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Rusjan, Edvard

Edvard Rusjan was born in Trieste, Austro-Hungarian Empire, on July 6, 1886. While still a lad, his family moved to Gorizia where he spent his youth and attended public secondary school and an evening course in trade. During his school years, he was apprenticed barrel maker and was a successful racer.

In 1900, the Rusjan brothers made a model aircraft with a propeller drive on a spring. Edvard's aviation career began in 1908 when he started designing and building model airplanes. One design, a helicopter that was strapped on like a backpack, was a portent of things to come decades later. With older brother Josiph's help, he designed a glider that became a pattern for future airplanes.
They continued their self-education and in 1908, received his father's support for the production of the first aircraft. In September 1909, Edvard Rusjan visited an international air meeting in Brescia (Italy), where he examined the construction of the most successful aircraft and got to know the French airman, Louis Blériot.
In the fall of 1909, the Rusjan brothers began work on a powered airplane using a 3-cylinder, 25-horse-power. Anzani-model engine. The airplane was a canard-type biplane with paper covered wings with the larger part of the horizontal stabilizer forward of the wings. Flight tests, however, fell short of expectations. By relocating the vertical stabilizer aft of the wings in what has evolved as the conventional configuration, they achieve success. On November 25, 1909, on the Mila Rojice Airfield in the neighborhood of Gorizia, Edvard made the first successful powered flight in Yugoslav Aviation history in his EDA 1 airplane.
From December 1909 to the end of June 1910, the Rusjan brothers built and flight tested five airplanes of entirely different designs. 
Zagreb, Eduardo and Giuseppe working
Since Rusjan could not realise the planned development of aircraft to commercial production in Slovene circumstances, in the middle of 1910 he concluded a partnership with the Serb, Mihailo Mercep, a well-known Zagreb photographer and cyclist, who planned the production of aircraft for the market. After the agreement with Merćep, they had no more financial problems and a large hangar is available for their planes. So the Mercep-Rusjan monoplane (a supplemented variant of EDA VI) was created in the first aircraft factory in Croatia.
After their successful flight demonstration with the Mercep-Rusjan, and in accord with the custom of the time, Edvard and Mercep organized a tour of European cities, the first stop being Belgrade. On January 9, 1911, despite strong gusty winds, the 24-year-old Edvard went ahead with a demonstration flight. His takeoff and flight over the town and a railway bridge over the Sava River were uneventful. However, while the airplane was returning for a landing, at an approximate height of 20 meters, a strong gust ripped off a wing and the airplane crashed against a tower wall located on the riverbank. Edvard was killed.
His work was successfully continued by his brother Joze, who built a further 3 aircraft after Edvard's death.

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