Interview with Michael Sommer

Latest news by Ritz
Friday Januar 19 2007

As promised , the interview with our World champion in open class ;Michael Sommer. Enjoy!!!

To: Ritz
Subject: RE: Internet intervieuw

Hi Riz,

happy new year to you as well and all the best! Sorry but there is a
flood of emails and this is not the only one that got lost. I hope it
still comes in time! Please find some answers underneath!


1. On June 18 you received the highest price in gliding; a gold medal as
winner in open class.
Did this change your life and if…how?
How did you cope with the stress on the last day?
You have gold now, is there still enough motivation to do it again?

I guess my life has not changed much! Of course I am really happy that I
made it but the real motiviation for me to go gliding was never to
achieve something instead it was always the fun that I have in gliding!
This is why I can’t really say because I have achieved what I wanted I
can’t find more motivation to compete again. I am still facinated by
gliding, it is not getting boring and this is why I believe that I can
do it again!
The stress on the last day was not that bad. I guess with the buffer in
points I had I was able to be pretty confident. In addition to this the
whole team has done a great job in making sure nobody gets onto my
nerves in the hours before take off!

2 . There was not only gold and a cup , but 2 very interesting prizes.
and the other gold medal winners were invited to fly in South Africa on
invitation of Carol Clifford and by Pierre de Broqueville and his family
fly in the Pyrenees. What do you think of such a prize?
When will this happen ?
Can you share your experience with us after you have been there?

I am very honoured by these invitations. These two prices together with
the visit at Barron Hiltons ranch will be something like a once in a
lifetime experience I am really looking foreward to. We will be in South
Africa in March, Barron Hilton in Nevada in June and in the Pyrenees
probably in September but I still have to juggle the limited annual

3 . Ingo Renner had his best period between 35 and 45. He won as you
know, 4
times, a world title. Does this appeal to you?
Perhaps 5 times to beat him or is this not possible anymore. We have
different gliders and more instruments. What is your opinion?

I respect very much Ingos achievement! But still my focus is mainly to
have fun with gliding, not so much on statistics!

4 . You are German, but you live in Melbourne Australia. How come?
Did flying in Oz contribute to your great results ?

With my company Siemens I had the opportunity to come to Australia so I
took it and did not regret it so far! However it is still unsure how
much longer I will stay! Unfortunately work did not allow for a lot of
flying but for sure my ability to fly in blue thermals has benefited of
my time in Oz.

5 . You will be defending your title in Germany in Luesse in 2008. Is it
difficult to be part of a team, while you live in OZ?

Yes definetely it is not easy. The training together with the team would
be beneficial. In the future I try to do more training in Australia

6 .Most young pilots start because dad flies or a friend, when did you
with gliding?

I started with gliding when I was 14. My dad worked with Lufthansa and
one of his collegues was president in the gliding club. As I was doing
RC model flying already he told my dad to bring me over as soon as I was
old enough. From the first flight on that I did there I knew that this
is what I want to do!

7 . Do you take any risks while flying? How far do you go, what is the

In case you are talking about the risk to my health or even life then I
am very conservative. Surviving our sport is everything. On the other
side when you talk about for example to land in a lake in Sweden in case
the engine does not start ok that is a different story. This is a very
calculated risk and the possible damage was pretty limited.

8 .Gliding is still not very popular for journalists! About the GRAND
Did you ever fly in the qualifications and how do you see the GP as a
for PR?
How would you promote our sport?
The tracking system gives people on the ground a better view on the
from the competing pilots, which is fantastic, is this a fair system for
as pilot?

The Grand Prix is the great opportunity for our sport to be brought to
the public. In regards to achieving publicity and commercialising
gliding more we are on the right track. I did fly one of the early GPs
in St Auban 2003 as well as the Qualifying GP 2006 in Australia. The
regatta start is great for the pilot as well as it makes the race much
more transparent than what we use do in normal competitions. It can be
discussed if the scoring system is really fair to the pilots. But in the
end I agree with what Uli Schwenk sais that we do have to understand
that in the GP it is all about the spectator and not about the pilot! So
if the fairness to the pilots suffers because of a simple scoring system
that the spectator understands easily and that he apprechiates than
maybe this si what we have to accept.

9 . You will defend your title in open class . Is this the class you
to fly in?
Why the long wingspan gliders?

The performance as well as the elegance of the open class gliders amazes
me again and again this is why I like this class the most. On top of
this the higher performance results in more options to choose from in
regards to alternative decisions during the flight which leads to less
gaggles and less need for team flying.

10 . Last but not least. The junior world comps will be held in Rieti in
What is your opinion about the mountains and how safe is it to fly there
with youngsters.
Do you have a message for our juniors?
How can they be future WELTMEISTERS?

In regards to safety my message is don’t switch off the brain only
because you are in a heated race. Always leave enough options open to
assure a safe landing. Don’t think you have to increase your risk level
only because it is a world championship!
Apart from this my advise is prepare properly but do not take it too
seriously, relax and have fun flying.

Hope to see you soon,

Hopeyou enjoyed it!! Still waiting for my internet connection, so a bit more patience …thanks! Cheers Ritz

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