Exciting, entertaining and interesting reports are waiting for you! One of our authors flew with Gordon Boettger, who in the meantime has completed a spectacular flight over 3000 kilometers with night vision goggles, another is happy if he does not get too close to a mountain during the day (text excerpt below) and a third has explored the challenging terrain in Omarama. But it doesn’t always have to be spectacular, even a two-day cross-country can be mega fun, as can exploring your limits on an Acro & Safety day. And all this without stress in the cockpit; this also includes the right behavior in case of encounters in the air, the right pre-flight tactics when flying in the Alps and the management of the personal „dringn’pee“especially on long flights. Safety is always an issue in central gliding competitions as well, and that is what the IGC is now working on. Another important topic is, of course, meteorology: How do thermals develop – those who master them can take advantage of them, the weather conditions that made history. And finally, as always: sit back, relax and enjoy the DM Bayreuth. All this in the current issue of segelfliegen! Enjoy reading by subscription or as a single issue.
And then, during the gliding club Christmas party, the question suddenly arose: Where are we going for the gliding camp? Already a bit lulled to sleep after various resolutions and quorums (etc. yawn, blah, blah, blah), I was immediately wide awake: I’ve always wanted to join! Only my lack of experience actually forbade me to think about it, e.g. when I think of the landing approach in Turnau („If you can touch the bell on the church tower with your hand, you’re right“). But seriously: why not? So I took the initiative and voted for Niederöblarn (simply because I wanted to have more than just a handkerchief as a landing field). Even if I don’t achieve any records, at least I’ve learned something; the area is great, I can safely fly somewhere and the colleagues are fun. It’s still my own goals that I want to achieve.
But I have to say that I don’t belong to the age group of pilots who can be given a stick and then it works. I’ve only had my licence for a few years and at the age of 60 I’m already allowed to have an annual medical. With 40 hours solo in the air, I’m not really experienced yet, but at least I’ve already reached the point where I’ve been thermally in the air three times for four and a half hours, and the landing was not a relief, but a necessary evil. I also often find myself analysing my flights on the logger: Well, if I got there from that altitude, then I can still achieve that from 500 m more …
So I was part of the party – which was also immediately joyfully received by my colleagues. In anticipation, they consulted Google Earth/Maps and familiarised themselves with the area. And suddenly there it was, this mean, sneaky monster called no-longer-in-the-comfort-zone. This is supposed to be a runway? It’s no more than 15 metres wide, made of asphalt, with a mountain right next to it, and it’s nowhere near as long as the one at Spitzerberg (author’s note: the home airport). Oh God, oh God, how is that possible? Right away: It is possible, and easy too, but more on that later.
Learning takes place outside the comfort zone. But there are always two voices in the brain. The other one said, „Hey dude, hundreds of pilots land there every day, and so do the young ones who learned there, so don’t make a drama out of it, take it slow and without pressure.“ Then you start to examine your old flights in terms of landing accuracy (if you haven’t always taken part in the „landing competitions“ in the club anyway) and come to the conclusion: What’s the problem? Just because it looks so small on GoogleEarth?
Of course, one also begins to think in a different direction: The Silver-C is already a desirable achievement (50 km distance, five hours duration, 1000 m altitude gain). If every-thing fits, you can think about it, it’s really only to the Dachstein or to Liezen and back. No more monster thoughts, an attitude of expectation spreads that makes me want much more. When I left for Niederöblarn, my feelings were somewhere in the middle between IronMan and rabbit-before-the-snake. (the full article in our current issue)