Gunter Plüschow (07 February 1886 – 28 January 1931) was the grandson of Friedrich Carl Eduard Plüschow (1808-1879), the illegitimate son of Duke Friedrich Ludwig von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1778 – 1819), the owner of Plüschow estate.
From 1904, he undertook an apprenticeship at the imperial navy and an apprenticeship as a pilot. In 1914 he was a pilot in Tsingtau, the then German leased territory. Thanks to his daring reconnaissance missions in the fight against Japanese troops, he was awarded the nickname “Pilot of Tsingtau”. Once Tsingtau had been captured by the Japanese, Plüschow made an adventurous escape via Shanghai, Los Angeles, London and the Netherlands to Germany. He retired from military service in 1919.
He then started making a living as a researcher and travel guide author. In 1925, Plüschow left Hamburg on board the Viermaster Parma on his first expedition of South America. The trip took him to Chile, Peru and Ecuador, and is described in detail in the book Segelfahrt ins Wunderland which was published in 1926.
On 27 November 1927, Gunther Plüschow travelled on board the specially-built expedition cutter Feuerland vfrom Büsum to Punto Arenas (Chile), on the south tip of South America. On this trip, Plüschow stopped off at several points on the east coast of South America, including in Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. In December 1928, along with his flight engineer Ernst Dreblow, Plüschow assembled the waterplane Heinkel HD 24 W, which had been constructed in Warnemünde, in Punto Arenas. From here, they set off on their expedition flights across Tierra del Fuego. They were fascinated by the overwhelming beauty of the Patagonian inland ice and, frequently in life-threatening situations, they were the first to return from their flights bearing photos and film material from the as-yet unresearched regions of South America.
Plüschow spent about eight months in the most southerly part of South America. He returned to Germany in July 1929 and published his book Silberkondor über Feuerland uand a documentary of the same name, which was celebrated as the very first feature-length documentary film at the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin.
In late 1930, Plüschow returned to Chile and Argentina in order to continue his research flights. His plane went down above Lago Argentino on 28 January 1931, killing both Plüschow and Dreblow.
A monument was erected at the crash site in the Argentinian part of Patagonia, and the two pioneers of flight are still regularly commemorated. A non-flying 1:1 model of Plüschow’s HD 24 W aeroplane is exhibited in the Aero-Club in Ushuaia. Gunther Plüschow is still honoured in Argentina these days, whilst in his Mecklenburg homeland he is practically unknown.