Schneider Grunau Baby

The Schneider Grunau Baby was a single-seat sailplane first built in Germany in 1931, with some 6,000 examples constructed in some 20 countries. It was relatively easy to build from plans, it flew well, and the aircraft was strong enough to handle mild aerobatics and the occasional hard landing. When the Baby first appeared, it was accepted wisdom that the pilot should feel as much unimpeded airflow as possible, to better sense rising and falling currents of air and temperature changes etc.

Grunau Baby
Grunau Baby III
Role Sailplane
Manufacturer Schneider, Slingsby, Elliotts of Newbury, Nord, NV Vliegtuigbouw, Laminação Nacional de Metais, (later Companhia Aeronáutica Paulista, Brazil)
Designer Edmund Schneider
Introduction 1931
Number built ca. 6000

It was designed by Edmund Schneider with the assistance of Wolf Hirth and Hugo Kromer as a smaller version of Schneider's ESG 31 of the previous year, incorporating an elliptical wing design based on work done by Akaflieg Darmstadt. It was named after Grunau, the town where Schneider's factory was located, now Jeżów Sudecki in Poland. The first 14 inner ribs were of the Göttingen 535 shape with the outer ribs gradually changing up to the last 22nd rib, having a bi-convex and symmetrical shape with a slight reduction in the angle of incidence. The tips and leading edges of the wings up to the main spar were covered with plywood. The tail unit was built of plywood. The intention was to create an aircraft suitable both for training and for cross-country soaring. Typical for its day, it was a high-wing braced monoplane with a fuselage of hexagonal cross-section and an open cockpit. The Baby was an instant success, and was enthusiastically promoted by gliding champion Wolf Hirth. An extensive redesign was undertaken in 1932 following the fatal crash of an unrelated Schneider design, which resulted in the Baby II. This version and the definitive Baby IIb that followed were adopted as standard sailplane trainers for the German Air Sports Association (later the National Socialist Flyers Corps).

During 1941, 30 GB gliders were built by Laminação Nacional de Metais, later Companhia Aeronáutica Paulista in Brazil, under the name "Alcatraz". Following World War II, series production restarted in Germany in 1956. The Baby was also built in France (as the Nord 1300) and the United Kingdom (as the Elliotts Baby EoN and the Slingsby T5 - Slingsby also used it as the basis for a number of their own designs). Edmund Schneider emigrated to Australia, where he developed the Baby design into his Baby 3 and Baby 4, which had enclosed cockpits.


ESG 31
The precursor to the Baby with larger less sophisticated wings
The initial version - an ESG31 with an improved wing based on work done by Akaflieg Darmstadt
Baby II
Baby IIa
Baby IIb
Baby III
Thirty aircraft licence-built in Brazil by Laminação Nacional de Metais, later called CAP Companhia Aeronáutica Paulista
Nord 1300
License production in France by Nord Aviation
Elliotts Baby EoN
License production in England by Elliotts of Newbury
Slingsby T5
License production in England by Slingsby Sailplanes
Baby 3
Postwar redesign, with an enclosed cockpit, by Edmund Schneider after he emigrated to Australia
Baby 4
Further improvements made for production in Australia
Baby V
A two-seat version using Baby III wings with a new tandem seat fabric covered steel tube fuselage
AB Flygplan Se-102
License production in Sweden for the Royal Swedish Air Force
Hawkridge Grunau Baby
licence-built Grunau Babys
TG-27 Grunau Baby
Grunau Babys impressed into the USAAC in 1942
IFIL-Reghin RG-1
Grunau Babys built in Romania under licence

Specifications (Baby IIb)

Data from The World's Sailplanes:Die Segelflugzeuge der Welt:Les Planeurs du Monde[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 6.09 m (20 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 13.57 m (44 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 14.2 m2 (153 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 13
  • Airfoil: Göttingen 535
  • Empty weight: 170 kg (375 lb) (equipped)
  • Max takeoff weight: 250 kg (551 lb)


  • Never exceed speed: 150 km/h (93 mph, 81 kn)
  • Aerotow speed: 90 km/h (55.9 mph; 48.6 kn)
  • Winch launch speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph; 43.2 kn)
  • Maximum glide ratio: 17 at 60 km/h (37.3 mph; 32.4 kn)
  • Rate of sink: 0.85 m/s (167 ft/min) at 55 km/h (34.2 mph; 29.7 kn)
  • Wing loading: 17.68 kg/m2 (3.62 lb/sq ft)

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era Hütter Hü 17 Related lists List of gliders


  1. Shenstone, B.S.; K.G. Wilkinson; Peter Brooks (1958). The World's Sailplanes:Die Segelflugzeuge der Welt:Les Planeurs dans Le Monde (in English, French, and German) (1st ed.). Zurich: Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol a Voile (OSTIV) and Schweizer Aero-Revue. pp. 95–98.

Further reading

  • Hardy, Michael (1982). Gliders and Sailplanes of the World. Shepperton: Ian Allan. pp. 50–51.
  • Coates, Andrew (1978). Jane's World Sailplanes and Motor Gliders. London: MacDonald and Jane's. p. 97.
  • Grunau Baby II B-2 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum - An extensive writeup of the history of the type
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