There is an undeniable beauty in the form of vintage sailplanes. There is a satisfaction to working in the old methods of aircraft construction and repair, smelling the dope and glue and figuring out how things were done in the first half of the 20th century. There is a thrill to flying and feeling the historic gliders and sailplanes of yesteryear. There is a fascination when building models and full-size replicas of some of the world’s most beautiful vintage aircraft. Amazing insights and stories abound when researching the history of vintage sailplanes and those who flew them; and, indeed, aviation history would be incomplete without acknowledging the contributions of gliders. All these thoughts describe the realm of the Vintage Sailplane Association.
The VSA considers vintage sailplanes to be those gliders that were built before 1958 (the advent of fiberglass sailplanes), or more recently built gliders that embody vintage-era appearance, performance and construction. Vintage gliders include the most ancient unpowered aircraft including those of Lilienthal, Chanute and Wright, but they comprise mainly wooden and metal sailplanes from the 1920’s through the late 1950’s.
The pilots of these vintage sailplanes developed soaring techniques, investigated meteorology, aided aeronautical research, set records, trained thousands of pilots and provided recreation for generations of soaring pilots. Not surprisingly, VSA promotes the acquisition, restoration, preservation and flying of vintage sailplanes and assists the National Soaring Museum in preserving soaring history. VSA publishes a quarterly newsletter / magazine Bungee Cord, helps organize vintage soaring events, provides plans and drawings to help maintain and restore vintage gliders, publishes occasional informative materials and articles and maintains a member archive that is available for vintage sailplane learning.
If the style, structure, soaring and stories of sailplanes before the advent of fiberglass appeal to you, then chances are you will like vintage sailplanes. If you are attracted to early fiberglass sailplanes VSA’s Classic Division specializes in those sailplanes as well. Whichever way you chose to enjoy older sailplanes, either as “Vintage” or as “Classics”, the VSA can be your home. Enjoy the enthusiasm and join the VSA!