|Se 102 - Grunau Baby IIB-2 (1942-1953)|
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The German Grunau Baby, designed by Edmund Schneider (1901-1968), is
without any doubt the most produced sailplane in the world. Totally more
than 6000 have been manufactured and it has been built under licence in
almost twenty countries. The first variant took to the air in 1931. The
Grunau Baby fulfilled the demands for a sailplane which could be used
both for training as well as more advanced flying. It went trough
several modifications before the most common configuration - the IIB -
The Swedish Air Force flew 31 Grunau Baby IIB-2. One was built at F 5 at
Ljungbyhed, but the other 30 were delivered in 1942 by AB Flygplan at
Norrköping. This company had in 1941 been granted the rights for licence
production of the Grunau Baby from Edmund Schneider’s factory at Grunau
in Germany. In addition to the 30 Air Force sailplanes, AB Flygplan
built nearly 70 Grunau Baby for civil Swedish flying clubs. The Air
Force designated the aircraft Se
102. They got Air Force numbers 8101-8130.
The single-seat Grunau Baby IIB was constructed of wood and fabric and
had a skid landing gear. It had a rectangular fuselage which was
reinforced with double layers of diagonal plywood. The cockpit was of
open type, but could be fitted with a hood. The wings were equipped with
dive-brake type spoilers. The Se 102 was brilliantly coloured in red and
The high-winged, strutted sailplane was stable and easy to fly. It had
an effective rudder action and long span ailerons made good performance
Grunau was an important soaring centre in pre-war Germany - second
largest after Wasserkuppe. The territory today belongs to Poland. Grunau
– in Polish Jezow Sudecki - is located directly north of the town of
Hirschberg (Jelenia Gora) in the province of Silesia (now Slask). In the
south lies the mighty mountain chain Riesengebirge - in Polish
Karkonasze - near the present Polish-Czech border. Flying activity still
takes place in the area, now with hang- and paragliders. See map (from
The glider pilot Edmund Schneider married a girl from Grunau and settled down in the small village. In 1928, he founded his own company - Edmund Schneider Segelflugzeugbau Grunau (ESG). As gliding was an expensive activity, Schneider developed his sucessful Grunau Baby as a compromise between price and performance. At the end of the WWII, the Schneider family moved to Stuttgart. Schneider still improved his “Baby”. In 1951, the Grunau Baby III was introduced and proved itself also to be a successful design.
Photo: The Se 102 of Flygvapenmuseum (the Swedish Air Force Museum). It
has actually never flown in the Air Force. It was owned by
Borlänge-Domnarvets Flygklubb and carried the civil registration SE-SAP.
It is now painted in the markings of Air Force Wing F 3 at Malmen.
Length: 6,09 m. Span: 13,57 m. MTOW: 250 kg. Max. speed: 210 km/h. Lift/drag ratio 17:1 at 60 km/h.
© Lars Henriksson