Tea with “Two-Delta” – Express yourself in soaring!

Whenever I can, I spend a lot of time browsing randomly through any day´s Onlinecontest or SkyLines flight lists. I can´t resist to open any flight that I think might have been interesting and eventful. Why was he so damn fast? What did this guy think when going so far north? How did she work herself away from so close to the ground? How did they all deal with the strong wind? So many have spent a good day up there, and they all give me the opportunity to feel, learn, and be pleased with them. So many experiences, events and emotions are on display on the list. It makes me feel like walking through a very special kind of multifaceted Art Gallery.

Even though sometimes I catch myself only sticking to the day´s top five flights and only opening the ones where the pilot has left a comment, mostly I try to pay enough attention to some flights further down the list - very often, that´s where some of the more interesting and inspiring flights are to be found. If only I could, I would often be on the OLC for hours.

For me, leaving my own trace in the list gives me the opportunity to share a ghost of my flight with anyone interested, and that adds the aspect of self-expression to my flying. Soaring is something so individual that no two pilots launching at the same time in the same place with the same glider could ever experience the same kind of flight, no matter under what circumstances.

Just imagine to invite a group of randomly selected pilots: Competition racers, gliding students, record hunters, "just-for-fun"-pilots, long distance specialists, cross-country trainees, aerobatic dancers, instructors, wave experts, playful adventurers, mountain goats, simply all kinds of motivations collected in one place. Every pilot is free to bring a glider he feels most comfortable with, and here´s where individualism starts: There would be Open class ships, Oldtimers, Double Seaters, the odd aerobatic bird and many different smaller ships with and without engines lined up on the grid. Some would be loaded with a thoughtfully considered amount of water, some heavily filled to the top, others again as light as possible. Then imagine to give this versatile group a short briefing, only to announce a good and steady soaring weather over a beautiful terrain, and then notify them of the task: "Have fun!"

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What would they do? The results would be just as manifold as the number of planes launched. Some would launch as early as possible to get the maximum flight time out of the day. Some would set out a task - out and return or maybe a triangle - others would just go where the weather might take them, planning on using the classical four legs to optimize for distance. Some would go for a flexible six-legged OLC-Yoyo to get even more kilometers out of the day, while others would just fly around the area all day, just enjoying to be airborne.

Maybe some would head for an airfield far away to land and visit their friends, to return not earlier than the next day. Some would spend the day in the mountains, others would prefer the plains. A few pilots would agree on setting out an ample racing task together to see how everyone would do. Some would fly with their team mate to get the thrill of being in this thing together. Others would quickly set themselves apart of all the traffic and entirely do their own thing. I´m sure there would be a number of pilots taking more than just one tow, maybe to have a lunch break with their crew on the ground and then set out again for a good afternoon´s flight.

Some people would happily conduct coaching flights to learn or to pass abilities. Some of the double seater crew members would be perfectly satisfied with just sitting in the back and enjoying the flight, others would be hard to persuade to hand the controls over for a while.

Some would use the day to practise Aerobatics, then soar up again or take another tow and do it all over again to feel the movement, speed and forces, to bring their maneuvers to perfection and get the moving patterns right.

In the evening, everybody would gather together to tell what they had seen and done - the number of outcomes and achievements would be amazing.

Wouldn´t that be a great event?

- Well, that´s exactly why I love decentralised soaring websites.

Benjamin Bachmaier

Benjamin Bachmaier is an engineering student from Munich, Germany, besides being a gliding enthusiast, instructor, cross-country / alpine soaring coach and competition pilot.Soaring is the central element of his life and he spends a lot of time learning, thinking, reading and writing about it.Benjamin started gliding in 2005 when he was only fourteen years old.He has since collected more than 1500 hours of cockpit time and has been on cross-country tasks over a dozen different countries.