Helmut Treiber awarded OSTIV-Prize

At this year's OSTIV meeting in Hosín, CZ, former Schempp-Hirth head engineer Helmut Treiber was honoured with the highest scientific award in the gliding world, the OSTIV-Prize. Schempp-Hirth owners and managers Brigitte, Ralf and Tilo congratulated Helmut at the yearly staff barbecue and thanked him for his work for the company and the gliding community.

(quoted from OSTIV website)

Awarded to one of the leading sailplane designers, noteworthy for his entrepreneurship in designing light-weight sailplane primary structures. Helmut Treiber introduced carbon fibers into primary structures of sailplanes, saving a significant amount of weight while showing a higher torsional stiffness and less wing twist in high-speed flight. With the new carbon fiber technology he paved the way for manufacturing thinner and more efficient airfoils, leading to a big performance gain in the sailplane industry.

The contributions of Helmut Treiber to sailplane construction began at Akaflieg Braunschweig, in the 1960’s with his work on the SB-8V1, SP-8V2, and SB-9 sailplanes. He took responsibility for flight testing of these sailplanes and produced the famous flutter movie of SB-9. After graduation from University, Helmut Treiber made major contributions to the design of the SB 10 as part of a federal research project. With this research the first introduction of carbon fiber in a primary wing structure of a sailplane could be realized. Helmut Treiber developed the basic principles for the introduction of carbon fiber load carrying sailplane structures, together with Dieter Mühlhahn.

Later at Schempp-Hirth, he designed and built the inner wing of a Nimbus-2 using carbon fiber, together with Eberhard Schott. This wing was later life-time load tested at DFVLR in Stuttgart. The test resulted in an extended service life of carbon fiber structures of 6000 hours. Starting in 1978, carbon fiber was subsequently used for the first time in serial production of the Nimbus-2C and the Mini-Nimbus C. With the new carbon fiber technology the way was now open for manufacturing thinner and more efficient airfoils, which initiated a big performance gain in the sailplane industry.

In February 1978, in order to better coordinate the efforts to approve new fiber technologies, Helmut Treiber was one of the fathers of the working group “Arbeitskreis Neuartige Faserverbundwerkstoffe” (Acronym ANF). Over the years the working group performed a number of research programs, which resulted in significant enhancements of fiber-reinforced composites. Eventually, the service life of carbon fiber spars could be extended to 12,000 hours in 1990. Helmut Treiber stayed involved in all of the ANF projects until he finally retired.

The OSTIV-Prize is awarded to a person for any outstanding improvement in sailplane technology. Apart from Helmut Treiber, Armin Quast, Karl-Heinz Horstmann and Fritz Kießling were also honoured for their achievements in sailplane constructions. Congratulations, respect and a big thank you to all of you!