Share Your Experience

In the past few weeks, we've not only been reporting about great flights and exciting races –  we also wrote about topics that seem less popular: accidents, including an outlanding in a river and a crash on a mountain, both of them luckily without any severe injuries. Although we enjoy soaring far above the ground, we always have to remember that the earth may come closer much faster than we expect. It is an essential part of good airmanship  to focus not only on the nice elements of our sport, but to consider the downsides as well in order to be prepared for the unexpected.

Therefore, the Soaring Café will introduce a new column called Safety Corner, where we will be collecting various articles on safety related issues. Aviation safety culture also includes discussion of your own experiences and errors which everyone can learn from. Therefore, the key element of this new column will be Share your Experience – a venue for our readers to talk about their mishaps, incidents and accidents in order to help others avoid the same mistakes.

Of course, Share your Experience is not our invention; nowadays, the same idea plays an essential role in the safety culture of most major airlines. Their safety departments depend on pilots' safety reports – not to punish them, but to find and eliminate possible threats to safety. Columns such as Flying magazine's "I Learned About Flying from That" and "Never Again" in AOPA Pilot encourage general aviation pilots to share their mistakes and close calls. In commercial aviation as well as in gliding, flight safety can be improved only when incidents are worked through and the findings distributed.

If you have a story to share with our readers, please send an email to helge@soaringcafe.com. We will publish any suitable contributions. No names or identifying information will be disclosed.

Share Your Experience

Helge Zembold

Helge Zembold has had a passion for flyting since he was little. His father was also a pilot and took Helge with him several times even as a child, so it’s no surprise that he started gliding at the age of 14. As a junior, he took part in various regional competitions and was a member of the German Sports Soldier Gliding Squad in 2001. He then began professional flight training at Lufthansa German Airlines, so gliding had to step back for a while. Helge currently flies the Airbus 330/340 as First Officer and goes gliding whenever his spare time and family (wife, two kids, dog, cat and horse) allows. His second passion is aviation journalism with a focus on general aviation and gliding. Helge started out doing public relations for his gliding club, which led to a job at the local newspaper—a perfect way to finance gliding while a student. In addition, he started writing for special interest magazines such as Aerokurier and Segelfliegen. Between 2010 and 2013, Helge served as chief editor of Segelfliegen, which is the biggest German gliding magazine, serving more than 5000 readers. He covers the European section of Soaring Café.

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