Crossing the Alps with the Eders! A gliders tale!

TWO blogs today, my regular Wednesday blog , which you find below this remarkable story I got from Sebastian ,about  a mission he finally fulfilled AND …..together with his dad.

The links to the OLC  from the flights to and back and the pictures are going with it.
Those pictures are SPECTACULAR!!!!! And,…a short story goes with them!

As Sebastian said in the end;

” We made it.Till the last 2 hours I did n’t really believe it would be possible, but our team effort made it happen!!!
A truly wonderful moment!” 


A TEAM-effort!


There,….and back again ….a gliders tale!

—— I thought I would contribute to your blog and tell you about a mission I was looking forward to for a long time now.
As a junior I was in St.Auban for our national junior training camp with Karl Rabeder a couple of times. On two occasions I tried to fly from there to Austria at the end of the training camp instead of driving all the way.
2006 I got to Innsbruck, 2007 to Samedan.
Since then me and my dad were talking about doing a team-flight from our home-airfield at the Austrian-German-Check Republic-border (Schärding- Suben: LOLS) through the alps to the Provence and back.

10 days ago (07.06) we finally attempted this exciting adventure: Crossing the alps from Upper Austria passing Zell am See, Zernez, Ambri, Zermatt, Bardoneccia and landing in Puimoisson.
The conditions in Austria and Engadin were marvelous, but got worse all the way from there.
From Rheintal to Mattertal the air was getting more stable and warm which slowed us down and finally in the Aostavalley a thick overcast darkened the sky.
A friend of ours, Philipp Keller who started 100km west of us close to Unterwössen, sadly had to land in Aosta and we could just barely get to the last thermals above the ridges before they died down in the whole area.
After crossing into the Modane-valley we had one final thermal all the way to Lac de Serre-Pocon where we could find some lift at the ridges below Mount Morgon that got us to Puimoisson.
As my gliding-calculator finally told me that we would make it I almost couldn’t believe it after such a long time without sun, but the Provence is somewhat special. It seems to generate lift without any energy-input.
One just has to love the French Alps 🙂

Alfred Spindelberger, Helmar Gai and many others were extremely welcoming and helped us with everything we could possibly want.
As a bonus Swiss friends of ours (Felix Schneebeli, Stefan Sidler, Jürgen Haas, and others) came to Puimoisson that evening for a week of vacation. So the night got a little longer than we expected, but we were delighted to meet so many friends so unexpectedly.

The next day (08.06) we tried to do the exact same route back, but got delayed due to a late thermal-start in Provence and a warm airmass all the way north until Engadin.
After crossing from the Aosta-valley to the Rhonevalley , we allready heard our Austrian friends on the radio talking about the exciting conditions in Austria and Engadin.
While we were working thermals between 1,3 and 2,0m/s, which seemed to be determined not to be nice and round, we heard them talking about cloudbase above 4.500m MSL and thermals up to 6m/s.
As we finally reached the Engadin , there was a big rain shower in the area of Samedan, so we had to stay north and got the last few thermals with 3m/s. as the air was already dying and we still had quite a long way to go.

The high cloudbase helped us jumping easily over the ötztaler and zillertaler mountains to the Ennstal.
There we caught the last thermals of the day to prolong our glide east.
Together with an eagle I worked the last 0,3m/s thermal to get a final glide to an airfield in the Eastern part of the Alps to start my engine and also have an easy way out of the Alps heading north.

At 20:15 local I got to the airfield of Niederöblarn 130km South-East of my airfield,  where I started my engine to get home before ECET at 21:30 LOC.
After 9:30 hours of flight I got to Schärding-Suben (LOLS) where my dad already was having a cold beer while waiting for me, as he had to use his engine a little earlier in the Area of Dachstein.

The conditions were far from the great forecasts, but allowed us to do these two wonderful flights which I will look back to for a long time. Maybe even more so because of the unexpected difficulties and surely because of the wonderful sceneries we got to witness (Dom, Matterhorn, Ecrins, etc.). 
Most of all I value, that me and my dad, who will be my teampartner at the WGC in Leszno later this year as well, could experience this adventure together.

At I made an album with photos of the flight to Puimoisson ->
On the way back to Austria we didn’t make any pictures as we simply had no time to do so :))

OLC-Link Suben-Puimoisson:
OLC-Link Puimoisson-Suben:

Greetings from Austria,

Thank you SO much Sebastian and good luck together with dad in Leszno at the World Comps. They both fly in open class,  father Josef in the EB 29 [FJ]  and Sebastian in the ASW 22 BLE.[BY]

The Wednesday blog follows now. Enough to read when I am on a holiday.

Cheers Ritz

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