Lg 105 - AB Flygindustri Fi-3 (1944-1945)

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Large transport glider aircraft were built during WWII primarily by the UK, the USA and Germany. The early German DFS 230 could only carry eight soldiers, but played and important role in the first years of the war. DFS 230 was followed by the larger Gotha Go 242, which could load 21 soldiers or a few small motor vehicles. The Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant, designed to take as heavy loads as tanks, was the largest glider ever built. It had a wing span of about 55 metres and a length of early 30 meters, but landed on simple skids. To take off, it needed a droppable trolley weighing eight tons. More than 100 Gigants were built, but their unreal size made them almost useless. Only a few of them got into action.  

The famous British Airspeed Horsa could load 25 soldiers or two Jeeps. Nearly 4.000 Horsas were built. Another successful British cargo glider was the General Aircraft Hamilcar. But the glider aircraft built in largest number was the Waco CG-4 Haig - Hadrian in the RAF. Almost 14.000 were built. The gliders of the Allied Forces played an important  role at the D-day.

Therefore, it was natural for the Swedish defence to investigate the usefulness of Swedish transport gliders. In the beginning, a fleet of 70 gliders were considered.  

AB Flygindustri at Halmstad, manufacturer of sailplanes, got the commission to design a glider - Fi-2 - with a capacity of six persons. But this project was cancelled. Instead a larger glider - Fi-3 - was designed by the company. This aircraft could carry a crew of two and ten soldiers. A glider aircraft for evaluation was ordered and delivered in February, 1944. It got the Air Force designation Lg 105 (and the Sw/AF No 105001).  

The front part of the fuselage was of welded steel tube with a baked plywood shell cover. The rear part was of monocoque plywood construction. Control surfaces and the rear part of the wing had fabric covering. The cargo doors were folding upwards. 

Trials began immediately after the glider was delivered. A B 5 dive-bomber was used as tug. At a routine test flight in April, the glider broke up in the air. The accident was caused of broken screws where the wing spar was fixed to the fuselage.  

After all, five new Lg 105’s were ordered by the Air Force. Three gliders were built by AB Flygindustri, but further tests showed that the design was too weak structurally. The whole project was cancelled in September 1945. To fulfill the demand for transport capacity, the Air Force modified a number of the old B 3 (Ju 86) bomber as transport aircraft.   

As a preparation for the glider project, about 30 B 5’s were fitted with hooks for towing by SAAB at Trollhättan.   

A project group plans to build a flying replica of a Lg 105

Photo: Model, exhibited at Flygvapenmuseum

Length: 9,70 m. Span: 16,50 m. MTOW: 2.100 kg. Max. speed: 250 km/h. Lift/drag ratio 15:1.


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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-07-11