Ignaz "Igo" Etrich (* December 25,1879 in Ober Altstadt (Bohemia / Austria-Hungary) near Trautenau (today: Horni stare mesto near Trutnov, CZ); † February 4th, 1967 Salzburg, Austria), Austrian flightpioneer, pilot and airplane developer.
Igo went to school at Leipzig, where he came in contact with the works of Otto Lilienthal. His main interest was in aviation, the problems of bird-flight. With his father, a factory-owner, he built like many people then, a laboratory for developing aeroplanes. After the death of Lilienthal his father acquired some gliders which led the way. After reading the books of Prof. Ahlborn about flying seeds, he developed in 1903 his first gliders after the flying seed of zanonia macrocarpa. He worked together with Franz Xaver Wels and Karl Illner, two men who would become very important for future development and flying. It was in 1906, when Karl Illner was the first man in Austria to fly with a glider.
The next stop of Igo Etrich was Vienna, where he had his second laboratoy in the "Wiener Prater" at the so-called Rotunde. In 1907 it was there when he built his Etrich I, the "Praterspatz". (a "spatz" (sperling) is a very common little bird in Vienna). Due to the little power (24 PS) of the motor and the limited space to fly the plane was no success.
In 1909 in Wiener Neustadt the first airfield of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was founded. Etrich rented two hangars or airplane-sheds, as they were called then and continued to devlop his success, the "Taube". Meanwhile his co-developer Franz Xaver Wels visited Paris to study the planes of the Wrights and split with Etrich over the question whether to build a Mono- or Biplane.
In 1910 his Etrich II, the "Etrich-Taube"(Dove) made its maiden flight. This success was not possible without the help of another world-famous developer of motor: Ferdinand Porsche, who designed the reliable 65PS- Austro-Daimler engine (reliability, a crucial factor in aviation, was not so common in these days), which powered this plane. In one of the first flights, Etrich nearly broke his spine when his "Taube" fell tail-ahead back to earth. From now on Karl Illner made all the flights for Etrich. (Illner was one of these men who could fly a plane before he had his flying-license ;-) )
Etrich refined his "Taube" to meet the requests of the military, that a plane has to be able to land on a freshly plowed(!) field.
In 1912 He founded the "Etrich-Fliegerwerke" in Liebau (today Lubawka/Poland) and designed the first passenger-plane with a totally closed cabin for the passengers, his "Luft-Limousine". Later he moved to Germany, founding the famous "Brandenburgischen Fliegerwerke". From Liebau he took his major designer with him: Ernst Heinkel.
Rumpler modified the design of the "Taube" slightly and claimed to be the developer, refusing to pay licensing fees to Etrich. After a short hassle at court, Etrich could foresee that it would be a financial disaster, fighting till the end and made the design for his "Taube" freely available.
After WW1 Etrich went to the newly founded Czechoslovakia, and built another plane: His "Sport-Taube". Legend has it that it flew faster (equipped with just a 40 PS engine !!!) than the then czech military planes The authorities claimed he built the plane for smuggling and impounded his plane.
The "Etrich II" can be seen at the "Technisches Museum" in Vienna/Austria. The "Sport-Taube" can be seen at the "Technischen Museum Prag" .
Quelle: Igo Etrich: "Die Taube - Memoiren eines Luftfahrt Pioniers"