OSTIV–Plaque with Klemperer Award

The OSTIV–Plaque with Klemperer Award is awarded to:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Fred Thomas

For his tremendous contribution to the entire world of the fundamentals in glider and sailplane design, and also in keeping sailplane technology in public attention as one of the basic techniques supporting aviation progress.


As a longtime member of the board of the German Centre for Aviation and Space Technology, DLR, and as a member of the academic staff of the Technical University at Brunswick, Germany, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Fred Thomas played a large part in the overall conversion of theoretical knowledge in aerodynamics and design principles into the practice and the practical application for aircraft and sailplanes. As the founder of the Symposium for Sailplane Development in 1977 in Germany and its chairman for 25 years, Fred Thomas developed a worldwide appreciated and acknowledged public platform for the exchange of science, knowledge and experience in sailplane and soaring technologies and improvements in all aspects of design, construction and flight. Hundreds of well recognized engineers in all areas of aviation owe Fred Thomas the foundation of their careers and professional success.

Fred Thomas commenced his career in aerodynamics in 1961 with a PhD thesis. This studied active high-lift aerodynamics both in theory and by wind tunnel

experiments with aerofoils. This work was supervised by the famous Prof. Hermann Schlichting. Commencing in 1967, he put his energy into studying both low speed and trans-sonic aerodynamics in the DLR and its predecessor organisations. From 1971 he was CEO of the Aerodynamics Institute. He earned great recognition for his ability to get his colleagues focussed on studying numeric simulation and design aerodynamics in both the above extremes of airflow. Finally, he strengthened the study of all these activities within the DLR.

Not least, from 1967 until his retirement, Thomas gave all his knowledge and experience towards the education of his students as professor for aerodynamics at Brunswick University.

As a member of the DLR board since 1972 he influenced research in aerodynamics. He also organised effective and efficient organisation structures, including international wind tunnel cooperation in Europe. For his national and international activities, coordinations and achievements he received several high level awards, including that of Fellow Membership in the "Académie de l'Air et de l'Espace".

In 1972 he commenced his famous series of lectures on sailplane aerodynamics and design. This was the first time both in Germany and in the rest of Europe such a specialised course of study had been presented. Together with the initial and revised English edition, his book the "Fundamentals of Sailplane Design" has been printed more than 10.000 times. It has been read all over the world and is a "must" for every student in aviation engineering.

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