By 1936 soaring had progressed to the point where the ability to catch and ride thermals was commonplace. Now pilots and designers were interested in how they could move quickly between thermals in order to extend their flight time. Hans Jacobs, the designer of the DFS Reiher III, set out to build a sailplane capable of riding thermals with the best of them and also capable of moving quickly between thermals. Up to the launch of the prototype Reiher, sailplanes had been optimized to ride thermals at the cost of penetration. Hans Jacobs called upon the resources of the DFS to design a sailplane capable of both thermalling and penetrating.
The Reiher prototpe was first flown in 1937. Hans Jacobs and the DFS designed and built a sailplane that emphasized aerodynamics and a thinner wing profile promising better penetration without sacrificing performance in thermals. Several issues were immediately apparent upon the maiden flight of the Reiher prototype which led to the quick evolution of the Reiher Mark II. The Mark II and then the final iteration the Reiher III, improved on the prototype via stiffer yet lighter structural components and ballast optimized for penetration. The resulting Reiher III won the championships in 1939. Unfortunately no Reihers survived WWII. It wasn't until recently the members of the Wasserkuppe "Old Timers Group" resurrected the the Reiher III with an entirely new effort - a perfect replica of the original. (Source: Martin Simons)
We offer the DFS Reiher III under license from Tom Bode of Germany based Woodwings.de. Tom created his CAD design of the Reiher from Martin Simon’s 3-view, and numerous photographs of the original and replicas. The spacing of the ribs and fuselage formers are scale to the original. All control surfaces are hinged with knuckle hinges, and the ailerons and elevator have interior drives, with no control horns protruding from the airframe, just as on the original. For ease of transportation and handling, each wing is built so that the outer third is detachable. The wings are joined and attached with laser-cut stainless steel fittings, which are secured to the fuselage with M5 bolts or detent pins. When using the jettisonable dolly for take-off, a tug with a 80cc gas engine is sufficient. Our Piper Pawnee would be a good tug.
We produce all the wood parts in the US and import the metal fittings from Germany. At 1:3 scale the wingspan of the DFS Reiher III is 6.3 meters (20.66 feet) and is one of the most exacting kits offered today. All wood (aircraft ply, poplar and birch) is "mil spec" and purchased from Wicks Aircraft Supply. The wood is CNC routed for us by Dave Egnoski of Richmond Cabinets. It takes more than 12 hours just to cut the wood for this kit with more than 900 pieces. Here are the basic specifications of our DFS Reiher III kit.
DFS REIHER III SPECIFICATIONS
MODEL: DFS Reiher III
PRICE: $1,899 +S&H
DESIGNER: Tom Bode - Woodwings.de
MANUFACTURER: Aerosente (Wood), Tom Bode (Metal)
WINGSPAN: 6.33 Meters (20.66 Feet)
HULL LENGTH: 2.60 Meters (8.53 Feet)
WING AREA: 2.10 Square Meters (3255 square inches).
WING LOADING: 78.57 g/dm2 (25.75 oz/square feet)
WEIGHT: 16.5 Kilograms (36.30 Pounds)
THE DFS REIHER III KIT
I think you will be hard-pressed to find another kit that will provide more satisfaction than the DFS Reiher III. From the quality of the parts, to the challenge of the build, to the exquisite sight of the Reiher on final - this kit is designed for experienced modelers who appreciate top drawer quality. The kit contains all cnc-routed parts for the wings and tail surfaces, including parts for trailing edges, spoilers, control surface horns and hinges, laser cut stainless steel fittings for wing attachment, fuselage formers, fuselage nose cone, parts for the canopy frame, parts for the launch dolly ( except wheels ) and release mechanism – all together approximately 900 pieces. Materials used are aircraft grade birch plywood, poplar plywood ( liteply ), balsa and pertinax. Also included in the kit are a detailed construction manual translated form German to English by Michael Tetzner for Aerosente, reduced plans for fuselage, wings, and tail surfaces, parts list, and a CD which contains approximately 500 pictures of the different build stages. This is what comes in the kit:
1. All CNC-routed parts (Aircraft Ply = Birch, Poplar)
2. Pertinax specialty parts - control surfaces, horns, etc.
3. Stainless steel fittings including wing connectors, elevator parts and ball-lock bolts.
4. English construction manual.
5. 500 construction photo CD
6. Parts "buy-out" list.
The DFS Reiher III kit does not include the "long" stock, fuselage/wing/tail sheeting and basic hardware as listed below:
1. Birch plywood in 0.4 mm and 0.6 mm ( approx. 1/64 and 1/32, respectively ) required for fuselage plankings and wing sheeting.
2. Strip material ( spruce ) for spar caps and fuselage longerons
3. Balsa sheet and strip material for false leading edges, and various doublers.
4. Ash material for landing skid.
5. Miscellaneous small hardware parts.
Building the Reiher will not be a problem for any modeler with previous experience building wooden models from kits or from plans. Except for an angled building board (dimensions are included in the building instructions ) for the gull wings, no jigs are required for the build. All fuselage formers have stanchions, and all wing and tail surface ribs have tabs, which define their exact positions. Certain processes, such as scarf jointing of plywood, or applying the sheeting with the iron-on method are described and illustrated in the building instructions. Following are photos from the build.
Fig. 1 Some of the photos that are in the construction manual:
Fig. 2: Metal fittings and pertinax specialty parts supplied with kit:
Fig 3: Construction Manual
Fig 4. Plans Room - Manual + Plans
ORDERING INFORMATION FOR THE DFS REIHER III
Visit our company store at www.glidershop.com to order the DFS Reiher III
Aerosente guarantees each kit to be free from defects in both material and workmanship. If any parts are missing from the kit or are damaged due to workmanship of the product, please notify Aerosente for a prompt replacement of damaged or missing part. This warranty does not cover parts damaged by shipping, use or modification. Aerosente's liability will not exceed the original cost of the purchased kit. Aerosente does not control the assembly or materials used for final assembly, so no liability shall be assumed nor accepted for completed kits.
We accept a variety of payment methods via Paypal. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415.234.6757 if you have any questions or need assistance with ordering, we appreciate your business!
RECENT BUILD PHOTOS
Sandy Alan Squitieri who runs Graupner USA bought one of the first kits and has been doing a masterful build. Here are some photos from his build:
HISTORY OF THE DFS REIHER III
The Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug, or DFS (German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight) was formed in 1933 to centralise all gliding activity in Germany. It was formed by the nationalisation of the Rhön-Rossitten Gesellschaft (RRG) at Darmstadt. The DFS was involved in producing training sailplanes for the Hitler Youth and Luftwaffe, as well as conducting research into advanced technologies such as flying wings and rocket propulsion. Notable DFS-produced aircraft include the DFS 230 transport glider (1600+ produced), the German counterpart to the British Airspeed Horsa glider, and the DFS 194 forerunner of the famous Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket fighter.
Images from Vintagesailplanes.com:
Research group Emerald has archived an article available for purchase from the 1946 edition of Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology called "The DFS Reiher Sailplane: A Technical Description of an Important High-Efficiency German Sporting Glider" that is quite interesting:
Reiher Reference List
Historical and restoration shots:
DFS Deutsche Forschungsantalt fur Segelflug - Wikipedia
Wasserkuppe - the legendary Germal Glider site:
Wasserkuppe "Oldtimer Club"
Wasserkuppe "Oldtimer Club" Articles:
Wasserkuppe "Oldtimers Club" Reiher III restoration
DFS Reiher Scratch build...Stefan Krahn
Wasserkuppe 360 panarama