Etienne Oehmichen (1884-1955) is a French ingeneer and biologist considered as one of the pioneer of the stoboscope, helicopter inventor and precursor of the biomechanics.
He tells you his story…
Hello, my name is Etienne Oehmichen, I was born in Châlons-sur-Marne, on October 15th 1884. At the age of 8, I leave Châlons for Lyon to follow my mother , after a terrible schock : my father’s death. Lost in this big city, I feel very sad and I try to escape this sadness. That’s how I develop a passion for astrology and paleontology.
I graduate as ingeneer in 1908 and start my career at Peugeot compagny where I set up the lighting dynamo for cars. I apply for at least 12 licences with Peugeot between 1912 and 1914. I keep on being obsessed with the flying techniques.
During the war, I have to stop my flying research. In 1917, technical assistant of General Estienne, I am partially in charge of the tank adjustment and I invent and realise the electric stoboscope. At the end of the war, I go back to school and focus on the helicopters development. I am now my own boss and, with a small team I start building my prototypes.
On January 15th 1921, my « helicopter #1 » raises itself vertically ! There was 6 flights, from 35 seconds to 1 minute up to 3 meters high. Six other prototypes will follow.
In 1924, I accomplish a trail of 1 kilometer (062 miles) in a closed circuit at 40 k/h (24mph). After the triomph of this historical flight, I will put together progressively a complete laboratory to study the blowing system and research on propellers. The laboratory Oehmichen-Peugeot is born, it will become the Oehmichen lab in 1930.
The officials services have decided that the helicopter was a futurless machine, I defenitively abandoned my research on flying machines in 1926.
And I say to myself that it is time to teach all the things I’ve learned. In 1939, I am elected Professor at the French « Collège » (high school) and give prestigious lctures on « anatomic mecanics ». I give my very last lecture on june, 11th 1955 before my last breath on July 10th of the same year. I am burried in Arbouans, where my 1st historical flight happened.”
Where to find him today :
- Birth Home, 3 boulevard Vaubécourt
- Etienne Oehmichen High School, 8 avenue du Mont-Héry. It was named after him in 1974.
3 Boulevard Vaubecourt
Lycée Etienne Oehmichen
8 avenue du Mont-Héry