8 thoughts on “Gliding to the Matterhorn”

  1. I can’t believe 24 minutes went by that fast! What an incredible video, thank you for finding it and posting it. At first I was thinking this guy must be crazy, but the explanations of his careful management of the sailplane’s energy and exploration of the thermals in order to achieve his targeted altitudes leads me to believe that this was a very carefully planned and executed flight.

    A great way to spend a lazy Sunday morning for me…thanks again.

  2. A really fantastic video.

    A long time ago, I spent a lot of time investigating becoming a sailplane pilot. Along with fancy and fast cars, it amounted to dreaming of how I would spend money I didn’t have.

    At that time, they were much touchier about differentiating between sailplanes and soaring versus gliders and gliding. The difference being the glide ratio. That’s the horizontal distance traveled per distance of decent. At that time, sailplanes were between 20:1 and 40:1 while gliders were below 10:1. I think I read that the best modern sailplanes are around 60:1. The difference means that a sailplane can catch thermals and updrafts fairly consistently and easily to remain in the air indefinitely. With a glider, there is basically just a fairly rapid decent from the tow plane.

    Sailplanes are often towed into the air behind a powered plane but it used to be fairly common to use either a vehicle and a long tow line or a winch. This would allow a release about 1,000 feet above the ground.

  3. @David – that is true. The Versailles treaty forbid much production of powered aircraft. Same with air rifles – why Germany today makes some of the best air rifles in the world.

    When I was stationed over there years ago, across the way was a grass airfield with a sail plane club. And guess what the tow plane was? An old Stuka.

  4. In the late 1930s, the Luftwaffe pilot training transitioned from glider only clubs by adding “sport planes”, unarmed BF-109s (Messerschmidt 109s) for advanced pilot training.

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