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Hugo Junkers anniversary
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from February 3rd 13:00 GMT (5:00 PST) till February 4th 13:00 GMT (5:00 PST)

Hugo Junkers, Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-2005-0007 / CC-BY-SA

Hugo Junkers, a German inventor and aeronautical engineer, one of the aviation pioneers, was born on February 3, 1859. He demonstrated engineering talents very early and started working on the first opposed-piston engine under the direction of a famous inventor, professor Adolf Slaby after graduation from the Royal Technical University in Aachen. After taking out a few patents of his own, Hugo founds a company later known as Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG. But Junkers becomes interested in aviation quite late - in 1909, at the age of 50 - when his company manufactured corrugated iron wings for a plane designed by Hans Reissner, another German aviation pioneer. Since then Junkers started working on innovative aircraft designs, such as the first all-metal passenger plane Junkers F 13 or the Junkers G 38, one of the first mass produced aircraft to adopt the ‘flying wing’ planeform.

Many mistakenly consider him involved in the crimes of the Nazi regime. But in reality Hugo Junkers was a socialist and a pacifist; he did not have any scruples in directly opposing the German authorities at any time. In 1933 Hitler came to power and the authoritarian militarist Hermann Göring became head of German aviation. Junkers, who was 74 years old at the time, was forced to relinquish the ownership of the company as well as many patents under the threat of arrest. He died in Bavaria on February 3, 1935.

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