The Last Voyage of the D-6300/KB (SB 5 e V2) took place on Saturday, 23rd November 2013. The voyage started at the glider-port of Bensheim/Germany and finished, about three hours later and a distance of 179 km, just as planned, at the small Airfield Wasserkuppe, on top of the legendary and historically Mountain of Glider-Pilots. Upon arrival, the top of the hill was not only shrouded in thick fog, but also "buried" under a 20 cm thick layer of snow.
It was not just the "first landing of D-6300 on the Kuppe", but also the first landing in thickest fog and lots of snow. Of course, the 179 km long voyage was not carried out beneath a huge and active cloud-street, but, how else could it be at this time of the year, on top of an asphalt road and at travalling-altitude ZERO.
After "landing" on the "Kuppe", D-6300 had not been disassembled as usual and stowed into the glider-trailer for transport back home, but brought inside the dignified building of the German Glider-Museum Wasserkuppe, next to the already waiting BS-1. With the SB 5 V2 and the BS 1, the Deutsches Segelflugmuseum Wasserkuppe now can demonstrate to its yearly more then 25.000 visitors in an impressive way, the technical transition from the classic wooden-design (SB 5) and todays glass fiber-constructions like the BS 1, designed by Björn Stender, who also was leading designer and "father" of the SB 6.
Dr. Klaus Hufnagel, the new CEO of the Museum (right), was just as excited about the new exhibit, like all the other museum-volunteers, who assisted enthusiastically to assemble the D-6300 in the very cramped space between those other gliders, already placed in the Museum.
A detailed and very interesting book about the Braunschweig-Glider-Designs has been written and published by 33 former Akaflieg-members last year (2012), which can be ordered under ISBN 978-3 - 941737-73-0 through ordinary bookstores or online-shops for the price of 25, - €. The content of the book is focused onto the development, design and construction, as well as flight testing and flight operations. The (meanwhile) 12 inhouse-designs of the Braunschweig University are intensely described and documented with lots of pictures.
In a following walkabout through the Museum, I was pleasantly surprised as well as amazed about all those real treasuries I could see, not only in the upper museum-mainhall. In addition, Klaus Hufnagel took the opportunity, not only to show me the museum's own workshop in the basement, but also the storage rooms in the basement filled with treasures, waiting to be sighted, sorted, cataloged and processed accordingly to be made accessible to a wide audience of visitors. From model aircraft of all types and sizes, via remote controls of the early days to the present, model engines of all kind and sizes, original Vintage-Gliders, journal collections and infinite image as well as sound- and video-archives in analog form, anything one can think of being connected to gliders and gliding can be found down there.
And down there in those basement vault, any kind of help and assistance is welcome, be it in form of volunteer work, by sponsorship or an associate membership, because the running costs for maintenance and daily museum-operations are enormous. Since I engaged myself already for a long time with the idea to support the work of the museum administration through a sustaining membership, the transfer and donation of my SB 5 to the Museum finally ended in an associated membership as planned long time before.
With a minimum-fee of 15.- € per year, associated members are museum-promoters, who obtain the unique museum alive. Higher voluntary contributions are gladly accepted of course.
Built in 1987 and extended in 2006, the German Glider-Museum Wasserkuppe is the largest Museum of its kind all over the world, offering 4,000 square meters exhibition space. With its numerous exhibits, the museum gives an impressive overview of the last 100 years of development and history of gliding, from the Lilienthal-glider until today's high-performance composite-gliders.
Urgently wanted is a grounded Blanik, which would be a suitable eye-catcher at the entrance of the museum, due to its aluminum construction. Since the entrance of the Museum is situated slightly hidden between gastronomy-, souvenir- and flight school buildings, not every of the numerous Wasserkuppe-Tourists finds his way into the Glider-Museum, as the majority of those visitors has no relation to aviation and aviation-history at all.
If a gliding-club has an old non-airworthy Blanik hanging somewhere around, deserving a dignified retirement at the front-entrance of the Museum, simply contact the Museum or UL Segelflug.de, we´ll pass the message to the Museum.
Due to the numerous vintage-gliders of all kind, currently "stored" in a separate old hangar due to the lack of space inside the Museum, a further extension of the Museum is urgently required. Unfortunately, due to present financial reasons, this extension is just unaffordable at the moment.
More sponsors from Aerospace Industry, Air Sports, Repair-Shops, Airlines as well as Glider manufacturers are most welcome. Honorable examples as permanent sponsors for the preservation and development of the German Gliding Museum are:
Alexander Schleicher, Flugzeugbau Poppenhausen.
Tost GmbH Flugzeuggerätebau München
SOLO Vertriebs- und Entwicklungs GmbH Sindelfingen
If one considers, that the German aviation history is based to a large extent on the gliding activities of the past and present, a large amount of commercial pilots is still recruited from gliding clubs and German glider manufacturers as well owe their continued existence to the merits of the pilot-training in the gliding-clubs. Supporting the glider museum would be very good invested money of course. In a list of sponsors, in which only 1 glider manufacturer, 1 aircraft engine manufacturer and 1 airplane parts manufacturer is mentioned, thats really a very poor testimony for German aviation industry, since eventually almost all of them can be found, spending every month huge amounts in very expensive full-page advertisements in every conceivable aviation magazine around the globe. Outside Germany, the commitment, supporting and sponsoring by aviation industry and its suppliers is far better then over here in Germany. What a pity!