The history of the Alexander Schleicher Aircraft Company is exciting and varied and takes us from the craftsmen’s initial modest carpentry workshop to the current manufacturing facilities, which are located just a short distance away at the foot of Germany’s famous Wasserkuppe hill. The summary below provides an overview and shows the most important stages in the company’s history.


Alexander Schleicher joins the Weltensegler firm on the Wasserkuppe as an aicraft carpenter, and subsequently switches to the Martens Glider School and the Rhoen-Rossitten Society (RRG).


At the age of 26 Alexander Schleicher establishes his sailplane manufacturing business in Poppenhausen at the foot of the Wasserkuppe.


AS-His Hols der Teufel 001

“Hol´s der Teufel” (which means translated “The devil take it” or just “Go to hell”) – was the name of the first glider type which the cabinet maker Alexander Schleicher started to build in series production.

Günter Groenhoff and Alexander Schleicher

Günter Groenhoff and Alexander Schleicher

Alexander Lippisch, Hans Jacobs, Heini Dittmar, Edmund Schneider

Alexander Lippisch, Hans Jacobs, Heini Dittmar, Edmund Schneider

From the very beginning Alexander Schleicher knew how to find and engage the best sailplane designers of the time.


The workforce has increased to around 50.


On December 17, 1937 a fire completely destroyed one factory hall and two others were damaged.

It was only because of the incredible commitment by all the employees – working throughout the Christmas holidays – that it was possible to resume production at the end of January 1938.


By 1st September 1939 the workforce has increased 120.


After the end of the world war in 1945 it was forbidden to build aircraft. Right up to the early fifties the skilled Schleicher workers built furniture, handcarts and even church pews.


Alexander Schleicher in 1951 with a Kunz-Schuler at the Wasserkuppe.

Alexander Schleicher in 1951 with a Kunz-Schuler at the Wasserkuppe.

On April 28, 1951 the allied control commission again allowed soaring in Germany and cancelled the prohibition of construction of sailplanes effective June 19, 1951. The resumption of production started with the Grunau Baby III, ES 49 and Condor IV.


Rudolf Kaiser (†1991) begins working for Schleicher with the design of the Ka 2 “Rhönschwalbe”.


In 1960 Heinz Huth became World Champion of the Standard class in his Ka6 BR at the world championships in Köln/Butzweilerhof.


The arrival of Gerhard Waibel is also the beginning of the age of composites. Step by step the production processes and techniques are converted to the new manufacturing system.

His first model: ASW 12


With the K12, later renamed ASK 14, Rudolf Kaiser designed Schleicher’s first motor glider.

Within one year, Gerhard Waibel on the drawing board and Edgar Kremer in the workshop, developed a ready-to-fly ASW 12. On December 31st. 1965 Edgar Kremer made the maiden flight with Schleicher’s first fibreglass sailplane.


On April 26th 1968 company founder Alexander Schleicher passed away at the age of only 66 years


On April 25th 1972 Hans Werner Grosse flies 1461 km from Lübeck to Biarriz – a straight distance world record which survived for several decades.


The ASK 21 is Rudolf Kaiser’s first venture into the world of composite construction. The maiden flight of this extremely successful two-seater was on February 6th, 1979. This basic trainer is still being built today and is the symbolic end of the use of wood, plywood and steel tubes as primary construction material.


Martin Heide starts his career at Schleicher in Poppenhausen.

His first models: the one-off AS 22-2 and the ASH 25


On September 11th, 1991 Rudolf Kaiser, one of the most successful sailplane designers world-wide, passes away in Poppenhausen after a long illness. A few days later he is buried in his birthplace Waldsachsen near Coburg (Bavaria).


Martin Heide develops Schleicher’s first retractable power plant, based on a single rotary engine, for use in the ASH 26 E. Until today this system is the basis of all the self launching motorgliders of the AS company.


At the end of the year Winfried Schleicher retires at the age of 60 years. His sister Hedwig Kremer takes over the company.


Edgar Kremer takes over as sole managing director.


Michael Greiner starts his career at Schleicher. His first task: the wing extension of the Standard class glider ASW 28 to 18m span.

His first own project: ASG 29


Winfried and Werner Schleicher, Hedwig and Edgar Kremer

Winfried and Werner Schleicher, Hedwig and Edgar Kremer

Opening of the special exhibit for the celebration of the 100th birthday of Alexander Schleicher in the Deutsche Segelflugmuseum on the Wasserkuppe on May 22, 2001, initiated by Peter F. Selinger.


Managing director Edgar Kremer was able to welcome numerous guests to celebrate 75 years of Alexander Schleicher company.

AS-His 75 Jahre 002


Just in time for the 75th company anniversary, the new book “Rhön-Adler” by the author Peter F. Selinger is published, a comprehensive documentation of the eventful company history.

AS-His Buch 2002


On July 19th, 2003 the final assembly hall is totally destroyed by fire and completely rebuilt only two months later.

Since September 11th, 2003 the access road to the company is called “Alexander-Schleicher-Straße”.

Gerhard Waibel, one of the most successful sailplane designers, retires.

Ulrich and Peter Kremer, the sons of Hedwig and Edgar Kremer and grandchildren of the company founder Alexander Schleicher, take over the company management of Alexander Schleicher.


Edgar Kremer brings back Schleicher’s first composite sailplane, the ASW 12 Serial No. 1, from USA. After extensive restoration work, the glider is displayed in the Deutsche Segelflugmuseum on the Wasserkuppe.

AS-His ASW 12 002


In September 2008, the whole Schleicher workforce gathers around the ASG 29 Serial No. 100.


Winfried Schleicher, former co-partner and son of the company’s founder, passes away on Mai 28th 2010 at the age of 77 years.


Paul Anklam begins his activity at Schleicher.

In November 2013, the workforce is pleased about having delivered 100 ASH 31 Mi and 250 ASG 29 sailplanes.

Historical gallery