By James E. Mrazek
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Additional info for Airborne Combat: The Glider War/Fighting Gliders of WWII
However, when the glider was lightly loaded, many pilots found it handled so much like a sports glider that they could, on occasion, take advantage of prevailing air currents to enjoy a few minutes of soaring. For meteorological readings at high altitudes, the glider was ideal. When in free flight, it was noiseless, vibrationless, and free from the electrical emanations usually found in aircraft that are likely to disturb sensitive instruments. The flying observatory was first towed in tests by the diminutive woman test pilot, Hanna Reitsch.
It kept the records of all pupils, gave tests and issued proficiency certificates. From the beginning, it kept a detailed log, countersigned by instructors, of each student’s progress. This was the authority for the issue of various glider certificates. The NSFK also encouraged independent organizations, especially those with means such as college-preparatory schools and universities, to establish glider clubs at their own expense. These clubs came under the supervision of the Reich Air Ministry, which issued the necessary records and certificates.
Many young Germans were trained up to this standard in the various gliding clubs, with the result that the Luftwaffe had a wide choice of ready-trained personnel, obviating the need for glider-training facilities. Much of the early soaring and gliding centered in the high rolling hills around the Wasserkuppe in the Rhön Mountains. The enthusiasts at the time were not interested in getting ready for another war; they wanted to fly, and it is there that soaring and glider sailing matured. And it was volunteers from their ranks—Bräutigam, Ziller, Raschke, Brendenbeck, Stapper, Lange, Scheidhauer, Distelmeier, Schulz, Kraft and Pilz—who were to be in the attack on Eben Emael.