It is a nice afternoon, today on November 12 2006. After 31 dgr. yesterday and 3mm of rain last night, the temperature has dropped a bit and when I talk with the ONE AND ONLY FOUR TIMES WORLD CHAMPION Ingo Renner ,we sit outside on the balcony of Dieter´s Schloss overlooking the garden full of trees from Sportavia, the gliding school where Ingo was an instructor from the beginning onwards: 1970 till June this year, 2006.
As we all know Ingo retired last year in Germany, age 65, after 51 years of gliding. He was still working for 6 months in Oerlinghausen as an instructor and with them , he started the season in Italy in Sondrio, flew in Oerlinghausen and finished with them again in La Motte in France.
On my question what he found of his first winter again in Australia he said: ” It was not cold at all. It was NO winter.It was pleasant and mild and I did not have to wear an overcoat. Not even when I went with my family to the mountains. At 2000 m height it was still 7 dgr. and sunny that day with no wind”.
Ingo was busy enough during this winter, as there was still a lot to do on his renovated, now brandnew and beautiful house.” The final touch still has to come and will keep me busy for some more time, but that is fine.” He flew also in winter. A friend Ron, worked 10 years on rebuilding a Bocian and this year it was finally ready and he flew it with Ron.He also flew the jet-engined Caproni and there was also time for the yearly inspection on the Kookaburra his own vintage glider and the discus. He shares and flies both gliders with his wife Judy.The Kookaburra had last year its 40 yearly inspection, a huge one, the next years will be easier again till the 50thiest.He does this job together with Mike Burns the engineer who also works on the jet-engines.
” Gliding has always been my passion. At 5 years I wanted to built my own models but was too young, so I started at age 8.After 7 years of model flying I was 15 years old and ready to do some real gliding.I was lucky to grow up in Germany during the post war time, when aviation was growing rapidly also gliding. Yes Germany is a country with a long and full history of gliding.I became youth leader of a group of young pilots and instructor.”
Ingo was 27 when he migrated to Australia. Why!??
” Just curiousity!! I wanted to see more from the world then only Germany.I travelled with a 707 from Frankfurt to Sydney and with a DC 9 to Brisbane were I had a job lined up as shipbuilder.”
During his work in Brisbane he continued gliding and was in his free time, instructor at the Darling Downs Club in Queensland , now Jondaryan.He stayed 3 years and went back to Germany. But…..When back he felt he did not fit in Germany anymore.
” When Bill Riley started his Sportavia Soaring Centre in Tocumwal in 1970 and asked me to come as his instructor, I could not pack my suitcase quick enough to go back to Australia.”
So in 1970 he started as instructor with Bill. Ingo was never interested to be a competition pilot,it was the idea from Bill who stimulated him and helped him to achieve 4 major world titles.Ingo is very modest about his titles. He won all of them between age 35 and 45!
On my question which title he liked best he did not think long.According to him Hobbs, was the place with the very best weather EVER during a worldchampionship. He became world champion in open class, while Kees Musters won the 15 m. class and Stig Oye the standard class.Ingo´s other tites were flown in Finland ,Italy and Australia.
Ingo is known because he does n´t like to fly with lot´s of fancy instruments. He needs a mechanical variometer, an altimeter, airspeed indicator and kompass and off he goes. During competitions he needed ofcourse camera´s and barographs , later loggers.They were more or less” forced upon me”.
He has no answer on who was the best pilot with him during all the years of competition flying. He liked and admired pilots flying his style which is –flying by yourself–. Not as a team but as an individual.” Competing against a team is a bit of a disadvantage”, he said.
With 33.500 hours Ingo is one of the most experienced pilots in the world.He does not know what the future will bring for gliding. ” There is ALWAYS a future but what does it hold. Aviation does n´t grow as rapid as in the past. You need young people and I would love to see my grandson Lockie fly, but at this time he is more interested in horses and motor bike riding. They have so many choises!The biggest problem however is to get the young ones from behind the computer”.
What about the jet-engined Caproni which is based on the South side of the Tocumwal airport? According to Ingo, the jet-engine built in the Caproni is a masterpiece!” Mike Burns (the engineer) did a great job. Where others did not succeed , he did. This engine is so reliable. In 5 years it never failed!”
What about women in competition flying? Should they fly their own or compete with the men? “There is no reason and it is not necessary to let them fly only female comps. Off course they can, but they can win in every competition. The Australian Nationals have been won by a lady , it is just a matter of time and they will win a world or European title”.
What about mountain flying!? Ingo loves flying in the mountains. Last weekend he flew over Mount Beauty and had a great time. The club celebrated their 30thies anniversary and he was welcome to join in. He flew 18 hours in 3 days and enjoyed every minute of it.
He also flew in the mountains in New Zealand, Europe and in the USA.But….
” I dislike a competition in mountains. It forces some pilots to do more then they can handle.It remains dangerous to fly a world competition in mountains. The area is not always landable and more risks are involved then in flat-land-flying”.
So after 40 years of competition flying and 51 years in gliding it is time to fly for fun. Ingo looks great . He lost a lot of weight ,9 kilo, which suits him better and makes him feel better.He helps on their farm with the dogs and chooks, the pig and the horses and they have a lot of them but not too much with the horses as ” They kick ” he says with a smile.
For the time being, he is the CFI for the new club (Murray Border Flying Club) in Tocumwal. He regrets more then anybody else the finish of Sportavia. But he continues flying, not as a competition pilot anymore ,but for fun and as long as they need him he will sit in the back and instruct.Why not!? He has “only” 33.500 hours so he can add a few!
Thanks Ingo!!! You have been one of the best pilots in the world!!!!No…. in my opinion you are the VERY BEST.We enjoyed reading about you, following your achievements where-ever in the world, we have been a bit “part of your life “, at least your gliding life. Let´s hope more young ones will follow your passion.
Next time we will see what young Michael Sommer thinks about his first major world title flown in open class in Eskilstuna in Sweden. Ritz