Aiming high - aviation in Dresden


On the railway embankment near Dresden-Mitte station it can be seen as graffiti: the history of the aviation industry in Dresden. The foundation stone was laid by a woman in 1811 – Wilhelmine Reichard got into a balloon and became Germany’s first female balloonist. The flight ended unhappily, however: at 7,800 metres she became unconscious due to lack of oxygen and fell out of the balloon in Saxon Switzerland. Miraculously, she landed in a bush and survived.

It was not until much later, in the 1950s, that development began on the first German passenger jet aircraft, the “152”, also known as the “Type 152” or “Baade 152” after its designer Brunolf Baade. It is part of the graffiti created between 2005 and 2007 on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the state capital. The plane achieved rather dubious fame because – in order to produce film footage to impress the then Soviet party leader Khrushchev – it crashed during a demonstration flight in 1959. It was only the second flight of the prototype, which was not even certified for the risky manoeuvre. All four crew members were killed. The crash more or less marked the end of aircraft construction in Dresden. Nobody wanted to buy a “disaster aircraft” and the rest of the world was further along in the technical development of passenger aircraft anyway. Brunolf Baade did not remain without a job, however – he became director of the Institute for Lightweight Construction at the Technical University of Dresden in 1961. The institute from which IMA Dresden emerged as a company after reunification.

With the founding of Elbe Flugzeugwerke in 1990, aircraft construction experienced a renaissance in Dresden. Since then, components for Airbus have been manufactured here and passenger aircraft have been converted into cargo planes.

Applus+ IMA Dresden is also active in aviation and is located in the halls of the former aircraft construction at the airport site. One of the pictures at Mitte station even shows a full-scale test on the A380. Go on a discovery tour and share the pictures with us!

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