How it all started

Updated November 2007

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NV Vliegtuigbouw Factory

This menu: Click on each country will give a detailed history of each Sagitta ever registered in that country.

Click on "Brochure" will show original brochures and more historic literature.

WK Argentia is about the 1963 worlds.


"It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill"  -  Wilbur Wright

Dutch sailplane factory: NV Vliegtuigbouw.

NV Vliegtuigbouw V-20  PH-90NV Vliegtuigbouw was started by Mr. A.L. Bauling, the promotor of Aeroclub Teuge, when he realised that pilots in Holland needed more Baby's and he saw an opportunity to build several 10's of them. Production started in 1936 under supervision of Mr. Wijkens in an attick, later in a large shed. After production was well going on they hired Mr. Snellen as designer to build the -at that time- very modern V-20. Unfortunately only one was ever built, see picture. If anyone has any pictures or more information regarding this one, please contact us. The V-20 featured a robust Göppingen 535 profile for the wing, wich was attached to the fuselage with struts. Stall speed was 45 km/h (24 knots) and best glide angle (L/D) was 1:23. Very good indeed in the era of Olympia's. Besides the V-20 they also built a two-seater Grunau-8 and a trainer glider of type "Universal". Baby's however always stayed the main production line. In total 16 Baby's where delivered to Dutch gliding clubs. These Baby's are often called Bauling Baby's. They have a larger and different shaped rudder than Fokker Baby's and other ones. After WW2 they started again, this time based at Teuge airfield, with a series of high performance gliders, the Sagitta. (source www.grunaubaby.nl)

With thanks to Henk van der Heijden (Snoerie)

Interesting is that in 1952 the at that time 17 year old Ed van Bree flew Bauling Baby PH-45 from Heerlen to Langewiese, a distance of 176 km. Ed would laterFrom right to left: Ed van Bree, Jan Selen, Arie Breunissen and Jos Krols at Argentinia 1963 world championships. become an important ambassador for the Sagitta, flying many displays with the fully aerobatic Sagitta, often inverted a few metres above the deck. It must have been an impressive sight, as these displays were still in memory of the webmaster when he purchased his own Sagitta almost 40 years later... Ed participated in the world champs 1963 in Argentina and competed with the Sagitta against 22 K-6's, Foka-4, Edelweiss,  Vasama and other hot ships of those days. He gave an impressive display both at the opening day and last day of the world championships and ended up 31st place. This picture shows Ed on the right, with Jan Selen in the cockpit (uncle of -many many years later- world champion Baer Selen).
More exclusive images from 1963 on the (Dutch) photogallery pages, and more about the championships, including complete article from "Avia" on the Argentine 1963 pages.

Piet Alsema and the Sagitta.

Piet AlsemaNot very much is known about designer engineer Piet Alsema, here pictured in the cockpit of PH-280 (thank you Erica Alsema, for the confirmation). Piet passed away in 1971. At the design stage of the Sagitta he was general manager of NV Vliegtuigbouw and three years of planning and design cumulated in what was supposed to be one of the world's best gliders in the standard class (restricted to 15 metres span). It turned out to become one of the last wooden high performance gliders, before glassfibre as a construction material took over completely. It also turned out to be the only high performance single seat glider design ever to be series produced in Holland. Besides sleek lines which made it a good looking machine, it had some very modern features and an unusual airbrake design. The pin to lock both tailplane halves together hides in the tailfin. The canopy has a 360 degrees view and slides open backwards. It can be flown open in several fixed positions. The wheel has a brake. All controls connect automatically upon assembly (although this is not without danger - care should be taken that the levers slide rightly into the forks when the wings are mounted to the fuselage).

Ed van Bree with the Sagitta finishing at max speed - Argentinia 1963 World Gliding ChamiponshipsThe first prototype, registered PH-266, was flown by Mr. Bauling on the 4th of June or the 4th of July 1960, and the first production model, named Sagitta 2 and registered PH-280, stood finished 24 November 1961. In 1964 a 17 metre version, the Super Sagitta, was build on request of a Belgian pilot. Only one was ever built, and it was later exported to the USA.

Piet Alsema with Goevier

 

This picture, kindly borrowed from the website of the Amsterdam Gliding Club (ACvZ), shows Piet Alsema second from left. It was taken by Len Bosman shortly after WW2 with Prince Bernhard seen at the right in the cockpit of a Goevier that survived the war. Instructor is Jan Vastenau.

 

 








Below Piet Alsema is seen at the tail of a Fieseler Storch borrowed from the prince and used as a towplane the same day.

Piet Alsema connecting the tow rope

 

 

 

 

 



Piet Alsema inspecting the Baby after a crash

Piet inspecting the wreck of a Grunau Baby and already making plans with Jan Bosman how to rebuild it (it was flying again within a year). Thanks for these pic tures to Len Bosman, who together with his brother Jan were more or less the official photographers of the Amsterdam Gliding Club in the 40's. Click the pictures for a larger image. 

And this is what it was all about: prototype Sagitta, s/n 001, here on display in one of the very few colour pictures ever:
(Published with kind permission of Ken Elliott, UK)
Click for larger image



The original NV Vliegtuigbouw factory.

A recent photo of the birthplace of all Sagitta's, taken at Teuge airfield.

This is the original factory where all Sagitta's were built. The shed is beautifully restored and is now in use as workshop for the Gliding Club Teuge.

Click picture for more images.

Thanks Charles, and thanks to Teuge's technician who took the pictures.

 


A bit more about the Standard Class. Source: Zweefvliegen II from Wim Adriaansen, The Netherlands

The standard class was created out of the need for affordable and simple gliders, that could be used for both competition and club flying.   The idea for this class was born at the Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol a Voile, in short OSTIV. This organisation handles all sorts of technical issues, and one of them was to define the specifications for the standard class, started in 1956. Up to 1956 all championships were flown in single seat or two seat classes. The standard class was first flown in 1958. The goal was to stimulate design of cheap and safe gliders, cheap to repair as well - and thus stimulate gliding all over the world. Here are some of the specifications:

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The maximum wing span is limited to 15 metres.

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Flaps and other means to change the wing profile during flight are prohibited.

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The glider has to be equiped with a fixed, non-retractable wheel.

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Ballast that can be ejected during flight is prohibited.

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Brake parachutes are not allowed.

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The glider needs to be equiped with dive brakes capable of limiting the maximum speed to Vne.

After each world gliding championships the OSTIV-award will be presented to the design that best meets these criteria. This happened first time ever in Poland in 1958, when Alexander Schleicher received the award for the Ka-6. In 1960 it was awarded for the Standard Austria and later on for the Finnish PIK-16 Vasama. Competing gliders from that time were Foka, Ka-6, Sagitta, Austria, the Australian ES-59 Arrow, EON 460 and many others. According to Harrie Wiertz (technician and crew of the Dutch team in Argentinia; he died in 1984) failing to win the OSTIV award was due to sanding the wings wet, causing all surfaces to buckle in the burning Argentine sun. The paint coatings were already way too thin, and the water definitly ruined it. It wasn't a nice sight and one of the biggest disappointments in his life. (source Harrie Wiertz jr.)

Standard Class in comparison:

  Ka-6 Austria Vasama Sagitta Foka EON-460 M-100-S Arrow
Wing span (m) 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 13.3
Length (m) 6.7 6.2 6.0 6.5 7 6.3 6.4 6.8
Wing ratio 18.1 16.7 19.2 18.7 18.5 20.2 17.1 16.0
Wing area (m²) 12.4 13.5 11.7 12 12.2 11.2 13.1 11.0
Wing loading (kg/m²) 24.2 24.0 22.5 26.7 25.7 24.4 24.0

25.5

Weight (kg) 182 205 166 217 225 159 198 170
Max load (kg) 115 118 115 110 87 113 117 110
Vne (km/h) 200 209 250 270 260 216 230 238
Vmax rough air (km/h) 130 - 170 200 160 144 140 139
Min sink @ (km/h) 68 68 73 78 75 70 67 68
Vstall (km/h) 60 67 62 66 62 61 51 60
LD 31.5 34 34 33 34 30 32 28
@ V (km/h) - 105 85 85 86 - 80 76
First flight 1955 1959 1961 1960 1960 1960 1960 1962

 

 


Sagitta, Sagitta 2, Sagitta 013 and Super Sagitta.
Source: bits & pieces from Charles Munnig Schmidt and Louis van Rijn, "Sport in de Luchtvaart" 1966 by Wim Adriaansen.

It is clear that a lot of things changed from prototype (s/n 001, registration PH-266) to the serial produced glider. The first serial built Sagitta was Original cockpit design s/n 001  PH-266called Sagitta 2 (s/n 002, registration PH-280). All Sagittas after s/n 013 are called Sagitta 013, because it was only then the Sagitta was fully certified. The Sagitta has always been a heavy glider, due to the fact that it is build according to the very strict Dutch airworthiness requirements; probably the most demanding in the world. The wing spars are build up of solid spruce and both wings and fuselage are covered with birch triplex. At one stage, probably after test flights, the wing tip profile was changed from NACA63-618 (over the whole wing) to NACA-4412, in order to make the tips stall later than the rest of the wing and thus keeping aileron control longer. We know now that this wasn't too successful. One other change was in shape and construction of the canopy. Sagitta 001 is the only one with the very long nose, which makes it really different from the rest. However, we don't know more than what we can see on the pictures that are available. The prototype also had tailplanes that folded upwards for transportation. This explains maybe why the tailplane can be hard to get rigged on the later versions (with a main pin through the tail fin); it was simply never designed like that originally. With the modification of the tailplane also the shape and size of the rudder changed significantly. See picture galleries and note the difference between s/n 001 and all other Sagitta's. The wings connected to the fuselage automatically with a sort of fork construction. Some other details about the prototype are to be found in this article (thanks Howard Petri). Howard also submitted one of the original advertisements drawings featuring the Sagitta logo, as depicted on the tail of N6446, and an article from Air Progress 1964 - containing a seldom seen picture of Piet Alsema. Original commercial brochures are to be downloaded here.

British article: Drawings: Air Progress 1964:Brochure:

Development and design ideas.

Ongoing research in this area. We're waiting on contributions from key people. The wing profile NACA 63-618 is also used in the Ka-6 and Ka-6CR (root section), the Foka and Foka-5, Schweizer 1-29 and the T-37 and T-45 (Skylark and Swallow). More info about the wing profiles on the "technical" pages, with a contribution of Louis van Rijn.

ZK-GCW (s/n 004) at Omarama in New Zealand (Eric Notten)


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