Summer 2014 Issue of VSA’s “Bungee Cord”

HappyBirthday VSA

The Summer 2014 issue of Bungee Cord is distributed to Vintage Sailplane Association (VSA) members and we thought the rest of the gliding and soaring community should know about this special 40-page issue, published in conjunction with the VSA’s 40th anniversary.

2014 Summer BC Back2014 Summer BC Front

Summer 2014 Bungee Cord: Table of Contents

The editorial by Jim Short discusses “Fine Vintage Years.” As the VSA is run by volunteers and as this is the 40th anniversary issue, we included the names of past VSA Presidents, Treasurers, Secretaries and Bungee Cord Editors as a Thank You. Without their dedication, VSA would not be where it is today.

Here are features of the current issue:

  • Mixture of VSA News and Updates
  • VSA Newsletter Makes Debut (reprinted below);
  • My First Soaring Contest by Denny Harmon;
  • One Thousand Zulu Goes for the Gold by Karl Striedieck;
  • The Online Contest “Oldtimers” Section by Bruce Friesen;
  • The Waterman “Flyer” II by Doug Fronius;
  • Trailer Talk by Ridge Moreland;
  • The Flying Gehrleins
  • The Vintage & Classic Fleet of 2014: a six-page mini photo album showing gliders and sailplanes of our members, followed by a glider listing of the National Soaring Museum, Elmira, NY, the Southwest Soaring Museum, Moriarty, NM, the Udvar-Hazy Center and the Garber Storage Facility in the Washington, DC area, and the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, OR.
  • The Rigid Midget progress by Dan Rihn;
  • A Brand-New Vintage Glider: The BG-6 by Ross Briegleb;
  • Rejuvenating a Libelle 301 by Jim Croce;
  • Book Reviews: Schulgleiter 38 authored by Heike Umbach, Only the wing by Russell E. Lee, The Enigma of the Airfoil by David Bloor, Weather Flying by Rob Buck, Asiago 1924 by Vincenzo Pedrielli, and Quest for Flight by Chris Harwood and Gary Fogel.
  • The Birth of the LK by Jack Laister
  • Glider Flying in Saint Louis in 1904 by Simine Short.

1975 BunbeeThis article was extracted from the March 1975 issue of Bungee Cord, written by the first editor of VSA’s newsletter and its first president, Geoff Steele.


BUNGEE CORD, a new quarterly “tie that binds” for members and friends of the Vintage Sailplane Association of the United States, makes its debut with this issue.

1974 12 Soaring VSA-FoundingBC will be a vehicle of communication, designed to inform us all of upcoming events, to spread the news about members’ pet projects, keep us up-to-date on regulations, recall interesting flight experiences which may themselves someday appear in the history books, and to trade information of value about historic aircraft and various restoration techniques. A separate classified section will appear when appropriate for those seeking or selling ships or parts. Comments and contributions for “the next issue” always are welcome. Address correspondence to: Editor, BUNGEE CORD; c/o the National Soaring Museum; R.D. 1, Harris Hill; Elmira, New York 14903.


Participants in the first Vintage Sailplane Regatta seemed generally pleased with the weekend and the chance to share some flying, as well as hangar talk.  The Harris Hill Soaring Corp. and Chemung County graciously provided their facilities. Paul and Ginny Schweizer brought with them the now-famous Schweizer hospitality, the staff of the National Soaring Museum worked like beavers behind the scenes making all the arrangements, and the antique car clubbers active in the Elmira area added authenticity to the historical air of the event by exhibiting some magnificently restored autos.

QuoteFor nostalgia freaks, it was seventh heaven! Geoff Steele, new owner of the only production-built Schweizer 1-20 (purchased from Herschel Smith in Milford, CT, the previous October) and sudden “volunteer” first president of the Vintage Sailplane Association, sent the following letter to Doug Lamont, editor of SOARING Magazine, shortly after the event:

What is likely to be one of the most exciting sub-movements within the SSA got underway the weekend of August 24-25 at Harris Hill in Elmira as more than a score of pilots and crewpersons formed the fledgling Vintage Sailplane Association during the first antique glider meet sponsored by the National Soaring Museum.

1980 R3-78 FlatTop LKSeven ships from several eastern states and Canada were present, including a lovely sky-blue Kirby Gull owned by Tommy Smith of Clinton, NY. Other gliders included Jan Scott’s impressive Wolf from Lovettsville, Va., a Scheibe Mü13, owned by Peter Masak of Scarborough, Ontario, and two LK-10s owned by Peter Eckard and Stan Schuyler.

97Ray Young, who is doing a story for SOARING on the event, and Gus Scheurer, both of the Aeroclub Albatross, co-flew a beautifully finished Schweizer 1-19, capturing the spot landing award in the process.

1974 Wolf JanScottWith almost perfect weather (300 fpm+ on both days), there was an exciting and pervasive air of nostalgia as these old ships lined up in front of several antique autos from the Elmira area. An old yellow-winged primary glider demonstrated graphically just how far the soaring movement has come when it was placed wingtip-to-wingtip with Roy McMaster’s new Cirrus!

1974 Mu13Absent from the event was the usual nervous atmosphere and pressure of the stiff, cross-country supership competition. Things were relaxed and friendly. Everyone was hoping that each pilot and ship would be able to stay aloft just a little longer, rather than wishing for a sky full of sink for his fellow competitors.

Ridge soaring and thermaling with the Gull was a magnificent experience like taking six giant steps backward in time when being a glider pilot really meant something. With a little historical imagination, one more trip across the ridge brought me face-to-face with Dick DuPont and the Albatross.

Jan Scott and his Wolf captured the spirit of the weekend with one magnificent flight and exemplified what this new movement can mean for SSA. It’s a real bridge between the atmosphere of the standard and open class competitors and the Sunday afternoon sailwingers who skysurf their ultra-lights down grassy slopes all across the country. It’s also a bridge with the past that can boost an appreciation for soaring’s heritage in this country, giving added worth to the Soaring Museum and its purpose and meaning in the process.

In short, this new wave of “antiquing” is downright FUN! And ... it’s really inexpensive, since many “older” ships are available at nominal cost.

This is an important advantage to those of us frozen out of more expensive metal and glass ships because of two-figure inflation and growing families.

If the attitude of those present at this meet is any indication, this will be a strong new movement among young and older SSAers alike. There must be scores of members nationwide who either have older gliders, or who are interested in soaring history. The new Vintage Sailplane Association would certainly benefit from this interest and talent.

Come and join in! Let us know about other older gliders out there!

Liam English passed the hat at Elmira and will be happy to accept $5 from those wishing to become “charter” members of the group. Why not add an additional $5 contribution to the National Soaring Museum, too; it’s a very worthy cause and the donation is tax-deductible. Dues (and any donations to the Museum fund) can be sent to: The Vintage Sailplane Association, c/o The National Soaring Museum; R.D. 1, Harris Hill; Elmira, New York 14903.

Put on that leather helmet, goggles, puttees and lace boots and let’s return to those thrilling days of yesteryear out by the winch and the bungee cord...

Geoff Steele

(VSAs first President and first Bungee Cord Editor. Eds)

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Joining the Vintage Sailplane Association

If you’re interested in vintage or classic sailplanes and haven’t joined the VSA, please consider doing so. It’s quite easy to do; go to the VSA membership page and join using PayPal or a credit card. Or if you prefer to pay with a check, just download the membership application and mail the completed application with your check to the treasurer. VSA membership includes a subscription to Bungee Cord. Please note that when you join just after an issue has been published, it might be another three months before you receive your first issue.

VSA dues are also used to support the VSA awards, which encourage and reward the restoration of vintage gliders.

And just a reminder, a Vintage Sailplane is any glider of a type first flown prior to 1958, or a more recently built glider with appearance, performance and construction characteristics similar to gliders built before 1958. A Classic Sailplane is any glider of a type first flown prior to 1975, but not categorized as a Vintage Sailplane.