Designed by R.Kunz and M.Schempp, the SHK 17m, Open Class sailplane was developed in 1965 from the 15m Standard Austria/ SH-1, with V-tail surfaces 50 % larger and other improvements. It has a mass balanced all moving tailplane with aerodynamic trim tabs. Schempp-Hirth had built the Standard Austria under licence from March 1962 to 1965.
The SHK's 17m span (55ft 9.25in) wings are based on those of the Standard Austria, like them with an Eppler 266 laminar flow aerofoil section, and have been redesigned by the Akaflieg Darmstadt. They gave the SHK a performance that was among the best of the last generation of wooden sailplanes, enabling it to win several World and National championships. Like the Standard Austria, the SHK has a V-tail, but this is 50% larger than that of the earlier design and its fuselage is longer, with a roomier cockpit; the pilot's seat and rudder pedals are adjustable.
The SHK prototype, flown by Rolf Kuntz of Germany, took third place in the Open Class of the 1965 World Championships at South Cerney in England, and once in production the SHK sold steadily, between 40 and 50 a year being built; type certification was granted by the UK and USA as well as Germany.
In 1967 an improved model was introduced (most of the emphasis being directed toward increasing cockpit comfort) and a tail chute was made available. The SHK may have been the ultimate development of the conventional wooden sailplane before composite ships became widely available. The 1968 model SHK had a fully faired-in Plexiglas cockpit canopy. The two-piece shoulder wings have main spars of birch laminate covered with plywood and fabric; Schempp-Hirth air brakes are fitted and later production aircraft had a tail braking parachute. The tail unit itself consists of two all-moving tailplanes mass-balanced and fitted with trim tabs. The fuselage is mainly of wooden construction, the centre portion being a plywood monocoque structure with internal wooden stiffening, containing the retractable monowheel and the main wing attachments. The nose, cockpit section and tail cone are of glassfibre construction.
Structure: standard wood contrustion, except for molded fiberglass for the wing leading edge and the forward fuselage.
Span: 17m / 55 ft 9.25 in
Length: 6,32 m / 20 ft 3 in
Wing area: 14.68sq.m / 158.2 sqft
Aspect ratio: 20.2
Airfoil: Eppler 266
Empty weight: 260kg / 573 lb
Payload: 110kg / 243lb
Gross Weight: 370kg / 816lb
Wing Load: 25.2kg/sq.m / 5.2lb/sq.ft
Max speed: 124 mph (in smooth air)
Max aero-tow speed: 87 mph
Min sinking speed: 0.61 m /s / 1,97 ft/sec / 1.18 kt at 43.5 mph / 75 km/h
Best glide ratio: 38:1 at 56 mph
L/DMax: 39 87 kph / 47 kt / 54 mph
No. Built: 59