AKA Paul Englehard
Captain Paul Engelhardt
Captain Paul Engelhardt
Photo courtesy of Jerry Blanchard, 7-14-08

Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: May 15, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-15-03
"Berlin, March 14. - Four aviators fell during the course of the competitions at Johannisthal today. Thorup, a Dane, and Thelen and Jenan, Germans, were not hurt, but Capt. Engelhardt was severely injured. All four aeroplanes were wrecked. Capt. Engelhardt was a pupil of Orville wright. He had a bad fall last December at the Johannisthal field when his aeroplane lost its balance and plunged to earth."
     Did this pilot learn from Orville while he was in Europe in 1909? I believe the byline date is in error and it is really May 14.
Bob Davis

Captain Paul Engelhardt
Captain Paul Engelhardt
A RPPC of Paul Englehardt in front of a Wright Model A in Germany.
Card is posted in Germany 17.10.10.
Photo & text courtesy of Jerry Blanchard, 7-14-08

Motorflug, erstes Kapitel
Powered flight, the first chapter
from März 2010
"SkyPast" pp 31-33
Courtesy of Peter Lebedinsky,
Geneva Switzerland 3-2-10

     If you search for "Paul Engelhardt +Wright", using the Google search engine, (7-15-08), you will find about 202 links, several of which are relevant. Perhaps a better search is to use "Paul Engelhardt +aviaiton." This will reveal about 14 links, some duplicates, some unique.

Blériot IX (1913)
     You will find a brief mention of Paul Engelhardt on this page, but the text is in German. If you read the language, you can access the page by clicking on the title above.
     If you need it in English, I have excerpted the paragraph in which he is mentioned and translated it below.
     "The first correct flights with a power plane on Swiss territory were implemented not by a native pilot, but by the German captain Paul Engelhardt, who circled on 10 February 1910 with its WRIGHT double-decker in the Oberengadin. But in the same year that already flew over Geneva arm and Dufaux the Geneva lake of the length after."
     I must apologize for the poor translation, but it is the best I can do. At least it identifies "Hauptmann Paul Engelhardt" as a pioneer aviator.

     If you search using the alternate spelling of his name, "Paul Englehardt +aviaiton" +Wright", using the Google search engine, (7-15-08), you will a link to a mention of his association with Orville Wright.

The Wright Brothers: A Biography - Google Books Result
     You will find several references to "Captain Paul Engelhardt" on this page of the book. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

Faded Memories: The Wright Brothers and Germany, 1909-1913
Presented by Dr. Guillaume de Syon
Albright College
Reading, Pennsylvania

     This paper, which was presented at a symposium held at the Wright State University in Dayton Ohio on September 28, 2001, is fascinating in its own right. The section which discusses the history of the Wright GmbH company includes a reference to Paul Engelhard, (Paul Engelhardt), described by Orville as "the best pilot they have here," You may go directly to the page by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, I am sure you will enjoy reading the whole paper. If not, I have excerpted the two relevant paragraphs and you can read them below.
     "Thus, in 1910, a full 1/3 of all German-licensed pilots had trained on Wright flyers, and several went on to become aviation pioneers in their own right, including Paul Engelhard, Wright's chief pilot in Germany, Samoilowitsch, and even future designer Josef Sablatnig. Yet clouds already loomed in the financial skies. As was the practice, pilots who competed in air meetings received prizes which, they hoped, would help cover the costs associated with their trade. Pilots associated with Wright GmbH won many awards, but the cash amount was often too little to actually cover all costs, which included further installments towards paying for the plane. Robert Thelen, for example, whom Orville described as "by far the best [pilot] they have here" made 40,000 marks in cash awards in 1910, an impressive amount, yet "not enough to pay for the machines" he had bought."
     "Orville Wright commented sarcastically on several occasions about the ways in which Europeans seemed to persist in trying to improve a good formula, only to ruin it. As pilots acquired Wright machines, they obsessively toyed with making them better. Such amateur "souping up" process was common in early automobiles, but in aviation it often proved disastrous, including on Wright machines. Many pilots thus met their end. In Germany, where several accidents had occurred, such a tragedy befell the chief pilot of the German Wright company, Paul Engelhard (owner of German pilot's license #3). The Wright machines often experienced problems with the chain that linked the engine to the two propellers. As a result of extreme speeds, metal fatigue set in and the chain would break. Attempts at replacing the chain with a stronger version had little effect, however. On 29 Sept. 1911, Engelhard fell to his death when a modified chain failed. Despite the efforts of his successor, Robert Thelen, to restore confidence by proving where the fault had occurred, the damage had been done. Consequently, many pilots preferred training on other machines, even some as difficult to handle as the Blériot (in comparison with the Wright flyers). "
     Editor's Note: The link to this site, and to the second paragraph, was located for me by Bob Davis, one of my most faithful providers, for which I am very grateful.


Product Details
Hardcover: 660 pages

ENGELHARDT PAOLO. - Capitano di fregata tedesco, nato nel 1868; nel 1909 a Berlino fece il suo debutto in aviazione sotto la direzione de Orville Wright. Dopo una grave caduta, divenne capo pilota della Wright e fu brevettato col N. 3, il 15 marzo 1910. Partecipò a tutte le gare tedesche, distinguendosi specialmente nel circuito dell'Alto Reno, nel circuito di Sassonia, nel 1 meeting di Berlino e nel circuito tedesco. Il 30 settembre 1910, mentre prendeva parte al meeting Trevs-Metz, a causa della nebbia sconfinò scendendo a Pompey, a 10 Km. da Nancy. Il 29 settembre 1911, sesto giorno della settimana di aviazione nazionale tedesca di Johannistal, precipitava per rottura dell'apparecchio decedendo.

He was a German commander and was born in 1868. On 1909 in Berlin, he made his debut in aviation under the instruction of Orville Wright. After a serious crash, he became chief pilot of the Wright and was awarded the third license on 15 March, 1910. He participated in all the races in Germany, especially distinguishing himself in the circuit of the Hochrhein, in the circuit of Saxony, in the 1st Meeting in Berlin and in the German Circuit. On 30th September, 1910, while he attended the meeting Trevs - Metz, because of the fog, he had to make an emergency landing in Pompey, 10 km from Nancy. On 29 September 1911, the sixth day of the week of the German national aviation of Johannistal, he suffered a fatal crash.
Contributed and translated by Giovanni Giorgetti, 3-2-10


He crashed and died on September 29, 1911.
From the paper cited above by Dr. Guillaume de Syon
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Flier
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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