BJ Habibie: The Genius behind Aviation Advancements

BJ Habibie aviation industry worlwide - Before Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, also known as BJ Habibie, became the 3rd president of Indonesia, he was already known as a genius figure with several extraordinary achievements. He was the inventor of an important theory that is still used by the aviation industry worldwide.

The theory, called the Habibie Theory, was discovered after he pursued aviation engineering studies at Rhein Westfalen Aachen Technische Hochschule (RWTH) in Germany. Born in Parepare, South Sulawesi in 1936, he started his education in Germany in 1955 and completed it in 1965.

Over those 10 years, he completed his studies and earned a doctorate in aviation engineering. His full name was Prof DR (HC) Ing Dr Sc Mult BJ Habibie.

Armed with his genius, determination, and education, Habibie produced a number of significant works. At least three important works of Habibie are known.

Firstly, the Habibie Theory. This theory was developed by Habibie while working at a German aviation company. The Habibie Theory, or Crack Progression Theory, explains the starting point of cracks on aircraft wings and bodies.

The theory he created successfully calculated the location and size of cracks in aircraft structures. Habibie formulated the theory in great detail, even down to the atomic level. As a result, Habibie was dubbed "Mr. Crack" in the aviation world.

Thanks to the theory he discovered at the age of 32, the risk of aircraft accidents could be reduced. Additionally, aircraft could maneuver more safely without the need to add structural weight, as was done before this theory was found.

Secondly, creating the N-250 Gatot Kaca aircraft. This was the first aircraft created by a native Indonesian, led directly by Habibie.

Launched in 1995, this civil passenger aircraft garnered public attention. Hopes for a domestic aviation industry soared.

The N-250 Gatot Kaca aircraft even became the only turboprop aircraft to implement fly-by-wire technology. The aircraft he designed had flown for 900 hours and was only a step away from receiving Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.

Habibie's dream of building a domestic aviation industry was thwarted due to the 1996-1998 monetary crisis. Soeharto chose to halt the project. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also required Indonesia to stop the project in order to receive financial aid.

Thirdly, the R80 aircraft. Despite the monetary crisis, Habibie didn't lose his spirit. He eventually developed the N-250 into the RAI R80 aircraft.

With a capacity of 80-92 passengers, he worked on this aircraft alongside his eldest son, Ilham Akbar Habibie. Through the establishment of PT Regio Aviasi Industri, the R80 aircraft was launched in 2012 and made its maiden flight in 2017.

The R80 aircraft, which is currently still in the advanced design process, is equipped with fly-by-wire technology or a control system that uses electronic signals. Moreover, the aircraft is fuel-efficient despite carrying a significant number of passengers.