Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co

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Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co
Trading name Schleicher
Type Private
Founded 1926
Headquarters Poppenhausen, near Fulda, Germany
Products Sailplanes and Gliders

Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co is a major manufacturer of sailplanes located in Poppenhausen, near Fulda in Germany.

It is also the oldest sailplane manufacturer in the world.

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1926 by Alexander Schleicher using money that he had won as a pilot in a gliding competition. It grew quickly in size and fame, producing many notable designs including the Anfänger ("Beginner"), Zögling ("Student"), Professor, Mannheim, and the Stadt Frankfurt (City of Frankfurt).

Meanwhile, the aircraft produced under contract by the company continued to grow in size and complexity, reaching their pinnacle with the DFS Rhönadler (Rhön eagle) and DFS Rhönbussard (Rhön buzzard) designed by Hans Jacobs, and a huge, three-seat experimental glider built from a design by Alexander Lippisch for the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS - German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight).

Production during WW2[edit]

By the time war broke out in Europe (1939), Schleicher was already employing hundreds of workers in what was a major enterprise.

During World War II, the factory was used to maintain and repair training gliders for the Hitler Youth, who received flight training at the Wasserkuppe.

At the end of the war (1945), aviation activities were suspended in allied-occupied Germany, and Alexander Schleicher returned to his roots, using his factory to build furniture until the restrictions were lifted in 1951, and the company could build sailplanes once more.

Gliders[edit]

The first notable post-war designs were made by Rudolf Kaiser and include:

The modern era of using fiberglass began with single seat gliders designed by Gerhard Waibel. His designs are:

  • ASW 12 (Open Class)
  • ASW 15 (Standard Class)
  • ASW 17 (Open Class)
  • ASW 19 (Standard Class)
  • ASW 20 (15 metre Class, some with tip extensions)
  • ASW 22 (Open Class)
  • ASW 24 (Standard Class)
  • ASW 27 (15 metre Class)
  • ASW 28 (Standard Class, but some also with tips for 18 metres)
A Schleicher ASH 25.

Designers Martin Heide and Michael Greiner have produced:

  • ASH 25 (Two seat Open Class)
  • ASH 26 (18 metre Class, often motorised)
  • ASG 29 (15 metre Class and 18 metre Class)
  • ASH 30 Mi (Two seat Open Class, motorised, replacing ASH 25)
  • ASH 31 (Open class and 18 metre class, replacing ASH 26)
  • ASG 32 (Two Seater Class)

External links[edit]