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* 6. 6. 1886, Klagenfurt, Austria
† 1945, Soviet Union

designer (aircraft)

After elementary school and Realschule in Klagenfurt, S. studied mechanical engineering in Graz, electrical engineering in Brno, and in 1910 took a doctor’s degree in technical sciences at the University of Vienna. He had been interested in aviation since his teenage years, and in 1903 he constructed a model airplane that was launched from a car and to then glide through the air. After successfully completing his studies, his wealthy father – who was a butcher – gave him money for an airplane. In late autumn 1909, S. visited the office of the Wright Brothers aircraft company in Johannisthal near Berlin, where he purchased an airplane and learnt the basics of flying.
After taking a doctor's degree, he and his friend Oskar Heim from Frei¬burg organised a series of air shows, including one in Gorizia where he performed together with the pioneer of Slovenian aviation Edvard → Rusjan. Both Heim (1910) and → Rusjan (1911) died in a plane crash.
On the night of the 9th and 10th August 1911, S. completed the first night flight in Austria, then from 1911 to 1913 set several flight altitude records flying with as many as five passengers aboard a two-seat airplane.
In 1911 he became the head of pilots and technical manager at Wiener Neustädter Autoplan-Werke and became ever more oriented in the construction of aircraft. His attempts to supply his Vindobona airplane to the Austrian and German army failed, however. Just before the outbreak of war, he performed at air shows with a sport airplane of his own design, able to fly loops and inverted in the air.
At the outbreak of war, he entered the air forces of the German navy, which at the time, desperately needed more designers than it did pilots. He established in Berlin the S-Flugzeuge Company which by the end of the war had manufactured 167 airplanes of original design (labelled SF 1-8) and 65 licensed ones, mainly reconnaissance hydroplanes.
After the war, S. remodelled the aircraft into a passenger airplane - the P I - one of the first such planes in the world, and in 1919 started to establish the first international passenger flights in Central Europe. In addition, he also developed a passenger aircraft, the Sab P III of modern design aimed at 6 passengers housed in enclosed cabin and with two pilots outside. It stirred interest amongst European and even South American countries but the post-war sanctions imposed on Germany prevented his plans reaching fruition. As a consequence, S. dedicated his efforts towards the organisation of inland transport in Germany and in 1920, following his initiative to merge a number of smaller airlines, one large airline was created, that was the forerunner of Lufthansa Airlines, established in 1926.
Between the First and Second World War he was engaged in the war industry, and in 1945 fell into Soviet captivity. According to unofficial information he died in one of the Soviet concentration camps.

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