On the18th April
1981 I had already flown a large distance of 465
kilometer with the PH-314, our Ka-7.
Flip Damen and I landed 40
kilometers short of our goal, the airport at Alençon in
Normandië. We, however,
were well on course, but unfortunately had to land
because of changes in air mass.
And now the
Honestly, there were three
flights necessary to attain this distance.
All three flights exceeded
three hundred kilometres.
The longest flight distance
amounted to 367 km.
These flights were piloted by my co-owner Ad van der
Velden and myself during the first five
competition days at the “Coupe d’Europe Des Planeurs
Biplaces”, in Poitiers.
two-seater competition has a unique formula.
The participants can plan
their own flight each day and submit them in advance.
This leads sometimes to an
atmosphere of secrecy and spying to another. It is not
uncommon to let false flight plans lying around to throw
your Dutch competitors off and punt them on the wrong
results the competitors are granted points for distance,
completed legs and the plane’s handicap.
The day’s results nearly
always produces surprises.
Then it appears that some
contestants have used their engine or have been towed
during their flight.
This costs not only money, but also points, a lot of
we were asked for our results and frequently to the
astonishment of them.
We are not always successful.
Sometimes we transmitted on
the radio that we were surprised with our glide slope
whereby the ground crew knew to attach the trailer and
make ready. Actually we
were either surprised by the weather or had been
mistaken in our tactics either in advance, or during the
how did we reach the podium in third place? In fact, we
never put one line on the flight map. At the weather
briefing we tried to discover if, during the night,
there was a low temperature region. In that direction
the first clouds and the highest flight base was to be
expected. For this reason we waited as long as possible
before submitting our flight plan. And once underway it
was the art of making the correct choices and to fly
towards the right clouds. The best visibility of cumulus
clouds, and therefore the thermals, are when flying at
low altitudes. And here we flew often. On the flight of
367 kilometers (Polygon with four way points, submitted
on the OLC 03-08-2007) we found ourselves, twice, at an
altitude of lees than 250 meters and climbed our way up.
Ad van Velden is a master at this. There was time enough
for me to look out of the cockpit to see which direction
was best. Unfortunately, it did not always succeed. We
may have flown 21 triangles and returns with the KA-7
above 300 meters however, in the course of the 438 over
land flights that I have flown I have made no less than
281 outside landings. No guts, no glory. Gliding is fun.