Fiche biographique n° 123

Nom KRONFELD, Robert
Année de naissance1904
Année de décès1948
Pays Autriche
Activité(s) Pilote & Constructeur
Biographie Kronfeld was born in Vienna, the son of a dentist. As a young man, he visited the Wasserkuppe in Germany and became passionate about the sport of gliding that was developing there. He befriended Walter Georgii, who was a meteorologist working at the nearby Darmstadt Technical University and who had recently discovered thermals. Kronfeld became something of a test-pilot for Georgii, investigating this still-new phenomenon with the assistance of a variometer disguised as a vacuum flask.
In 1926, the German newspaper Grüne Post offered a DM 5,000 prize for the first glider pilot to fly 100 km (62.5 miles). Kronfeld took up the challenge and selected a long chain of hills, the Teutoburger Wald as a promising site for the record attempt. He took off in a glider of his own design, named Wien ("Vienna"), assisted by bungee, near Ibbenbären. After a flight lasting over five hours, he landed near Detmold, 102.5 km away. Kronfeld used the prize money to build a gigantic sailplane, named Österreich ("Austria"), which had a wingspan of 30 metres - a record not to be matched until the end of the twentieth century. By 1930 he held the world records for distance (164 km) and height (2,589 m).
In 1933, the new Nazi government prohibited Jews from flying, and as a Jew, Kronfeld fled Germany for the United Kingdom. There, he continued flying and in 1937 became chief instructor for the newly-founded Oxford University and City Gliding Club.
Kronfeld was killed in the crash of an experimental flying wing glider, the General Aircraft GAL 56 near Lasham Airfield.
Sources bibliographiques Le vol à voile par KRONFELD, Robert. Auteur du livre (p. 150)
Ein Segelflieger, Robert Kronfeld par HAANEN, Karl Theodor. Biographie (p. )
Die Hohe Schule des Segelfluges Eine Anleitung zum thermischen, Wolken- und Gewitter-Segelflug, par HIRTH, Wolf. (p. 19-28, 62-65, 88-89)
Commercial Pilot Glider Checkride ...Made Easy! A User-Friendly Guide to your FAA Commercial Pilot Glider Oral and Flight Test, par WANDER, Bob. Mention (p. 20)
Les pionniers du vol à voile par BOECKLE, Florian. Mention (p. 20)
Autres sources
Planeurs associés Fasold
RRG Wien
Küpper Ku-4 Austria Elefant
Liens sur la Toile Page Wikipedia (dernière visite du site : CL 21/09/2009)
Page All Experts (dernière visite du site : CL 21/09/2009)

Fiche n° 123 [Dernière mise à jour : 2009-12-07]