Reimar Horten and his brother Walter, two largely self-taught aircraft designers, were born in Bonn, Germany; Walter on March 3, 1912, and Reimar on March 12, 1915. Their interest in aircraft began as early as 1925 when they joined a fliers' club in Bonn. In 1932 Reimar and Walter commenced work on their first piloted all-wing sailplane the
. The basic concept of the flying wing dates from the dawn of aviation, but the Horten brothers became the virtuosos of this aircraft. The Horten all-wing sailplanes were gliders without a fuselage or tail section. Because the fuselage and the tail section of a regular plane produced 30% to 50% of an airplane's drag, the benefit of the sailplanes was clear. During the time preceding World War II the brothers improved upon the
glider, creating other models including the
, and the
--none of which had any engines. Reimar and Walter joined the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) during the course of the war where Walter flew Messerschmitt Bf-109s for six months and Reimar worked for Operation Sea Lion, whose objective was the invasion of England. Upon the cancellation of this operation the Horten brothers went on to continue their projects, developing many enhanced versions of their original flying-wing. In 1942 Reimar began working on the
at the Luftwaffe’s request, a machine equipped with two pusher-type propellers and a pulse jet engine. However, the Ho
was not strong enough to fly safely at the greater speeds made possible by the jet, so the brothers began work on the new Ho
(code named "Go 229"), the first functional jet propelled flying wing. The arrival of the American army in 1945 ended the construction of this type of aircraft. After the war, Reimar moved to Argentina where he continued to develop his unorthodox aircraft designs; Walter stayed in Germany. Walter died in 1988 and Reimar died in 1994.