Baird, Jerome E. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 47, Number 6 (March 1943)
Salmi, Reino J.
Gliders for victory, pp. 8-9
A Weapon for War and a Tool for Peace... . Gliders For VictorMj f4 Renaa a. Salms, n'44 In their successful invasion of Crete, the German army demonstrated to the world a new technique in modern military invasion. Scores of large troop carrying gliders brought men and materials to the island which was soon it? the hands of the invaders. This was not the first time, however, that the Germans had benefited from the use of gliders. The formidable Luftwaffe had been made possible by the large number of German youths who had been taught the fundamentals of flying in small sport gliders. The United States has by no means been asleep in the development of a glider force for its army. Several months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lt. Gen. H. H. Arnold, commander of the U. S. Army Air Forces, announced that we would build a glider force second to none. We are now well under way in the mass produc- tion of these motorless craft for our armed forces. The leading manufacturer of gliders in the United States is the Laister-Kauffmann Aircraft corporation. It began a year and a halt ago when Murray Whitehead and John R. Kauffman, who were trying to speed up the development of a light plane designed by Whitehead, met Jack Laister, who had been building gliders since he was fifteen and now had an invitation from the Army Air Corps to submit a design for a two place training glider. The company, which resulted from their meeting, has al- ready outgrown one plant and has taken over a large arena which had formerly held flower exhibits, dog shows and such. Some of the parts of the small craft are sub-contracted, but the main parts, the wings and fuselage, are made in the plant. The fuselage frames are made from lengths of steel tubing which is fashioned into small sub-assemblies, which are welded into larger assemblies until the fuselage is finally done. The wings and tail surfaces are made mainly of three-ply spruce plywood, which is shaped into hundreds of rigid parts that make up the wing and tail assemblies. The hundreds of parts that make up the Laister-Kauff- man glider are made as carefully as those of the finest pursuit plane. The glider is fabric covered except for the leading edge of the wing which is covered with plywood. The main parts of the glider are assembled one by one until the control cables; wing, elevator and rudder "tabs", small control surfaces used to trim the ship in flight; wing and tail running lights; radio; control instruments; seats; landing wheel (just one) and plastic cockpit hood are finally in place. The completed glider weighs just 450 pounds of which only 150 pounds is steel tubing. Testing The small ships are given a rigorous test by the chief pilot. It is towed to an altitude of 4000 feet by a tow plane, and the glider pilot then cuts loose. Test maneu- vers include spins, stalls, dives, sharp banks and side slips. When the glider is picked up by the tow plane, an ingenius tow reel takes up the shock. When the glider has passed its final inspection, it is loaded onto its custom built trailer ready for delivery. The wing halves and horizontal tail surfaces are remov- able so that the glider takes very little space when trans- ported or stored. A trained crew is capable of removing the glider from the trailer, assembling the wings, fuselage Fig. 1. Taking off into the wind at the start of a training flight. THE WISCONSIN ENGINEER Page 8
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