Historical information

The Slingsby T53 glider was designed by J. Sellars in the 1960s as an easily maintained two seat trainer suitable for RAF Air Training Corp use and for sale in the USA and Australian markets where wooden gliders were becoming less popular. The Slingsby T53 prototype first flew in 1967. The T53B version has a conventional fixed tailplane with elevator instead of the all-moving tailplane of the original type. The “B” version also has ailerons of narrower chord and lacks wing flaps. Further changes were made to the fin (extended above the tailplane) for the final “C” version. Production of the T53 at Slingsby was disrupted by a fire at the factory in 1968. As a consequence the contract to supply 40 of the type to the RAF was cancelled and only a relatively small number (possibly 27) were made by Slingsby before the project was discontinued. The rights were later sold to Yorkshire Sailplanes. It designated the glider as the YS53 Sovereign – only a few were produced (possibly 3). The Australian Gliding Museum’s example is a type “B” model. It bears serial number 1686 and was manufactured in 1967. It was registered in Australia as VH-GUB in name of Boonah Gliding Club, Boonah, which is about 90 kilometres south west of Brisbane in Queensland. Locally it was called “the Bomber”!

Significance

This exhibit is a representative example of the Slingsby T53 sailplane type. It is a rarity in Australia.

Physical description

All metal twin seat glider / sailplane, painted white with red tips and markings.

Inscriptions & markings

“Slingsby T53B” on each side of fuselage below cockpit opening; Registration VH-GUB on each side of fuselage at rear.