The Schneider Grunau Baby (named for the town where Schneider's factory was located - now Jeżów Sudecki in Poland) was a single-seat sailplane first built in Germany in 1931, with some 6,000 examples constructed in some 20 countries. It was relatively easy to build from plans, it flew well, and the aircraft was strong enough to handle mild aerobatics and the occasional hard landing. When the Baby first appeared, it was accepted wisdom that the pilot should feel as much unimpeded airflow as possible, the better to sense rising and falling currents of air, temperature changes and the like.
Grunau Baby III from the Wasserkuppe Museum at the 2009 Munich Oktoberfest
It was designed by Edmund Schneider with the assistance of Wolf Hirth and Hugo Kromer as a smaller version of his ESG 31 of the previous year, incorporating a new elliptical wing design based on work done by Akaflieg Darmstadt. The first 14 inner ribs are of the Gotinngen 535 shape with the outer ribs gradually changing up to the last 22nd rib having a bi-convex and symmetrical shape with a slight reduction in the angle of incidence. The tips and leading edges of the wings up to the main spar are covered with plywood. The tail unit is built of plywood. The intention was to create an aircraft suitable both for training and for cross-country soaring. Typical for its day, it was a high-wing braced monoplane with a fuselage of hexagonal cross-section and an open cockpit. The Baby was an instant success, and was enthusiastically promoted by gliding champion Wolf Hirth. An extensive redesign followed in 1932 following the fatal crash of an unrelated Schneider design, resulting in the Baby II. This version and the definitive Baby IIb that followed it were adopted as a standard sailplane trainer for the German Air Sports Association (later the National Socialist Flyers Corps).
During 1941, 30 GB gliders were built by Laminação Nacional de Metais, later Companhia Aeronáutica Paulista in Brazil, under the name "Alcatraz". Following World War II, the Baby was built in France (as the Nord 1300) and the United Kingdom (as the Elliotts Baby EoN and the Slingsby T5 - Slingsby also used it as the basis for a number of their own designs). Edmund Schneider emigrated to Australia, where he developed the Baby design into his Baby 3 and Baby 4, which had enclosed cockpits.
^Shenstone, B.S.; K.G. Wilkinson & Peter Brooks (1958). The World's Sailplanes:Die Segelflugzeuge der Welt:Les Planeurs dans Le Monde (in Primarily English with French and German) (1st ed.). Zurich: Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol a Voile (OSTIV) and Schweizer Aero-Revue. pp. 95–98.
Shenstone, B.S.; K.G. Wilkinson & Peter Brooks (1958). The World's Sailplanes:Die Segelflugzeuge der Welt:Les Planeurs dans Le Monde (in Primarily English with French and German) (1st ed.). Zurich: Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol a Voile (OSTIV) and Schweizer Aero-Revue. pp. 95–98.