Daring Bird-Man Soars At 10,000 Ft. On Homemade Wings (May, 1935)

Daring Bird-Man Soars At 10,000 Ft. On Homemade Wings

FOR three years Clem Sohn, parachute jumper of Lansing, Michigan, dreamed of the time when man might go aloft and soar like a bird. Recently his dream became a reality.

Clad with foot-webbing and home-made wings of airplane canvas, he bailed out of a ship at an altitude of 12,000 feet. During the first 2,000 feet of his fall, he kept his wings folded at his side while he tested his leg-webbing. Slowly, he opened his wings to check his descent, and for more than a minute he banked, looped, climbed and zoomed to right and left. At 6,000 feet he pulled the rip cord of his parachute and floated back to earth.

While aviation authorities who witnessed the stunt failed to see any practical value in man’s new “conquest of the air,” Sohn was already at work designing bigger wings and planning future aerial maneuvers.

  1. Theo says: June 4, 200811:13 am

    At least Lara Croft is thankful for his pioneering work. How times change:

    1935: “While aviation authorities who witnessed the stunt failed to see any practical value in man’s new “conquest of the air…”

    2006: “Elite special forces troops being dropped behind enemy lines on covert missions are to ditch their traditional parachutes in favour of strap-on stealth wings.”

    And a very strange incident:



  2. BASE WINGSUITS « TEAM THIRTEEN NEWSBLOG says: September 24, 20103:33 pm

    […] time of year. Next is a quick shoot in Michigan to shoot one of the first wingsuits ever, owned by Clem Sohn in 1937. After that trip, I’ll be editing the movie trailer. It’ll have some of the […]

  3. […] suspect, whether the technology is really up to it or not. This intrepid character, as seen here in Modern Mechanix magazine, once soared from a great height, in the days before lycra and spandex tights, and […]

  4. Pete Motz says: September 29, 20116:04 pm

    Clem Sohns brother Francis was married to my aunt. My father remembered Clem jumping out of airplanes with his wings on Sunday afternoons over the family farm in central Michigan trying to impress another sister who was single. It didn’t impress her. She thought he was too much of a daredevil!
    A few years ago they had a ceremony at the cemetery in Fowler, Michigan commemorating the 50th anniversary of Clems death. There were many there who remembered him and his exploits.

  5. Wobbler says: May 18, 20146:14 am

    Sadly, he died only aged 26 when both his main chute and emergency failed.


  6. bhrH030736 says: October 13, 20148:12 am

    Clemsone was a close friend of my fathers (Earl Frechen from Fowler, Mi), and entertained family and friends at my folks wedding reception on my grandparents farm by jumping out of their barn in Folwer, MI. (August 7, 1935).

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