The Restoration of
Schweizer 1-34 N7678
BY CHRIS, EAA 424659, AND PETER FENGER, EAA 622429, NEW HOPE, PENNSYLVANIA
THIS IS THE STORY of a dream come true—the restoration to factory-new condition of a classic sailplane, a 1971 Schweizer 1-34, by a
father and son team.
Three brothers, Ernie, Paul, and Bill, started the Schweizer
Aircraft Corporation in the late 1930s in Elmira, New York. In 1969,
production of the 1-34 began. It was designed as an all-metal stan-dard-class sailplane to compete with new fiberglass European
gliders. It was Schweizer’s 34th design and the “ 1” designates it as a
The only fabric was on the rudder, and it had a glide ratio of 33-to-
1. A total of 93 were built, nine of which had retractable landing gear.
Our sailplane, N7678, is serial number 48 and was built in 1971. The
1-34 is considered by many to be Schweizer’s ultimate design.
Above: Peter at the controls
of the restored Schweizer.
MY INTRODUCTION TO THE SGS 1-34
I was introduced to soaring as a teenager by aviation author Dr.
Douglas H. Robinson, considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of the rigid airship. I contacted Dr. Robinson as a
13-year-old asking for plans so I could build a model of a Zeppelin,
and we became fast friends. In 1971 he took me for my first glider
flight in a Schweizer 2 -33 at Van Sant Airport in Erwinna,
Pennsylvania. I was hooked. Dr. Robinson had just acquired a yellow
SGS 1-34, N7679. I saw it as the sleekest thing with wings and
dreamed of someday owning one. It was gorgeous.
I soloed at Van Sant in 1974, but soon college got in the way. After
grad school I took up flying again, earned my private pilot certificate
and then finished up the glider rating. I
bought a Schweizer 1-26C, but it was the 1-34
that I really wanted.
We began the restoration in August 2010
based on a handful of grainy photos of Dr.
Robinson’s 1-34 from my days at Van Sant.
He died in 1998 at the age of 80.
Peter set about removing the old paint
with a random orbital sander. It was dusty,
dirty work in the heat of the Florida summer. He did most of the work on the wings,
while I handled the control surfaces. We did