Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger aka the “Tailor of Ulm”, crash-landed his home-made hang-glider into the Danube in 1811, eighty years before his pioneering countryman Otto Lilienthal took to the air. Ulm has since warmed to its tailor as an eccentric hero – a plaque on Herdbrücke marks the spot where he took off – but in his day Berblinger was mocked mercilessly. Worn down by ceaseless jibes, his business in tatters, he died bankrupt in 1825, a drunkard and gambler. Ironically, his design has since proved to be workable, and only the lack of thermals on the day caused failure and ruin.

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