Newspaper "Teckbote" of 12/24/1956Merchant and technician – Martin Schempp.
The good reputation of the Schempp-Hirth company, in not only technological but also commercial success, which has spread way beyond the tight borders of its homeland, gives thanks mainly to its boss Martin Schempp. Sheer determination, and the willingness to take an occasional risk, to try something different, marks the way for this man, who started out very small and gave up his job to serve the sport of flying, which he took very seriously. Born in Stuttgart, he firstly learnt the ways of the businessman. Yet from an early age he found his love for flying. In this profession, Martin Schempp saw not only a love affair but a life long commitment which would always lead him to new challenges.
Already at the age of 21 he moved to America, where he committed himself intensively and successfully to the technical learning of flying. In 1928, he returned to Germany for a short period of time, achieved his flying licence and returned to the United States to work firstly as a flight instructor and subsequently as a glider builder. After eight years working in the USA, he returned home. Martin Schempp had gained so much technical knowledge that he was able to start with the production of gliders. In 1935, together with Wolf Hirth, he founded a workshop which was relocated to Kirchheim in 1938. Due to the war, the company was forced to stop with the production of gliders and had to adjust to different requirements.
After the collapse in 1945, the production of any form of aircraft was prohibited. Martin Schempp did not have any time to cry over his now ruined company, in which he had invested many personal sacrifices. As the mayor of Kirchheim, he had to shoulder a very high burden during his hardest months (from April to October 1945). His successes and experiences in America would see him as the “connection” between the occupying forces and the population. His influence and his skillfulness were the reason that at any time in Kirchheim, the rations of food and textiles were better than in many other cities.
After he was relieved later by Mayor Kroening, he immediately set out to change his company. The gamble paid off. The production of parts for weaving looms “hit home”. To serve the sport aircraft production again however, was Martin Schempps ‘great desire’. For this reason he was also anxious to keep the 140 key personnel, the ‘old garde’, who were there from the beginning and had witnessed the foundation of the company. This core group of experienced tradesmen made it possible for him to risk the production of the first airship since the war. As before however, Martin Schempps ultimate goal would be to produce an aircraft to which a larger circle of flying enthusiasts would have access. The planning and pre-production hereto are so far in place, that the production of the first sport aircraft can be counted upon in the very next year.