Witches meet in Dachau

Translated from a German article by Katharina Milke

Translated from a German article by Katharina Milke

Oh, no! This is nothing to be scared of. The “German Witches” are neither mean nor dangerous… They simply love to fly. On their brooms? No, they are using sailplanes, just like you and me!

Two weeks ago the German women glider pilots held their 40th annual meeting in Dachau’s youth hostel. The “local witches” Barbara Jann and Margit Fischer had prepared an exciting program for a long January weekend. On Friday night the first guests arrived and gathered to get to know the other women; quite a challenge as on Saturday they already counted 90 witches! Some powered witches and of course some male pilots joined the event as well, a colorful mixture of people involved in air sports. They were all invited to enjoy two interesting days.

the audience... Margit Fischer and Barbara Jann in the front row

the audience... Margit Fischer and Barbara Jann in the front row

Glider pilot Dr. Uwe Hess gave the first talk: The physician explained about dehydration in soaring – a very important topic for those who like to stay up in the air for longer flights. A dehydrated pilot will never be able to focus on his / her set task.

The second presentation was held by Captain Jasmin Kirsch whose dream had always been to fly big airplanes. Her enthusiasm was strong enough to overcome former prejudices in a male environment. Jasmin finally could call herself a Transall C-160 pilot! Listening to how she made her way and fulfill her dream was a treat.

Transall-Captain Jasmin Kirsch

Transall-Captain Jasmin Kirsch

Saturday afternoon, engineer André Kando (MTU Aero Engines) introduced the audience to his company’s big engines. He explained how the jet engines were developed, how they work and then talked about the improvement of turbines over the years. While he compared performance data, everybody was impressed to learn about all the different engines.

How does a turbine work?

How does a turbine work?

A “real witch” - Dörte Starsinski - then continued with the program and reported from her first WWGC 2013 in Issoudun / France, where she – as a novice – placed second. Her story was very personal and descriptive. The audience learned a lot about women’s championships, the special atmosphere and the particular event itself. Why not fly in a contest?!

a big "Thank You" for Dörte Starsinsi

a big "Thank You" for Dörte Starsinski (left)

Last but not least, Bert Schmelzer was invited to finish the day with his stunning pictures. The Belgian glider pilot who recently published a book had prepared a talk about his summer vacation 2012 in Quarzazate / Morocco. The soaring conditions in the African state are different from what most of the witches so far had experienced in Europe, and everybody was fascinated by his soaring adventures.

Bert Schmelzer receives "fowers" from Barbara Jann

Bert Schmelzer receives "flowers" from Margit

Dinner was served in a small German Gasthof (hotel), where Barbara and Margit had prepared a little surprise: Champagne and a raffle, organized with the help of sponsors: AME Avia, Winter Instruments, Irlshop (pilots’ supplies), Cobra Trailer, Schiller Optic and the popular German magazine “Aerokurier. Of course the Bavarian Soaring Association also supported the meeting in Dachau!

Sunday morning the participants had to decide whether to visit MTU Aero Engines or to enjoy a guided tour through the Flugwerft Schleißheim, a technical museum located at Oberschleißheim’s airfield. This part of the famous Deutsches Museum in Munich uses a huge hangar for their very interesting aerospace exhibition. The second group learned more about MTU’s history and could so deepen the freshly gathered knowledge.

witches wonder about turbines

witches wondering about turbines

The 40th witches’ meeting was a big success: perfectly organized, in a wonderful location, interesting topics and great food. What else would you desire? Next year the meeting is planned in Berlin. So mark your calendars for January 2015!

(all pictures by Eike Möller)

Elke Fuglsang-Petersen

Elke Fuglsang-Petersen started soaring after she finished her school and college education and found herself locked into a small office for the next 45 years. In German soaring clubs she met a lot of new friends, enjoyed a great way to get out, could see things from a different angle, and gained a better overview.

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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  1 comment for “Witches meet in Dachau

  1. February 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks Elke, you just gave me fodder for the next Hangar Soaring. Actually I had asked one of the “witches” to send me a report. But having it translated already makes my job easier.

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