Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Training the Luftwaffe in peacetime

During the Spanish Civil War and World War Two, the Luftwaffe was the most feared air force in the world, but it came from very humble beginnings. After the Germans lost World War One, the Treaty of Versailles made them give up their air force. The rest of Europe didn't want any more Red Barons flying around!

Once Hitler came to power in 1933 he set about rebuilding Germany's military might. He wanted a strong air force, but couldn't have any planes and in the early years he was not yet powerful enough to defy the rest of Europe. So he ordered a fleet of these gliders to train his pilots.
It's called the Aisa/Schneider SG-38 Schulgleiter ("training glider") and it trained a whole generation of German pilots on the basics of flight. They were considered sports equipment and therefore didn't fall under the ban of the Treaty of Versailles. This was a common trick of the early Third Reich, which had lots of "sports clubs" and "sports equipment" to train its young men for the next round of slaughter and ruin.
Still, it's a pretty cool glider, even if it was used for bad purposes. It would take a fair amount of guts to go aloft in one of these! For those techies out there, it's 6.28 meters long, 2.43 meters high, and has a wingspan of 10.41 meters. It weighs 95.12 kilos empty. Maximum safe speed is 30 km/hr but one brave pilot got it up to 110 km/hr. The sign didn't say who that was but I'm betting he gave the Royal Air Force a bit of trouble.

These photos were taken at the Air Museum in Madrid, Spain. I've already posted some other photos from the Museo del Aire and will be posting every day this week, so tune in for some cool aircraft.

Tomorrow: The strange little airplane that became a movie star!

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