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The Minimoa


Origins of  the Minimoa. 

During the Rhön Contest of 1921 much interest was shown in a flying wing called "Weltensegler" designed by Dr. Wenk. It was gull-winged with swept-back tips and was much more externally braced. For a not certainly established reason, the "Weltensegler" broke up (a wing tip folding first), while flying out from the slope after launch.It was aid that it, had met the gusts of the first cloud lift ever encountered by a glider pilot. Its pilot, Wilhelm Leusch, was killed.


Dr. Wenk was working at Edmund Schneider's firm in Grunau during 1929 When the great "Moazagotl" sailplane was being designed and built. Known as the Grunau 7, it still had the "Weltensegler" wing, increased greatly in span and externally braced, but only with struts. To bring the wingtips clear of the ground they were shoulder mounted. It was said that the 20m span wings were never left with their tips unsupported in a hangar This was the true ancestor of the Minimoa. Built during 1931 and 1932, it made a great impression at the 14th Rhön Contest in 1933. In the 1934 ccntest it made the first glider flight of over 300 kms by flying 352 kms to Gorlitz on the first day. Pilot was, of course, Wolf Hirth. During the 1937 International Contest the "Moazagotl", flown by Ludwig Hofmann gained second place behind Dittmar and the Fafnir2 "Sao Paulo". Thus the "Minimoa", which means Mini Moazagotl, had a truly famous ancestor.


The Name "Moazagotl"

What this means is not certain, but it is said that many years ago there was a farmer who, as he set at his plough, spent much time gazing at the sky and the clouds. People said that the clouds had a special meaning for him, especially the long stationary cloud that formed across a south wind. The farmer was called Gottlief Motz (the name Gottlief means God Love) or in Silesian dialect, "der Moatza Gottl" The long stationary cloud was, of course, the lenticular which formed in the lee of the Giant Mountains (Riesengebirge) near Grunau.

 The Minimoa (meaning "Mini Moazagotl") 
Wolf Hirth

In 1939 Wolf Hirth moved from Grunau to the Stuttgart area, which was where his family came from. Here, he and Martin Schempp set up the

firm of the Sport-flugzeubau Schempp-Hirth at Göppingen. During 1935 alone, the new firm produced three types, the Göppingen 1 Wolf, the Göppingen 2, an updated, enclosed version of the Grunau 8 two-seater, and the Göppingen 3 "Minimoa". Both Göppingen 1 and Göppingen 3 were finally so successful that more than 100 were built of each type.

 It was felt that the "Moazagotl" had been too large for ease of handling on the ground and in the air and so the Minimoa was made smaller to improve these defects. Dr. Wenk'.s wing was now much cleaned up and cantilevered.

The Design Philosophy.

 The Minimoa was to be so strong that it could be modified to the following versions: 

  1. With a wingspan of 18 metre (a 16m version was also to be offered).
  2. With capability to carry ballast for cross-country flying.
  3. With an engine behind the pilot, as a powered glider.
  4. With a second seat behind the, in between the wings, for a second pilot or passenger.
Martin Schempp
Of the above, only the fourth possibility was realised. One Minimoa two-seater was completed in 1937. Visibility from the rear seat must have been worse than from a Kranich's rear seat

 The Minimoa's Wings       

 The severely dihedralled and swept-back wings were to ensure good lateral and pitch stability. The stability was so positive that the Minimoa would turn itself in clouds. Cloud flying and cross-countries were in 1935 being tried by more and more pilots. Height records set up in many countries was evidence that Minimoas could cloud fly with success. However, it is the writer's impression that if a Minimoa wanted to fly itself, then,if it did get into trouble in cloud, might it not be harder for the pilot to rectify it? This was the case in the 1938 Rhön Contest, when three out of the seven aircraft, which broke up in clouds, were Minimoas.

 Minimum depth, flat underside wing profiles were chosen so that wing profile drag would not increase severely with higher speeds. The Minimoa was supposed to have a useful cross country speed range of up to 110kph. The performance and handling does not deteriorate with increased wing loading as was evidenced by Jan Scott's currently airworthy Minimoa in America having an empty weight of 650 lbs, which is more than that of some Kranich two-seaters. Minimoas are supposed to weigh 500lbs empty!


Minimoa Versions.

Although there seem to have been many slight alterations, we have, for simplification, divided them into the six versions described below.



 1)         1939. Three shoulder wing prototypes

 Werk  Nr. 6.     D-Göppinger Industrie (on left). Delivered 1.8.35 in time for Rhön Contest with a hanging control column. Owned by DLV Göppingen. To Japan in late 1935.

 Werk Nr. 11.    With landing wheel and a normal control column. Delivered 17.11.35. to Japan. 


Werk Nr. 14.    Delivered 3.4.36. As Werk Nr. 11 to Valentin Popescu, Rumania. Registered YR-AVP and probably painted blue / white


It seems that at least one, if not all, of the prototypes were fitted with split trailing edge flaps to assist the landings.


2)         The 2nd version of Minimoa was a mid-wing version with a Rudder of increased area and a fixed tailplane with moving elevator. The first of them, Wrk Nr. 20 was delivered on 9.5.36 with split trailing edge flaps. Registered later as D-Stadt Neckargemünd and later in 1937 with 'NSFK. markings  D-14-790.  It broke up in cloud on 5.3.38 during the Rhön Contest and its pilot, Günther Lemm, was killed. It is not known how many were built. If, D-Chemnitz 3 (or D-Argentina and is presently registered as CC-PIA in Chile's Santiago Museo Aeronautico), Werk Mr. 32 and delivered on 29.7.36, is the later version Minimoa, then not more than 12 were built. Some of these 12 Werk Nrs. may have been allocated to Wolfs, which were in mass-production at the time. The early version of Minimoa is still with us in the form of HB-232 (Werner von Arx) and the famous Kielcraft Minimoa model kit, which was on sale from 1945.


3)         This was the definitive version and was produced in great quantity with improved underneath shape to avoid damage from contact with the ground. Wing upper surface drag spoilers were fitted. All Minimoas between Werk Nr. 312, delivered 11-8-39, were roughly in this form. (These Werk Nrs. are only approximate)


4)         Minimoa Mo 2a (1937) - Two seat Version

Registered as D-15-923, this was a the only two seater glider to be built from the initial requirement for two. The second seat was built between the wings, behind the main wing spar and the fuselage deepened to give more rear cockpit room. The nose was lengthened for adjustment of C.of G. The fuselage was 0.26 m. longer than the standard Minimoa. This glider took part in the 1937 Rhön Contest (but had to be abandoned because its pilot, Hirth, had pains in his injured leg), and later visited England behind a Klemm 26. Minimoa pilots were Hanna Reitsch and Eva Schmidt, while Hirth flew the Klemm towplane. A full set of documentation for this version can be found on this dedicated page on this site

5)         Minimoa 38 (1938)

had a reduced structure weight and cambering of underside of wing profiles to reduce the minimum sinking speed.


6)         Minimoa-39.  

Werk Nr. 315, first flight 6.6.39. It had an altered wing plan, greatly increased fin and rudder areas, an altered fuselage, fin and rudder side forms. Only one was built due to the outbreak of war.


In all versions of the Minimoa, the landing wheel was optional. In late 1938 and 1939, Minimoas were built with (or were modified with) the first DFS airbrakes and then Schempp Hirth (Hütter or Göppingen System) terminal velocity restricting airbrakes. Mass balances were to be installed to  the leading edges, and base of rudders to prevent a possible rudder flutter at 200 kph. This was presumably for NSFK aerobatics. Some Minimoas already exported were never modified, as their owners did not think it necessary.


Between 9th May 1936 and  June 1939, 110 Minimoas and 100 Wolfs were built and followed later by 120 Goeviers, by the Sportflugzeugbau. The claim that the Minimoa was the first mass produced glider we think is doubtful, as 100 Rhönsperbers, 220 Rhönbussards, 65 Rhönadlers as well as hundreds of Grunau built  since 1935.


Building the Minimoa.       


In 1935, because of the pressure of work on the firm, which was building the Wolf and the Gö 22, it was necessary to build the Minimoa's major components, i.e. wing and fuselage, in two different firms, which were some distance apart, in order to quickly complete the first Minimoa for that year's Rhön Contest. Herr Faber, who later became a Messerschmitt engineer, was chosen by Martin Schempp to build the fuselage, while the very complicated Dr. Wenk wing was built by the Sportflugzeubau. The wing, which was probably the most difficult to build of any aircraft, had to have its main spar gulled and swept back. The spar was built in one piece, ungulled. This half-finished product was sawn along its length and then, at the gull point soaked with water and bent. The two parts of the spar were then glued together again to give the Minimoa wing its characteristic seagull appearance. Thus its sweep-back occurs outboard of the gull. The very distance of the Faber firm from the Sportflugzeubau gave problems when it came to mating the wings with the fuselage of the first Minimoa. The ailerons of the prototype were given differential for maximum efficiency when having to counteract the positive roll stability of the gulled wings. Differential ailerons for gliders in 1935 were something new. The fuselage was to be fitted with an optional braked landing wheel. The new Göppingen sailplanes were the first to be fitted with landing wheels in Europe, after Wolf Hirth and Martin Schempp had seen them on American sailplanes during their visit there with sailplanes in 1930.


The first Minimoa was finished without a wheel and with a hanging control column. This was off centered so that it was not in front of the pilot's face. The hanging "stick" was to give Wolf Hirth more freedom of movement with it, because of his wooden leg. The top half of his head was fitted into the leading edge Of the wing. While the shoulder wing gave excellent ground clearance, the pilot's visibility was not good. The first Minimoa was bought for the Göppingen glider pilots by a group of that town's businessmen (and thus had "Göppinger Industrie" written along its fuselage sides). However, the glider pilots had to wait more than a year, until September 1936, for their Minimoa as Wolf Hirth took the prototype and the second prototype, with normal positioned control column, on his famous Japanese expedition from September until the end of 1935.


While Wolf Hirth was away in Japan, Reinhold Seeger with Dr. Wenk's support, redesigned the Minimoa as a midwing sailplane. The wing was set 200 mm lower. From the fourth Minimoa, the first real production aircraft, the Minimoa was built with a midwing.


The Minimoa's Performace


1935   As previously mentioned, the first Minimoa was finished with some difficulty and was taken to the Rhön Contest one week early. Hirth had bad luck on the first day when, because the Minimoa was not fitted with the approved pattern of cable release, it was not allowed to start. On this day, Hofmann flew his Rhönsperber 296 miles (almost 500 kms). However, some days later, Hirth flew the Minimoa 420 kms to Zablings in Czechoslovakia. The next best distance on that day was 330 kms. We are unable to state what distance the Minimoa flew on the day that four pilots flew independently 502 kms to Brno in Czechoslovakia; a new world's distance record. However, Hirth was later able to do a very difficult out and return to the Ochsenberg (which, incidentally, he had also been able to do during the previous year with the

Moazagotl). It was quite clear after the contest that the Minimoa design had possibilities,


1936   That year's Rhön Contest had still and hot weather, which favoured the new second prototype Mü 13a "Atalante", which won. Wolfgang Späte flew the only Minimoa in the contest, which was not famous for long distance flying. Späte's Minimoa was D-Chaminitz 3, which, on the 25th November was delivered to Hans Ott in the Argentine aboard the Zeppelin "Hindenberg". This machine was registered before it was exported as D-Argentina. This machine still exists as CC-PIA in Chile's Santiago Museum, Museo Aeronautico. This is a wheel-less late 1936 type Minimoa. It seems to be fitted with upper wing surface drag spoilers only and this clone suggests that it is an early Minimoa.


1937   During this year, Minimoas had better successes. D-11-94 was flown into third place in the Wasserkuppe International Contest (which some call the first World Chanpionships). He was behind the Moazagotl flown by Hofmann, and the Fafnir 2 "Sao Paulo" flown by Dittmar. It is interesting to note that, after seven contest days, Späte's total cross country kms was 919kms against Dittmar's 1057kms and his points were 1325 against Dittmar's 1662. It was the last great contest showing of the wonderful sailplanes Sao Paulo and Moazagotl. D-11-94, delivered on 25.9.36 as Werk Nr. 55, almost certainly was one of the first, if not the first of the definitive production type Minimoas which was not substantially altered until mid 1939.


Whereas only one Minimoa had been entered in the International contest, no less than six were entered in the 1937 National Contest. One of these was the Minimoa two-seater, flown by Hirth Knoth. Pilots flying them were Haase, Philipp, Blech, Knöpfle and Nein, and at least the first four were very good pilots. The final results of the 1937 contest revealed the Mü 10 two-seater with Ludwig Karch and Zimmermann in first place and the Kranich 2, flown by Bräutigam and Steinert in 2nd place. This no doubt caused considereble thoughts as to whether two brains, and energies, were not better   than one for contest flying. To make sure this could not happen again, two-seaters were made to fly in a different class during the next two Rhön contests. Third was Beck in a Mü 13 and fourth was Ernst Günther Haase in a Minimoa. On 25th July, three Minimoas flown by Haase, Ruhnke and Philipp won the day's goal flight prize. On 26th July, Blech won the height prize with his Minimoa and on 1st August, Haase won the distance prize. The First Goal Flight contest took place in 1937. This was won by Heinz Huth in a Condor, but Minimoas took 4th, 8th, 9th and 18th places. Erwin Kraft flew the Minimoa which achieved 4th place. It was during 1937 that Späte obtained a best speed to fly between thermals calculator, which he tried out in the Minimoa D-11-94. This calculator may have helped him to win the 1938 Rhön Contest flying the very overweight Reiher V.1. However, it must be mentioned that although the best speed to fly calculator indicated that he should do 90 mph (150kms) between moderate thermals, it may not have been the whole secret. The Mü 13d flown by Kurt Schmidt came second and, in fact, was often leading, and the Mü 13 was the slowest sailplane in the contest! However, this best speed to fly calculator was later tried out with success during the 1950 World Championships in Sweden and almost won, flying in the Weihe currently owned by Andrew Coates. It is now in general use, fitted to ASI's in almost all of today's high performance sailplanes.


1938   In that year's Rhön Contest, which was the most remarkable of them all, no less than 15 Minimoas were among the 55 single-seaters and eight two-seaters. To start with, during the 2-week contest, the lift was very poor, but then the weather steadily improved and improved until it ended with tremendous cumulonimbus development leading to thunderstorms. Sailplanes were flown to the furthest frontiers and often had to throw their height away, for crossing the frontiers (except the Dutch one) were forbidden because of the political situation. It was said that "Germany is not now big enough for its pilots (because it had recently become smaller) and now there was only room for them to go upwards". It was left unsaid that probably the next thing would be to increase the territory of the Reich to give them more room.


The furthest frontiers were certainly achieved by Minimoas, one of them crossing into Holland, and seven flying 300 kms in one day. However., these were not the best distances flown during the contest. It was for height flights towards the end of the two weeks that Minimoas are specially remembered.


Vertical cumulus development increased as the high pressure system deepened and, as the system started to break up, ever larger thunderstorms appeared. Sailplanes were flown into the clouds with the intention of gaining great heights before being taken away on distance. Realising the dangers, the contest organisers announced that they would award no points for height. Nevertheless, the temptation for pilots to gain as much height as possible before setting off on distance was great, simply because in these conditions the sources of lift are often far apart. The sailplanes were not at that time fitted with oxygen, radio or electrically driven cloud-flying instruments. The pilots had to rely on externally mounted venturis, air-driven artificial horizons and Turn and Banks, which could stop working in rain and ice. Without oxygen and with these instruments, it is incredible now to learn that there were 70 height climbs to above 3,000 metres and that heights of 6, 7 and 8,000 metres were also reached. Pilots had desperate battles against turbulence, ice and hail and lack of oxygen and often landed with their sailplanes riddled with hail holes.


As far as is known, seven sailplanes broke up and among them were three Minimoas. These were flown by Helmuth Knöpfle who, on 3rd August, tried to reduce speed in cloud through pulling the stick back. As his Minimoa went even faster, he deduced that he must be upside down. After it came apart, his parachute descent was a nightmare as the lift took him upwards again three times. Recovering in hospital after having been dragged through hedges by the wind, he vowed that he would fly again. The other gliders, a Kranich 2 (8000 m), 2 Horten 3s, the Hannover AFH.4, and two Minimoas, all broke up on 5th August. The pilots, Lemm in a Minimoa 36, Blech in a Horten 3, and Schulz in the AFH.4, were killed. The other Minimoa to break up was flown by Steinert. Only after dusk was it learnt that the greatest height of all had been achieved by the 39 year old Lufthansa Captain Brechsel. He was the oldest competitor and was taking part in a contest for the first time. For the previous ten years, he had been making scheduled night flights to London. In a Minimoa, he managed to reach 6,687 metres above release point and was able to leave the cloud to land in almost complete darkness on the airfield of Marburg at 19.28 hours. His absolute height achieved was 8,100 m. It was the world's height record for the next nine years.

During the Rhön Contest, Minimoas took 3rd, 7th, 8th, 13th, 16th and 17th places. These were flown by: Treuter, Haase, Beck, Lemm and Fick respectively, out of 54 competitors. Drechsel came 23rd. They had broken the world's height record twice. (Fick having broken it first). Drechsel's Minimoa was registered D-3-607.


1939 - The Final Record

We have previously stated that very long flights from the Wesserkuppe were now impossible owing to the political situation, so that German pilots had now little possibility of breaking the Soviet 1937 world record of 635 kms which had broken the 1935 German world distance record of 504kms. Furthermore, the Russians increased this record to 749 kms in 1939. Nevertheless, on 24th May 1939, Eric Vergens flew a 523kms from Trebbin (near Berlin) to Tienfenried. This was became the new German National Distance record and was, for many years, the longest flight carried out within the German frontiers.


1939 - Rhön Contest

 This contest was also very successful, but among the 41 single seaters entered, were only four Minimoa 38s. These were only able to achieve 26th, 30th, 34th and 39th places, flown by Schubert, Mössinger, Hauck and Henning. We can only suggest that they were 'not flown by the very best Rhön Contest pilots, who were all flying Reihers, Condor 3s, Weihes and the Berlin B.6 etc. Although the Minimoa 39 was entered to be flown by Beck, it does not seem to have taken part, (its registration was D-15-1122), and Beck flew a Mü 13d.



This is as it must have been in 1935, rather primitive by today's refined standards. However, if it is primitive, it is basically very sound. The wings are simply he!d on to the fuselage by two tapered main spar pins and one trailing edge spar pin. These are secured in position by distance pieces and nuts and an extractor is almost certainly needed to get them out. Ailerons and dive brakes are connected with pins within the wing/fuselage gap. The tailplane is lowered on to three pins, which stick up vertically from the rear fuselage. This is secured by nuts, which are prevented from turning by thin strips of metal which have the shapes of the nuts cut in them. As these strips of metal are secured together at their centres, the nuts cannot turn. The rudder is lowered on after the tailplane and is located on the extremities of a rudder hinge, which is in fact secured to the stern post of the fuselage. There is one rudder hinge point on the stern post so that the rudder is secured at three points, two of them being its operating horn.

The wings are enormous beside the fuselage, which is the size of that of a Ka 6. The very size and weight of the wings, compared with the size and weight of the other major components seems to suggest that they might have started off in life as a flying wing (Weltensegler). However, the aircraft is very well built and the surfaces are true after all these years, when compared with those of other old gliders. By today's standards, rigging and derigging takes a long time but, before the war, it was acceptable. Peter Selinger mentions in his book "Segelflugzeuge" 'Rigging is so simply thought out that three men can comfortably do it in 20 mins. Once (Erwin) Kraft had to land in a contest (probably the 1937 Goal Flight Contest) only 20kms from the Wasserkuppe. Derigging and rigging his machine, his team took such a short time that, from the time of his first take off, until his second launch, only one hour and eight minutes were needed'.


Flying a Minimoa

This is basically a pleasant experience and we must emphasize that ailerons, elevator and rudder are not exactly balanced. The ailerons have very little power to overcome the inherent, very exaggerated, lateral stability caused by the pronounced gulled wings. Therefore, to reverse a turn takes time. The elevator is without a trim tab and it is recommended that for take offs, the aerotowing speed should be much less than 60 knots, as at this speed full stick forward and full aileron is quite an effort for the pilot. The Schempp Hirth dive brakes are so efficient that they bring the machine down like a lift. It is the writer's opinion that less effective airbrakes are quite good enough for a Minimoa. The Minimoa will climb in thermals as well as any other glider. At normal flying speeds, elevator, rudder and ailerons are not heavy to use but the effort needed to put a Minimoa into a turn, and to take it out again, is rather more than that needed when flying other sailplanes of that time. After practice this becomes easier, but one does admire the pre-war efforts of Minimoa pilots. The Germans have claimed that its max. L/D of 1:26 is achieved at 85kph. After flying 3 Minimoas it is the writer's opinion that this is more likely to have been at 60-65kph.


A Note on the Hirth Family

Wolf's father, Helmuth, had been one of Germany's foremost power pilots before 1914 and among other great flights, he had flown a "Taube" 500kms from Berlin to Vienna in 1912. His brother, Albert, produced the famous Hirth engines, which powered the Klemm and Bücker aircraft, etc.


The Minimoa's rudder mass-balance

P. A. Wills received the following letter from the Sportflugzeugbau Schempp Hirth, signed by Martin Schempp, dated April 19th, 1939.


"The sailplane 'Minimoa' is apt to flutter at extremely high speeds (around 200kph). Therefore the German Air Ministry is asking that all Minimoas are equipped with a balancing weight at the rudder. We enclose a drawing of that weight and how it is built in to the rudder nose".


C. Wills still has the original letter and drawings should anyone wish to have copies in order to get official clearance to remove the weight in order to obtain a more favourable C. of A. and thus more cockpit load.


Exported Minimoas

 Software: Microsoft Office

1st and 2nd Prototypes.    Werk Nrs. 6 and 11 to Japan. The 1st prototype was delivered 1.8.35, with the hanging control column and without landing wheel, whilst the 2nd prototype was delivered 17.11.35.

 3rd Prototype and 2nd prototype with normal control column and landing wheel. Werk Nr. 14. Delivered on 3-4-36. to Valentin Popescu of Rumania, registered YR-AVP.

 Werk Nr. 32   D-Chemnitz 3 then registered D-Argentina. W. Späte 1936 Rhön Contest. Delivered 29-11-36. Taken to Argentina on board LZ "Hindenberg" for Hans Ott.

 Werk Nr. 56.   Delivered 21.11.36. for Richard DuPont, USA. N.16293  who gained US distance and height records with it. Today, it is in the Nat. Soaring Museum Elmira.

 Werk Nr. 124.  G 1306. To Lewin Derringer USA, delivered 30.4.37.

 Werk Nr. 141.  Later ZS-GAB. Transvaal Pioneer Gliding Club, Alberton          Johannesburg ... from 6.5.51 at Capetown. B. Crome was killed in it on 19.4.59 near Capetown. South African            Distance Record - Werner Kunz and Nat. Height record - Heini von Michaelis


Werk Nr. 158               Delivered 17.3.38 - to Philip Wills, England, who broke National Distance and Height Records with it. (209 miles and 10,540 ft. and on 1st July 1939 at 14,170ft.). These Minimoa flights gave P.A. Wills the first British Gold C and as the requirements were achieved before the 1938 Rhön Contest, where 20 Gold Cs were won, it was the 33rd in the world. BGA 338, in 1946 G-ALLZ - to Iceland in 1950 as TF-SOM. Now destroyed by snow and fire but some parts may remain.

 Werk Nr. 184               Built in 1938. D-8064 - HB-626 and now N.2664.         Owned, after the war by Steiner in Germany, Derindinger in Switzerland and is now owned by Jan Scott, Scott Air Park, Lovettsville, Virginia 22080, USA. Currently Airworthy.

Werk Nr. 205               Delivered Feb. 1939 to Philip Brown, England. BGA 388. Sold before the war to USA  as N.18163. Currently owned by Joe Jackson, Russia Corners, North of Utica, New York, USA. Awaiting restoration.

 Werk Nr. 206               F-CABL (1966 F-CRPY). 1955 Pont Saint Vincent. 1966 Moulins. Delivered 1938.

 Werk Nr. 705               Date of f`irst flight - 24.5.30. Seen on Saltzburg Max Glane Airfield in 1962, airworthy. OE-0230. Today it is stored with the Göppingen Collection on Göppingen Betzgenriet Airfield.


Where are they now?


After 1945, there was a redistribution of Minimoas, four being in France and two more going to England after 1968. Georg Brütting in his book "Die Berühmtesten Segelglugzeuge" mentions that in 1951, no less than 7 Minimoas came out of hiding, when the ban on gliding was lifted in Germany.

However, as it stands now (Dec 1983) the Minimoa situation is as follows:


In Museums:  

 In the Museo Aeronautico, Santiago, Chile, is rigged on exhibition CC-PIA. A photo reveals this as being a late 1936 production Minimoa without landing wheel, with wing fuselage fairings going round top and bottom surfaces of wing roots. Although the photo is not clear, it seems probable that this Mininoa is fitted with upper wing surface drag spoilers only. There is no rudder mass balance. We believe that it was D-Chemnitz 3 ... i.e. D-Argentina ... i.e. Werk Nr. 20 delivered 29.7.36.


Göppingen Collection:                       

OE-0230. Standard late production Minimoa with Schempp Hirth airbrakes and mass balanced rudder. Not airworthy Transparent doped fabric.

 Airworthy Minimoas:           

HB-282. Built in Switzerland by Hans Wullschleger. As it seems to have been first registered in 1939, we suggest that it may have taken him since 1936 to build it, using the drawings of` the old type of less dihedral, midwing, less rudder area, drawings of a Minimoa, the first of which was delivered

on 9.5.36. (D-Stadt Neckargemünd). HB-282 never fitted with split trailing edge flops. was seriously damaged during a Swiss wartime National Contest (1941?). As there was no petrol, the gliders had to be taken up t he. mountain on a cog wheel railway and launched down a narrow wooden trough by means of basically a bungee rope with a weight on the end of it, which was pushed over a cliff. The gliders were dispatched with an axe cutting through the tail securing rope, when the bungee had reached the correct tension. The gliders were dispatched like arrows and the Minimoa may have been launched into cloud which was below it. It ended up broken at the bottom of a cliff. HB-282 was repaired over many

years and now has Schempp Hirth airbrakes as well as a fine blown canopy, We are very lucky that one of the very early type of Minimoa is still with us and airworthy. The owner is  Warner von Arx, 4125 Riehen/Basel, Rhieinallee 51, Switzerland. 


D-1163. This was brought back from Montargis, France, to Germany in 1971 by the efforts of Rainer Willeke who bought it for a crate of beer. lt had been the 4th of four Minimoas operating in France after 1945. Rainer Willeke and Paul Serries formed the Müinster Oldtimer Club to restore and fly it. Worship foreman, Max Müller, restored D-1163 in time for it to fly at the VGC's first International Rally at Husbands Bosworth in 1973. It has been flying at almost all our International Rallies since and is a popular participant at West German Air Displays. It is about to have the first General Overhaul since its restoration. It is fitted with the rotating open type DFS Air Brakes (similar to those of Weihes). We believe that Minimoas were fitted with these before they were Schempp Hirth Airbrakes. One of the owners of D-1163 is Paul Serries, Agnes Miegel Strasse 1, 44 Münster St., Mauritz, West Germany.




BGA 1738. This was brought to England in the late 1960s having been used by the RAF in Germany. It is thought to have been built in 1937 purely because, during its restoration, signs could be seen of upper wing surface drag spoilers. As it has wing root fairings on both upper and lower wing root surfaces, it is possible with only a lower main wing fuselage pin installed to lower both wing tips to the ground during rigging and derigging. It is thought that this too might indicate that it is an earlier Minimoa. BGA 1738 was superbly restored for John Coxon by Southern Aero Services Ltd., Lasham, and received its first British C. of A. in August 1972 in time to take part in the 50th Anniversary of the first British Gliding Meeting at Itford Hill, of 1922. The owner of this superb Minimoa is John Coxon, "Penfound", Stane Street, Pulborough, Sussex.

 BGA 1639. Currently being restored at the London Gliding Club. (Dec. 1983). - Werk Nr. 378. Received its first British C. of A. in March 1972 after it had been imported airworthy from Holland in 1970, where it had been registered PH-390. PH-390 had been in original form with canopy etc. Its C. of A. expired in January 1979 due to glue failure in a wing tip. The wing/fuselage fairing extends only over the upper surface of wing roots, therefore the wingtip can NOT be lowered to the ground during rigging or de-rigging. It was felt that this might indicate a later production Minimoa. Both BGA 1738 and BGA 1639 are fitted with Schempp Hirth speed restricting dive brakes. The owner of BGA 1639 is Francis Russell, 48 Pasture Road, Letchworth, SG6 3LS.

 N.2664B. This Minimoa is airworthy having formerly belonged to Harold Palmer. It must be an early production Minimoa as it is fitted only with upper wing surface lift spoilers. Due to its perfect finish it weighs 650 ibs empty but this does not affect its performance or handling in the air. Owner is Jan Scott, Scott Air Park, Lovettsville, Virginia, USA.

 Two more Minimoa are in the USA, one at the National Soaring Museum Elmira, the other is kept by Joe Jackson in New York, The last two are not airworthy.


The total count as of December 1983 is 4 Minimoas airworthy in Switzerland, West Germany, England and the USA. Two are awaiting restoration in England and the USA. Three more are in Museums in Chile, Germany, and the USA. The total number of Minimoas is therefore 9.







Empty Weight

Loaded Weight

Wing Loading

Tailplane Span

Max L/D

Prototypes 35








Minimoa 36








Minimoa Production








Minimoa 2-seater



Loading 150kg





at 85kph

Minimoa 38








at 85kph

Minimoa 39










Wing Profiles for the basic Minimoa were:

 ·       Inner.                                                       Goettingen 681

·       Half Span.                                                 Goettingen 693

·       Wing tips, as well as tailplane                     Symmetrical.


C. Wills  of the VGC can supply more drawings of the Minimoa 36 should anyone require them. The most convenient size for these is  A-4.


Note: The Minimoa was not the only sailplane which had a wing developed from that of a flying wing. Another was the RRG Falke (Slingsby Falcon) series, which had a wing developed from the Lippisch "Storch". The "Marabu" was another but this had to have a tailplane added on orders from a technical committee.














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