The Otto Lilienthal Medal
This is a "beta" version for testing and comment.
The info has all been
re-entered by hand, so there are going to be typos.
along any corrections and suggestions for improvement.
Regarded as the highest soaring award in the world, it is given to
reward a particularly remarkable sporting performance in gliding or
eminent services over a long period of time on behalf of gliding, to a
glider pilot who has either, (a) broken an international record during
the past year or, (b) made a pioneer flight during the past year (the
term ~pioneer flight" is understood to mean a flight which has opened
up new possibilities for gliding or has shown the way for fresh
progress in the techniques of gliding) or, (c) who during a long period
of time has given eminent services to gliding, in the opinion of the
General Council of the FAI, and is still an active glider pilot.
( photos courtesy of
Hans Nietlispach )
The award was established by the FAI in 1938 in honor of Otto
Lilienthal, pioneer glider experimenter and pilot. Lilienthal's gliding
experiments in Germany during the years 1890-1896 demonstrated that
human flight was achievable and furnished inspiration and encouragement
to Wilbur and Orville Wright. Otto Lilienthal died in a gliding
accident in 1896. The Lilienthal Medal is made of silver and is 7.5 cm
in diameter. The obverse shows in bas-relief two birds in flight being
captured by a man; the reverse bears a wreath and the words Federation
Aeronautique Internationale" surrounding a black space on
which the year and name of the recipient is engraved. A Lilienthal Medal is
struck each year and becomes the permanent property of the winner.
The award is now made by the General Council of the FAI only upon
recommendation of the FAI Gliding Committee (IGC) which received
written proposals from the national member clubs of FAI, signed either
by the president or vice president of the submitting national aero
club. From the proposals the IGC selects a candidate at one of its
meetings to submit to the General Council. The award is made at the
annual FAI General Conference.
The USA's candidate is submitted by the National Aeronautic
Association, the US's national member club in the FAI, on the basis
of a recommendation from SSA, which is obtained by the SSA Directorate
of a recommendation from SSA, which is obtained by the SSA Directorate
nominating and then voting on nominees.
Past Recipients of the Lilienthal Medal have been as follows:
2018 - Not awarded.
2017 - Patrick Pauwels (Belgium):
for his lifetime contribution and dedication to the sport of gliding and his long national and international service during serveral European and World Championships as steward or chief steward, among other duties.
2016 - Rainer Wienzek (Germany)
2015 - Loek Boermans (Netherlands)
2014 - Not awarded.
2013 - Not awarded.
2012 - Bob Henderson, New Zealand
2011 - Giorgio Galetto, Italy
2010 - Reiner Rose (Germany)
2009 - Ross Macintyre (New Zealand)
2008 - Roland Stuck (France)
2007 - Derek Piggot (UK)
2006 - Alan Patching (Australia)
2005 - Ian Strachan (UK):
for his outstanding record of eminent service to world gliding over a
long period of time, and especially for his work in developing motor
glider instructional techniques; identifying and publishing GPS-based
turning points; and evaluating and approving flight recorders for
records, badges, contests and everyday flying
2004 - Janusz Centka (Poland)
2003 - Piero Morelli (Italy): for his lifetime's contribution to technical soaring.
2002 - John Hamish Roake (New Zealand): for his long-term committment and support to gliding.
2001 - James M. Payne (USA): holder of 56 National and 5 World Records, for eminent service to soaring over many years.
2000 - Klaus Ohlmann (Germany:: for eminent services to gliding and his pioneering flight of almost 2500 km.
1999 - Hana Zejdova (Czech Republic):
holder of 235 national and 52 world records.
1998 - Oran Nicks (USA):
for his work on the Sailplane Development Panel of OSTIV and leadership in the developement of the World Class Glider
1997 - Manfred Reinhardt (Federal Republic of Germany)
1996 - No award
1995 - Tor Johannessen (Norway)
1994 - Terrence Delore (New Zealand)
1993 - Bernald S. Smith (USA)
1992 - Franciszek Kepka (Poland)
1991 - Raymond W. Lynskey (New Zealand)
1990 - Fred Weinholtz (Germany)
1989 - No Award
1988 - Ingo Renner (Australia)
1987 - Juhani Horma (Finland)
1986 - Richard H. Johnson (USA): for his outstanding achievements and contributions to soaring; 11 time US National Champion, 90 published articles and test reports.
1985 - Sholto Hamilton "Dick" Georgeson (New Zealand): for his pioneer work and impressive flying achievements over a long period of years.
1984 - C. E. Wallington (Australia): for his contributions and efforts in officiating and organizing World Championships.
1983 - No award
1982 - Hans Nietlispach (Switzerland): Vice President of CIVV, for his devotion to the development of soaring, his participation in 10 world championships, and for the invention of the photo time method for the verification of control points from the air.
1981 - George Lee (United Kingdom:) for his prodigious competition record of three consecutive World Open Class Championships.
1980 - Hans Wolf (Austria): for pioneering alpine soaring and development of the CIVV Sporting-Code.
1979 - No award
1978 - Helmut Reichmann (West Germany): for a prodigious competition record, three time World Champion (twice in Standard Class and once in 15-meter Class).
1977 - George Moffat, Jr. (USA): for a prodigious competition record, twice World Open Class Champion, and various other contributions.
1976 - Louis A. de Lange (Netherlands): for his numerous contributions and dedication to the sport of soaring.
1975 - Adela Dankowska (Poland): for her world records & winning the 1975 International Feminine Gliding Competition.
1974 - August Hug (Switzerland): for his numerous contributions to the development of soaring in Switzerland.
1973 - Ann Welch (England): for her outstanding competition record & services to the sport of soaring.
1972 - Jan Wroblewski (Poland): twice World Champion, 1965 Open and 1972 Standard Class.
1971 - Karl H. Striedieck (USA): for his 569.36-mi. (916.30-km) O & R World Record.
1970 - Hans W. Grosse (West Germany): for making the first 1000-km flight in Europe.
1969 - Eric Nessler (France): for his long service to soaring, and numerous records.
1968 - Alejo Williamsan (Chile): for his flight across the Andes, December 12. 1964.
1967 - Lennart Stahlfors (Sweden): for his exceptional talent in developing a gliding center, chief instructor for Sweden since 1954, and leading competition activity.
1966 - Mrs. Ann Burns (England): for her world records, being 1966 British Champion.
1965 - Edward Makula (Poland): for his outstanding competition record, including 1963 World Champion, instruction of pilots and authorship of technical papers.
1964 - Alvin H. Parker (USA): for his 7-31-64 world distance record flight of 647.17 miles (1041.52 kilometers), Odessa, Texas to Kimball, Nebraska.
1963 - Heinz Huth (West Germany): for a prodigious competition record, twice Std. Class Champion
1962 - Paul F. Bikle (USA): for setting two world altitude records on one flight, 46,267 feet absolute, 42,303 feet gain.
1961 - Adolph Pirat Gehriger (Switzerland): for outstanding services to the sport of soaring.
1960 - Pelagia Majewska (Poland): outstanding soaring flights, numerous world records.
1959 - Richard E. Schreder (USA): for establishing three world soaring speed records for single-place sailplanes in an aircraft he designed and built himself.
1958 - Wolf Hirth (West Germany): for his great contributes to the development of soaring.
1957 - Don Luis Vioente Juez Gomez (Spain): for accomplishments in international soaring and devotion to the sport in Spain.
1956 - Paul B. MacCready, Jr. (USA): for his decisive victory in earning the title of World Soaring Champion in 1956.
1955 - Joachim Kuettner (West Germany): for scientific work on soaring and pilot exploits.
1954 - Philip Wills (Great Britain): for outstanding services to the sport of soaring.
1953 - V. Iltecherlko (USSR): for a straight-line distance flight, 829.8 kilometers.
1952 - Charles Atge (France): for a duration flight of 56 hrs 15 min.
1951 - Marcelle Chiosnet-Gohard (France): for her duration flight, 28 hrs 41 min.
1950 - William Ivans, Jr. (USA): for his altitude flight to 12,882 meters absolute, 9,174.5 meters gain.
1949 - John Robinson (USA): for his altitude flight to 10,210 meters absolute.
1948 - Per Axel Persson (Sweden): for an altitude flight of 8050 meters.
1939 – 1947 - No awards
1938 - Taduesz Gora (Poland): for a goal flight of 557 kilometers.
Return to the SSA Awards Table of Contents?
Please contact John Leibacher with any suggestions concerning this material.
Page last updated on