Reading his book "Sky Full of Heat" I stumbled across a passage where the Champion was talking about soaring in the Himalayas. It sounded as if nobody had been there before, and as if Sebastian had already considered trying some soaring over the highest mountains on Earth? Half a year later a friend sent me a link to a Facebook page… Oops, my interpretation seemed to be correct: Sebastian and some of his soaring buddies are currently planning a trip to the Himalayas. The glider, an ASH 25 Mi is already on its way.
Thinking back, I remembered that a while ago I had learned about an earlier expedition into the Himalayas in 1985: Dr. Joachim Kuettner, a member of Boulder’s Soaring Society, had been studying air currents and pioneering waves for almost all his life. His soaring career actually started not far from Sebastian’s home airfield Zar. Kuettner flew his first wave about 150 miles north-east of the Zar mountains over the Riesengebirge. At the age of already 76 years, the explorer participated in the “First Himalayan Expedition”, a European project, managed by the Spanish pilot Alvaro de Orleans Bourbon. They used a motor glider Taifun 17E to study the circulation of katabatic air currents and updraft in the Kali Vandaki Gorge, the world’s deepest gorge.
World Gliding Champion Kawa is actually looking for a more recreational journey, nonetheless a challenging one... He wants to find out about the possibilities flying from Nepal. Of course he got in touch with Alvaro, who encouraged him to try the soaring over the Himalayas. He also contacted research teams in Nepal and in the United States. One of Sebastian’s team-mates is the editor of his book, and if everything works out as planned, a filming team will be joining them. They will be staying with the Avia Club Nepal, a fairly new organization founded in 1996, located at ~2700 feet on an airfield in the Pokhara Valley.
To learn more about Everest Gliding please check out an interview with Sebastian in OLC-Magazine. The world is looking forward to receiving more information about an area almost new to soaring!
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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