Glaser-Dirks DG-500

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DG505 Ridge.jpg
A DG-505 ridge soaring in Pennsylvania U.S.A.
Role Two Seater Class sailplane
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Glaser-Dirks

The Glaser-Dirks DG-500, and later the DG-505, is a two-seat glider of glass-reinforced plastic and carbon fiber reinforced plastic construction, manufactured in the DG Flugzeugbau GmbH in Bruchsal, Germany.


The glider is a trainer with an 18 metre wingspan or a high-performance glider with 20 or 22 m span. The 20 and 22-metre versions also have winglets. The fuselage is the same in all versions, with the exception of the additional control connections for the wing flaps in the 22-metre version. The single wheel main landing gear on both versions retracts into the lower fuselage.

The DG-500/18 is mainly intended for flight training, and is fully aerobatic with +7/-5 g rating. There is also a motorglider version, the DG-500M.[1] The DG-500/22 can carry up to 160 kg of water ballast which is not possible on the trainer version. Since 2004, the latest version of the DG-500 has been built as the "DG-505 Orion" in Slovenia.

Altitude record[edit]

The DG-500 holds the all-time altitude record for manned gliders, at 15,460 m (50,720 ft), on 30 August 2006 by Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson, breaking the previous record by 1,713 ft (522 m). It was a standard DG-500M but the engine had been removed and replaced with liquid oxygen tanks. Additional instruments were installed powered by non-rechargeable batteries. The canopy had double-wall glazing and there was a drogue parachute for an emergency descent from high altitude. Pressure suits were worn.[2] The glider is on display at the Seattle Museum of Flight.[3] The program's second effort at high-altitude gliding is under development with an all new design, the Windward Performance Perlan II.


Initial production
Aerobatic version
with 22m span wings
Motorglider version of the DG-500
improved DG-500
DG-505 Orion
Production version built in Slovenia
Motorglider version of the DG-505

Specifications (18-metre wings)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 1 passenger/ pilot/ instructor
  • Length: 8.66 m (28 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 17.20 m (56.43 ft in)
  • Empty weight: 380 kg (838 lb)
  • Gross weight: 615 kg (1,356 lb)


  • Maximum speed: 270 km/h (168 mph)
  • Maximum glide ratio: 39.4
  • Rate of sink: 0.58 m/s (114.17 ft/min)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ First flight of the DG-500M was in March 1987.
  2. ^ "Perlan Project web site". Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Perlan Glider". Retrieved 15 November 2013.