Waco Primary Glider

Waco Primary Glider

     

The Waco Aircraft Company announced the Waco Primary Glider in 1930. The firm planned to sell these gliders and capitalize on America's newfound enthusiasm for the sport of gliding and soaring. A flight in excess of four hours by the German pilot, Peter Hesselbach, near the beach at Cape Cod in 1928 had ignited a feverish interest in motorless flight.

Waco designers created a glider of very conventional design and construction except for one notable feature-they made the open, truss-frame fuselage from welded steel tubes rather than wood. Spruce wood parts formed the wing and tail, and fabric covered both of these assemblies. Waco offered to ship the aircraft complete, but disassembled, to anyone willing to pay $385. A bungee cord, auto, winch, or aircraft could launch the glider, and once airborne, a pilot could expect the machine to take off and touch down at 32 kph (20 mph) and to glide 4.2 m (14 ft) horizontally for every 0.3 m (1 ft) of altitude lost. The airspeed could not exceed a maximum of 105 kph (65 mph).

American enthusiasts bought about 300 Waco Primaries before a high accident rate among novice glider pilots forced the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Clarence D. Young, to make sweeping changes in the regulatory framework governing gliding operations and glider pilots, and pilots of powered aircraft used to tow gliders aloft. By 1931, the fad had passed and projected sales failed to occur.

Gift of Robert Rindler, Sr.

Physical Description:
Wood and fabric; 1922 glider; silver, simple construction; primary.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Waco

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Wingspan: 11.0 m (36 ft)
Length: 6.4 m (21 ft)
Height: 3.0 m (10 ft)
Weights: Empty, 101 kg (225 lb)
Gross, 203 kg (450 lb)

The Waco Aircraft Company announced the Waco Primary Glider in 1930. The firm planned to sell these gliders and capitalize on America's newfound enthusiasm for the sport of gliding and soaring. A flight by the German pilot, Peter Hesselbach, near the beach at Cape Cod in 1928 had ignited a feverish interest in motorless flight. Manning the controls of a Darmstadt D-17 sailplane, Hesselbach had plied the salty air above the dunes for more than four hours and thrilled and amazed a crowd gathered below him.

Waco designers created a glider of very conventional design and construction except for one notable feature-they made the open, truss-frame fuselage from welded steel tubes rather than wood. Spruce wood parts formed the wing and tail, and fabric covered both of these assemblies. A combination of external flying wires and wires built inside the wings added strength to the airframe. The landing gear of most Waco Primary Gliders consisted of a curved main skid made from Hickory wood and fixed to the bottom of the fuselage, plus smaller skids made of welded steel tubes and fastened to each wingtip. A single small strut with a rubber tire and wheel sometimes complemented the main skid. The wheel allowed ground handlers to more easily maneuver the unwieldy glider. Waco offered to ship the aircraft complete, but disassembled, to anyone willing to pay $385, and the aircraft would arrive ready for assembly and rigging. A bungee cord, auto, winch, or aircraft could launch the glider, and once airborne, a pilot could expect the machine to take off and touch down at 32 km/h (20 mph) and to glide 4.2 m (14 ft) horizontally for every 0.3 m (1 ft) of altitude lost. The airspeed could not exceed a maximum of 105 km/h (65 mph).

Waco management promoted the airplane by publishing brochures that spoke glowingly of both the ease and excitement of flying gliders:

"For real thrills and keen fun, gliding has it all over ski-jumping or surf-riding or similar sports. That's why there is such keen interest in it-why Young America and his Dad both are getting all excited about it. Gliding has become quite the thing to do….Taking it gradually and by easy stages, you can soon be going aloft 500 feet or more to circle around and make precision landings with the best of them. You get everything [from the flying experience] … the thrill of flying… the "feel" of the controls… Get your group together, form a Glider club…divide the cost of the Glider…and you're all set! Get into the air! It's great!"

American enthusiasts bought about 300 Waco Primaries before a high accident rate among novice glider pilots forced the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Clarence D. Young, to make sweeping changes in the regulatory framework governing gliding operations and glider pilots, and pilots of powered aircraft used to tow gliders aloft. By 1931, the fad had passed and projected sales failed to occur. Robert Rindler, Jr., of Greenville, Ohio, donated his Waco Primary Glider to the National Air and Space Museum in 1968.

The Waco Aircraft Company announced the Waco Primary Glider in 1930. The firm planned to sell these gliders and capitalize on America's newfound enthusiasm for the sport of gliding and soaring. A flight in excess of four hours by the German pilot, Peter Hesselbach, near the beach at Cape Cod in 1928 had ignited a feverish interest in motorless flight.

Waco designers created a glider of very conventional design and construction except for one notable feature-they made the open, truss-frame fuselage from welded steel tubes rather than wood. Spruce wood parts formed the wing and tail, and fabric covered both of these assemblies. Waco offered to ship the aircraft complete, but disassembled, to anyone willing to pay $385. A bungee cord, auto, winch, or aircraft could launch the glider, and once airborne, a pilot could expect the machine to take off and touch down at 32 kph (20 mph) and to glide 4.2 m (14 ft) horizontally for every 0.3 m (1 ft) of altitude lost. The airspeed could not exceed a maximum of 105 kph (65 mph).

American enthusiasts bought about 300 Waco Primaries before a high accident rate among novice glider pilots forced the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Clarence D. Young, to make sweeping changes in the regulatory framework governing gliding operations and glider pilots, and pilots of powered aircraft used to tow gliders aloft. By 1931, the fad had passed and projected sales failed to occur.

Gift of Robert Rindler, Sr.

Physical Description:
Wood and fabric; 1922 glider; silver, simple construction; primary.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Waco

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Wingspan: 11.0 m (36 ft)
Length: 6.4 m (21 ft)
Height: 3.0 m (10 ft)
Weights: Empty, 101 kg (225 lb)
Gross, 203 kg (450 lb)

The Waco Aircraft Company announced the Waco Primary Glider in 1930. The firm planned to sell these gliders and capitalize on America's newfound enthusiasm for the sport of gliding and soaring. A flight by the German pilot, Peter Hesselbach, near the beach at Cape Cod in 1928 had ignited a feverish interest in motorless flight. Manning the controls of a Darmstadt D-17 sailplane, Hesselbach had plied the salty air above the dunes for more than four hours and thrilled and amazed a crowd gathered below him.

Waco designers created a glider of very conventional design and construction except for one notable feature-they made the open, truss-frame fuselage from welded steel tubes rather than wood. Spruce wood parts formed the wing and tail, and fabric covered both of these assemblies. A combination of external flying wires and wires built inside the wings added strength to the airframe. The landing gear of most Waco Primary Gliders consisted of a curved main skid made from Hickory wood and fixed to the bottom of the fuselage, plus smaller skids made of welded steel tubes and fastened to each wingtip. A single small strut with a rubber tire and wheel sometimes complemented the main skid. The wheel allowed ground handlers to more easily maneuver the unwieldy glider. Waco offered to ship the aircraft complete, but disassembled, to anyone willing to pay $385, and the aircraft would arrive ready for assembly and rigging. A bungee cord, auto, winch, or aircraft could launch the glider, and once airborne, a pilot could expect the machine to take off and touch down at 32 km/h (20 mph) and to glide 4.2 m (14 ft) horizontally for every 0.3 m (1 ft) of altitude lost. The airspeed could not exceed a maximum of 105 km/h (65 mph).

Waco management promoted the airplane by publishing brochures that spoke glowingly of both the ease and excitement of flying gliders:

"For real thrills and keen fun, gliding has it all over ski-jumping or surf-riding or similar sports. That's why there is such keen interest in it-why Young America and his Dad both are getting all excited about it. Gliding has become quite the thing to do….Taking it gradually and by easy stages, you can soon be going aloft 500 feet or more to circle around and make precision landings with the best of them. You get everything [from the flying experience] … the thrill of flying… the "feel" of the controls… Get your group together, form a Glider club…divide the cost of the Glider…and you're all set! Get into the air! It's great!"

American enthusiasts bought about 300 Waco Primaries before a high accident rate among novice glider pilots forced the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Clarence D. Young, to make sweeping changes in the regulatory framework governing gliding operations and glider pilots, and pilots of powered aircraft used to tow gliders aloft. By 1931, the fad had passed and projected sales failed to occur. Robert Rindler, Jr., of Greenville, Ohio, donated his Waco Primary Glider to the National Air and Space Museum in 1968.

ID: A19690195000