The “Northrop” is an American copy of the “Zogling” which was designed in Germany in the 1920s as a training glider. Apparently, the Northrop primary glider takes its name from a Marvin Northrop of Minneapolis who imported a Zogling from Germany and from that glider had plans drawn and published in a magazine called Modern Mechanics in 1930.
The Australia Gliding Museum’s Northrop was built over the period of 1970 to 1974. The project was conceived by a pioneer of Australian gliding, Ken Davies, about 1969, as a hobby project and to experience afresh gliding flight of the early years. By that time, few primary gliders, which performed a fundamental role for gliding clubs in the 1930s and 1940s, remained in Australia.
Ken began construction and was helped to finish the project by two old time Gliding Club of Victoria members, Dave Darbyshire and Rudi Feil. The glider was test flown on 8 March 1975 at Benalla.
The glider was stored at the Gliding Club of Victoria and flown on special occasions in the 1980s. Later it was damaged at the 1996 vintage glider rally at Ararat as a result of a heavy landing. Storage was then provided for the glider by the Victorian Motorless Flight Group at Bacchus Marsh until it was returned to Dave Darbyshire for restoration in 1998.
Fully restored, the glider was donated by Iris Davies and Dave Darbyshire to the Australian Gliding Museum in April 2001.
This exhibit is the type of machine that formed the basis of the sport of gliding from 1929 to about 1945.
The glider consists of an open (uncovered) wooden framed fuselage (painted blue) with a brown vinyl covered seat, fabric covered wooden framed wings of constant chord (painted silver) with provision for attachment of semi-circular cane wing skids, and fabric covered wooden framed tailplane, elevators and rudder (painted silver). When assembled the airframe is wire braced.