Adolf Busemann

Aerospace Engineer, Deceased Person

1901 – 1986


Who was Adolf Busemann?

Adolph Busemann was a German aerospace engineer and influential Nazi-era pioneer in aerodynamics, specialising in supersonic airflows. He introduced the concept of swept wings, and after immigrating to the United States invented the shockwave free Busemann's Biplane.

Born in Lübeck, Germany, Busemann attended the TU Braunschweig, receiving his Ph.D. in engineering in 1924. The next year he was given the position of aeronautical research scientist at the Max-Planck Institute where he joined the famed team led by Ludwig Prandtl, including Theodore von Kármán, Max Munk and Jakob Ackeret. In 1930 he was promoted to professor at Georg-August University of Göttingen. He held various positions within the German scientific community during this period, and during the war he was the director of the Braunschweig Laboratory, a famous research establishment.

Busemann originated the concept of swept winged aircraft, presenting a paper on the topic at the Volta Conference in Rome in 1935. The paper concerned supersonic flow only. At the time of his proposal, flight much beyond 300 miles per hour had not been achieved, and it was considered an academic curiosity. Nevertheless he continued working with the concept, and by the end of the year had demonstrated the same effect happened in the transonic as well. As director of the Braunschweig labs, he started an experimental wind tunnel test series of the concept, and by 1942 had amassed a considerable amount of useful technical data. As the need for higher speed aircraft became pressing in Germany, the Messerschmitt Me P.1101 was developed to flight test these designs.


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Apr 20, 1901
  • United States of America
  • Braunschweig University of Technology
Nov 3, 1986

on July 23, 2013