Glaser-Dirks DG-500

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Glaser-Dirks DG-505
Role Two Seater Class sailplane
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Glaser-Dirks
First flight 19 March 1987

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. It first flew in 1987.


The glider is a trainer with an 18-metre wingspan or a high-performance glider with 20 or 22 m span. There are also trailing edge flaps with the exception of the Trainer and Orion variants. The 20m version also has winglets. The fuselage has a single wheel main landing gear which 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.

Past altitude record[edit]

The DG-500 once held the all-time altitude record for manned gliders, at 15,460 m (50,720 ft), set on 29 August 2006 by Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson, breaking the previous record by 1,713 ft (522 m).[2] 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.[3] The glider is on display at the Seattle Museum of Flight.[4] A new altitude record of 52,172 ft (15,902 m)[5] was set by the Windward Performance Perlan II on September 3, 2017.


Initial production with 18 m (59 ft) span wings.
Aerobatic version
high performance sailplane with 22 m (72 ft) span wings
Motorglider version of the DG-500, powered by a retractable pylon mounted 44.7 kW (59.9 hp) Rotax 535C engine
DG-500T Elan Trainer
18 m (59 ft) span wings, fixed undercarriage, no flaps, full controls in both cockpits.[6]
improved DG-500
DG-505 Orion
Production version built in Slovenia
Motorglider version of the DG-505 with a retractable Solo 2625-02 47 kW (63 hp) engine

Specifications (Elan Trainer)[edit]

Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89,[6][7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 8.66 m (28 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 18 m (59 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)
  • Wing area: 16.6 m2 (179 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 19.52
  • Airfoil: root:Wortmann FX-73-K-170/20; tip:FX-73-K-170/22
  • Empty weight: 390 kg (860 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 630 kg (1,389 lb)


  • Stall speed: 65 km/h (40 mph, 35 kn) at 470 kg (1,040 lb)
  • Never exceed speed: 270 km/h (170 mph, 150 kn) in smooth air
197 km/h (106 kn; 122 mph) in rough air
197 km/h (106 kn; 122 mph) on aero-tow
140 km/h (76 kn; 87 mph) on winch launch
  • g limits: +5.3 - 2.65
  • Maximum glide ratio: 40 at 109 km/h (59 kn; 68 mph)
  • Wing loading: 37.95 kg/m2 (7.77 lb/sq ft)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. ^ First flight of the DG-500M was in March 1987.
  2. ^ "Fai Record File". Archived from the original on 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  3. ^ "Perlan Project web site". Archived from the original on 4 May 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  4. ^ "DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Perlan Glider". Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Airbus Perlan Mission II - World Record Claim Sept 3, 2017 | Perlan Project".
  6. ^ a b John W.R. Taylor, ed. (1988). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89. London: Jane's Information Group. pp. 620–621. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.
  7. ^ "DG Flugzeugbau DG-500". Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015.

External links[edit]