Thursday 28 September 2023

Historic Weihe Sailplane ZK-GAE at Ashburton Aviation Museum

When I was at Ashburton for he SAANZ flyin back in April, I was interested to have a look around the Ashburton Aviation Museum which has some really interesting aircraft.  One of them is the Weihe Sailplane ZK-GAE:

The Weihe sailplane was designed in Germany by Hans Jacobs in 1937-38 and had an 18 metre wingspan which would have been remarkable for the time.  It was the pre-eminent sailplane for its time and for well into the 1950s,  It won the world gliding championships in 1948 and 1950.  Initially it was produced by Deutche Forchangstalt fur Segelflug (DFS) being the German Institute for Soaring Flight, but later models were built by Jacobs-Schweyer and I understand that ZK-GAE (c/n 535) was one of those.  It was rebuilt by Slingsby after WW 2 and flew in England.

It was shipped to New Zealand in 1952 for Dick Georgeson of Christchurch and then went to Philip Wills who flew it to a height of 30,400 feet in wave over the McKenzie Basin in 1958.  You can see more of its history in the above photo by clicking it twice to enlarge.  It is displayed at Ashburton minus its outer wings.

A very interesting example of our gliding history and thanks to the Ashburton Aviation Museum for rescuing it to its display condition.

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