Design and Development
During the 1920s and 30s gliding was often self-taught or taught in single place sailplanes. An instructor would often coach the student using hand signals from the automobile towing the glider into the air. By the mid-1930s the benefits of having a two-place glider for training were beginning to be recognized by glider instructors.
A number of two-place designs were demonstrated in the US, including the Gross Sky Ghost in 1932, the Funk two-place and the Bowlus-duPont two place, both of which first flew in 1933.
In late 1937 the Airhoppers Gliding Club of Long Island, New York approached the Schweizer brothers to see about the design of a Schweizer two-place glider specifically for training purposes.
The Schweizer Metal Aircraft Company built the 2-8 prototype over the winter of 1937-38. The aircraft was completed and first flew in June 1938, in time to fly in the US National Soaring Championships.
The first dozen 2-8s delivered went to clubs and individuals and were not certified aircraft at that time. One 2-8 was ordered by the Soaring Society of America for use by their general manager, Henry Wightman, and was flown from the Washington DC area.
At the time of the sale to SSA, Bob McDowell, the attorney who notarized the bill of sale, indicated to the Schweizers that they should move their manufacturing operation out of their father's barn and relocate to the Elmira, NY area. The Schweizers received the suggestion positively as they needed more space to produce gliders, but they had no money with which to make the move. McDowell convinced Elmira Industries Inc, the local business development corporation, to provide space for the Schweizers on the second floor of the Elmira Knitting Mill Building in return for stock in the company. This resulted in the Schweizer Metal Aircraft Company becoming the Schweizer Aircraft Corporation, with a sale of shares to Elmira Industries, local businessmen and soaring pilots.
Orders for 2-8s came in from a group of Bell Aircraft employees, a youth group, a number of gliding schools, as well as several individuals.
The 2-8 received type certificate GTC 5 on 28 June 1940.
The type certificate is currently held by K & L Soaring of Cayuta, New York. K & L Soaring now provides all parts and support for the Schweizer line of sailplanes.
Manufactured aircraft are known as SGS 2-8s while those assembled from factory kits are designated as SGS 2-8A.
The 2-8 has a welded steel tube fuselage covered in aircraft fabric. The aluminum wings feature assembly with self-tapping PK screws and very few rivets.
Read more about this topic: Schweizer SGS 2-8
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