Home Imprint

A life for gliding sport Martin Schempp's 100th birthday

  • In 1905 Born in Stuttgart on March 23rd
  • Education for commercial businessman
  • In 1926 Emigration to the USA, close to the Canadian border working as a metallurgist in a steel work
  • In 1928 Charles Lindbergh inspires him for flyingIn 1928 Return to Germany to learn flying (flying school Klemm, Böblingen)
  • In 1928/29 Martin Schempp and Wolf Hirth find each other
  • In 1930 Return to the USA Coaching Wolf Hirth during his USA travel (oder: tour) Foundation of Haller-Hirth-Sailplanes, import and license manufacturing of German gliders, Martin Schempp is the manager of the gliding school, spectacular gliding flights popularize the gliding sport
  • In 1931 American gliding's identification card No. 23In 1932 Martin Schempp gets Silver C number 8 Cooperation with Hawley Bowlus in California, for example building the famous Bowlus "Albatros"
  • In 1934 Return to Germany because of US economic depression Application as a flight instructor on the glider field Hornberg at Wolf HirthIn 1935 On January 4th foundation of the sports aircraft site Martin Schempp in Göppingen with Wolf Hirth as a silent supplier of the constructions Gö 1 "Wolf", Gö 3 "Minimoa" will gain worldwide reputation
  • Martin Schempp proves to be an outstanding production organizer
  • In 1937 The Hütter brothers begin their activity for Martin Schempp and Wolf Hirth
  • In 1938 Wolf Hirth now joins officially: Schempp-Hirth OHG, move to Kirchheim/Teck, Wolfgang Hütter brings Gö 4 double seater, Ulrich Hütter the H 17 as Gö 5 Wedding with Friedel Dichtelmüller, the soul of the company and family100th "Wolf"
  • In 1939 Building of three DFS "Habicht"On June 30th 100th "Minimoa", for the first time in the world 100 engines of a high performance sailplaneStart of construction work for testing prototypes for Dornier
  • In 1940 Beginning of manufacturing assembly groups for Messerschmitt Me 321/323 Gigant and Me 109 and other aircraft parts or devices in close co-operation and division of labor with the Wolf Hirth GmbH found 1939 in Nabern/Teck
  • In 1945 The American administrators appoint Martin Schempp as interim mayor for Kirchheim, up to democratic election of a new mayor
  • In 1945 Schempp-Hirth begins the production of furniture and other commodities and wooden components for the industry
  • In 1950/51 Martin Schempp abandons the building of gliders for the benefit of Wolf Hirth
  • In 1953 Preparation the first gliding Jumelage with France
  • In 1956 In close coordination with Wolf Hirth Schempp-Hirth begins with manufacturing engine aeroplanes
  • In 1960 After the tragic death of Wolf Hirth in 1959 Martin Schempp starts the building of gliders again: purchasing the license for the OSTIV price winner Standard Austria
  • In 1964 Beginning of the co-operation with Klaus Holighaus: SHK
  • In 1965 Martin Schempp employs Klaus Holighaus as chief designerIn 1967 "Cirrus" the first Schempp-Hirth glider in glass fibre construction, Nimbus, and Standard Cirrus will gain worldwide success
  • In 1969 Martin Schempp turns over the general management to Klaus Holighaus
  • In 1972 Martin Schempp turns over also the business management to Klaus Holighaus, however, accompanies the developments furthermore with the biggest interest, after
  • In 1977 Klaus Holighaus had taken over the exclusive responsibility for Schempp-Hirth
  • In 1984 Martin Schempp is released from long disease on July 9th


The gliding sport has lost a moderate person being always serving the people and the silent fly! The region Kirchheim has finally lost a responsibly leading and careful business man.During the war Martin Schempp (as well as Wolf Hirth) had risked life and limb for the human treatment and help to the numerous immigrant workers assigned for the production.

With the thousands Schempp Hirth gliders of all decades pleasing world-wide the pilots Martin Schempp lives on and demands our courage for humanity.





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.



Copyright © 2006 Schempp-Hirth Flugzeugbau GmbH, Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany.