6 July 1886 Is the Birthdate of the First Slovenian Aircraft Designer Edvard Rusjan
On 6 July 1886, the first Slovenian aircraft designer Edvard Rusjan was born in Trieste, who together with his brother Josip created several motor planes. Their father, Franc, was a Slovenian from Gorizia, and his mother, Grazia Cabas, came from Medea (Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region, Italy). In 1908, Edvard built his first airplane of bamboo sticks and cardboard in his father’s workshop jokingly calling it “trapola de carta”—a paper prank.
Edvard made his first flight above the Mali Rojci village in the suburbs of Gorica on 25 November 1909 on a two-winged airplane of his own design EDA I, which he constructed together with his brother Josip Rusjan (“Pippi”) in Vipava. On 28 March 1910, Edward made a series of successful demonstration flights on his EDO V and EDO VI models. The next flight took place on 29 June 1910. His plane overcame 40 meters and flew out of the demonstration area.
After the development of the EDE VII model, the brothers-aircraft designers ran out of their own funds and paternal savings. They tried to find financial support abroad, but failed. However, soon the fortune smiled on them. In 1910, Edvard got acquainted with a Zagreb photographer and businessman Mihajl Merćep during a cycling race, who later offered cooperation to the aircraft designer. The Rusjans moved to Zagreb and began working on serial production and sale of aircrafts. In September 1910, a prototype of an airplane with a 50 hp Gnome engine appeared. It set a world record for the take-off speed of 28 metres.
In January 1911, the brothers went on an advertising tour to the Balkan cities. They continued their work in Zagreb, where they enjoyed the support of Mihajl Merćep. At the next performance in Belgrade, with a huge crowd of spectators, Edvard Rusjan made several take-offs, and then a sharp gust of wind broke the wing and his plane fell down onto the railway tracks. The aircraft designer died on the way to the hospital. Edvard Rusjan was buried in Belgrade.