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Heini Dittmar (March 30, 1912, Bad Kissingen, Unterfranken, Germany – April 28, 1960 near Mülheim an der Ruhr, West Germany) was a record-breaking German glider pilot.

Inspired by the example of his glider flying brother Edgar, Dittmar took an apprenticeship at the German Institute for Gliding (DFS). In 1932, flying his self-built glider Kondor, he won a first prize at the Rhön Glider Competition.

Dittmar then became a research pilot. In 1934, he, Hanna Reitsch, Peter Riedel, and Wolf Hirth were members of Professor Georgii's South American Glider Expedition,[1]:65 where in Argentina he achieved a new world gliding altitude record (about 4,350 metres (14,270 ft)).[2] Later the same year, he achieved a new world record for long-distance using a Fafnir II and was awarded the Hindenburg Cup. In 1936, he achieved the first crossing of the Alps in a glider. He then crowned his career as a glider pilot by becoming the first Gliding World Champion after his victory at the first Rhön International Gliding Competition in 1937.[3]

During and after the Second World War, Dittmar worked as an aircraft designer and test pilot. On 2 October 1941, flying the Messerschmitt Me 163A V4 KE+SW, he became the first human to fly faster than 1,000 km/h (620 mph).[1]:175 This record was achieved over the FAI-specified 3-km distance and was measured using an Askania theodolite. Later, on 6 July 1944, he reached a speed of 1,130 km/h (700 mph) in the Me 163B V18 bearing the Stammkennzeichen code of VA+SP, nearly losing the complete rudder surface in the process to flutter.[4][5][6] It is unclear, however, if sufficient altitude was attained to make this a true supersonic flight.[citation needed]

Dittmar died in a crash in 1960 while test-flying a light aircraft of his own design, the HD-153 Motor-Möve, near Essen/Mülheim airport.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Reitsch, H., 1955, The Sky My Kingdom, London: Biddles Limited, Guildford and King's Lynn, ISBN 1853672629
  2. Heini Dittmar at the Deutsches Segelflugmuseum.
  3. [1] First gliding world champion
  4. (in German) Käsmann, Ferdinand C.W., Die schnellsten Jets der Welt (Berlin: Aviatic-Verlag GmbH, 1999, ISBN 3-925505-26-1), pp. 17, 122.
  5. de Bie, Rob. "Me 163B Komet - Me 163 Production - Me 163B: Werknummern list." robdebie.home. Retrieved: 28 July 2013.
  6. "Me 163." Retrieved: 28 August 2010.
  7. 50 Jahre Deutsche Motorflugzeuge, Seite 8.

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