The Bocian is a versatile training sailplane that first flew in 1952. The type has been modified in several respects over the course of production by SZD (tailplane and rudder in particular). About 600 have been built; many for export to 27 countries (including Australia). The aerobatic capability and fine performance (best glide ratio of 26) has enabled the Bocian to be used to train competition pilots as well as those of lesser experience. Many world gliding records were set in the 1950s and 1960s in Bocian gliders.
The Museum’s example is a type D test flown in Poland on 3 and 4 April 1963. It was imported into Australia in September 1963 by Austerserve Pty Ltd. The first owner was the Alice Springs Gliding Club and the glider had name “Cumulus” painted on the side of the fuselage (since removed). The glider had recorded 726 hours 46 minutes flying time from 2138 launches as at July 1967 when it was transferred to the Darwin Gliding Club. It appears that the glider was damaged in June 1968. The substantial repairs to the fuselage, both wings and tailplane and other minor repairs were completed on 13 October 1968. The glider continued flying with the Darwin Gliding Club until August 1969 at which time the service to that club amounted to 59 hours 7 minutes flying time from 348 flights.
Between August 1969 and August 1976 no flights are recorded in the logbook. It is understood that on its last flight at Bachelor, south of Darwin in the Northern Territory (August 1969) it was severely damaged when it crashed after spinning while being auto-tow launched (although this is not expressly mentioned in the logbook).
Reg Hancock purchased the damaged glider and rebuilt the port wing and restored it to airworthy condition (September 1976). It was then transferred to Colac, Victoria, and used by the Colac Gliding Group at the Yeo airfield until February 1981, adding another 153 hours from 403 flights to the glider’s record.
After airworthy inspection in September 1982 the glider was used by the Geelong Gliding Club until 1983 (logbook details not held). The 20 year survey was then due and the glider fell out of service. In the course of the most recent restoration attempt it was discovered that the glue used in construction had deteriorated and that it was no longer feasible to bring it back to an airworthy condition.
Subject to restoration, this exhibit may be representative of the 1950s - 1960s Bocian two seat sailplane type
This exhibit is a large two seat glider /sailplane of wood and fabric construction. All components are present with the exception of instruments. However, at the time that the aircraft was transferred to the Museum it had been taken apart for major restoration work. As received it is stripped of the top coats of paint and a number of components (including, amongst others, tip fairings, nose cone and cockpit elements) that were removed for facilitating the repair process.
Inscriptions & markings
The glider, serial number 803, was registered as VH-GNL