U.S. Vintage Glider Nationals

Story by Simine and Jim Short

Photos by Mark Nankavil

The Third U.S. Vintage Nationals officially began in Lawrenceville, Illinois on Monday, June 13th and continues through Sunday, June 19th.

The first weekend at Lawrenceville (prior to the meet) included two absolutely beautiful summer days; several pilots arrived with their gliders and experienced moderate soaring conditions above this inviting agrarian part of southern Illinois.

Completely restored Schweizer 2-22E from Pennsylvania (click to enlarge)

On Monday, the first official day of the meet, two pilots, Neal Pfeiffer flying his Ka-6BR and Jon Slack in the Wabash Valley Soaring Club’s KA-6E finished the task (a triangle to Ed-Air, Mtt. Carmel and return) while Mary Cowie “cruised” over the countryside for 4 hours 10 minutes in her ASK-18. Bob Hurni, visiting with his vintage 1-26 (number 190) flew the first two legs of the task to lead the the 1-26 contingent. Others arrived, rigged and became familiar with the area.

Tuesday’s rain put a damper on the aviating, but not on “hangar flying,” with several new gliders (Herb Robbins’ 1-23H from California, Dean Kramer’s 2-22E from Pennsylvania and Jerry Wenger’s Spalinger S-18, Moswey III and Rhönbussard from Wyoming) arriving with their pilots and crew. More Schweizer 1-26 gliders arrived, adding to the colorful assembly in the various hangars of the Mid-American Air Center. A group discussion on “Importing Used and Vintage Gliders” kept the afternoon activity moving.

Day 3: Wednesday morning’s early thunderstorms were followed by late morning clearing. This was perfect planning by the organizers, as the attending pilots had a chance to listen to a fascinating morning talk on restoring Morelli gliders. The speakers were Bill Jokerst from Missouri and Juan Jimenez from Massachusetts, both sharing their experiences acquiring and restoring their respective M100s (an Italian 1960’s design by Piero Morelli). The task in the afternoon was a duration flight, as most pilots wanted to stay near the airport boundary due to the weather. Again Neal Pfeiffer and Jon Slack were the top pilots.

Day 4: Thursday was a perfect summer day, albeit with weak conditions and an afternoon rain shower just before barbecue time. Jeff Byard from California headed a well-attended round-table discussion on what to look for when preparing for an annual inspection, particularly on older gliders. Task for the day was any leg of the Silver C badge: duration, altitude or distance.

Day 5: Friday morning was the General Membership meeting of the Vintage Sailplane Association followed by another active flying day that was again cut short by heavy thunderstorms in the mid-afternoon.

Day 6: Saturday morning will feature an educational talk on inspecting and maintaining older wooden Schleicher gliders by Harry Clayton and Neal Pfeiffer from Wichita, KS. At noon (weather permitting) there will be the souvenir mail-carrying glider flight followed by another rasonable soaring day.

Anyone interested in venturing out to Lawrenceville, feel free to join us. The weather is supposed to improve towards the weekend!

See you then!

Spalinger S18 from Wyoming (click to enlarge)

Mary Cowie

John Hardy

Several vintage gliders enroute to the flight line (click to enlarge)

Bob Hurni

Tony and Tom Bonser (son & father from Ohio) get their 1950 Schweizer 1-23 ready (click to enlarge)

  4 comments for “U.S. Vintage Glider Nationals

  1. June 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks for the report! Wish I was there. Will just have to read all about it and hear all about it at the Wichita meet in September. By the way the pictured labeled Ka-6E is actually Mary Cowie's ASK-18.

    • June 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm


      Thanks for the correction regarding Mary's ASK-18. Caption changed!


  2. Regis Henin
    January 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I am a French glider pilot, but also a WWII USAAF collector.
    I have the project to find a TG-3 trainer glider from WWII.
    Do you have any info about such glider for sale in the States?
    What’s the range of price for such a glider?
    Thanks for infos

    Regis Henin

    Givet France

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