Bastienne Wentzel is a professional science writer, editor of Lift magazine and assistant pilot instructor based in the Netherlands. A few years ago she became frustrated with the lack of comprehensive, correct information available for newer pilots trying to learn to fly and decided to write an instructional book in Dutch. It was such a hit that the team at Cross Country magazine, headed up by Ed Ewing decided to take three years re-writing and editing her original book in English. The magnificent result has just been published. The book is absolutely packed with tips, illustrations, and expert advice to help newer pilots learn the A to Z’s of learning to fly safely. From the history of the sport, to gear, understanding aerology, the fundamentals of flight, meteorology, getting licensed, understanding airspace and more it’s all presented in an easy-to-understand and highly readable format. This show is dedicated to Bastienne’s book and our listeners who are just taking flight and learning the ropes. Enjoy!
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Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem before we get in to this show with Bastienne. I just wanted to thank all of you for listening and for making all of this Mayhem possible. We've been at this almost six years now. I think that's right. And this is crazy experiment. It has been a real joy and a ton of learning for me. And I hope for you as well. And yeah, it's just been a lot of fun and obviously I couldn't do it without you.
So thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for participating. Thank you for sharing it with your friends and spreading the love and getting more people to listen. I really do truly appreciate it. And we are also always trying to improve. So I thought, you know, Bastienne an ad. Ewing sent me this book, the beginner's guide to Paragliding, which was just published. And that's what we're going to be talking about today in the show, but it is truly a terrific book.
They sent me a couple of copies and I thought, well, why don't I just, I read it before talking to Bastienne. It's fantastic. And I thought why I should give these back to somebody else. So I put up a little survey on the website and it's Cloudbase mayhem.com forward slash survey. If you go there and fill it in, do you want me to take few minutes and tell us how we can improve? We are, as of this show, a 140 shows in, and we'll just keep going and going and going.
But of course we always want to get better and, and make content that you love and you come back for again and again. So go fill that out and you'll be in two win one of these beautiful books or a bunch of other all throw a whole bunch of Cloudbase Mayhem schwag into the ring as well. So new truckers, hats and Patagonia, hats, and Patagonia. T-shirts we just got another new shipment of those. You can also buy any of that stuff. Of course, on the website Cloudbase mayhem.com.
But again, the survey is email@example.com forward slash survey to fill it in. It's an anonymous, if you want it to be and just let us know how we could improve, and we will try to do that. Very thing. My guest today is best Dan Wentzel. She is the she's a Netherlands pilot and instructor been at this game for a long time. And she produced a book that's really based on helping people get their pilot's license.
So this is the beginner end of the spectrum, but just a beautiful book. My friend, Jeff, Shapiro's actually doing review on it for Cross Country magazine. Right now, we were talking about this couple of days ago, and we both really agreed that it's just filled with fantastic illustrations. It gives a great history to the sport and great chapters on urology and meteorology and gear and just how it all works. I was happy to go through it and find the most things were thankfully review for me is I think they should be a man at this game an awful long time, but there was also some new stuff in there as well that I either hadn't thought about it in a long time or were just flat out new.
So I certainly wish I had had this, this available to me when I was first learning. And if you don't have it and haven't seen it yet go to your local shop and pick one up it's of course available online. You'll find the links in the show notes for this show, where to find it, but the best way to support it is to support our local shops. And I know many of them are struggling this year in this crazy year Corona. So I get out of your low shop and pick it up and then share it, read it, enjoy it.
So without further delay, please enjoy this conversation with the author of Paragliding that beginner's guide Bastienne Wentzel
Speaker 2 (4m 19s):
Speaker 1 (4m 28s): Bastienne thanks for joining us on the Cloudbase may, haven't been really excited to talk to you. I've just this morning finished your fantastic book that you did in conjunction with a cross Country magazine. And I've been involved in a similar, similar effort over the last year. I know it's a massive effort of congratulations. It's a beautiful book.
Speaker 2 (4m 49s): Thanks very much. I'm ready. Proud of that is finally here.
Speaker 1 (4m 53s): I bet. Yeah. And I understand this came. It is this, this is kind of a second version, correct? You wrote at first in, Dutch give it, give us a little bit of your background.
Speaker 2 (5m 2s): Yeah, sure. I actually, I, I, I've got three additions in a Dutch version now at this project started five years ago, most or a mortar five years ago in 2014 summer, I had some time on my hands and I found actually I could go back a little bit more. I did my, my license then like that Lance license. And I had to do a theory exam for that. And I had to study for it and I found no good information, especially in Dutch whatsoever. It was just all collections.
So I thought, well, we could actually use a good book and the Netherlands there was something in here, but not much. So after the, I did my license, I started to think about that a little bit more. And I also started to get to meet my husband there. I mean, we started to teach a theory courses 'cause that wasn't around in that, even though the law is either at the, so we said the course of time, and then our students were asking us, well, what can we read? I mean, where where's the information?
What's the study materials and it just wasn't there. It was either old or not in Dutch language. So in summer of 2014, I had to die in my hands. So I thought, well, I'll just start writing and see where it is. So I wrote a first Dutch version and then I consulted a lot of Dutch, you know, pilots, friends, instructors, schools, to help me to correct that and that results within the first Dutch version and the beginning of 2015.
So I printed like a is 500 books. So that, and thinking that in an Netherlands with about a, a thousand active pilots, 5,000 who our members of the association I've thought it will last me forever. I'm in 500 books. Who's gonna sell 500 books sold out until years. Really what it was gone for 500 bucks and two years ago, 250 books in a Netherlands until a year that was like what's happening. And everybody was really supportive and using the book to teach.
So everybody was really enthusiastic about it. I got a lot of feedback, produce a second version, a second edition updated. Ah, and then in English flight flying a friend of mine site, he said, you have to translate this in English. I was like, yeah. Why? I mean, the British have books since all they're in English, she was just the Dutch that didn't have any, is it not at all? You have to really translate. It is so good. And you have to do this. I don't know. And I said, okay, that's fine. I'm going to translate a couple of chapters.
You're going to eat and you can read it and you can check the English language and you can correct it for me. And then we'll see what happens. You stuck I'll do that. So that's what happened in about, I think winter 2016 or something. And I sent him some text in English and he corrected it translate. He said, it's really good. Even now I'm reading in English. She says, it's really good to really send it. I was like, okay, who am I gonna send that to? And then the first person I thought of, I'm sure you remember, leave a memory to remember this is Greg Hammerton sure.
Speaker 3 (8m 16s): Yeah. Yeah. I know. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (8m 18s): It's quite a famous president as well. He has, he had a printed, he had published some books of himself. So I thought maybe he has the small publishing company that you can do something for me. So he emailed me back really quickly. He says, well, I'm too small to do this, but the guys she needed to send the Steelers Cross grand magazine like, Oh, wait a minute. I mean, those are like, the biggest, best in the world is not, he says you can send it there and send it to a human or who was the publisher. So that's what I did in the end.
Not expecting much of it. I send a couple of chapters and this was 2017, beginning of 2017. And he was really enthusiastic from the start. He says, this is exactly what we've been looking for to write a book for beginners, not experienced pilots, like the books that are already have, but for beginners, I mean, at the start of the series, we have Bruce Goldsmith's book 50 ways to fly better. And we've got galley. Farinas book is really advanced by the us, but they didn't have anything for Beginner.
So they're really enthusiastic and said, Oh, we can work with this. No problem. So yeah, that's what we did. I was amazed really that they liked it. And we started working together to improve it. They added a lot, a lot of information. They consulted a lot of instructors, people around the world from that network to improve It and to add to it, to make a bigger, better. And you have so much more photography and illustrations.
Speaker 1 (9m 54s): It was filled with illustrations and drawings and graphs. And I just, I think that's terrific is that thing that really suits, you know, there's not a lot of people can't just read and learn that they need to visualize it. They need to see it. You need to go to the Hill. I, I kept thinking when I was reading it, that it would have been so nice to have when I was learning. Cause it's, it's this kind of a handbook you could go home and you're getting filled with so much each day, when you go to the training Hill, its kind of overwhelming. And then this has be a nice thing to go home to and curl up, you know, on your couch and reaffirm some of the things you just learned.
Speaker 2 (10m 31s): Yeah. I'm really happy you say that because that's exactly how I want it to be like the book that I never had does that sounds a bit dramatic. I don't meet it that way, but there wasn't really anything around like this, maybe touching Cloudbase is a good book, but that was starting to get maybe a little bit. What if you can use an update, maybe that's a good book and it, wasn't not in my language. So yeah. It's like the book. I, I, I always wanted it to have a need for it. So glad you say that. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (10m 60s): I mean the, the, the chapter for me that really stood out, I mean, they're all, they're all fantastic. But the one that really stood out for me, it's just the weather one, because there's so many terms and terminologies and you know, Addie a bad week that I just think it doesn't matter how many times you read it. You always need a little refresher and unless you're in a meteorologist and you're right in the beginning of the chapter, you say, you know that you didn't know this when you were getting into Paragliding, but you're going to become basically a meteorologist you, you, we all, we all do.
We have to, it is what, it's, what we're dealing with. Every time we go fly. And so it's, you know, it was really, it was comprehensive. It was clear. It was it flowed. Well, I mean they all do, but that to me is an, you know, quote unquote advanced pilot, you know, that there was, that was the one that I really dug into it and enjoyed.
Speaker 2 (11m 52s): Yeah. That's great. Great to hear. Well that's there is something for an advanced pilot as well in there because it's really a beginner's book, but we hope that it's going to be interesting for people that fly. It had been flying for a while, like a refresher you're saying, or maybe something new. So yeah. Great to hear. And you want to know? Sorry
Speaker 1 (12m 10s): To say. You're you're also R D are you the editor or what's your involvement with Lift magazine? That's the local magazine.
Speaker 2 (12m 16s): Yeah, it's the local magazine. Lift is the association magazine like the, like the sky wings or is it your cover? The other article. And I've been doing that as a volunteer since 2011 or something with a small group, like six or seven. Depends on that. Changes a lot, but we're all volunteers and we make the magazine four times a year and I'm the one that keeps the whole bunch together, basically in to make sure that everything gets done on time.
Speaker 1 (12m 41s): Again, how many registered pilots do you have in the Netherlands?
Speaker 2 (12m 45s): The association has 1700 members. All of them are really active pilots. Of course we needed to be a member of the association to get her license. And that's how many licenses there are valid license in the Netherlands.
Speaker 1 (12m 58s): We have a great thing is at the very end of the book on all the different associations around the world, you know, a PPI, a new B H P a C and all of them. How does your system work? There is, I know some like in Sweden, it's really, club-based correct. I know that's not in Netherlands but is that how, how does yours,
Speaker 2 (13m 18s): Right. And Sweden, I don't know. M R a and R system just has from the association, there are a few things you need to know that have lists of things you need to do. And the schools, our members of the association that are, I don't know how to explain that, but they're like that they need to be a associated with the association. I'm not saying that right. With all of the schools are a, well, help me out of here with the English.
Speaker 1 (13m 53s): I mean, to you, you have it, you have it, you have a system that the association puts their rubber stamp on that students have to go through to get their various licenses.
Speaker 2 (14m 3s): Yeah. And all of the schools have they're. They are licensed to school Paragliding pilots. So they have to be in order to give out the licenses. So you can go to a school in an elementary, you sign up the, one of the 13 schools that are a member of the association. And all of these schools have instructors that are also, they have their instructors license from the association. And so they all have their own, or the association has a number of things you need to do and know that there is like a list with a structure in the school, determines if you're a good pilot.
And then the other thing is you need to do in a theory or exam. And that's where everybody in the Netherlands it's the same. So it's a central exam. You sit down and you do these questions two or three times a year. You can sign up for it for an exam and you have to pass that.
Speaker 1 (14m 56s): How do you, how did the pilot's in the Netherlands? You know, I know that for the most part, your Ridge sore, it's pretty flat. Do you do the school there at, at the dunes? And then they take groups into the mountains? Or how does, how do you get the, the practical?
Speaker 2 (15m 16s): Yeah, that's an issue. Isn't it? We do a lot of towing, which is a winch operations. And especially in the Eastern, the South of the Netherlands, there's a lot of sewing. So I would guess about half of the people here do their whole schooling, their whole flight period on a, on tow a and the other ones, most of the schools have a courses in the mountains as well. So you can sign up for a course. You go to France, used to Australia and do your weeks training there.
So yeah, I think most people are not a lot of peoples start learning also, and then go into the mountains or is there is also a lot of people that just go with one of the Dutch schools outside of the Netherlands, they go to the mountain to learn there.
Speaker 1 (16m 4s): And you said, you and your husband both teach it. Do you have your own school? Is that your job?
Speaker 2 (16m 9s): No, we don't have her own school. And also the Netherlands is so small that they're only out of those 13 schools. There are three schools of which the owner is going a little bit, but the instructors get, you know, a little bit of cost, but they don't get paid a real salary. So we do it for fun. And we teach with a number of schools, the schools, where we learn to fly ourselves, which is Paragliding school in fairness. But we teach, we said that we go with another school as well. Just it's, it's a small community.
Speaker 1 (16m 40s): Bastienne can you give me a brief, you know, give me the, a, the first page resume of your, of your life of flying had, how did you come to this point where you thought, okay, I need to, I need to write a book.
Speaker 2 (16m 53s): You need to write a book. It started with just a weekend, the fun in Germany with the school where we learned to say introduction weekend. And then we booked many years later, actually we booked a, a, a week's mountain, of course, in France. And we actually learn how to fly near the famous sides of San Francisco for weather. There's a lot of competitions as well. So that was our first flights. We're from the, the world's competition sides of a seizure that's for you that for a slide.
So that week was, was really nice, but the weather was bad. So we did only like two flights for a whole week. So we booked another week and another weekend Turkey and another weekend Turkey. So we had our license within a year, a pretty quick, we, that was like the, the, I think you call it a P to license where you can fly independently, but not Overland for that yet. Of course Country. And I think about a year or two years later, we both did our advanced pilots.
So some cross-country flying a little bit and we're, at the same time we started to teach like assistant instructors. I'm still an assistant to instructor, by the way, I'm not a full instructor. My husband is a, so we can basically run a course together. You would be at your responsible, I started to do, and I would help. So we started to teach, you know, first, just show people how to attach their gliders and lay out the gliders and then helped to launch. And then the next step is to help to land them.
And like I said, somewhere in that process, we found out that there was not a lot of scenery. Like you can read, you can tell people a lot of things, but it's not a big thing. We couldn't point into a book or something. And that's how the idea started.
Speaker 1 (18m 38s): In what way? What do you think, you know, and, and obviously using your own system in what you've seen, pre-book what were, what were the big things that people were missing? You know, what are the things where you were constantly gone? Gosh, I wish we had something for that.
Speaker 2 (18m 54s): Well, I think in a daily day life, I am a science writer, so I like facts and I like science. So the things that were missing in my view was I heard a lot of instructors explain things, not quite right or completely wrong, or completely misleading sometimes, but usually it was not quite right. And I was in the beginning. I was like, I just don't understand what you're saying. And later I was like, he's not saying that right.
It's just wrong. So I wanted to give to students something to really hear, this is what it's really like. This is, these are the facts. This is, this is the truth. And it wasn't there that you have to point them to the internet and then the internet snots. Well, there are a lot of fake news on there as well. So it was a really difficult to, to find, to point them to, to one book that was a clear and easy to understand in all of these facts and that the same time.
Correct. So in an ideal,
Speaker 1 (19m 58s): This is just so long ago for me. I, I literally can't remember it, but in an ideal world, somebody listening to the podcast right now, who's been thinking about flying or, you know, has maybe gone out and seen people fly and land a little bit, or maybe they've had, you know, they've done a tandem or something once the best way to w how would you like to see your book used?
Speaker 2 (20m 24s): Oh, you can buy a book and start reading, but I would really recommend it to learn in practice as well. I mean, a book is great and she of course promoted to buy for everyone. But I think the best way is go out and do it on your own and have fun. And if you, if you just want to try out for one day, that's fine. I see a lot of people sign up for a long course or not knowing they really are going to like it. And so, and then the schools are requiring them to, to sign up for a weeks long course, just try it out for a day, go on a tandem, or go play around a, and if you find that something for you and then do go to a school and start flying and then buy a secondhand glider or some old equipment find a field or a beach or something, just start playing with the glider.
That's the best of the best thing to learn is in practice. And then if it's raining, or if it's a bad way, there are a bit scrolled or something, or you're live in the Netherlands and no flying opportunities, then you just write a book and start reading about it.
Speaker 1 (21m 27s): How do you find a good school? How do you find good people?
Speaker 2 (21m 31s): Well, that probably depends on the place where you are in the world. I think in a Netherlands are not really a bad school. Start a couple of really small schools, but in order for the Netherlands, it depends on if they just have different characters. There are no bad schools, but the one is more outdoor minded and the other one is more towing minded. And a third one is more Cross, Country flying minded. So, and summer, some of them are really a few people that are a bit scared maybe in the beginning.
So they go slowly and, and safe in some others are more, just go do it and have fun, and they'll complain about it. So you have to find it a school that suits your character or the way you're learning. So that's, I guess the way that might hold it for the rest of the world as well, just go out and see if you like to people that are around and just talk to them and watch for a while, and then decide if it's for you
Speaker 1 (22m 31s): In all your years of assistant instructing, I guess, with your husband and, and, you know, writing a book and seeing what you've seen are there.
Speaker 2 (22m 43s): I mean, it was,
Speaker 1 (22m 44s): It was, it was, the book really kind of took you through the whole progression of learning, which was terrific. You know, it has the, it has the history of Paragliding, which is always just a blast. Then there's a chapter on gear, and then there's kind of getting started and you take us all the way through until, you know, more complicated subjects like airspace and rules of the road and getting your license and all the various licenses around the world. But what, what do you, what do you see as the, the biggest, the most important things that people need to get on the way or things that cause the most problems?
Speaker 2 (23m 25s): Ooh, that's a hard one. Again. I think you have to fly a lot. You have to just go out and do it instead of, I mean, studying is a very good, and it's a good as a reference to read a lot about it. And I, for myself are a lot of, I I'm really a person that needs to read and needs to know the facts and understand aerodynamics and meteorology. It's not really necessary to fly. Well, I think you have to fly a lot and fly it in a lot of different circumstances and a lot of different places for my own experience.
What I liked about the school, where I learned how to fly is we would go to a lot of different takeoffs and in a lot of different conditions and other schools that are more staying in one place, the students will only see like a grassy Hill as a take off. And then when they start a to see a rock rock face or something that's really steep, they don't know how to deal with that. So I think you have to gather a lot of experience by doing many different things and go to many different places and maybe switch schools a lot or switch instructors a lot.
So did you see a lot of different things instead of just going down from that one little Hill? And most importantly, I think people should have fun. It's not about, well, of course it can be about flying big numbers or big, big things, but I think Indiana it's a hobby, so she would have fun. Okay.
Speaker 1 (24m 51s): The advice, how about, do you have some other advice? Sounds like you've got a pretty special relationship with your husband. I know that that doesn't always work out when people are participating in the same sport, not just Paragliding, but anything, any advice for, for a couples out there, or people that want to become a couple of years in the, in the sport of a free flight, because there's that, there's that problem that always hangs out just beyond our reach, which is the risk side of it.
You know, that that can be kinda tough on couples. I think.
Speaker 2 (25m 26s): Well, we've never had that problem at all. The only problem we have is that we don't have anyone to drive within the team. It's usually my husband's for all of them, because he ends up running up, back up the Hill and getting the car. But no, we don't have problems like that. I mean, we have a different view on risks and I take my own decisions and he takes his own decisions, but it's fine. I think we, we know from each other what we like to do and what we do not like to do.
And so on the whole, it's more fun to fly together than alone. Otherwise. I mean, we do all our holidays flying. We spend most of the holidays flying. We haven't done anything else, basically, almost.
Speaker 1 (26m 9s): This is what a dream, Holy cow. And do you have to, do you have kids?
Speaker 2 (26m 14s): No, we don't have kids. If you did have kids, would you want them to fly? I have no idea. I never wanted kids, so I never thought about that, but I agree probably before I think my niece and nephew, I would try to get them to go in with them. My husband that'll be fun, but other than that, I really haven't thought about that at all.
Speaker 1 (26m 33s): Hi, I have a three-year old and I've been thinking about that a bit lately. I mean, part, part of me is like, Oh yeah, that'd be so great for her. He was like, yeah, she doesn't like it. That'd be fine too.
Speaker 2 (26m 45s): Yeah, I can. I, lots of, lots of parents who have a, there is a Dutch acro pilot look at the vet who is really a up and coming right now is like the fifth of the world last year. And I know his dad very well. He's my age. And I saw Lou grow, growing up at the beach, playing with gliders. And I think his dad is, is really happy with us on flying. And I think it's fine. So looking at them to be fine, to have your kids fly.
Speaker 1 (27m 13s): Yeah. And you know, that, I think a lot of people don't understand that acronym is actually a really safe, you know, you don't really see that many accidents and in acro at the, you know, they get really good at throwing their reserve and amazing at Wayne control. And yeah, I think of any kind of accurate training is, is very important for longevity.
Speaker 2 (27m 34s): I fully agree. I, I like to fly baby acro more than more than Cross Country flying. So I, I do a little bit of that, although it's nothing compared to the real guys, but I really have a strong opinion on SIVs. I think everyone that is flies in turbulent air, she do in SIV. And I know a lot of people that don't, and they're just, it's just a matter of time that you've got to be collapsed and don't know what to do. So
Speaker 1 (28m 1s): Yeah. It's like, it's like Russ Ogun says we're not playing golf.
Speaker 2 (28m 5s): Right. Yeah. And if you do scared to do an SIV, shouldn't really consider why you will be flying a terminal there. Yeah,
Speaker 1 (28m 13s): Absolutely. Well, let's, let's unpack the book a little bit. Like I said before, we started recording and we don't want to go, you know, chapter by chapter and through everything that's, you know, people should get the book and do that, but you know, the, the first three chapters are all pretty self-explanatory I really started getting excited about your, your chapter and understanding the air. What are the, what are some of the things that we should take away from that? Because that was, that was really nice to review. I have to say that was fun. And, you know, like I said, there's, there's a lot of illustrations that really help understand glide and, you know, the speed bar and what the air is doing and how even Lift is created.
I mean, these are things that I, like I said, I haven't thought of an over a decade.
Speaker 2 (28m 60s): Right, right. It's I think aerodynamics it's a subject that most people would rather skip because they think it's difficult. And why would you want to know why the glider flies, because it's going to fly anyway. I mean, you don't need to know that and I totally disagree, but I am a scientist. So I really like these, these kind of a techie facts, things that you can actually calculate. So I always been fascinated by aerodynamics, but I didn't really understand it. So there's a, actually it was a learning process. The write that chapter, and you have to give an example of one of the things that really clear is the hope for me is that the ratio between forward speed and the scent rate, that's a glide ratio.
Right. And that's also the ratio between Lift in drag. So that, that is just, that explains everything. So what happens when you were breaking in and what happens with a heavier pilot versus a lighter pilot? So understanding that part alone got me a lot of further. So I didn't know that either. So I had to read and to ask people what it was that all about. Let's say a month.
Speaker 1 (30m 5s): It made me think a lot more about, okay, how steeply do I want a bank when I turn, how much break do I want to use? You know, I, I think the, the really, really talented world cup pilots, you know, unless it's a real heater, you know, you're, you're turning very, very flat and you're letting the glider do almost all of the work. And, you know, so it made me, you, you, you put in a way, in a way where you can really think a lot more about, you know, the, the differences between parasitic drag and Lift induced drag and how they all bring us down to the ground, faster, all of these things.
Speaker 2 (30m 50s): Yeah. And I'm not sure if it makes anyone fly better and I'll be really happy if it does. But I think of in my mind, and it's fun to understand why that works. And for example, why does weight shifting work? Do you think about it? I mean, why, so? I didn't get it either, but if you lean one way that w that side, she would go faster, right. Because it's low to the heart. So that's not the way it works, because if you lean to the right, you would turn to the left.
So that's not the way it works. And I didn't know that either. So I asked Michael Missler at one point that it works for a swing sometimes as well-known, as a designer,
Speaker 1 (31m 33s): A radical pilot and a co-author of acrobatics was still the handbook for acro. Terrific.
Speaker 2 (31m 41s): Exactly, exactly. Is a designer and for swinging nowadays. So I asked him, why does weight shifting work? And it actually, it has to do with the parts of the glider, part of the Aerofoil where the Lift is generated, which is on the top of the arch, like a ride in the center on the front, on the top. So if you lean to one side, the top of that arc move to the other side, right. 'cause the glider banks. So if you're listening to the right, the Lift moves to the left of the, off of the glider to the left of the wing and that side, because it has more Lift will go faster.
And that's why like, shifting works. I didn't know that I was like, wow. Yeah,
Speaker 1 (32m 22s): Yeah. That's not intuitive. Is it? I mean, there's a lot of, there's a lot in there. That's not intuitive. I mean, you know, for example, you know, we, we have all always known that, that bigger pilots have a better advantage on glide because they're flying a bigger wing. Physics tells us that a bigger wing is going to have a better glide, but you've also got more parasitic drag in that person. You've got all these things that balance out that, so a bigger pilot will get to, if you just go on glide, you leave thermal and you get a better by, on a smaller part.
And they both go on glide if they both glide. Well, you know, obviously we, we can't test for this exactly if it's thermic and, you know, in an unstable air and wind and everything else. But if you just, if you had a, if you have the exact pilot skills and the exact error, then the heavier persons going to arrive at the, where they land faster, but they're both going to land at the same place like that. That's that was also something that is just kind of, I had to read that twice a day. Wait, what what's going on in here?
Speaker 2 (33m 29s): Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So in a competition that I have your pilot, all things, all other things being equal, the, in the competition, the heavier price that will go faster. So you get to go first, but if you add wind, it all gets different. So if you're in a headwind, the one that goes slower has a disadvantage where in the headwinds, the lighter violet has even more disadvantaged because he is in happy, in and longer. And the, but in a, in a tailwind, the lights are buying, it gets more advantage of other things being equal.
So it's, it does tell you a lot of things, although like you were saying in reality, that never happens like that.
Speaker 1 (34m 9s): Yeah. That's the thing, I mean, it's, it's, in some ways I hate the sports that have, you know, it's not basketball, it's not just shoes in a ball and you've got all these forces that, you know, that make it fascinating and fun. And also in some ways, you know, especially for, for lighter people, I mean, this has been a big argument for a long time. And Bruce is trying to tackle this with is weightless comps, which I think is terrific that, you know, we've got to account for this somehow to make it fair, but, well, okay. Just, just for the listener, describe that.
What's the, tell us the difference between the angle of attack and the angle of incidents,
Speaker 2 (34m 46s): Right? The angle of attack. It's the most important that one, the angle of the incidents it's even in the name, it's difficult because that's an a, an airplane term, but the angle of attack is, is important. And that's the angle at which the air that's coming from below heads, the profile hits the cells and hits the, at the end of the arrow foil. So that determines you are Lift and the Lift and drag ratio, and therefor a deterministic light. And the angle of incidence is just the way that the glider at the whole profile is sitting in the air.
It's, it's usually a little bit backwards counterintuitively, so, and that doesn't change much at the angle of the incident. It just changes a, when you push to speed Barre or do something with the, to reimburse, but angle of incidence, it's not the most important or the one, the one that is important to stay is the angle of attack. And you changed that by putting the brakes mostly. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (35m 42s): And in some, something that was kind of floating around the back of my mind, the whole time I was reading that chapter is, and we've touched on this on the podcast several times, and it makes a big place in, in, in the book that we're working on right now with Cross Country, which is the King of the other end is like the advanced end. But, you know, kind of almost like a public service announcement here is, you know, speed really matters and airflow really matters. And it's, it could be, I would imagine, you know, maybe some of your local pilots who are just learning on the dunes a and R used to all that wind and not traveling very fast, but hearing a lot of wind and then go into the mountains and you know, that you kind of lose touch with that.
And you forget how important speed is in motion through the air. And relative motion through the air is if you don't have it, you're, you know, and as you point out in your book, you're an airplane and you fall, you got to have a certain amount of speed in a certain amount of airflow. And I always think about that with just, you know, if there is suddenly, if you suddenly gone from, you can hear a lot of air and you don't, it's a, that's a big red flag.
Speaker 2 (36m 53s): Yep. Yeah, it is. And, and it's always a confusing concept for people. The relative airflow and a glider was going down through the air, even if the thermal was going up with you in it. And they, so the grant and the ground speed compare to the ground speed at which can be a zero or, or backwards or whatever. But the airflow, the relative airflow always has to have a minimum speed because otherwise you glad to solve. And that's a good, sometimes that's a difficult concept as well.
Speaker 1 (37m 24s): Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And we, we see this a lot. Don't we on, you know, with, with pilots who are learning, you know, get too deep on the brakes taken off, you know, they don't really have that touch yet, and they don't have that sense of an landing big time. Last was probably a bit,
Speaker 2 (37m 42s): There is another, a really clear example that I see on the beach here in Holland, the, the high wind soaring on the dunes, when you, when you're flying low overdose dunes were like two, three for me to hide a really low dune Sawyer. You're going fast and you go on a low, so you have a sense of speed over the ground is really, really high. It's like, Oh, wait a minute. 40, 50 Ks an hour is really fast. If you go and low over the ground. And especially when the winds are a bit Cross and you're going down, wind speeds can be over 50, 55 sometimes.
And if you're that low, a lot of people in a lot of new pilots get a bit scared and they go unconsciously, they pull the brakes a little bit. They want to slow down just to slow down. It's just,
Speaker 1 (38m 27s): Just finger instead of just putting more into the wind. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Speaker 2 (38m 30s): And then they want to make a turn. They want it to turn around because I have to go back. And what they do is pull one, break that inside, break a bit more and a glider stalls, because she already had, it had to be a lot of brake on, so you spin and you're three meters above the ground and you get a big old crash. And that, that happens quite a lot of it.
Speaker 1 (38m 49s): Yeah. We have a, we have a real famous soaring site in, in salt Lake called point of the mountain where a lot of the people like me, he learned, and that happens all the time. Yeah. Wow. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (39m 1s): The accidents on the beach and when Soren, I wouldn't sworn.
Speaker 1 (39m 7s): Yeah. It's, it's a funny thing. Isn't it? Speed is your friend. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I, I really enjoyed that. The, the, do you have any more to say about that, that chapter is, you know, the next one is weather, which I just loved, but do you have any more, any kind of a heads up about airfoil and Lift and what we need to understand about the air?
Speaker 2 (39m 33s): Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it because I'm hoping that a lot of people will actually read it and get something from it instead of thinking, or aerodynamics is just difficult stuff that we don't need to know. So it's actually quite a practical, a chapter that's, I'm hoping that people read it and understand that maybe for the first time. And yeah,
Speaker 1 (39m 55s): There were certainly things there that I maybe kind of fuzzily understood before, but it really clarified, you know, this is how it works. And I, I would argue, you know, like you said, that you're not really sure if it would change how people fly or make them fly, but I would argue that it would, I, I know that after reading it, I'll be more sensitive to certainly more sensitive to brake and slow in the glider down. You know, I think that, again, I think climbing is one of those things that takes a lifetime to get really, really good at it, but I think it, you could kind of propel through a couple of things and not use as much and let the glider do more work.
And I've been thinking along those lines for years now, but I think it really rammed at home what you're doing when you're slowing down in a glider.
Speaker 2 (40m 48s): Cool, cool. That's great. And that's what I wanted. So I'm really happy with that,
Speaker 1 (40m 55s): Whether, you know, so I, I'm not a weather expert. I'm kind of a weather geek. I S I guess, because I sailed around the world a couple of times. So I'm one of these people who, you know, I will always find a skew T challenging. I just, I just can't read and transfer over, but I understand, you know, I understand pressure gradients in Fern and you know, how weather works in cold fronts were in France, but it, it was a terrific, you kind of take us through at the beginning to the end in a nice scaled way and, and talked about things like, again, terms adiabatic, and that, that I've found really fun and, and a great reminder what a, what a new people need to know about whether, you know, that it really is something that, you know, there's, there's the two fold side, there's the theory side, you know, understanding how to, to even just look at something like XC skies or medio pair, Pente reading a discussion forecast, you know, to me, it's just time that nothing replaces doing it just over and over and over again, but where should people start with weather?
And in one of the most important, you know, if there's five things you really need to know about the weather, what are they?
Speaker 2 (42m 17s): Oh, wow. That's a big question. The way I wrote this chapter is I didn't know a lot about it at all. So I just started riding with what I, with my own thought process. This is basically my own learning process. Like this is the way I understand it. But the thing with whether is that all of this theory in here, I think it's a bit disappointing in a way you sitting on a Hill and you're thinking, I know, I know I learned this from the book. I wrote it myself or whatever. And now that I understand that that's happening over there and that's happening over there, and it's not because it's a local system is completely different.
So I was a bit disappointed after knowing all of the, I'm not a weather expert at all, I'm still not. So I thought after writing this, this chapter that are learned a bit, but it's completely different. Every time I go to a local side, it's different that, for example, there there's this side, Christian in Austria famous sites, it's a North launch. And across the, the Valley is a South launch. The North launch works at like 10 o'clock in the morning, or a 10 30.
Sometimes it's, it's already thermic and is working and you can go up up high. And the South side, I never see anyone fly in their there's a launch, but I never see anyone flying there. And it's, I don't know why that is. It's probably because it has a West and the East face as well on that a lot, a launch on a Hill. And there is the Bavarian winds, which are North, but I thought I understood. I mean, you have to be in a South launch and there, it always works, but it doesn't. So I was a bit disappointed about that. And so I think again, you need to go out and practice and talk to the locals.
And, but the thing this chapter in meteorology does, do I hope at least is to give you the background information. You need to understand what the, what the sort of people are telling you and what the books are telling you. And the magazines, like the, the series of Hamza, Raymond, the meteorologists who writes in excema back in Cross Country magazine. I couldn't follow his sex before and now I'm, I'm sort of hoping I can follow, but you need some background information to understand what is writing and that's, that's what I'm hoping this, this chapter can give people.
Speaker 1 (44m 35s): Yeah. I mean, I think, I think honestly, we have to find some kind of a workable middle ground. Is there a Honda is a great friend of mine have spent so much time with them flying and, you know, walking around with him in Nevada. And when I asked him about meteorology, I literally understand about 1% and that's not a, that's not an exaggeration. I mean, he, you know, that the meteorologist learn so much more, but what he, what I loved about in his podcast with him and what he will tell you all the time is that we are operating at a level where the models don't do a very good job.
That's just the facts. There's so many other things that influence our weather on a micro scale that you're not going to pick up. I mean, there's just, I there's innumerable examples of this. I mean, in the, in the second day of the 2017 X outs, we had a really strong North Fern and we were headed South. We were headed down towards a Slovenia down a tree glove, and Kriegel, as he always does, made this incredible move to launch, kind of got out of the straight line where we were all getting hammered by this, this Fern wind and in flew down a tree glove.
And then when he got down there watching his live tracking, you know, there's, there's this big, long cliff face. And he got down there kind of late in the afternoon. So it is very much in the West facing sun. And he, and he scrapped and scrapped and scrapped and scrapped on the West face of this, where it should be working. He's, he's kind of in the Lee and it's just lit up by the sun and it doesn't work. And so he hops over to the East side and immediately payings out and gets the term point, you know, and it just doesn't, you know, looking at it from the outside that doesn't make any sense, you know, it wasn't like he was going to a lead climb.
He was already in the league cause the Linn was from the South and, but it worked. And how did he know how to try that? You know, I would have struggled around on the West side until I bombed out. So maybe it was a desperation, but probably not, not for Kriegel he probably, you know, he had some working theory there, but that's, you know, it's not, you're not going to find that in the textbooks and you're not going to find that in any kind of model it's it's mountain weather and everything's being affected by a lot of different things.
And it's, it's true,
Speaker 2 (46m 58s): Right? Yep. Yeah, it is. Yup. That's the one I'm hoping it's is to give some background to at least start to understand all these things. Okay.
Speaker 1 (47m 7s): Yeah. I think, I think it's a, it's it's really important to understand, you know, corals, the cold flaunts, cold fronts, warm fronts. You've got a great cloud chapter, just understanding, you know, some, some of those things are that I learned at sea. Like you said, you know, if you see Alto Cumulus in the morning, you're going to have to understand in the afternoon, that's, that's almost a guaranteed. And you know, these are nice things to know. These are important things to know because they clear out it gets real nice and clear usually, and then why I am, and, and I've seen it over and over.
I mean, that's almost a hundred percent. And so, and there's a lot of things like that that are really useful when the term, when it comes to being safe.
Speaker 2 (47m 50s): Yep. Yeah. Absolutely. Phone is the same thing. If you understand for you and you know why it's dangerous, you're not going to fly when it's, when it's around.
Speaker 1 (47m 59s): Yeah. And this is a weird one. I mean, this is something that really struck me in the, in the last race was, you know, like, like you said, they're at coast and what's going on there, you know, and you know, how much did the, obviously the locals have figured that out cause they've seen it over and over and over again. We have a place here in sun Valley where we've got this beautiful Southeast facing rate is one of the reasons I train on all the time it's called Durance. And the, I learned from my mentors here that for 10 years, they flew over to this thing, knowing they would get up and they never got up and she couldn't understand it.
And finally it was because it was really a transvergence, it was wasn't a convergence of the air is where it is where the two valleys split. And so it was never allowed the air just splits there and see a divergence, not a transvergence a divergence of air. And so it just didn't work, but it's not obvious. It's one of those things that just, that is going to work at Southeast facing. It's a big, long Ridge, it's 3000 feet high, you know, it's a collector it's going to work, but you know, and they're in the AOS in the race that is that it's so complicated.
There is so much going on in there that, you know, I'm constantly feeling like the, the locals really have one up on you. Is there, you know, that they've learned it in a way they know, they know that stuff like a coast and like that doesn't make any sense. You know, that that morning, the Bavarian winds are haven't really started yet. You know, it should be in the South stuff should be working.
Speaker 2 (49m 29s): Yup. Yep. But what I find interesting is, well, I was just listening to the podcast she did with and he was saying the opposite. Don't listen to the locals because they will go, they will go to their own house, thermal and it won't be there. And your gut feeling is it won't be there and you can fly the other way unless you listened to the locals. So you're stuck as well. I, I think that's a really interesting way of thinking from him. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (49m 52s): Yeah. I think both are true. I, what we are told when I was told over and over and over again, before my first race in 2015 was don't listen to the locals. And, and most of that, I think, you know, 80% or some, you know, some big percent of that is really that most of the time we're not flying and very recreational conditions. And so the referee, their reference points are not going to be accurate. You know, what do we learn from comps? We learn that it's almost never the local hero that wins it almost never, you know, because they have their they're set in their ways.
They, they have a view, the sky that has worked for them for a long time, but they may be missing out on some things that aren't so obvious and that suddenly work. And so, yeah, you, you know, Kriegel is famous for not scouting before the race, just because he doesn't want to have any preconceived. He wants to fly it on the day. And, you know, as we know, the day is different and all the time. Yeah,
Speaker 2 (50m 48s): Sure. Yeah. That wouldn't be in a URL and you have an advantage on that.
Speaker 1 (50m 53s): Pack that into my head. There's a real lot of resistance in there.
Speaker 2 (50m 59s): Well,
Speaker 1 (50m 59s): The apps are, the apps are, are complicated. There's just so many value of systems and so many different there's so much going on there that there are definitely some things you know, of a value and we'll arrive at this time of the day. That is really helpful to know for sure. And depending on, depending on where you are and what's going on, but, but yeah, back to your, back to the, the book, anything from, from whether I made a bunch of notes here, you know, like, you know, the lapse rates obviously really important, you talk about, you know, kind of how thermals work, you know, this was interesting.
I didn't know that when a thermal releases, because air doesn't mix well, you know, it releases when it's about two degrees, warmer tends to obviously things change, but then than the surrounding air. And when it releases because air doesn't mix, well, it's not that the it's getting like shaved off it's that it's expanding and going into cold air above obviously. But you know, things like that, I found really useful to just think about and kind of imagine, because when we're thermally, you know what we operate in the invisible air and we have to understand, or at least it helps me to understand how those things work.
Speaker 2 (52m 15s): Yep. Yeah. Expanding and yeah. The one thing that I learned is why Cloudbase, why, why did I pull up the air because of the condensation of, of, of what a vapor off of water that releases energy. I didn't know that before I wrote, so I thought it was interesting to know why does the cloud to do that? I mean, yeah.
Speaker 1 (52m 36s): Why it doesn't just stop at Cloudbase. Yeah. That's exactly right. So what, what are some things here, like in, in the desert where I live in, the, one of the biggest things we look at is probably probably after wind is relative humidity. That's a really important one for us, because if we've got a lot of water vapor It height, it's going to ODI big times going to be super dangerous.
Speaker 2 (53m 2s): Right. All right. All right. It's just a broad thing. I'm not a meteorologist at all. I'm not really an expert on this topic, but I would think that if, if there is a lot of moisture in the air, because it's hot in the desert, so the air can contain a lot of more steer, a lot of water vapor. So that contains a lot of energy. So in a, in a hot and humid environments, it's a, it's going to with more energy than in a drier environment, I suppose. But that's just off the top of my head. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (53m 31s): I know you, you started that off. Right. But then I think it in a dryer, like you said, drier environments hold more water vapor, which was kind of backwards. The way we think of it is that like humid is having more, but it's the other way that it can, that's why they explode as it can just, it can hold a lot more water vapor, which is energy. I love this about water vapor. It's a Honda really focuses on this, you know, without, I think in your book, you say that the general atmosphere has something like five to 7% water vapor, is that right? Do I have that right?
And yet, without water vapor we'd have no weather that's I love that.
Speaker 2 (54m 6s): Cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That moves the energy and it it's, it makes clouds and yeah,
Speaker 1 (54m 14s): My friend Nate scales who lives here back when I did a podcast with him and he was talking about just all the things we're learning and getting better and getting better at gliding and getting better at covering distances, you know, in general, half of the air is going up. Half of the air is going down. Why can't we just stay in the lift a bit?
Speaker 2 (54m 34s): You're going to have to find it. That's the thing. That's the secret, isn't it? You can,
Speaker 1 (54m 39s): So if we could see it all, could we just stay in the Lift Ed bits?
Speaker 2 (54m 44s): Like the, the, the idealized, a model of the earth, just to have a billiard ball ball, a with the, with just the air floating around it on, I have a model of somewhere, it just, the air rises at the equator and the air goes down at the bowls if you just stay around in the rising air, but it's going to be a bit high, I suppose. So. Yeah, no, it can't stay up all the time.
Speaker 1 (55m 13s): I've, I've written down here that this is, this is jumping into a totally different place in the book, but what does it mean to you to be an autonomous pilot?
Speaker 2 (55m 27s): You need to be able to make your own decisions at every spot to you. You arrived fly. And that sounds really obvious, but it's not, I know a lot of pilots that can do that, that are just looking around for, for other people to do, to make their decisions. So you need to be able to make your own safe decisions based on where you are and what you're seeing around you. And yeah, judge, if it's, if it's okay for you and not let that depend on, on other people.
And yeah, it sounds so logical, but there's a lot of pilots. They can't do that.
Speaker 1 (56m 5s): Yeah. I think that, I think that's really important. Isn't it to just, and I think you learn a lot of pilots will, you know, they kind of have their home site and they don't push out much, which is totally fine. But, you know, I think you start learning a lot about being, buy, doing a little bit of traveling, you know, exploring new launches, exploring new LZs, you know, you kind of force yourself out of your comfort zone, you know, which is of course taking a little bit more risk to, but your, I, I think that's part of the kind of, you know, sticking in the key in terms of the turn of the block of figuring this out.
Speaker 2 (56m 44s): Yep. And I fully agree, although I think that that's not for everyone as a thought of the people that are totally happy and also a fine and safe just flying at their own sides or, or with their own group of people that do to make their decisions for them, as long as they recognize that's the way they are. And don't give themselves by thinking that they're autonomous, that's totally fine. I even know one pilot that doesn't do back a reverse launches only, only forward launches.
And doesn't fly when, when it's not flyable for that kind of technique. So it, and that's totally fine if you realize you're like that. I think it's totally fine if you don't want to do a cross your own limits or boundaries, as long as you're recognize that there was one of those people and don't think, well, I'm really good and I can do all that, but don't feel like it today. Then it gets dangerous. I think.
Speaker 1 (57m 42s): Hmm Bastienne we're, we're near in an hour here, so I really appreciate your time. And like I said, I there's, there's so much valuable information. It would take forever to go through every little bits, but are there any other parts of the book that you really want to draw attention to? You know, there's a, there's a terrific thing on airspace, which of course is more important for pilots over in Europe than it is for us here. We don't have any, we don't have to deal with it too much where I live, but there's either, there's, it really takes you through kind of the, a, to Z of a learning how to fly.
And again, I just want to thank you for doing it. I know it's a massive project. I thank you for your contribution to the sport and encourage everybody listening to run out and grab it. You will learn something for sure. And, but what, what other, are there any of the parts that we, you know, we kind of skipped over that you want to draw attention to?
Speaker 2 (58m 37s): Well, I'm not sure if I said it enough, but I think is really important message to fly for fun. And I'm, I'm hoping that the book radiates that as well. I think there's, there's a photo of me in the beginning of me having fun. It's a bit of a silly photo, but that, that radiates what I want to bring across with it. So just like jockeys the owners, instead of them, didn't make that up myself the best buy. That's the one that happened, that's having the most fun. And the other thing I really like to mention is that the book got so good because the team, of course, Country magazine took it up and made it so much better with their illustration center, dedicated photography, went out and take a look, all these new pictures correctly, the texts, and went out of their way to improve stuff, write new chapters.
So it's really a golden good pick up because we all did that together as a team. So that's a, I really want to thank them for cooperating with me on this project,
Speaker 1 (59m 37s): Amazing team, very, very skilled. The ad that they've put together a really nice when I'm sure it will be a, a Bible of such a sword. So well Bastienne thank you for sharing your time and your knowledge in this, this great piece of work that the community thinks you were in. My pleasure. Thank you.
Speaker 0 (59m 56s):
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