Archive for October, 2012

Steve Nash and myself were holding a xAlps workshop for “Nova Junior Pilots” to give them some insights of the xAlps.
First we planned to head to Chamonix to “hike & fly” from Mont Blanc south towards Monaco, but due the strong winds in this area we stayed in the eastern part of the alps.
The first day was a travel day ending with a one hour flight from the “Hirtzer” (near Meran). The day before it snowed down to 1800 meters and therefore we had to plan to stay lower for the next couple of days.
The 2nd day we “hiked & flew” from the Jaufenpass to Bruneck. This started with a 2 hour hike up to the Jaufenpass where we were able to fly to Sterzing. The interesting part was that we needed to

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find a launch site to take off into the west (due the west wind) and then fly to the east. This is typical in the xAlps and puts a different perspective of finding the right launch site then you normally do.

Following the flight, we walked for 6 km along the river and then hiked up to another pass followed with a long glide into the Valles valley. For a XC pilot, the day ends after you landed, but not in the xAlps, so we started to walk for an hour into the night to give them this experience as well.
Overall, it was a great example to display sections of a typical xAlps day, such as hiking to a launch and fly into the lee to get where you need to go, walking in the valley, crossing another pass and keep walking in the dark after a flight.
The next day we headed to the Dolomite’s and wanted to take advantage of the good weather. We started with a hike up to the Belvedere followed with a flight to Canazei and then another hike up to Col Rodella followed with a extended glide into the valley.
For the last day Steve and I set a task to the “Junior Pilots” and we only followed them. The task was  from Feltre (south Italy) to our team meeting landing site at Lago (near Belluno). The team choose a save route, starting with a 5 hour hike and then a save glide to the goal. It feels good when you plan a hike & fly route and make it to goal. And even better when a lot of your Nova Team Members are landing with you at the same landing.
The annual Nova Team meet was a huge success with over 50 people coming from all over the world. We had a great time to socialize, party and get the latest news of what Nova is working on.
Thanks again to Robert starting this idea and for Nova to make it all happen and last but not least to the three Junior Nova Team members Moritz, Rico and Robert to make this

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such a fun week.

Originally the SIV was scheduled to be at the Gardasee in Italy but due the bad weather in the southern Alps, Nova was able to move the workshop to the Achensee (just north of the Alps). First it did not look very good as the Foehn (Chinook) was building up and we had some gusty and windy conditions in the morning. It still turned out we could do up to 4 flights on Saturday and 3 flights on Sunday, which was very surprising. Walter Holzmuller was running the workshop and did a great job as all the discussions and maneuvers were practice related.The interesting statistics about SIV (Simulated

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Incidence in flight/Vol) was that tr there is a huge percentage of experienced cross-country pilots (flying at least 10-25 years) have never done a SIV course. It seams like that the biggest percentage of SIV participants are flying for 3-5 year. The most what I got out of the workshop was the different types of methods to get down to the ground fast. Here are the different methods: 1] The most common one is “Big Ears”. This gets you down with up to 12 m/sec (only with 3 liners, not 2 liners). Keep in mind, going down faster does not mean gaining more ground speed/airspeed, if anything, you are flying slower. A lot of pilots use this method thinking they fly faster to fly away from something, which is not true. “Big Ears” work very well, but can not be used as an overall maneuver to get down. Sometimes it is better to fly away as fast as possible from big lift and then spiral down instead of staying in big lift with “Big Ears”. 2] “B-line stall” which is not recommend anymore as it can lead to a “kravatte” and maybe gives you about 12 m/sec sink. Check your manufactures manual, some advice not to fly “B-line stalls” at all. 3] A “deep Spiral” can achieve more then 20 m/sec, but it creates a lot of g-forces and can lead to black outs and can be rough to do in turbulent air.

4] The most interesting maneuver was the 60% asymmetric collapsed spiral dive. With this spiral dive you have less g-forces and a stable decent of more then 25 m/sec in turbulent conditions. I was very surprised to experience how stable and save this spiral is. My big worry was to get into trouble with lines getting caught in the canopy during this maneuver or when stopping it. But based on the experiences the SIV schools had, there are no incidents like that at all. The most important result of this workshop was learning about the asymmetric collapsed spiral dive and to be able to practice it over water. Thanks again to Walter Holzmuller, Mik Brochard, Toni Bender and Nova to put this on for us.

After the Octoberfest I drove back to Sillian as I was guiding one more week in the Dolomite’s for We were a group of 12 pilots including Lucille from Edmonton and the weather was awesome. The first day we flew at Monte Piano (next to the 3 Zinnen) and the rest of the week we flew at Col Rodella and Belvedere. On 2 days most people logged flights with over 2 hour.

Every morning some of the participants joined for a “hike & fly” before breakfast to enjoy the morning air. The last morning was very spectacular as we could watch and fly over the cold air (fog) flushing over the Corvara pass down to Arabba.

Now I am on my way to Achensee for the Nova SIV.

 Photo by Lisa Reichholf


After the

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Flight with the Balloons“flight, we managed to get one more flight from St. Hilare and then headed to the Dolomite’s. By the way, Mik’s video had over 26000 views in the first 7 days, which I was very surprised by. A massive low pressure system moved over Europe and the week for flying in the Dolo’s did not look very promising. The tour started with a hike around the 3 Zinnen. The day after we could fly for hours at Col Rodella. Then we had a day of hiking at Fasso Falzarego and the Piz Boe. Penny, Carrie and Dave spend one day in Venice which was a amazing trip on its own. Even if you can not fly, the Dolomite’s are spectacular and always worth a visit or just a couple hours away from other amazing places like Venice. Before the tour finished, we still got one more day of great flying and some people managed to fly to the Marmolada and to

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fly back to the hotel in Arabba. All in all it was a great week.

After the Dolomite’s we headed north and visited the main office from Nova near Innsbruck. Dave was very excited to help to get

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his Ion2 tuned with their computerized tuning system. The days after we flew at the Brauneck (bei Lenggries) and had a good time with our tour guide Mik and his family. Thanks again for your

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time Mik. The last 3 days we spend in the Allgaeuer Alps to fly and to check out the castle, ruins, food and the last day/night we had a very good time at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Now I am back in Sillian to get ready for one more week in the Dolomite’s.

In the mean time, enjoy the pictures below.
Dolomite tour
Germany and Austria Tour Venice tour