Our Contributors

Soaring Café features regular contributors who provide excellent articles, content and coverage from around the world. Learn more about our contributors, their soaring history what they write about and find links to collections of their articles.

Benjamin Bachmaier

Benjamin Bachmaier

Benjamin Bachmaier is a gliding enthusiast, instructor, cross-country/alpine soaring coach and competition pilot from Munich, Germany, where he also studies engineering. 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 and has since logged more than 1500 hours of cockpit time and has flown cross-country tasks in over a dozen different countries. He maintains a blog at flugfieber.net, which he describes as the story of his soaring life. He also contributes to the German magazine, Segelfliegen. Dutch Blogger and Soaring Café contributor, Ritz de Luy, invited Benjamin to join the Café team, so now he shares his soaring experiences with readers in his column, “Tea with Two-Delta”.

Click here for a list of Benjamin's Posts



Elke Fuglsang-Petersen started soaring after finishing her school and college education in Germany. Then, for the next 45 years, she found herself locked in a small office, working, but knowing there was more to life than the retirement her co-workers dreamed about. She continued flying, meeting many new friends in German soaring clubs and enjoyed a great way to get out and see things from a different angle. Elke enjoys traveling and flying and lived in the U.S. with her family for two years. She is happy to now know glider pilots from the U.S. as well as other countries and says, “They are as amiable as everywhere in the world!” She feels fortunate to have found a temporary soaring home in Boulder, Colorado in 2010-1013. She and her family moved back to Germany in 2013, where she currently covers world soaring events and news for Soaring Café.

Click here for a list of Elke's Posts

Helge Zembold

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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Ritz in Uvalde by Frans Guise


Ritz de Luy is well known in the international soaring community and has been blogging about soaring since before blogging was invented! When she started soaring in 1967, she had no idea that her soaring career would be very short. After about 50 flights in the Rhönlerche in two different camps, she went solo in the Grunau Baby and had four solo flights. When she flew one day with another instructor at another field, he asked her where the airfield was after some thermalling and she had NO idea! Needless to say, he advised her to stay on the ground. With no feeling for orientation—at all—it was the end of her career! She has, however, remained involved in “ground business,” as crew and the co-owner of a soaring “resort” for 10 years, as well as Dutch Team Captain, steward, juror and editor at several Category 1 FAI comps. Since before the word “blog” was created, Ritz wrote about her experiences every day after flying at the Sportavia Soaring Center in Australia, where she helped run a successful business from 1996 to 2005. Her first blogs on soaring.eu date from June 2006, and she has been blogging ever since, joining Soaring Café in January 2011. She says her experience as columnist for Gliding International and blogger for Soaring Café has enriched her world more than she can say and that her soaring friends keep her young and ”going”.

Click here for a list of Ritz's Posts

Soaring Cafe Roving Reporter, Frank Paynter

Frank Paynter

Dr. Frank (TA) Paynter started soaring in the mid-1990’s at Caesar’s Creek Soaring Club near Waynesville, Ohio and instantly fell in love with cross-country racing. He is author of the book “Cross Country Soaring with Condor,” co-author (along with Scott Manley) the popular Condor Corner column for ‘Soaring’ magazine, and is a regular contributor to the Condor section at SoaringCafe.com.  Along with Mark Hawkins, he is part owner of Hawke Tracking, the company that provides SPOT tracking services for contests and clubs. Before soaring came along, Frank was a national champion skydiver and still holds the record for the most number of consecutive dead-centers in skydiving competition. Frank has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and retired from a successful 25-year civil service career in 1993. He spent the following 15 years as an antenna researcher at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, retiring again in 2008 to become a full-time soaring bum. These days, he goes to as many contests as his wife of over 30 years will allow, and spends his winter months racing and instructing in Condor.

Click here for a list of Frank's Posts

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