Designed by Rudolf Kaiser, the Ka-8 was derived from the Ka-6 series as a simple single-place sailplane with dive brakes using construction techniques similar to the Ka-7, and is basically a single-seater version of the two-seater Ka 7, simplified for amateur construction from kits. The structure is wood/ fabric wings and tail, steel-tube/ fabric fuselage. Emphasis was on rugged construction, good climbing ability in thermals and good handling characteristics.
The prototype Ka 8 made its first flight in November 1957 and in its original form the Ka 8 had a very small cockpit canopy, the second version had windows in the sides of the cockpit for improved visibility, and the third version, the Ka 8B, has a larger one-piece blown Plexiglas canopy under which the pilot sits.
The cantilever high wings are single-spar structures of pine and plywood, with a plywood leading edge torsion box and fabric covering aft of the spar; their forward sweep is 1°18' and dihedral is 3°. There are Schempp-Hirth air brakes in the upper and lower surfaces and the wooden ailerons are plywood covered. The cantilever tail unit is of similar construction to the wings, with ply-covered fixed surfaces and fabric-covered rudder and elevators, and a trim tab in the elevator is an optional fitting.
The fuselage is a welded steel tube structure, with fabric overing over spruce longerons and a glassfibre nose cone. There is a non-retractable and unsprung monowheel, with no brake, and a nose skid mounted on rubber blocks in front of it, plus a steel spur at the tail.
The Ka-8B, by far the most numerous variant, has a substantially larger canopy while the Ka-8C features a longer nose, larger main wheel located ahead to the center of gravity and deletion of the larger wooden nose skid resulting in a roomier cockpit.
Karl Striedeck of the U.S. made a 767.0 km / 476.6 miles ridge flight in a Ka-8B to win the world out and return in 1968.
A motor glider conversion of the Ka 8B was offered by LVD (the Flying Training School of the Detmold Aero Club) similar to their conversion of a Scheibe Bergfalke IV known as the BF IV-BIMO, in which a Lloyd LS-400 piston engine mounted in the fuselage drives a pair of small two blade pusher propellers rotating within cutouts in each wing near the trailing edge.
No. Built: 1100+ in three main versions
Schleicher Ka 8B
Span: 49 ft 2.5 in
Length: 23 ft 0 in
Height: 5 ft 1.75 in
Wing area: 152.3 sqft
Aspect ratio: 15.9
Empty weight: 419 lb
Max weight: 683 lb
Max speed: 124 mph (in smooth air)
Max aero-tow speed: 81 mph
Min sinking speed: 2.1 ft/sec at 37.5 mph
Best glide ratio: 27:1 at 45:5 mph