, 1907, the press was presented with a double wing with a 24 m² basic support sail, five wheels and a 12 HP Buchet motor, as it was also described for September 1903. As various pictures show, the propeller was also changed to an aluminum propeller in 1907, although according to Jatho's notes an aluminum propeller had been used since September 23, 1903. And just as in 1903, in 1907 the roadway for the taxi and flight tests was 180 m long. There were reports from October onwards about roll and take-off attempts with the two-wing plane presented to the press on August 1, 1907. But the machine did not take off.
  6. In 1907/1908 a two-decker with a forward elevator and a 36 HP Körting engine was built and exhibited and demonstrated at the ILA 1909.

The early leaps in the air of the three-wing aircraft in 1903, the conversion to the two-wing aircraft in 1903, the conversion of the propeller to an aluminum version in 1903, the flight performance of the two-wing aircraft in 1903 and the Jatho III aircraft from 1904 are not documented by contemporary newspaper reports and photos, but exclusively in personal notes Jathos, which were evaluated from 1933 onwards.

Identical development steps in 1903 and 1907

So far, no sources are known that deal with this overall chronology compiled by Leonhardt from book and newspaper reports and Jatho notes, according to which Jatho both 1903 and 1907

  • create a 180 m long taxiway,
  • uses the same engine and constructions for his flying machines,
  • converts its triple area into a double area,
  • exchanged the ash frame propeller for an aluminum propeller.

Leonhardt's data collection shows that all essential development steps in Jatho's flight apparatus, which are assigned to the period from August to November 1903 in Jatho's notes, were also carried out in identical form from April 1907, this time documented by third parties. If one regards these development steps on Jathos Flugapparat, which were publicly monitored from 1907, as secured, the notes attributed to Jatho about the development steps in 1903 appear like a copy of the development steps from 1907 brought forward.

No secrecy on the part of Jatho from 1902

As early as 1935, Supf raised the question of why "so little was heard from him [Jatho] in 1903." and answered the question himself with the assumption that later authors apparently adopted from him:

“[…] But then Jatho himself may not have cared much for his flight attempts to become known. Because he had been taken on as a municipal civil servant on March 16, 1901 in the service of the Magistrate of the city of Hanover, and there was a ban on any “off-duty activity” for civil servants. So it is to be understood that Jatho only secretly pursued his passion for flight at that time and had to be concerned with keeping it as hidden as possible. "

- Peter Supf : The book of German flight history , page 251 ff.

There is clear evidence that Jatho did not keep his flying machine secret in 1903, but actually did exactly the opposite from 1902 at the latest and asked high officials for information. In 1902 he wrote to Heinrich von Preußen in Kiel under his office address “Auditor at the Hanover City Building Authority” and asked for a factual examination of his flight apparatus, which at that time was definitely missing the engine. In a letter dated November 19, 1902 ( see picture ), he was given a friendly refusal of this request.

Incomplete priority claim on first powered flight in 1903

In Jatho's notebook there is the following entry for his "apparatus" for August 18, 1903: "On August 18, 1903 the first jump in the air in very calm weather 18 meters at three-quarters of a meter." He describes his other personal notes accordingly for August 1903 Flying machine as a "triple" (double-decker with attached elevator), with a 12 HP single cylinder gasoline engine from Buchet, 48 m² wing area and 272 kg empty weight. According to these notes , the Jatho kite exhibited in Berlin in April 1907 ( see picture ) seems to be the same as the machine from 1903.

Further notes describe a break on the Jatho "three-wing" and a conversion to the Jatho "two- wing ", which lasted until September 11, 1903, for August 21, 1903 . According to his own statements, Jatho then improved his flight performance to 60 meters and a height of over 2.5 meters by November 1903.

Jatho's “air jump” notes for 1903, in conjunction with confirmations from eyewitnesses from 1933 onwards, are sufficient for many authors to derive a priority claim for Jatho on the world's first powered flight, since the Wright brothers' first powered flight was around four months after Jatho's deadline for its maiden flight.

The origin of the Jatho notes , the date of their first publication, the exact wording of the witness confirmations and the whereabouts of these confirmations are unclear according to current sources, so that this type of evidence remains incomplete as long as its premises are unclear and thus incomplete.

Karl Jatho himself considered his notes after the engine, which he used on the first flight of his biplane, to be too weak for a continued powered flight. Supf writes that in 1903 Jatho increased the engine power “by rolling down from an elevated point”.

Flight attempts from 1907

The report Ein Flugapparat from the Hannoversche Courier of Thursday, August 1st, 1907 about the inspection of the Jatho two-plane by the military and the press. In the end it says: "After the planned ascent, we will come back to the installation of the flight apparatus in more detail."

From March 1907 until the beginning of the First World War, Jatho's aircraft construction and his flight attempts are frequently documented by the local and national press. In 1907 alone, from March 1st in the Automobil-Welt and the Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung to December 20th, at least 14 reports were recorded in five different newspapers and magazines. The content of these reports relates to Jatho's participation in the sports exhibition in Berlin in 1907, the design and construction of his Jatho kite (see picture Jatho kite ) and the status of preparations for the flight tests. According to these reports, flight attempts were not possible. In addition to unfavorable weather and scheduling problems, the reason given was the "approach". It does not allow the required speed and still has to be fastened. In summary, these reports consistently show that no air jumps or flights were recorded for Jathos triple and double planes in 1907.

In relation to the two possible development chronologies (see above), this means that Jatho did not fly at all before 1908 or that he was unable to reproduce his performance from 1903 in 1907.

An important little newspaper note on the Jatho dragon was dated August 20, 1907. It describes the conversion from bicycle to automobile steering wheel control and thus helps with the chronological classification of many photographs:

"The dirigible airship, that of Mr. Jatho, which the builder called 'hang glider', has come close to completion in these days, so that perhaps on Wednesday [21. August 1907] the first ascent can take place. This was already planned for Sunday, but had to be postponed for a few days because of some metal parts whose dispatch from Dresden was delayed. The 'hang glider' has recently seen some significant improvements, including: a. instead of the low-lying bicycle controls, a higher automobile steering wheel. "

- Hannoverscher Anzeiger : from Tuesday, August 20, 1907

On August 20, 1909, the earliest press report to date about a Jatho flight was published under the title “Flieger Jatho” and with reference to “Hang glider No. 4”:

“Aviator Jatho. Karl Jatho-Hannover has made a few flight attempts with his now completed airplane on the Vahrenwalder Heide made available to him by the military administration for this purpose, which, as we are informed, have proven the stability and good functioning of all parts. On August 14th, Jatho managed to get up about 1 meter from the ground with his apparatus after a distance of only 35 meters and to fly a distance of 20 meters. Jatho will take his hang glider to the "ILA" in Frankfurt this week . "

And on August 25, 1909, a Wednesday, another press report about a Jatho flight was published under the title "Luftschiffahrt":

"[...] On Friday [20. August 1909] in the evening, after a very short approach of only 30 meters, Mr. Jatho managed to fly a short distance at a height of about 3 meters. On landing the apparatus received a few contusions which were repaired again in the course of the following day. The tests carried out on Saturday showed that the support sails could not be brought into the inclined position required for ascent due to the bending of the chassis frame. In spite of this, as a result of the well-functioning height control, the device still rose ½ meters above the ground, but further attempts had to be stopped because the defect on the chassis frame was becoming more and more noticeable. [...] "

- Hannoverscher Anzeiger : Supplement to no.198 from Wednesday, August 25, 1909

Aircraft factory 1913

After his unsuccessful participation in the ILA in 1909 with the "hang glider no. 4", Jatho built an aircraft that resembled Bleriot's machine as a whole . He showed this machine to members of the German National Handicrafts Association on July 10, 1910 , and his fitter Adler demonstrated it in flight.

Until 1914, Jatho and his helpers built other aircraft models such as the “ Stahltaube ” from 1911. On April 2, 1913, Albin Horn was the first to make a sightseeing flight around Hanover with a “Jatho monoplane”. Albin Horn had a fatal accident with the Jatho monoplane on May 28, 1913.

In the Hanover Aircraft Works founded by Jatho on November 26, 1913, further improved aircraft models are created. However, his company and the flying school he founded were unsuccessful. After the military showed no interest, both facilities were closed in 1914.

Unclear eyewitness credentials from 1933 and their whereabouts

According to previous sources, it was first published on September 17, 1933 that there were “impeccable” witnesses for the “air jumps” of 1903; without giving any details:

"[...] because Karl Jatho had already carried out the first properly documented jumps in the air with his self-built motorized airplane almost six months before them [the Wright brothers]. [...] "

- Illustrirte Zeitung : weekly supplement of the Hannoversche Anzeiger from September 17, 1933

But the press does not agree on the witness question, because at the end of October 1933 it was Jatho's "tragic inventor's fate" that he failed to be authenticated by witnesses in 1903:

“[...] On August 18, 1903, four months before the Wright brothers, Karl Jatho from Hanover succeeded in making the first flight in a self-made powered airplane. Unfortunately, this aviation pioneer failed to have his first flight certified by witnesses. "

- Illustrated Observer : Report on Jatho, Saturday October 28, 1933

In 1935, Supf reports from four witnesses without giving any information about the notary who certifies:

  1. Richard Probst, who was a helper at Jatho from 1906 (* January 22, 1890, † March 23, 1959),
  2. Adolf Heuer, who ran the inn "Lister Mühle" Am Jagdstall from 1902 to 1906, where Jatho had his aircraft shed,
  3. Elisa Homburg, Adolf Heuer's housekeeper,
  4. Karl Hellwinkel, bank clerk.

Leonhardt names Dr. Hermann Koch, Hanover, and researched two witnesses from post-war press reports who are said to have made their confirmation on August 24, 1933 in Hanover:

  1. Dr. Otto Woltereck, Eichstr. 33, Hanover,
  2. Karl Hellwinkel, bank clerk, Mozartstr. 14, Hanover.

The exact wording and a specific reference to the whereabouts of the certifications cannot be found in the sources.

No "air leap" evidence from replicas in 1933 and 2006

Repeated attempts have been made to prove the first flights with replicas of the "Jatho kite". The monoplane version with attached elevator ("two-wing"), which had been presented to the public by Jatho on August 1, 1907, was recreated. So far, none of the replicas has made a “leap into the air” as Jatho noted.

1933 Hegge

The designer of the Jatho dragon replica from 2006, Harald Lohmann, with Gunter Hartung in front of the replica.

In the summer of 1933, the former Jatho employee Werner Hegge had a replica made to prove, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Karl Jatho monument on the Vahrenwalder Heide, that Jatho's construction could have "jumped into the air" before the Wright's plane. The Hannoversche Kurier reported on this event on October 8, 1933 on October 9, 1933: “Unfortunately, due to the bad weather, it was not possible to reconstruct the monoplane, which was modeled on the Jatho aircraft with which the first flight was carried out is to be circled above the memorial. ”This replica was first shown in Hanover and from 1936 in Berlin as an exhibit in the“ German Aviation Collection ”.

2006 Lohmann

The designer of historical aircraft Harald Lohmann built in cooperation with the Working Group Technology and Industry History (AKTIG) and the project We were the first to reproduce the Jatho kite in detail in the years 2005 and 2006 , led by Gunter Hartung . The replica can be seen in the “World of Aviation” exhibition at Hannover-Langenhagen Airport .

The flight test, which was started in September 2006 to prove the ability of the construction to fly, was canceled after successful taxiing attempts due to the […] gusty wind . Those responsible had agreed to wait for stable autumn weather conditions for further testing . In the meantime, the replica as an exhibit at the World of Aviation exhibition has become inaccessible for further tests.


The grave of Karl Jathos in the Engesohde city cemetery in Hanover
Memorial stone from 1933 for Karl Jatho at Hannover-Langenhagen Airport
Memorial stone from 2006 for Jatho near his former airfield at Hanover-Vahrenwald Airport

On October 8, 1933, a memorial stone was unveiled at what was then Vahrenwald Airport in the presence of the honoree. The occasion was the "30. Anniversary of his flight on August 18, 1903 ”. In March / April 1952, this memorial stone was moved from its previous location in front of the new building of the flight control in Langenhagen, where it has stood since then - without a base, without the eagle sculpture and without a swastika.

In 2006, the List District History Working Group erected a memorial stone for Jatho on the northern side of the Mittelland Canal , between Reiterstation and Lister Bad. The stone stands on the former Vahrenwalder Heide , on which there are now allotment gardens. At the beginning of the 20th century, this was the airfield on which Jatho attempted to fly. In this area he laid a 180 m long runway and built a hangar with a workshop in 1897 . From these beginnings, the 122 hectare Hanover-Vahrenwald Airport developed over time , which was in operation until the end of the Second World War . Only then did Hannover-Langenhagen Airport come into being .

In Hanover-Vahrenwald one located Jathostraße , in Berlin-Reinickendorf a Jathoweg . In Nuremberg, a street in the area of ​​the local airport was named Karl-Jatho-Weg , as was Karl-Jatho-Strasse in Wesel .

The secondary school at Büssingweg 9 in Hanover has been called "Karl-Jatho-Schule" since January 27, 2006 and the terminal for general aviation (GAT) at Hanover-Langenhagen Airport has been called "Karl Jatho Terminal" since September 2006.


Flight performance

Jatho's early flight performances , even if proven, are not without controversy. Peter Supf writes about Jatho in his book on German aviation history: “The Wrights were actually able to fly after they had successfully made their first flights, [...] but Jatho was only able to continue his flights between 1909 and 1911, and they continued were initially below the achievements of that time. ”There are indications for Supf's claim that Jatho could not“ actually fly ”until 1909 .

  • Wolfgang Leonhardt writes: "The first newspaper reports about [...] Karl Jatho [...] are verifiably from the year 1907." The reports from 1907 cited there write about the machine and taxiing attempts, but not about successful flights in the year 1907 or before: "Even though the weather conditions were favorable, the apparatus did not rise [...] ...".
  • Eckard Sauer reports on the ILA 1909 flight competitions: “Engineer August Euler was the only German to take part.” This means that Jatho did not take part in the flight competitions at the ILA 1909, although he had traveled with aircraft and fitters.
  • As a further indication of the correctness of Supf's doubts about Jatho's flight performance, reference is made to Jatho's supporting structure, as documented by Wolfgang Leonhardt with a picture of the machine from 1907 and the Lohmann replica from 2006. These sources show that Jatho largely dispensed with a curved profile and that the wooden slat support structure of the wing on the top of the covering lay open in the air flow. In contrast, of Supf comparatively relied upon "actual flying" Wright, who sat on Lilienthal's findings build a curved wing with a smooth surface. Both Lilienthal and the Wrights demonstrated the effectiveness of their wings with gliding flights before 1903 in public practical tests or with photographs of the flying double-decker glider . Comparable documents on the "Jatho Dragon" are not yet known.
  • The first machine manufactured by Jatho, with which publicly reproducible flights succeed, was a Bleriot replica from July 10, 1910.


On the other hand, if the priority claim to the first powered flight in 1903 were proven, it would have to be acknowledged that Jatho would have flown an aircraft in August and November 1903 that had a pilot's seat, was fitted with a lap belt as a safety device, and was self-propelled without external help could take off and land on its own landing gear. The Wrights flew in December 1903 in an aircraft without a pilot's seat, with the pilot lying face down on the wing. Since your aircraft had no landing gear, it needed a runway. Since they only had runners mounted as a landing gear, they could only fly and land on suitable places like the sandy area at Kitty Hawk. Jatho would have used aircraft components as early as 1903 that were only introduced years later by other aviation pioneers.


  • Gert Behrsing:  Jatho, Karl. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 10, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1974, ISBN 3-428-00191-5 , p. 367 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Gunter Hartung: Tinkerer and lateral thinker: A plea for Karl Jatho from Hanover . Leuenhagen & Paris, Hannover 2009, ISBN 3-923976-67-4 .
  • Wolfgang Leonhardt : Karl Jathos first powered flight 1903. Books on Demand , Norderstedt 2002, ISBN 3-8311-3499-5 .
  • Otto Lilienthal : The flight of birds as the basis of the art of flying . Steffen, Friedland 2003, ISBN 3-9809023-8-2 ( content and some chapters - reprint of the original Berlin 1889 edition).
  • Theo Oppermann: Ikaros is alive! The life story of a German: Karl Jatho the world's first powered pilot . Verlag Oppermann & Leddin, Wunstorf 1933, 1 thousand.
  • Edmund Rumpler : Die Flugmaschine - Critical discussion of executed flying machines with special consideration of the historical development . Berlin Aviation Association, Berlin 1909.
  • Eckard Sauer: Crash in the Kinzigtal: Aviation in the Hessian Kinzigtal from 1895 to 1950 . 2nd Edition. Sauer, Gründau 2013, ISBN 978-3-9814419-0-1 .
  • Peter Supf : The book of German flight history . 2nd Edition. tape 1 . Drei Brunnen Verl., Stuttgart 1956 (complete, combined and extended edition; first edition 1935).
  • Aviator Jatho . In: Carl Oskar Ursinus (Ed.): Flugsport . No. 18 . Verlag für Flugsport, Frankfurt am Main August 20, 1909, p. 510 ( aviation in the Luftfahrt-bibliothek.de [accessed on March 8, 2017]).
  • The Early History of Motorized Flight II - Beginnings in Germany . In: Aero . No. 46 . Marshall Cavendish International, 1984, p. 1265-1267 .

Other sources


  • Sorry Mister Wright - The aviation pioneer Karl Jatho. Documentary, Germany, 2006, 45 min., Written and directed: Gunter Hartung, production: NDR , film information from NDR
  • We were the first - aviation began in Hanover. Documentary, Germany, 2009, 45 min., Script and director: Gunter Hartung, production: TWA-Film (English version: Made in Hannover - German Aviation Pioneer Karl Jatho took off ahead of Orville Wright. Documentary Germany, 2010, 45 min. Script / Director: Gunter Hartung, TWA-Film Production)

Web links

Commons : Karl Jatho  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Wolfgang Leonhardt used the personal documents of Karl Jatho stored in the Historical Museum on Hohen Ufer in his book Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , accessible via BoD .
  2. a b c d e Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , p. 32.
  3. Jatho, Karl . In: New German Biography .
  4. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 10.
  5. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , p. 9 ff.
  6. ^ A b Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , p. 54.
  7. Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , pp. 140–141.
  8. a b Walter Euhus : karl jatho - the bicycle and airplane pioneer from Hanover . In: The bone shaker . Issue 37, 2/2006, p. 23.
  9. ^ Note in the Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung , No. 51, Vol. IV., December 20, 1907, p. 75.
  10. ^ Note in the Hannoversche Anzeiger , August 20, 1907, see quotation in the running text .
  11. published in Flugsport No. 16/1909.
  12. ^ FW Oelze: The Jatho flier . In: Deutscher Luftschiffer-Verband (Hrsg.): Illustrierte Aeronautische Mitteilungen . No. 1 . Gustav Braunbeck & Gutenberg-Druckerei, Berlin January 3, 1908, p. 510 , pp. 15-18 ( IAM on archive.org [accessed February 22, 2019]).
  13. The flying machine ...
  14. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 46.
  15. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 42ff
  16. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , p. 13.
  17. a b Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , p. 33.
  18. Tinkerers and lateral thinkers , pages 9 u. 27 show the machine after the assembly of the automobile steering wheel in August 1907 with a propeller made of ash frame with a sheet metal cover . This picture shows the machine with the automobile steering wheel and aluminum propeller.
  19. Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , on p. 44 Leonhardt shows a picture of Jatho III . The machine shown there seems to be identical to a machine that was assigned to the year 1907/1908.
  20. See e.g. B. Aero , booklet 46 , p. 1267, and Leonhardt , p. 47.
  21. For example in the Hannoversche Anzeiger , "Illustrirte Zeitung", September 17, 1933 .
  22. ^ The book of German flight history , p. 251.
  23. a b Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , p. 47 ff.
  24. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 65.
  25. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 44.
  26. ^ A b Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 59
  27. a b Flight attempts on the Vahrenwalder Heide . In: Hannoverscher Anzeiger , No. 160, July 12, 1910, p. 3.
  28. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight 1903 , p. 81ff
  29. Hannoverscher Anzeiger No. 123 of May 29, 1913, page 2 "Fatal crash of the aviator Horn"
  30. Excerpt from the Hannoversche Anzeiger , "Illustrirte Zeitung", September 17, 1933
  31. Illustrated Observer , October 28, 1933
  32. The book of German flight history
  33. Hannoverscher Courier, No 26955, Report: A flying machine, Thursday, August 1, 1907 .
  34. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 30
  35. a b c Chronology of the Jatho motor kite replica .
  36. Karl Jatho® motor kite 1: 1 replica Youtube
  37. ^ Karl Jatho Terminal at Hannover-Langenhagen Airport .
  38. ^ The book of German flight history , p. 249 ff.
  39. Crash in the Kinzigtal , p. 6
  40. ^ Karl Jatho's first powered flight in 1903 , p. 48.
  41. Commons picture Jatho dragon replica 2006 .
  42. s. Lilienthal, The flight of birds as the basis of the art of flying