Three Generations of Alexander Schleicher Segelflugzeugbau
by Peter F. Selinger
Pure Fascination – Sailplanes from the Rhön
"Rhön Adler" is far more than just a company history even though Alexander Schleicher Segelflugzeugbau has now published this third edition itself. Certainly there is no lack of information about the evolution of the small workshop founded by Alexander Schleicher to the mid-sized company led by his grandsons Ulrich and Peter Kremer at the foot of the Wasserkuppe in the Rhön, the most famous soaring site in Germany and the world. Valuable source material is offered on important employees and scientific partners of the company. These sections are added at the chronologically correct places of the book. Examples include details about the important work done by Willig Gilges and Ludwig Krönung, the designers Rudolf Kaiser, Gerhard Waibel, Martin Heide and Michael Greiner, the aerodynamicists Prof. Dr. Horstman, Armin Quast and Prof. Boermans, all of whom contributed greatly to Schleicher’s top reputation. A sailplane is more than just technology, it is the product of human creativity,ability and care – as can be recognized in many sections of the book.
The content, significantly increased from 280 to 376 pages, offers a deep insight into the past 88 years of sailplane development. It ranges from details about the simple wire braced open gliders made of wood and fabric to the aerodynamically, ergonomically and structurally advanced designs made with the most modern composite fibre construction techniques – from the 1927 Hol’s der Teufel to the latest designs, the ASW 28, ASG 29, ASH 30, ASH 31 and ASG 32. Thus the author succeeded in bringing back to life the early days of gliding in the first few decades of the last century by providing additional details such as, for example, the complete histories of the „Stadt Frankfurt“ or the „Luftkurort Poppenhausen“. Similarly, these additional details provide the reader with a better understanding of the signficance of the pre-war research sailplanes „OBS“ and „Seeadler“. The world-wide successes of Rudolf Kaiser’s designs, starting in the 1950ties, as well as the subsequent development of glass and carbon fibre sailplanes by Gerhard Waibel are also made clear to the reader. The comprehensive chapters with detailed and general views, diagrams and illustrations up to the very latest designs also provide information about design principles and construction layouts, thereby offering the pilot explanations of the sailplane’s handling characteristics.
Time and again you will also find in this book details and assessments of especially successful pilots with Schleicher sailplanes, such as Heinz Huth, Hans-Werner Grosse, Karl Striedieck, Terry Delore and Steve Fossett. The inclusion of details about unexpected world record flights such as by Helmut Sorg with a K 7 in South Africa, by Ernst Klüh with his ASK 14 in central Europe , by Tom Serkowski with an ASH 26 E in the USA and the modifications by the American Dick Butler on his Schleicher sailplanes, are small, valuable nuggets of information in the book.
With this new, expanded edition of its corporate history, the oldest, still active, world renowned sailplane manufacturer speaks to all aviation enthusiasts, but particularly to active sailplane pilots. It is a highly recommended book, and not only for the owners of the almost 3000 licensed Schleicher sailplanes and motor sailplanes in Germany alone.
3. corrected and expanded edition 2015
Landscape format 235 x 270 mm
376 Pages, 970 images, 396 in colour
Hard cover, bound with thread stitching