H3>The second hundred Eon Olympias
By 1960, 50 more Eon Olympias had been built. This made Britain second in Olympia production to Germany in the world production table.
This was hastened in 1953 by precut parts being fitted into jigs which were then put into two electrically heated presses, which caused the Aerolite glue to set in 79 minutes. These could be used for bulkheads and ribs. The cleaned up items were then assembled on final assembly jigs. After 1947, most of the workers were put to producing old style furniture for the postwar housing boom, with ultra modern equipment. This achieved the sale of between £7,500 and £13,500 of furniture a week. There was no hope of matching this income with glider. production and so, this was continued on a small scale (as a hobby) by about 15 men and boys, with girls employed on fabric covering work. After 1953, the firm finished 50 Olympias, repaired many others, built the Ka 1, arid embarked on the Olympia 4 series of gliders, the 419 type being the best and highest performance sailplane available to British pilots for many years. Unfortunately, the excellent Olympia 460/315 sailplanes had to compete with Ka 6’s arid so, only 47 were built. The second batch of Eon Olympia sailplanes was still being offered for sale for £800 as late as 1957 in order to clear the spare parts held by the firm.
Nord 2000 Olympia – OO-ZHQ
Eon Olympia Test Results
ts performance testing was carried out by BGA Test Group No.3 at Nymphsfield. Whereas No.1 Test Group at: Redhill carried out the performance tests on the German built JS Weihe (BGA 448) and found that it came well up to, if not over, the German claimed figures of a max. L/D of 1.29, BGA Test Group No.3 found that the Eon Olympia’s performance did not come up to the German claimed Meise’s figures by three points. Moreover, the Eon Olympia would spin if incorrectly flown and was to be soared at 38-42mph. The minimum speed at which it was ever supposed to fly was 34 mph. A hand-made postwar built German Meise was found not to have entirely stalled at 24 mph but. this does not mean that wartime factory – built German Meises were as good as this, but they still handled immaculately.
The Eon Olympia was basically stronger and heavier than the German Meise.
The Eon Olympia I had no wheel
The Eon Olympia 2 had a built-in land wheel.
The Eon Olympia 3 had a jettisonable take off, and ground handling, dolley, the pin which secured it being fired out by a spring.
Several modifications were carried out to later Eon Olympias. One of these was a forward tailplane/fuselage attachment bolt. The tailplane, being a weak point, was never supposed to have its torsion box L/E lifted during ground handiing.
Performance in Britain
During the period 1947 – 1957 at least 13 x 300 kms flights were carried out by Eon Olympias.
On August 24th 1950, the Farnborough test pilot, Bill Bedford, gained the British distance record by flying an Eon Olympia 193 miles in 230 mins. . During tile same flight he broke national gain of height and absolute height records, 19,120 ft. and 21,340 ft. respectively. Later, on the 2nd of May 1951, he broke the distance record again with a flight of 257 miles from Farnborough to Newcastle. Charles Wingfield had already broken the British out & return and distance records with an Eon Olympia by flying 147 miles and 216 miles but this was from Michita Falls in the 1947 US National Contest. The absolute moment of glory came on the 18th June 1960, when Cordon Rondel ascended with an Eon Olympia in a thunderstorm to 30,580 ft. with gain of height of 29,100 ft, for the absolute National height and gain of height, records. Thus did the Eon Olympia win back its height records.
The French Olympia .. Nord N.2000
This firm was already building several German types at this time. These were the Nord 1000/2 Pingouin (ME 108), the Noralphs and Norecrin (ME 208) and Nord N.1300 (Grunau Baby 2b). When they received the Meise drawings is not known but 100 Nord N.2000s were completed in 1947. As they are casein (Certus) glued, they did not share the fate of the kaurite glued German gliders which were destroyed during the 1960s, and many of them are still airworthy now (1985). We also have no complete information about the flights they have carried out in France, except that on l0th May 1949, the 18 year old M.. Weiss flew one 490 kms from Pont Saint Vincent, near Nancy, to Masserett near Limoges, on the second cross country flight after his Silver C. Another flew from Saint Auban in France to Italy, over the Alps in the hands of the glider maintenance engineer Felicien Noin. The welcome he received from the Italians was rather better than that he received from the Chef du Centre, as he had departed without permission. This was the 20th August 1953. On the 27th May 1954, Jean-Paul Weiss flew an N.2000 from Saint Cirons in France over the Pyrenees to the Spanish gliding school of Huesca-Monflorite. Unfortunately, we have no distances for these two epics.
The picture above shows the distribution of the plywood panels on the front section of the fuselage
A Hungarian 22 year old wartime glider pilot hero, Meray Horvath Robert flew a Meise on the 1st August 1944 in a thunderstorm to a Hungarian height record of 5778 m.
Full details of the 8 Hungarian Meis Olympias built can be found on Gábor Feceks site
Meise Olympia Production
|Year ||Manufacturers || |
Type of glue
|1938 ||DFS Prototype || |
|1941-44 ||Flugzeugbau Ferdinand Schmetz Herzogenrath, Germany || |
|1939-41 ||Flugzeugbau Schleicher, Germany || |
|1941-1942 ||AB Kanoverken, Sweden || |
| ||AB Flygindustri, Sweden || |
| ||AB Kockums Flygindustri, Sweden || |
| ||Home Builders, Sweden || |
|1946-1952 ||Kits || |
|1947 ||Fokker Olympia, Holland || || |
| ||Swiss Meise || |
| ||Hungarian Meise || |
|1947 ||French Nord 2000 || |
|1947-1957 ||Eon Olympia, Britain || |
|1947 ||Australian Olympia (Chilton) || |
|195-? ||Postwar German Focke Wulf Meise etc. || |
|195-? ||Austrian production || |
Almost none of the 626 wartime German built Meises still exist. One of three that came to Britain in 1945 still languishes broken in Truro, Cornwall. Almost all were part of the destruction of over 15000 German gliders in 1945.The best flights done by Olympias/N.2000s that we have recorded have been :-
490 kms by M. Weiss in France in 1949 – N.2000
500 km triangle by K. Nolan, Australia – Chilton Olympia.
Over 30,000 ft. by C. Rondel, Britain – Eon Olympia.
420 kms by Bill Bedford, Britain – Eon Olympia
It would seem that, if we are to believe the wartime German figures, over 1,000 were built, most of which were destroyed in 1945 by Germans, displaced personss Americans and British, the latter two adhering to the Morgenthau Plan. Many were taken to France, four being still airworthy in 1950 (Guy Borge thinks). A recent catalogue reveals that the Ferdinand Schmetz Flugzeugbay was prepared to sell whole major components to replace those broken. and components of parts, etc. Such was the advanced production state, after 1941.
The much loved Olympia, N.2000, Meise, may not have achieved the Olympic Games but she had not done badly. Maybe her history is not over yet for no, less than 50 Eon Olympias still had BGA CofA’s in 1985. Nord N.2000 are being kept and restored all over France. Meises, mostly built after 1950, are still flying in Germany. One more is in Hungary. A Fokker Olympia is flying again in Holland and a Meise is still flying in Sweden. Meanwhile, the famous Chilton Olympia “Yellow Witch’ is still airworthy in Australia, as are other Olympias there.
Captain Mike Russell of Peddars, Henham, Bishops Stortford, Herts. Is storing the building drawings, and prints for Eon, Chilton and DFS Olympias.
British performance tests
These tests on Weihe, Eon Olympia and Gull 4 sailplanes were carried out as part of a contract placed with the British Gliding Association by the Ministry of Supply for flight testing a number of British and foreign designs.
No.1 Test Group at Redhill tested the Weihe and Gull 4. No.3 Test Group at Bristol tested the Eon Olympia. The Weihe was JS built (BGA 448) in 1943.
The aircraft were standard factory built sailplanes with no special sealing to improve aerodynamics. They were kept clean but were not polished.
Three Eon Olympias were tested. Two of them had landing wheels. The third was a MK.I with landing skid. One of the wheeled Olympias had taken part in the 1948 World Championships at Samedan, Switzerland, being flown by Lorne Welch of the British Team.Calm conditions in early mornings and late evenings were used for the tests.
|Type ||Min. Sink. ||Max. L/D. |
|J.S. Weihe ||1.98 ft./sec. at 39mph EAS or 38mph IAS ||1 : 29.2 at 42mph (70 kph) or 41mph IAS |
|Eon Olympia ||2.7 ft./sec. at 4Omph EAS, 4Omph IAS (65 kph) ||1: 22.5 at 49mph EAS 6Omph IAS (80 kph) |
|Gull ||4 2.6 ft./sec. at 42mph EAS 40. 5mph TAS ||1:24.2 at 45mph EAS or 44mph TAS |
Figures relate to minimum speed of tests. True minimum rate of sink is probably a little less at a slightly lower forward speed
From “Gliding” Spring 1951.