German pilot Elly Beinhorn dies, aged 100

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Elly Beinhorn, a German pilot who was a long-distance-flying pioneer in her Klemm monoplane has died at the age of 100 on Wednesday, November 28.

Beinhorn was born Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer on May 30, 1907 in Hanover, Germany. In 1928, Beinhorn attended a lecture by famed aviator Hermann Köhl, who had recently completed a historic East-West Atlantic crossing. This lecture is described as the spark that ignited her interest in aviation.

At age 21, Beinhorn had a little money from an inheritance and against the wishes of her parents moved to Spandau in Berlin and learnt to fly at Berlin-Staaken airport under the tutelage of instructor Otto Thomsen. She had soon learnt to fly solo in a small Klemm KL-20, but her money was running out, so it was suggested she give aerobatic displays at weekends; financially rewarding, but personally unsatisfying.

After World War II, Beinhorn briefly took up gliding due to the ban on powered flight in Germany. But she soon moved to Switzerland to continue flying planes.

Beinhorn is survived by her daughter Stephanie.