“Lee wave – a mystic word, which we’ve had in our minds for years…” Caroline Koser is one of the 13 German Ladies who recently met in Lienz, Austria for the first Ladies’ Alps Camp in the history of AMF. What is AMF? It’s the German equivalent to the American based WSPA. During some 30 years Angelika Machinek had been a very successful German (glider-)pilot. She achieved many records and as a member and spokesperson of the German Ladies’ National team she won national and international contests. Angelika supported female glider pilots wherever she could. She died in a flight accident in 2006, and remembering her achievements, German Glider Girls founded the club called “AMF” in 2007. The club continues the support and offers the opportunity to meet female pilots across the country.
AMF owns two single seaters, a Hornet and a Standard Libelle, which the members can use for training and contests. Every year, AMF offers several cross country training seminars. Over the years the number of members has grown to more than 180.
This spring the Ladies decided to discover the Alps. Lienz is an alpine town in the state of Tyrol. Its airfield is located between high mountain ridges. The goal of the spring-training camp was to teach flatlanders how to thermal on the ridges and how to fly cross country in the mountains. In just one week participating girls enjoyed six flying days, theory lessons and the group still had time to hike in the wonderful mountains. Caroline explains: “With seven mentors taking care of the 13 participants optimal conditions were given. On our last day almost everybody was able to cover 500 km. Soaring along the rock faces was very exciting - lift of up to 4 m/s (8 knots) on the averager and a cloud base of 3,600 m (~12,000 feet). I don’t think, any of us will ever forget the great time we had!”
The most exciting adventure was probably flying in the wave. After a laminar climb up to 3,000 m the girls enjoyed the views over the Drautal (the valley of Lienz) from a comfortable altitude. But this wasn’t the limit: one day they made it up to 5,000 m (16,500 feet) and had a panoramic view over the Austrian Alps. Of course the weather was not always as great, so they had to look for alternatives. A lecture about oxygen and hypoxia brought them back to the ground, and made everybody check their EDS systems. Another talk about the WGC in Argentina opened their eyes to soaring in foreign countries.
Those who still didn’t have enough action stuffed their backpacks for a day hike up the mountains. After six fun hours in the rainy mountain forests and through muddy creeks, the soaked Ladies were treated to Kaiserschmarrn – an Austrian pancake-like specialty - and Haselnussschnaps (a “high voltage” liquor drink made from hazelnuts). 5,000 meters, 500 kilometers, wave, blue skies and a little bit of rain. Caroline translates AMF with “Adventure midst Females”!
Meanwhile, she has traveled a bit, flown a lot, and lived in the US.She is happy to now know glider pilots from the US too and says, “they are as amiable as everywhere on the world.” She feels fortunate to have found a temporary soaring home in Boulder, surely one of the best and most scenic places to fly on Earth!
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