September 25, 1915 - August 2, 2002

Soaring Pilot's Memorial

10,000 Feet and Climbing
By Karen Barbera

Now Available

Schreder's collection lands in Smithsonian Feb 4, 2008

Richard E. Schreder was born September 25, 1915, in Tecumseh, Michigan. His interest in aviation was kindled at age four when, with the help of his mother, he cut out and flew a folded paper airplane which appeared in the "Detroit News". When he was nine he built a biplane hang glider from information found in an old "Popular Mechanics" magazine. He launched this machine by running off the fifteenth tee of the local golf course. Flights were made at night to avoid ridicule by his peers. At the age of fourteen he bought a Detroit Gull Primary Glider for about ten dollars from an airport operator who was hurriedly leaving town. Dick's mother towed him up behind her car and when asked why she helped him in such a dangerous venture she replied, "If he gets killed, I want to be there."

Schreder built his first power plane when he was nineteen, a single-place aircraft with a Henderson motorcycle engine. While taxiing to get the feel of the plane he pushed the throttle in too far and before he knew it he was airborne. This was his first powered flight. He had never made a turn or a landing. While he was considering how these were to be accomplished, the engine failed and he had to made a dead stick landing. The challenge did not deter him but made him eager to expand his knowledge and skill. While attending the University of Toledo - where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering, Schreder continued to design and build airplanes. On graduation in 1938, he was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet training program at Grosse Ile, Michigan. Of 650 applicants only twelve were accepted and of those twelve Schreder was one of only two who soloed and were sent to Pensacola to complete his flight training. He served in the Navy from 1938 to 1952 attaining the rank of Commander. In 1942, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role in sinking a German submarine in the Atlantic, the first such sinking from an aircraft. He was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics as class desk officer for the Consolidated Vultee PBY Flying Boats in 1944. Schreder was sent to Trondheim, Norway in 1945 to evaluate a German BV-222 six-engine Blohm und Voss flying boat. After flight tests with multiple engine failures and fires, he was ordered to sink the ship and return.

Schreder was determined to go into business for himself and designed an airplane for this purpose. He realized that the aircraft companies were so far along with their tooling and designs that he could not compete with them, so he searched for another product to manufacture. He went to a blueprint store to buy a triangle and found the only ones available were made from celluloid. Having made triangles of acrylic while in the Navy, he was sure he could produce a superior item. He made some samples and to his -surprise, got orders for them wherever he made sales calls. Schreder would machine triangles in his garage, jump in his airplane, and fly around the country to make sales. Soon he had to hire a helper and thus the Airmate Company was founded in 1946. Today this company supplies the major drafting instrument distributors and advertising specialty companies in the U.S.

While nurturing this business, Schreder found time to build the airplane he had designed. This single place, low wing, all metal airplane, powered by a Continental 75 horsepower engine, was named the Airmate 5. It earned the EAA best workmanship award in 1954. A four-place, all metal, high wing airplane was designed and almost completed when a friend introduced him to soaring. After only one flight he was hooked and he went out and bought the first glider he could find, a Bowlus Baby Albatross. In his first contest he made a flight of 275 miles, just 5 miles less then the longest flight made in this make of glider.

Anxious to get into National competition, Schreder bought a Schweizer 1-23D sailplane. During his first flight he was sucked into a thunderstorm and went to 22,100 feet before finding stable air in which to descend. On the descent he ran into golf ball sized hail which dented every surface of the craft. He had one week to repair this damage before competing in his first National championship in Grand Prairie, Texas. He flew the 1-23D to second place. In 1956 he designed and built his first sailplane, the HP-7, an all metal, 50 foot span ship, and flew it in the U. S. Nationals placing fourth. The HP-8 was built the following year and flown to first place in the competition in Bishop, California. Flying the same ship, Schreder established three World soaring Records for speed over 100, 200 and 300 km courses.

Sailplanes HP-9 through HP-22 followed. Dick's philosophy was to "design ships with the highest possible performance, a high safety factor and simplicity of design." Pilots began to ask if they could build copies so in 1966 Schreder established Bryan Aircraft, Inc. which sold plans and kits of his designs. This made soaring economically available to the 477 pilots and homebuilders who purchased kits.

Schreder won three U.S. National Soaring titles and had several top ten finishes in ships he designed and built. He represented the U. S. In four World Soaring Championships, placed third in the competition held in Argentina in 1963, and served as Team Captain to the U. S. Team in Finland in 1976.

Each ship that Schreder designed incorporated innovative technology and design as well as refinements from previous ships. Most of his ships had a 15-meter wing span and qualified for the Standard Class. However, this class prohibited the use of retractable landing gear and flaps. His belief that these features were necessary for safety and higher performance led him to fight for the establishment of the 15-Meter Class which permitted unlimited design freedom. Once OSTIV and the SSA approved this class Schreder provided the 15Meter Class trophy and endowment for the United States competitions.

Schreder is a life member of the Soaring Society of American and has served on its Board of Directors for over thirty years.

In 1962 Schreder purchased a 205 acre farm which included a 3000-foot grass landing strip, Through his efforts and support this field has developed Into the Williams County Airport with a 5000-foot, lighted runway with ADF approach. Schreder owns and operates the fixed base operation and served as airport manager from 1963 through 1993.

Richard Schreder was a mentor to many young people, some of whom spent weeks or even months working with Schreder on his latest designs while bunking and breaking bread at his home. These young people have established successful careers of their own in many fields including aviation.

He is married to Angelike Schreder and has four children and eight grandchildren. He lives in a house of his own design, on the Williams County Airport. When he looks out on the airport and his surrounding property he says, "I never dreamed I would have all this. I have flown during the golden age of aviation and have been privileged to make my hobby such a large part of my life." He has logged over 15,250 hours in single and multi engine aircraft, both land and sea and in sailplanes.

Richard recently donated a Computer Aided Design Lab to the University of Toledo. (Link contains many pictures.)

Richard Schreder accepted the challenge of flight in its purest form and carried it to high achievement.

He earned the following soaring awards.

U.S. Diamond C Badge No. 22

U.S. National Soaring Champion 1958, 1960, 1966

International Soaring Championships Team member, Germany, 1960; Argentina, 1963; England,1965; Poland, 1968; Finland, 1976.

Larissa Stroukoff Memorial Trophy for best speed in a goal and return flight during an U.S. National Championships, 1958,1959,1960,1961, 1963, and 1965.

Honored by the following awards:

Distinguished Flying Cross in 1942 for extraordinary achievement in the line of his profession while participating in an aerial flight as pilot of a Navy Patrol plane.

Warren E. Eaton Memorial Trophy for outstanding contribution to the art, sport or science of soaring flight as determined by the Soaring Society of America Board of Directors.

Lilienthal Medal of the Federation Aeronautigue International, for establishing three world soaring speed records for a single place sailplane in an aircraft he designed and built, 1959.

Product Engineering Master Design Award, for an outstanding example of the integration of the resources of engineering with those of design, manufacturing and marketing in the all-metal sailplane construction kit manufactured by Bryan Aircraft, Inc. IN 1965.

Soaring Society Hall of Fame, 1962

Frankfort-Elberta National Soaring Hall of Fame, 1973

University of Toledo Outstanding Engineering Alumnus award, 1982

University of Toledo College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus award, 1983

Western Reserve Aviation Hall of Fame, 1986

Federation Aeronautigue International Paul Tissandier Diploma for outstanding contribution to the sport of aviation, 1986

National Aeronautic Association Elder Statesman of Aviation, 1994

Soaring Society of America Exceptional Service Award, 1996

Outstanding Alumni Mechanical Engineering Class of 1938, 1997


Life member of the Soaring Society of America Director Soaring Society of America

Experimental Aircraft Association member 504

Registered Professional Engineer, State of Ohio

Exploration of the Andes in Chile by Sailplane, 1986

Total pilot flying time, 15,500 hours.