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Engelbert Zaschka

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Engelbert Zaschka

Engelbert Zaschka
Engelbert Zaschka and his human-powered glider during 1934
Born September 1, 1895
Freiburg im Breisgau
Died June 26, 1955 (aged 59)
Freiburg im Breisgau
Resting place Freiburg im Breisgau
Residence Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Engineer, Inventor
Known for Helicopter, human-powered aircraft, automobile engineering
Title Chief Engineer, Chief Designer, Inventor

Engelbert Zaschka (September 1, 1895 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany – June 26, 1955 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany)[1][2] was a German chief engineer,[3] chief designer and inventor.[4]


Zaschka became one of the first German helicopter pioneers. His machine is a striking representative of the Rotationsflugzeug (Zaschka calls it "rotating airplane").[5] Chief Engineer Engelbert Zaschka pursued in 1929 in Berlin, the approach of the folding-Zaschka three-wheeler. This city car concept was aimed to be cost effective and space saving by the vehicle could be folded after use sparingly. In 1934 Engelbert Zaschka completed a large human-powered aircraft. He was an inventor who held numerous international patents as it related to the helicopter.

Engineering Activities

Zaschka Helicopter

Zaschka-Rotationsflugzeug (Zaschka Rotary-Wing Airplane)

In 1927[6] Engelbert Zaschka of Berlin built a helicopter, equipped with two rotors, in which a gyroscope was used to increase stability and serves as an energy accumulator for a gliding flight to make a landing. Gliding in this case means a straight descent. He wanted to develop an efficient propeller drive.[7] A swivelling propeller at the rear provided propulsion and rudder control. The machine was a combination of an autogyro and a helicopter. The principal advantage of the machine, Zaschka says, is in its ability to remain motionless in the air for any length of time and to descend in a vertical line, so that a landing may be accomplished on the flat roof of a large house. In appearance, the helicopter does not differ much from the ordinary monoplane, but the carrying wings revolve around the body.

Zaschka Human-Power Aircraft (1934)

Zaschka Human-Power Aircraft, Berlin 1934

In 1934[8] Engelbert Zaschka completed a large human-powered aircraft, the Zaschka Human-Power Aircraft. Zaschka constructed the large human-powered tractor monoplane with a narrow wing spanning about 66 feet (20 metres). On 11 July 1934 he flew his large human-powered aircraft, the Zaschka Human-Power Aircraft, about 20 meters at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport without assisted take off.[9][10]

Motorcycle: The German Orionette (1921-1925)

From 1921 till 1925 the design department of Orionette AG für Motorfahrzeuge in Berlin (Berlin SO 26, Oranienstr. 6),[11] headed by Engelbert Zaschka, also produced some interesting unorthodox designs.[12] Orionette is a historic German motorcycle brand.

Folding Zaschka Three-wheeler (1929)

Folding City Car: Zaschka Three-wheeled car, 1929
Engelbert Zaschka with model of the gyroplane, 1928

The space and parking problems of the metropolitan areas were recognized in the 1920s. In 1929 Engelbert Zaschka invented a three-wheeled car in Berlin.[13] Zaschka's car was a folding three-wheeler, designed so that it could be taken apart within 20 minutes. The car could be "knocked down" into three main sections. It was capable of a speed of from 25 to 30 miles an hour.[14] Aspects of Zaschka's car were important to U.S. inventor and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller in the development of his Dymaxion car in 1933.[15]



  • DE 573961  „Hubschraubenflugzeug“ issue date June 19, 1926
  • GB 272962  „Improvements in or relating to Helicopter Flying Machines“ issue date June 20, 1927
  • US 1779524  „Helicopter“ issue date June 29, 1927
  • DE 512513  „Triebwerk fuer Maschinen mit hin und her gehenden Kolben, deren Pleuelstangen durch auf der Triebwelle sitzende Exzenterscheiben betaetigt werden“ issue date November 12, 1927
  • US 1944052  „Portable power plant.“ issue date April 21, 1930
  • FR 1019111  „Bicyclette.“ issue date May 26, 1950


  • Zaschka, Engelbert. Drehflügelflugzeuge. Trag- und Hubschrauber. Berlin-Charlottenburg: C.J.E. Volckmann Nachf. E. Wette. 1936. ASIN B001PE5XZ2.

One of the first publications about helicopters. It is written in 1936 for airplane designers, as well as supporters of the rotary-wing aircraft construction.



  • Fay, John Foster. The Helicopter: History, Piloting and How It Flies. David & Charles PLC. 1976.
  • Reay, David Anthony. The history of man-powered flight. Oxford/New York: Pergamon Press. 1977.
  • Nowarra, Heinz J. German Helicopters 1928-1945. Schiffer Publishing. 1991.
  • Besser, Rolf. Technik und Geschichte der Hubschrauber: Von Leonardo da Vinci bis zur Gegenwart. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe Verlag. 1996.
  • Grosser, Morton. Gossamer Odyssey: The Triumph of Human-powered Flight. Zenith Press. 2004.

See also


  1. ^ Date of birth and place of birth: Geburtsurkunde. Standesamt Freiburg im Breisgau Nr. 937/1895: Engelbert Zaschka [1].
  2. ^ Date of death and place of death: Stadt Freiburg im Breisgau, Eigenbetrieb Friedhöfe: Engelbert Zaschka, January 24, 2008 [2].
  3. ^ Rolf Besser: Technik und Geschichte der Hubschrauber: Von Leonardo da Vinci bis zur Gegenwart. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 1996, p. 65
  4. ^ Vice Admiral Charles E. Rosendahl Collection - Biographical InformationThe University of Texas at Dallas: (See also: Charles E. Rosendahl)
  5. ^ Engelbert Zaschka: Drehflügelflugzeuge. Trag- und Hubschrauber. C.J.E. Volckmann Nachf. E. Wette, Berlin-Charlottenburg 1936, p. 57
  6. ^ Zaschka Helicopter (1927)Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Washington:
  7. ^ Engelbert Zaschka: Drehflügelflugzeuge. Trag- und Hubschrauber. C.J.E. Volckmann Nachf. E. Wette, Berlin-Charlottenburg 1936, p. 47
  8. ^ Zaschka Human-Power Aircraft (1934)Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Washington:
  9. ^ Zaschka Human-Power Aircraft (1934)Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Washington:
  10. ^ Lange, Bruno (1970). Das Buch der deutschen Luftfahrttechnik. Verlag Dieter Hoffmann, p. 361.
  11. ^ Otto Meibes: Die Entwicklung der deutschen Automobilindustrie. Halle 1926, p. 166
  12. ^ "Orionette" - Unfortunately the very desmodromic lay-out of this interesting two-stroke engine still remains secret. Source: Motorrad Heft 10/1971 and Tragatsch, E. : The Ill. Encyclopedia of motorcycles.
  13. ^ OLDTIMER MARKT (Oldtimer-Magazin), Heft 7/93, Artikel von Claudia Franke-Brandau: Parken im Wohnzimmer: Der zerlegbare Kleinwagen des Berliner Erfinders Engelbert Zaschka von 1929, page 206
  14. ^ "Come-Apart Auto Invented", The Massena Observer, New York, March 12, 1931, p. 3
  15. ^ Dymaxion - Synergetics Stew January 2009

External links

  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Washington: Zaschka



  • and Engelbert Zaschka (Berlin, 1934)Zaschka Human-Power AircraftThe
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