On April 25th in 1972 Hans Werner Grosse, an aviation hero of mine set a new world record for distance flight in a glider. From Lubeck in the north of Germany to Biarritz in the south of France a distance of 1,461KM or over 900 miles. This from a tow to 2,700 feet to start. All the rest was playing the atmosphere and gravity against each other. The record wasn't broken until thirty years later and that was by a three turn point flight in a glider with half again as much performance as the Schleicher ASW-12 Grosse flew. As a straight line distance Grosse's record has not been broken to this day. Hans passed away just a little earlier this year. I wish I could have met him.
The aircraft (the ship in the picture is the one owned by Wally Scott of the USA that he flew to the previous record distance of 730 miles):
See the chute hanging off the tail? That was the only device the glider had for approach control. The flaps reflex up two notches for high speed flight and down one for low speed - they provide no significant drag that would help get this 42-44:1 glider into a field. There were no airbrakes as the designer Gerhard Waibel designed this aircraft for world breaking performance and he had trouble with integrating effective airbrakes into fiberglass gliders with long thin wings on the D-36 Circe university glider project when he was on that team. When you go to land an ASW-12 you pull the lever to deploy the chute. Usually it deploys and you make a nice steep approach and land. If you misjudged conditions and start to undershoot all you can do is jettison it, no second chances. If it doesn't deploy (and that happened from time to time) you have to rely on the old forward slip to get it down on the ground. That's one thing in a slab sided, draggy J-3 Cub but quite a bit more challenging in something that converts 1,000 feet of altitude to over seven miles of distance and has a 60 foot wingspan!