The ES49 glider / sailplane was designed by Edmund Schneider in Germany before he migrated to Australia in the early 1950s. In Germany the ES49 was put into limited production by the Schleicher factory from 1951 to 1953 (8 produced).
In Australia the ES49 is commonly referred to as the “Wallaby”; two were built by the Adelaide Soaring Club with assistance from Edmund Schneider Ltd and one independently from plans by Eric Hader and members of the Cooma Gliding Club.
The Museum’s ES49 – serial number GFA-HB-36 - was built at Gawler from 1955 to 1958 and registered as VH-GLL on 15 January 1959. It was the second of the ES49s built by the Adelaide Soaring Club.
Originally it had a rather distinctive appearance due to the use of a sleek P51 Mustang canopy to enclose the forward seating position of the cockpit. The glider, together with its sister VH-GDK, was used at the Gliding Federation of Australia National Gliding Schools at Gawler.
In 1964 the glider was transferred to the Newcastle Gliding Club, Newcastle, in New South Wales and then in 1966 it went to the Albury and District Gliding Club, Albury, New South Wales. The Snowy Mountains Gliding Club, Khancoban, New South Wales acquired the glider in 1968 where it remained until 1974. In 1974 the glider transferred into private hands at Wodonga, Victoria, for two years and then to interests at Albury until 1985. At that stage the glider was acquired by a private owner at Bathurst, New South Wales, who undertook a restoration that included, amongst other work, the fitting of a more conventional cockpit canopy. The glider was at Warkworth, New South Wales in 1992 and became to be owned by Eric Oates who preserved it until he donated it to the Australian Gliding Museum.
According to the logbook for VH-GLL held by the Museum, the glider was last flown in November 1990 and at that time had logged 2758 hours and 57 minutes from 15775 launches. The fuselage is currently under restoration at the Museum’s Dave Darbyshire workshop.
The ES49 – VH-GLL – is an example of the state of wood and fabric dual place sailplane design in the late 1940s. The glider served the Adelaide Soaring Club and subsequent owners well as a training and general purpose sailplane over many years. It is a rare example of the type (one of 4 existing in the world).
Tandem two seat high wing strut braced glider-sailplane finished in silver grey colour scheme.
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