In 1926, after an education in business, Martin Schempp, born in 1905, immigrated to the USA where he worked as a metallurgist. Charles Lindbergh’s presentation about his first transatlantic flight filled Martin Schempp with enthusiasm, so much so that in 1928, when he returned to Germany, he applied himself to aviation. He started working as a trainee at the Raab-Katzenstein aircraft factory where he got into close contact with many pilots. He soon met Wolf Hirth who encouraged him to get his PPL at the Hans Klemm Flying School in Boeblingen.

In 1930, together with Gus Haller, he decided to go back to the USA to establish a flying school and build German glider types. In addition to building gliders at the newly founded "Haller-Hirth-Sailplane-Corporation", Martin Schempp was also involved in all aspects of the young American gliding movement and therefore made a great contribution to the development of sports aviation in the USA.


In 1934 he left the USA to accept Wolf Hirth's offer of working for him as a flying instructor at the Hornberg Gliding School, led by Hirth himself. In the following year he founded the "Sportflugzeugbau Goeppingen Martin Schempp" factory, which in 1938 moved to Kirchheim.

This was the same year that Wolf Hirth became involved in the enterprise which was later renamed to "Schempp-Hirth Flugzeugbau". Owed to his Curriculum Vitae and human integrity, the American occupying forces appointed Martin Schempp as the provisional mayor of Kirchheim at the end of the Second World War.

Following the death of Wolf Hirth in 1959, Martin Schempp, once again, focussed entirely on glider manufacturing. In 1965 he employed Klaus Holighaus, a young and talented engineer, who had studied at the Darmstadt Technical University. In 1972 Holighaus was put in charge of the management of the company and in 1977 Martin Schempp handed the factory, in its entirety, to Klaus Holighaus.

On the 9th of July, 1984, Martin Schempp died after long illness.