The SG 38 served as the standard glider used by Luftwaffe student pilots for basic flight instruction in the late 1930s and into the 1940s. The SG 38 stands for Schulgleiter or "school glider" and the year it first flew, 1938.
After World War I, the Germans faced strict limits on developing or using powered aircraft. Therefore, they turned to gliders for studying aerodynamics and training pilots. In 1933 the Germans formed the DFS (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug or German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight) to centralize all gliding activity in Germany and produce training gliders for both the Hitler Youth Flyers (Hitlerjugend Flieger or HJ-Flieger) and Luftwaffe.
In 1935 the Nazis unveiled the existence of their clandestine air force, the Luftwaffe, and began a large-scale rearmament program. The rapid expansion of the Luftwaffe created a need for a simple but safe glider for primary training. The DFS worked with Edmund Schneider, who had opened a glider factory in 1927 and was producing some of the world's best gliders, to design the SG 38.
Although simple, the SG 38 included features to compensate for inexperienced student pilots. Generally launched with bungee cords from the hillsides of Mount Wasserkuppe in central Germany, the glider remained airborne for a short time. To keep heavy-handed students from over steering and stalling the glider, the elevator's range of motion was limited. Eventually, 9,000 to 10,000 SG 38s were built.
After World War II, Schneider moved to Australia and continued to build gliders. This SG 38 came to the museum in 2010, and it is marked as a glider used to train Luftwaffe pilots.