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Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer

also available in German

born on May 30, 1907 in Hannover, Germany

German aviation pioneer

100. birthday on May 30th, 2007

Elly Beinhorn, referred to as “one of the most daring women of the 20th century” on the inside cover of her autobiography Alleinflug (Solo Flight), was born in Hannover, Germany in 1907 as the only child of a merchant family. In 1928 she was so fascinated by a lecture she attended held by the trans-Atlantic aviator Hermann Köhl that she immediately applied for acceptance to the Berlin-Staaken amateur pilot school. She received her amateur pilot license in the spring of 1929, and shortly thereafter she acquired her stunt pilot license at the flying school in Würzburg. Additional pilot licenses were to follow.

Elly Beinhorn

In 1931 she took off on her first solo flight to Africa. After a four-day-long trek through the desert, with the aid of locals she survived an emergency landing during her return flight to Europe, returning safely to Germany: “My emergency landing caused more headlines than my wildest flights.”

Several months later the 24-year-old ventured to circle the world in her Klemm KL-20 airplane. The flight took her via southern Asia to Port Darwin in Australia, where she boarded a ship to Panama. From there she flew via the Cordilleras to the east coast of South America, arriving in Buenos Aires on July 23, 1932.

Elly Beinhorn

In 1933 Elly Beinhorn was awarded the Hindenburg Cup, the highest German honor for an amateur aviator. With her famous Messerschmidt Me 108, which she christened “Typhoon”, in 1935 she flew from Gleiwitz in Silesia to Scutari on the Bosporus and back to Berlin in one day: 3,470 km in 13-1/2 hours.

In 1936 Beinhorn married the famous racecar driver Bernd Rosemeyer, who died in a car accident two years later, only ten weeks after the birth of their son Bernd. She remarried in 1941 and within a year gave birth to a much-longed-for daughter, whom she named Stephanie. After the war Beinhorn-Rosemeyer reapplied for and received her pilot licenses in Switzerland in 1951. Once the flying ban was lifted in Germany, she successfully participated in numerous competitions.

Elly Beinhorn

Since 1932, Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer has written a number of highly popular books on her life as an aviator and as the wife of a world-renowned racecar driver. After 5,000 mostly solo flight hours, at 72 she turned in her pilot licenses. Her conclusion: “I was fortunate to be able to fly at a time when flying was still a real adventure. I experienced that marvelous, independent era when one had the sky all to oneself!”

Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer has received countless honors in the course of her long life, however she has never considered herself to be a ‘star’. She has consistently supported the recognition of women aviators.

Elly Beinhorn

transl. Rebecca van Dyck.

Additional information about the old photos:


Google booksearch – Elly Beinhorn

Google booksearch: Elly Beinhorn. Last check:  30.05.2007.

Internet Movie Database – Elly Beinhorn

Internet Movie Database: Elly Beinhorn. Last check:  30.05.2007.

Naughton – Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer 1907

Naughton, Russell: Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer (1907-), Pioneer Aviatrix. Last check:  30.05.2007.

Meunier, Claude: Solo Flights around the World. Elly Beinhorn.

Meunier, Claude: Solo Flights around the World. Elly Beinhorn. Last check: 01.06.2007.

Thomson, Scott: Forgotten heroine. Last check: 01.06.2007.

Thomson, Scott: Forgotten heroine. Last check: 01.06.2007. Last check: 01.06.2007.

Wikipedia: Elly Beinhorn. Last check: 01.06.2007.

Wikipedia: Elly Beinhorn. Last check: 01.06.2007. Last check: 01.06.2007.


Beinhorn, Elly (1935): Flying girl. New York : Holt.

For more sources and links see the German version.