Walter and Reimar Horten Interviews [Myhra] 1913 -1998
8.48 cubic feet (20 boxes)
Reimar Horten and his brother Walter, were largely self-taught aircraft designers. Both men were born in Bonn, Germany; Reimar on March 12, 1915 and Walter on March 3, 1912. Their interest in aircraft began as early as 1925 when they joined a fliers club in Bonn. In 1932 Reimar and Walter commenced work on their first piloted all-wing aircraft, the Horten I Glider (1931). The Horten all-wing sailplanes were gliders without a fuselage or tail section. The fuselage and the tail section of a regular plane produce 30% to 50% of an airplane's drag. The basic concept of the flying wing dates back from the dawn of aviation, but the Horten brothers became the virtuosos of this aircraft. During the time preceding World War II the brothers improved upon the Horten I Glider (1931) creating other models including the Horten II Glider (1935), the Horten III (108-250), and the Horten IV, none of which had engines. Reimar and Walter then joined the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) during the course of the war where Walter flew the Messerschmitt Bf 109 for six months and Reimar worked on Operation Sea Lion, whose objective was the invasion of England. Upon the cancellation of this operation the Horten brothers were able to continue their projects, developing many enhanced versions of their original flying wing. In 1942 Reimar began working on the Horten VII (8-226) at the Luftwaffe's request, a machine equipped with two pusher type propellers and a pulse jet engine. However, the Horten VII (8-226) was not strong enough to fly safely at the greater speed made possible by the jet, therefore the brothers began work on the new Horten IX (Ho 8-229, "Go 229") the first functional jet propelled flying wing. The arrival of the American army in 1945 ended the construction of this type of aircraft. Reimar moved to Argentina where he could continue to develop his unorthodox aircraft designs. He died in 1994 and Walter Horten died in 1988.
This collection contains Horten interviews taped by David Myhra, author of The Horten Brothers and Their All-winged Aircraft. They cover various topics relating to Reimar and Walter Horten, and include sixty original tapes as well as two copies, one consisting of sixty-one master-to-master reels, and another of 120 reference CD-Rs. Also included in the collection is a box of "transcripts" for these tapes, although it is unclear which transcript corresponds with which tape. The conversations with Walter and Reimar were taped by David Myhra at different times, but NASM received these items as one collection. Mr. Myhra had no set of specific questions to ask these men during the various interviews so the conversation leaps from one topic to another.
Walter and Reimar Horten Interviews [Myhra], Accession 1999-0065, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution