Historical information

The Schweizer SGS 2-12 or TG-3A as officially certificated is a glider that was designed in 1941-1942 and produced in United States of America from 1942 for training of military glider pilots. It is understood that over 100 TG-As were supplied to the USA military and at the end of the war many were sold off as surplus.

Fred Hoinville imported the Museum’s TG-3A into Australia in August 1950. It is understood that it had been built in 1948 and given construction number G15. On arrival in Australia it was assembled at Bankstown aerodrome and delivered by aero-tow behind a DH Tiger Moth to Camden where Hoinville’s club, the Hinkler Soaring Club, was based.

Hoinville’s TG-3A performed well at the Hinkler club in 1950-1951. Several altitude records (including a solo flight to 8000 feet by Grace Roberts – a national women’s record) were set and many soaring flight made over Camden. However, it was badly damaged in a crash landing on 15 April 1951. The glider was repaired after the crash at Camden. It is likely that modifications were made to the cockpit canopy at this time. There were three configuration tried at various times: the original dual cockpit canopy as was standard for TG3As; an unusual dual bubble canopy set up; and a single canopy over the forward seating position (in effect converting the glider to a single seater). When the glider was flown by Hoinville at the 1958 Australian Gliding Championships at Benalla, Victoria in January 1959 (refer The Age Newspaper, January 10, 1959 p.21) it had a single canopy so that it could be used in solo competition.

Records show that the glider was entered on the Australian register as VH-GDI on 6 May 1957. And the Logbook commencing in 1959 shows that ownership passed to the Port Augusta Gliding Club in South Australia on 16 August 1959. Inspections were carried out at that club and airworthiness certificates renewed in 1965. The logbook record indicates that VH-GDI had 1191 flights with an aggregate time in the air of 197 hours at the Wilmington Road Airstrip used by the Port Augusta Club.

The glider was transferred to the Cooma Gliding Club, New South Wales. Flying at Cooma began in November 1966 and continued until August 1969: the glider was in the air a further 108 hours from 1067 flights. The last recorded technical inspection of the glider was conducted on 28 September 1968. The glider then passed on to Bill Riley on 20 March 1980 who stored the glider until March 2004 when it was collected by the Australian Gliding Museum. It is not clear whether the current poor state of the airframe is due to an accident when last flown in 1969 or the conditions under which it has been stored over many years or a combination of factors.

Significance

Although in poor condition, this exhibit is the sole example of a TG3A ex-US military aircraft in Australia. Further the connection with the story of well-known power and glider pilot Fred Hoinville adds to its historical significance.

Physical description

Tubular metal framed fuselage (without covering and fittings), wooden rudder (no covering) and in damaged condition, wooden fuselage component (formers for fuselage top), Parts of control mechanism, Wooden stringers, Wooden wings without fabric covering and in damaged condition, Ailerons, Tailplane /Elevator without fabric covering, Perspex bubble canopies.