Historical information

The ES52 Kookaburra is a two seat high wing glider – sailplane of wooden construction designed by Harry Schneider and built Edmund Schneider Pty Ltd. It was first flown on 26 June 1954 and became the glider of choice for training new pilots of many gliding clubs around Australia in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Several found there way to New Zealand. Further two kits were sent to Brazil and at least one of these was finished and flow successfully. The ES52 performed well with a glide ratio of about 22:1 and had soaring and cross-country capabilities. A notable feature of the ES52 design was the staggered side-by-side seating arrangement of the cockpit. This made for good in flight communication between instructor and trainee. Overall, thirty six were built by Edmund Schneider Pty Ltd. A longer wing version (the ES52B) was also introduced that had a better glide ratio (around 25:1). Five examples of this version were built. In Germany a modified ES52 was built incorporating a metal tube fuselage frame and with the addition of a engine driven propeller mounted on top of the wing which enabled the glider to be self launching.

This museum collection item consists of the fuselage, tailplane, elevators, fin, rudder from the Mark I, ES 52 Kookaburra, formerly registered as VH-GFF and last owned by the Barcaldine and District Airsports Club of Queensland. The glider was in a damaged condition when it was acquired by the Museum. A decision was made by the Museum to repair the glider for display rather than endeavouring to restore it to an airworthy condition. The reconstruction of the wings is being undertaken by using parts of damaged ES 52 Kookaburra wings (as it happened from later ES 52 Marks).

The Log Book for VH-GFF reveals operational life with a succession of gliding clubs around Australia.


This exhibit will be of interest to gliding enthusiasts wishing to inspect the popular two seat club trainer of a by-gone era.

Physical description

This is a wood and fabric covered aircraft that is being rebuilt from the components of several aircraft as a non-flying exhibit.

Inscriptions & markings

Fuselage marked with Edmund Schneider Pty Ltd Serial Number 9 and comes from the glider previously registered as VH-GFF.