Der Freiballon article on the 25th Gordon Bennett Race 1937

In the magazine “Der Freiballon”, in those days subtitled as “Monthly paper for all questions of ballooning with the announcements and reports of the ballooning division in the national socialistic flying corps (NSFK)”, we find the following article


‘With this race Belgium Demuyter has gained victory in a Gordon Bennett Race for the 6th time. Unfortunately, the 25th Gordon Bennett Race 1937 has lost much of its sportive value, because German balloons D-ALFRED HILDERBRANDT and D-CHEMNITZ X were pushed out of the race by the act of violence of Czech planes. Both balloons still had lots of ballast left, which would have allowed them a better place in the race, if not the victory. The responsible international organizations of sport aviation will have to deal with the incidents during the race’.

It was one of the last articles of this paper. At the end of 1937 it stopped publishing. The editor wrote (or was forced to write):

The new structure of ballooning is tougher than the old one. The determination has grown greater. The private and civil union of balloonists has now, it can’t be changed, been replaced by the storm organizations of the NSFK. Flying and training has now to be done according to new and uniform rules. The job, our paper had to do, therefore is no longer necessary.

Unfortunately, ballooning was soon no longer necessary in Germany. A last look at the paper “Der Freiballon” leads to an order, concerning the race 1938: “As we learned from the leaders of the NSFK, there are still individual applications from single pilots for participation in international events, especially the Gordon Bennett Race. Participants in international events, like the Gordon Bennett Race, are only appointed by the corps leaders in connection and working together with the NSFK groups. Any application of individuals is therefore useless”.

At the Gordon Bennett Race in 1938, no German balloons participated anymore.

Werner Lohmann, of whom we’ve read above, died on June 4th, 1991, aged 84. He has read this report, but unfortunately has not seen it published.

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