Alexandre Liwentaal - The world’s first aviator?

Text: Toomas Uibo, Nordica Photos: Unsplash Published: 26 / August / 2018

Alexandre Liwentaal - The world’s first aviator?

IN AROUND 1860, Juhan Liwentaal, a young man from Lääne County, decided to walk on foot to Switzerland. He was motivated by his love for a young woman called Jeanne Henriette Caroline Matthey, whom he had met in the Liivi manor house where she was teaching the children of the landlord. Liwentaal’s endeavour was successful and by 1868 the couple already had their second child, Alexandre.

He was a smart child and particularly gifted at science. Alexandre, who was of Estonian origin, was passionate about airships and heavier-than-air flying machines.

It is now known that he made an 80-metre flight with a motor aircraft that he had designed and manufactured himself in 1898five years before the Wright brothers, who are officially considered to have made the world’s first controlled human flight.

Article was published in Nordica´s in-flight magazine Time Flies  (spring 2016).