…The airplane was slowly swaying on the turf. Suddenly
the engine roared to full power. The mechanics are holding the fuselage
down. The wheel chocks are still under the wheels. Another engine
test. Penkala increases throttle, the engine screams and the whole
aircraft is shivering like a giant butterfly. The spectators plugged
their ears. The last hand signal. Chocks away, mechanics release
the fuselage. The airplane slowly taxies down the field, right next
to embankment. The group of spectators on the embankment spreaded
themselves quickly. Behind the aeroplane everything is blown in
the air, including grass. Penkala positions the aeroplane , correcty,
downside of a breeze. And now, full throttle. And the aeroplane
moves ever faster down the field. Two or three jumps, but no take
off. Another jump, and then a sigh from all present: Aaah! Penkala's
aeroplane is flying, gaining height. It's allready up two, three
metres. Rising another five, six, seven...ten metres in the air.
Faster and faster it gains distance from the crowd, already a hundred
metres away, flying steadily. The sun reflects from the shiny propeller
disc. Penkala can't be seen, only a dark shape in the middle of
aeroplane, beneath the wing. The crowd chased the plane. The air
is full of caps and hats, everyone is exalted.
S. Penkala i D. Novak with a second
version of Leptir (Butterfly), as the aeroplane was nicknamed
- Penkala is flying ! People, he can't be stopped
! The aeroplane is already near the embankment. - If only he could
land wihtout ramming the embankment! - a voice from the crowd. But
the plane is slowly descending, lower and lower. It touched the
ground. Rolls a few metres and, now, it has stopped...
Penkala, Slavoljub Eduard, (Liptovsky sv. Mikulaš,
20. IV 1871 - Zagreb, 5. II 1922), engineer of chemistry, inventor
of first mechanical pen (propelling - sling -pen), the "penkala"
, fountain-pen (1906), constructor of the first two-seat aeroplane
in Croatia (1909).
S. Penkala at controls of the
With this aeroplane flew also the first Croatian
graduated pilot Dragutin Novak (1910). Penkala also invented the
first hotwater bottle, vacuum-flask, detergenta, rotating toothbrush,
pen clip-holder, vhich enabled pens to be secured in the pocket,
railway car brkes, anodic batteries, the ksilolite preparation against
parasites in railway sleepers, the flow-meter device for liquids,
pressure gauge, dynamometer, ebonite plastic mass used for manufacture
of gramophone records, special microphones and listening devices,
tens of chemical preparations and mechanical devices. He patented
over 80 inventions. He calculated turbines and propellers for helicopters.
While studying the airflow over an wingfoil, he found a new lift
source, and in 1908 made his first design of a hoovercraft. He graduated
chemistry in Dresden in 1898. He was "Higher Banski measures
superviser" ( Ban was the elected ruler of Croatia since the
death of the last ing of Croatian origin in 1097). His amateur aeroplane
workshop was in his vestibule, at No. 17 King Tomislav Square (then
Emperor Franz Jozef Square, later (1904) he built the first hangar
in Crnomereca, at then military practicing field, ad so opened the
first airfield in Croatia. He died in Zagreb from pneumonia, at
his creative peak, in 51st year of his life.
Pilots and mechanics with first
version of the Leptir
With those words the late profesor dr. ing. Boris
Puhlovski described in dhis book "Penkala leti (Život i rad
izumitelja)" ( "Penkala flies -the life and work of an
inventor) the first flight of Penka's aeroplane, june 23rd 1910.
Penkala's aeroplane, nicknamed Leptir (Butterfly)
was 11 metres long, had a 11 metres wingspan, weight of 330 kg,
had a 25hp engine and a maximum speed of 57kph..
Text and photographs from the B. Puhlovski book
"Penkala leti (Život i rad izumitelja)" ( "Penkala
flies -the life and work of an inventor) was prepared by :