1. Franz Reichelt: Parachute Suit (1912)
Despite attempts by his friends and spectators to dissuade him, he jumped from the first platform of the tower while wearing his invention. Unfortunately, the parachute failed to deploy and he crashed into the icy ground at the foot of the tower.
2. Henry Fleuss: Oxygen Rebreather (1876)
His invention was originally intended to be used in the repair of the iron door of a flooded ship’s chamber. Fleuss then decided to use his invention for a thirty-foot dive underwater. Unfortunately, he died from the pure oxygen; oxygen is toxic to humans under pressure.
3. Max Valier: Liquid-Fuelled Rocket Car (1930)
In 1928 and 1929, Valier worked with Fritz von Opel on a number of rocket-powered cars and aircraft. By the late 1920s, Valier was focusing his efforts on liquid-fuelled rockets. Their first successful test with liquid fuel occurred in the Heylandt plant on January 25, 1930.
On April 19, 1930, Valier performed the first test drive of a rocket car with liquid propulsion, the Valier-Heylandt Rak 7. One month later, the alcohol-fuelled rocket exploded during a test.
4. Karel Soucek: Shock-Absorbent Barrel (1985)
On January 19, 1985, Soucek convinced a company to finance a barrel drop from the top of the Houston Astrodome in Texas. A special waterfall was created from the top of the 180 ft. Structure, with a plunge pit at the bottom.
However, instead of landing in the center of the tank of water, the barrel hit the rim, causing the capsule to splinter and severely injure him. Soucek died the next day.
5. Otto Lilienthal: Hang Gliders (1896)
However, during the fourth flight Lilienthal’s glider stalled. He tried to re-establish lift by swinging his body back to correct the attitude of the glider. That maneuver failed and he fell from a height of about 15 meters while still in the glider.
Lilienthal suffered a fracture of his third cervical vertebra and soon became unconscious. He died about 36 hours after the crash.