podcast #6: I fly the way I am


He was a safety-engineer, or an insurance guy,

if I remember correctly. In any case he had something to do with ‘safety’ and was traveling around Patagonia for a week or so before visiting his son who was on an exchange year in Argentina.

As glider pilot he knew, of course, that Klaus Ohlmann and his gang were here in San Martin waiting for the next frontal passage to use its winds and waves for another attempt to break long distance soaring world-records. That was reason enough for him to swing by and have a chat with the pilots.

No, he didn’t have any ambitions to get involved in the record chase himself, nor did he show any interest in sharing the adventure of such a flight as copilot or passenger.
“No thanks, that’s not for me” he remarked laconically “too much challenge and excitement!”
“I’d much rather take a good old single-seater and fly around my home airfield for a while”

Why not, I thought, that’s certainly one of the many ways to enjoy this hobby.

” These high performance machines are not my kind of toy and to fly cross country? I’d rather not, you never know…” he continued.
“Sure, down here I understand perfectly well that updrafts are not only within a couple of miles around the airport, but when I fly and I imagine myself being out of gliding range of the runway and not finding any thermal? Seems quite risky to me!”

Wow, what a moment! I thought.
On one side of the table a guy is sipping his tea while he broods over a huge map trying to plot the optimal route to improve on his 3000km long distance record and right next to him another pilot is enjoying his beer and confesses about how he doesn’t have the nerve to cover a mere 30km?

Of course, I asked myself what the fellow behind his beer considered so risky in venturing out just a few kilometers beyond the fence. Immediately I came up with a least three ideas how to minimize this risk to the equivalent level of that of a visit in a pub. But then I got caught by one word he had used:”…and I imagine myself being out of gliding range…”

He was imagining the risk!

Oh sure! This man was a safety-professional – to improve safety he had to imagine first what might go wrong! And that type of imagination followed him obviously into the air!

Or was there more to it? Perhaps safety was the dominant one among his core values and he lived his life in total alignment with it: he choose an appropriate profession and acted accordingly in his time off, as well.

You can probably guess what I asked myself next: what, then, are the core values of someone who spends 15 hours in a tiny cockpit to soar 3000km over some of the most hostile parts of the Andes? Or, closer to home: what do my core values have to do with my way of flying?

I quickly scanned through a couple of years in my flight logs and found a few, let’s say ‘revealing’, flights.
I picked one to write a short story about and turn it into chapter three of “Among Clouds”.
You can download the illustrated pdf here – for free -, and the audio fans find the player of the podcast player-button below (and a Download link, as well).

If you like it, leave a comment below and check out the other stories/podcasts “Return From Outer Space” and “Lewd Dude and Rich Bastard” .


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