History of the DFS Habicht

A lot of interest was generated by glider aerobatic flights at the earlier airshows. Aerobatics also
 teaches positive handling skills when faced with unusual flight situations. Because of that Hans Jacobs designed the Habicht as a fully aerobatic glider. The first presentation
 was to be at the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936.


The German research organisation for gliding, the DFS, made the calculations and tested some
 Because of the 13,60m wingspan the Habicht had a very good roll rate. The maximum g-loads are 
+12g and -9g, caused by the strong 3mm diagonal grain plywood sheeting of the wings. This
 construction made it very strong against torsional loads.


When the Olympic Games in Berlin were held, 4 gliders had been finished and all flying expectations 
were fulfilled. The airshow above and parts in the stadium were very spectacular. The landing was 
outside the stadium. These spectacular airshows were flown by Hanna Reitsch and Heinz Huth
(gliding world champion in 1960). The Habicht was not only presented in Germany. Hanna Reitsch
 also inspired the audience at the Cleveland air race in 1938.


Every Habicht had an open cockpit, except the prototype.
Characteristic for aerobatics were the aerobatic ‘sun-burst’ pattern also at that time. Later built 
Habichts had a bigger rudder to get more maneuverability. The Habicht was not only built for aerobatics. It was used for the education of the pilots for the Me 163. This was a very fast rocket plane with very poor flying qualities, because of the short wing span and the landing speed of 260 km/h. To copy these qualities there existed two further versions of the Habicht: one with 8m and one with 6m wing span. This Habicht was called the “Stummel-Habicht” because of the short wing span. After the pilots did some flights on a Grunau Baby they had further education on the Habicht. The “Stummel-Habicht” was the last step to fly before flying the Me 163 without it’s engine running and being aero-towed behind an Me 110. The pilots were then sent to fly against American bomber squadrons. Wolf Hirth put some machine-guns and bombs on board the Habicht for training purposes. 


Only one Habicht survived war and is now placed in a museum in Paris. Another Habicht was built under the direction of Josef Kurz of the OSC Wasserkuppe. After some years of flying it was put in the Wasserkuppe Museum. In 2007 they brought it outside again, and it is now flying.
Another Habicht was built by a small group lead by Dieter Kemler at Vaihingen (near Stuttgart) in man years time. This one is now flying with yellow stripes since 2012. 

So currently three Habichts are flying.


(Thank' for helping with the translation Graham; a perfect english aerobatic pilot)