Schneider ES.52/II Kookaburra
After the war Edmund Schneider, one of the pioneer prewar German sailplane designers and co-creator and manufacturer of the Grunau Baby trainer, was invited by the Gliding Federation of Australia to set up a sailplane factory in that country, and so he transferred his operations there, Edmund Schneider Pty Ltd being duly formed as a private venture at Parafield airport near Adelaide, South Australia. Its first design here was the Kangaroo two-seater, which first flew in 1953, and this was followed by an improved version of the Baby, the Grunau Baby 4, the Nymph and Kingfisher, and the ES 52 Kookaburra two-seater side-by-side trainer, which was used by most of the Australian gliding clubs and is semi-aerobatic. Of conventional wooden construction, the ES 52 Kookaburra first flew in prototype form on 20 June 1954, and four Mk Is, eleven Mk IIs and eight Mk IIIs were built. The ES 52B Kookabura IV, which first flew in 1959, featured an increased wing span of 48ft 9in, a nose wheel in place of the rubber-sprung wooden nose skid ahead of the monowheel, a brake for the monowheel and an enlarged cockpit.
By early 1966 a total of 23 Mk IVs had been built, and production ceased when Schneider decided to build the Schleicher Ka 7 two seater under licence. The Mk III's cantilever high-set one-piece wing is a single-spar wooden structure with a D-section plywood leading edge and fabric covering; there are wooden scissor-type air brakes above and below each wing, and the sealed-gap ailerons are fabric-covered. The fuselage is a plywood-covered semi-monocoque made up of wooden frames and stringers, and there is a non-retractable unsprung monowheel, without a brake on the Mks I-III, these versions having the nose skid and the Mk IV a nose wheel; all Marks have a tailskid. The tail unit is a fabric-covered wooden structure, with a trim tab in the port elevator. The one-piece Perspex canopy hinges rearwards to open, and the two pilots sit in slightly staggered side-by-side seats; there is also a window on each side under the leading edge wing root to improve visibility. Extra instrumentation can be fitted if the customer so desires.
Span: 38ft 5in
Length: 25ft 11 in
Height: 4ft 6.5 in
Wing area: 161.5sqft
Aspect ratio: 9.13
Empty weight: 484lb
Max weight: 865lb
Max speed: 136mph (in smooth air)
Max aero-tow speed: 70mph
Min sinking speed: 3.36ft/sec at 45mph
Best glide ratio: 20:1 at 50 mph