Top 20 Reasons to Fly the Schweizer 1-26

1-26-on-Approach-CroppedThe Schweizer 1-26 is the best cross-country glider ever built.

This is a bold statement indeed, begging the question: what makes it so good? The Germans have some pretty nifty fiberglass birds taking to the skies, and there are so many well-known, friendly-handling sailplanes out there that are acclaimed for their perfection as XC gliders. So, what sets the 1-26 apart? What makes it so perfect?

Everyone has their own reason to fly the 1-26, but the underlying motivation lies in img2the joy that it brings. It is competitive, simple, docile, safe, and inexpensive—the perfect platform in which to go explore the magic of soaring.

Over the years, 1-26’ers have racked up a lot of reasons why we love our little bird. Over the next couple months, I attempt to compile why we fly the 1-26, and most importantly, why YOU should join us.



  1. Retrieves are never very long. Toby Wright
  2. It doesn’t break my wallet. Joe Bowen
  3. I prefer to spend most of my flight clawing for altitude instead of cruising. David Edgemon
  4. I like to see what I’m flying over, and sometimes I get to see it VERY CLOSE. Ray Swartz
  5. There is a good chance your crew can catch your wingtip when you land. Harry Baldwin
  6. The 1-26 operates within the parameters of a balanced budget. Newt Gingrich
  7. When I learn to fly the 1-26 correctly, then I will try something else. Del Blomquist
  8. 1-26’ers never have to worry if they are being out-performed by the latest sailplane imported from Europe. Bob Hurni
  9. The picture of 17 identical aircraft in the same thermal that I have in my office. My power flying friends walk away shaking their heads. Kevin Renshaw
  10. The 1-26 Association! Kevin Ford
  11. The green looks on the high performance pilot’s face when a 1-26 pilot beats him. Jim Hard
  12. Don’t have to fool around with those goofy gear handles. Colton Hines
  13. Don’t have to take it out of the box every time I want to fly. Garry Dickson
  14. That great ventilation. Ray Swartz
  15. The good news: You can put the 1-26 down anywhere. The bad news: you’ll get lots of practice doing it. Rick Gillock
  16. 1-26 wings provide us with a nice cozy place to build our nests. Mickie and Minnie Mouse
  17. I can get away with using a cheap marine GPS that craps out at 99 mph. Del Blomquist
  18. You can land a 1-26 in your back yard, or – if you live in Texas, your front yard. Bob Hurni
  19. The confidence in knowing that if there is lift out there, your 1-26 will be able to climb out of whatever hole you got yourself into. Dan Mockler
  20. It flies itself (I only touch the controls in an emergency). Carl Bergner


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  2 comments for “Top 20 Reasons to Fly the Schweizer 1-26

  1. May 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    the arguments remind me of a friend who after a rowing competition he finished last claimed to be the best rower because he could bear rowing for the longest time.

    • Dix
      May 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      These reasons seem to result from a similar mental attitude like “what? a traffic jam!? no, there is no other car in front of me…”

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