Schneider ES 52 Kookaburra ZK-GBB

After World War Two, Edmund Schneider , one of the pioneers of pre war German sailplane designs and the co designer and manufacturer of the famous Grunau Baby trainer, was invited by the Gliding Federation of Australia to set up a factory there, to design and build sailplanes for the Australian Gliding Market.One of his designs was the revolutionary Kookaburra two seater side by side trainer, which first flew in 1954.Here was a two seater trainer that had equal or better performance than a number of high performance single seaters that were actively flying at that time in the world.

ZKGBB was imported in 1957 for the Marlborough Gliding and Soaring Club and was one of two that arrived from Australia. ZK GAV being the other for the South Canterbury Gliding Club in 1956. GAV was however written off after a winch launching accident and Gordington near Hamilton in 1965.

ZKGBB was later sold to the Whakatane Gling Club in 1971, where she eventually got 'dinged' in 1973. ZKGBB was virtually rebuilt and re delivered back to Kawerau airfield to eventually be sold to the renamed Eastern Bay of Plenty club at Kawerau. Here she stayed over a long period of time , occasionally flying until for reasons unknown , she was 'rested' in the back of the hanger. In 1988 the club made a decision to get GBB flying once again. She was totally recovered,given a new paint job and was test flown in 1991. However one day a Cessna aeroplane that was parked near the glider got ' tossed' by a very strong wind and yes, you guessed it, somehow landed on top of 'BB'

She was this time 'permently rested' in the back of the Kawerau hanger, until one day , Sandy Stonnell, who was the commander of the local ATC squadron in Rotorua , decided to take over the ownership with the hope one day it could be rebuilt and used for ATC experience flights . However with time rolling on and ' BB' having now taken over garage , the original idea of Sandy's was starting to diminish.

The plight of 'BB' was well known with in the 'VK ' ranks , so Vintage Kiwi , as an organization decided to approach Sandy early in 2007 to see if a dialogue could be opened with her to hopefully save the Kookaburra from potentially one day going to the 'tip'. GBB deserved better than that. An agreement was struck, and was soon on her way down to Taranaki in 2008. With master repairer , Jevon Snowden and Kevin Wisnewski, the Norfolk Aviation Sports Club would rebuild her to be owned and opperated by them, on a permanent ' loan ' scheme from the Vinatage and Classic Glider Club of New Zealand.

To day she now graces the Taranaki Skys and looks fabulous. This very unique and special glider now has a new lease and purpose in life

Oh happy days once again .



The Vintage & Classic Glider Club of New Zealand Inc