Episode 142- Urs Haari and the Sweet Spot

Urs on glide towards the Matterhorn

Urs Haari has been at this game since the game began. He got several world records early in his career in South Africa in the early 90’s, stood on the podium multiple times at World Championships, PWC’s and at the European Championships and brought home champion titles at the Swiss, AND US Nationals. This past season he won the sport class in the Swiss Cup Championship for the remarkable 5th time, and is now the permanent holder of this coveted award. Given he only gets to go XC 4 to 6 times a year because of his work- a hell of an achievement! Urs is the owner and creator of High Adventures AG, a company that makes and tests reserves. He invented the Beamer steerable rescue that many pilots have adopted and use today. In this podcast Urs discusses his early success; a couple of very scary incidents; leaving the sport and going through a very difficult period and then rediscovering flight; creating High Adventures and the art of the reserve toss and what we all need to know about reserves and their correct use; and how he’s developed some very interesting mental exercises and techniques to stay safe in flight. This episode is packed with laugh-out loud moments and incredible take-aways. Enjoy!

PLEASE watch Urs’ reserve testing videos on any of these pages, you’ll learn a ton!

https://www.youtube.com/user/flyhighadventure

https://www.instagram.com/highadventure.ch/

https://www.facebook.com/HighAdventure/

https://twitter.com/High_Adventure

 

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Show Notes: 

From Urs Haari:

In March I will be 56 years old and live in Switzerland. I spent my childhood and adolescence in Matten, a small mountain village of 700 souls in the Bernese Oberland. I had the privilege of growing up in the great outdoors. In winter we made the ski slopes unsafe and in summer we were otherwise incredibly creative. You can take my word for that 😉

My father was a model airplane pilot and co-founder of the local gliding group. We spent countless weekends somewhere on a soaring slope or at the airfield.

At the age of 17 I had enough savings to afford the training to become a glider pilot. In the first year I was not allowed to leave the airfield within a radius of 50 km. Shortly thereafter, I was retrained to fly my first composite glider, and I found out quickly how to loop it quite nicely. The high alpine terrain offered enough side valleys to avoid being caught by the club’s umpires. The glider fleet was limited and four years later I had had enough of having to share the gliders with my club mates part time.

At 20 I was drafted into the military, completed a career in the army due to lack of career prospects and inbetween I hitchhiked through South America for several months.

In 1988 I grabbed my older brother’s paraglider and did a few jumps with it. It felt like proximity flying but in slow motion. In the following spring, I made my license and trimmed the newly acquired Condor HP9 (9 cells) right away. At a competition in Verbier I met the manufacturer, two months later he offered me a job. In addition to working in the atelier and sales department, I was also a test pilot.

In 1990, the pre-World Cup took place in St. André les Alps. I wanted to go there at all costs. I didn’t have enough results to qualify for the Swiss team. At that time, we were producing in Israel and a good friend of mine was the president of the paragliding association there. So, I started under the Israeli flag and finished the pre-World Cup as the best Swiss. That was the time of the flashy full-body preservatives, the hot gliders, and the all-night parties ;-). We were rock stars!

My successes continued, followed by several world records in South Africa, podiums at World Championships, PWC’s and at the European Championships as well as several champion titles at the Swiss- and the US-Nationals. What a time! I enjoyed the competition groove, the many trips and especially the friendships around the globe.

However, my medals also had their downsides. One month before the World Championships in Verbier in ’93, I had a near-death experience. After a small incident with a prototype, I landed in a lake a hundred meters from the shore. I was not prepared for it and there was no boat on the water. Ten minutes later I was tied up by my own lines and gave up. A fisherman had been watching the scenario from shore and pulled me back out by my paraglider. A month later, in the first run in Verbier, I bombed in on a grassy ledge in a rock face on the reserve. Fortunately, all this did not leave deep scars in my soul. In the mid-nineties I ended my career as a competition pilot. The serious accidents on the competitions increased and I lost a few good friends.

After the turn of the millennium, I was in a deep crisis and was hardly in the air. I had to find myself again. I found support in nature, hugged trees, dealt with my spirituality and shamanism, traveled alone on foot and horseback through Mongolia and hopped around on broken glass in Indonesia.

In 2008, I rediscovered cross-country flying. Since then, I enjoy the freedom in the air, the play with nature, the cocktail of experience, intuition, and adventure.
It all started a good 30 years ago and I’m still in the thick of it. We work with the same suppliers as back then, develop our own products (accessories and rescue parachutes) and employ 6 people.

My time budget is limited, and I can free myself for 4 to 6 days for cross country flights per year.

Before each take-off I get in touch with my power animals and other spirit helpers, thank them for everything and do my protection exercises. I visualize my flight plan once again and ask for my wish to come true. During the flight I influence wind and weather, chant in difficult situations, ask my power animals for help and enjoy the incredible privilege of free flight. Yes, I really can do this, but have no idea if it does anything. But believe me, it feels incredibly good. No negative thoughts and lots of confidence in what is.

I fly a High EN B. And of course, I am jealous when the competition orchids pass me by. I would love to fly something like that. But I do not have the routine. Maybe in the next life…

Mentioned in the Show:

Cross Country Magazine, Kevin Brooker, Urs Haari, High Adventure, Beamer Rescue, Nik Hawks, Till Gottbrath, Nate Scales, Nova Paragliders

 



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Transcript

Speaker 1 (0s): Welcome to another episode. Cloudbase Mayhem spring certainly arrived in full on the Northern hemisphere. Some big flights going down in Europe last week, or so the first 300 open distance and a whole bunch of big triangles, snow on the ground. Beautiful and inspiring

Speaker 0 (40s): And

Speaker 1 (43s): Encouraging hopefully for the season that is headed our way, hopefully putting a COVID in the rear view mirror here. So that's exciting. The music you just heard of the top of the show has been provided by a friend of mine. That Spencer is a very good pilot. He's got a music production company and writes all kinds of stuff for tons of different commercial in movies. And tons of the other things is also a musician and he's provided this for US for, into the future. So let us know what you think. We're pretty excited about this, and we'll make our music aspect of the show a much, much easier going forward.

Other housekeeping, the book is selling really well and there's about another week and a half of pre-sales available, which gets you free shipping. And then after that, and it will be a little bit more expensive and, or you'll have to get it through your local school, which we encourage there's 10 or so schools around the world that have a whole bunch shipping out to them. Now, everything got delayed with that huge container ship, getting stuck in a Suez for over a week. I don't know if ours were on that or if that is just part of the delay, but he might of seen that newsletter coming out from cross country kind of amusing.

So things are a little delayed there, but I've got mine. Copy just arrived yesterday on my desk. And you might've seen a bunch of the folks that are in the book that provided so much to it. And I've also been putting out some really fun posts about it. So he came out great. That's a beautiful piece of work that cross-country put together and tons of good advice. So go to XC, mag.com for slash shop to find it and get your pre-order in now. And you'll, you'll get it here very, very shortly. As soon as that bottleneck and the Suez clears, my guest today is Urs.

Haari Swiss legend. He's been at this game for over 30 years, got into sailplanes when he was really young after watching his father fly our season and models and that kind of thing, and full legend, a multiple World Championship podiums and Europeans and world cups. And we get into a couple of pretty scary incidences. He had including land in a Lake in Verbier, where he spends a of his time and getting away from the sport for a while.

I'll come back to it. He is also the head of high adventures. He, they invented the Beamer rescue and really gotta go check out the show notes to this one, because he's got a bunch of videos of him testing reserves and cutaway systems and disabling the glider. I learned a ton just from watching these, how reserves work, how they deploy the speed. He doesn't all over the ground and a place where there's lots of homes and power lines and that kind of thing. So really valuable.

There are those, those videos are so most of the time he was doing is testing, but he gets out for five, six, seven XC flights a year. And in that time has won, I think, five now Swiss challenge cups. So this is the XC challenge Cup, and, and that's in the sport class. He now does that on the B because he just doesn't have the hours to any more to compete on the, on a high aspect gliders. And so, but that's, that's a heck of an achievement with the Swiss. So this guy has been at it and, and done really well for an awfully long time.

There's lots of stories about Urs reason over here and the early days in the Owens and stuff. And we had a blast with this talk lots here that you're going to enjoy it and check out the show notes. There was also a lot more there. And if you haven't had a chance yet go back and listen to the episode, the Rabi widdle getting a ton of feedback on this one very now is just, that was a precious talk and we both really enjoyed it. And we've had some fun chats since then, just with all the feedback.

So if you miss that one, make sure you check it out. A lot of fun. Today's top of the show tip comes from Kevin Brooker, a sailplane pilot we've had on the show than a regular listener who reached out to Nick and I, after the show, we recently did together specifically about one of my responses, which was basically more ours. And he pointed out very accurately that all hours or not the same, and he's been kind of a student of how the brain learns and how we better ourselves.

And, but specifically how the brain is geared towards fear and, and, and stress and being in difficult situations. And so he, he, he reached out to a sum with some really interesting thoughts and Nick sent him a microphone and they sat down for well over an hour to discuss this and many other things, which was fascinating. And so we're going to use just a couple of quick hits from that talk in this top of the show tip here, the first is on the, how we need to approach sledders and how valuable they can really be.

And certainly as we get better, we tend to blow the sweater off and, and Kevin has a pretty good a case for why we shouldn't do that. And the house, how sledders can be incredibly valuable. And the second is weighing choice and why a really good pilot on a day on the lower end wing will outclass a pilot on a hotter Wang who is not as good. And so this is really valuable information on choosing a Wang and joy.

Speaker 2 (6m 32s): We'll start off with this idea that you've said that not all days are great flying days. Some days are sweater days and most people miss those. Can you talk a little bit about what someone could do on a sweater day? Yeah. I think sweater days are, is where some of the largest learning opportunities come in because you're flying and everything that that wing does is from your input. And it's a really great time to learn the wing. You can see how your input affects it without having the wind or lift or anything, bump it around.

So whatever situation you end up in is caused by you. And it's a great time also to learn how to get off the ground, learn how to get on the ground and then play with the wing in the air, see how, you know, applying different control inputs makes the wing react and you're gathering a ton of information. That's going to become valuable later on when things are bouncing around. So as you slow the wing down, how does the handling come as you get closer and closer to his stall, does it get mushy?

Does it do something unexpected? And without something like the weather giving you input, you can really start to feel that. So as you're flying in more stout conditions, that same idea is used. The wing mites start to feel like, Oh, kind of mushy. And you're like, Oh, I'm in a dead. The letter, Dave, this is how it felt as it was approaching a condition, which was not favorable. So you can pick up a lot of that information, which again, allows you to use more of the, a a hundred percent of the performance of that wing and your more in touch with feeling how it's going.

So you're not worrying about it as much. And again, there'll be different inputs, but when the wing feels machine doesn't want to do its thing because you've upset, it, it feels mushy. It doesn't matter if you're going really fast to really slow you'll feel that same. I don't know. It feels unhappy is probably the best way to put it. And it's also a great time to start calibrating your glide computer. There's N there's no wind. There's no lift of screw it up. So if you're getting five to one or six to one in any condition, it's a good time to actually see, you know, Oh, I should be able to go from here to here and I should lose 500 feet.

Did it work out? You know, do I lose more turn? You know, you're always going to be going down. Do I lose more energy circling to the left or to the right? You know? And if you do Y what do you do? That's different. We all probably have a preferred to, to turn in and you can start to learn all these things. So that gives you again, picking up little pieces of performance as you go. And it's a time when you can be more spot on with landings, you know, put the thing right down where you want to put it and, you know, really learn the subtleties of how it feels.

I know in the, in the sail plane, you know, there's a, when you would, it would yall around when you'd get in lift and you'd get in different things and just going really slowly get to see that. And you know, how does the control input make it do things? And I learned a lot about how the flight computer works to where I could start to trust it, you know, not quite blindly, but a dead day is a great day to learn about how you interact with the wing. Cause there's nothing there that affects that other than, than you

Speaker 3 (9m 46s): Love it. Love it. Okay. You've talked about this, sorry, you mentioned a couple of times, but like the jump into it further is that pilots choose wings in order to protect themselves or to impress others, they want the speed or the safety or whatever they want. You've said, you've mentioned this idea of kind of the, being able to use some percentage of the wing. Can you go through how you think about using a percentage of the wing and your skill versus the, the wings ability?

Speaker 2 (10m 15s): Yeah. So there's in the, in the general bell curve of the flight envelope, right? There's a certain area where it's pretty easy to fly, you know, and, and a good day, it, it does what it's going to do, and this can be a little bit rambling. So, so if you put two different pilots on the same, in the same aircraft, on a same wing, you going to have two different results and, you know, becoming comfortable with what the glider does is really important because of when you get into a realm that you don't understand, the input, the glider is giving you, or something feels different.

We get nervous and we get scared and fear is there. It's always going to be there. And we will resort back to revert back to an area of comfort. And a lot of times is understanding what that wing is doing. Lets you stay in that slightly discomfort zone a little bit more. I'm not saying a risky zone or anything like that, but something where the glider is doing something you're not used to, it might be, you know, flying slower or some input it's getting and you need to squeeze that, that little bit of input.

You're squeezing a little bit of extra performance out of that wing. You know how it goes faster when you're in a still day, you know, how does putting the speed bar on affect things? How does it affect the way it feels? How does affect the way it turns? How does it affect a lot of things? And you know, the time when you have to go fast, if you're just not used to doing that, just in general, it's flat on us on a stronger day when you may want to move fast between in the sink, right? You want to get between the lift from one lift source to the next, as quickly as possible.

Even though the sink rate is higher, you still have to get used to understanding that you're going to get there. And if you get nervous, we tend to slow down. So we stay in the sink longer and we sink out faster and it's really understanding how that aircraft fly so that you can maximize every piece of it and get everything out of it. That's within your comfort zone. And some people are willing to push closer and closer and closer to the edge where it doesn't want to fly. Well, you know, and it's discovering that where's that place for you so you can get the most out of it.

And even a lesser aircraft will be flown better by somebody who's super comfortable with it than somebody who is not as competent on a higher performance rig

Speaker 5 (12m 53s): For now. Enjoy this great talk

Speaker 4 (12m 56s): With her. Sorry, Urs.

Speaker 5 (13m 1s): What a pleasure. I was a really excited, I got the press release from till about yet another Swiss Cup victory for yourself. And, and about the same time my buddy and ski buddy and flying partner. And I know someone, you know, well back from the, your worlds days and all that Nate scales, he is my neighbor and he reached down at the same time. He said, you've got to talk to Urs. He's been at this forever. He got to talk to Urs. Did you see one the Swiss Cup yet again? And he hardly ever gets a chance to fly. And so I'm, I'm humbled and excited to talk to you.

And I thought a really fun place to start in your email kind of introduction that can lays out your 30 years of flight. You, you talk about your work with high adventure. This is your company. You invented the Beamer, which I didn't know. And you sent me a bunch of links to your video work, which is phenomenal. I don't know how you do that. Camera work when you're throwing reserves in all this stuff, it's really well done. So we'll have all those links in the show notes, but I wanted to start with your reserve work. I realized we're starting at the opposite end.

That's a very much current what we're doing now. And then we'll dive back into the history of it. But tell me about high adventure and throwing your reserve. I want to talk, just get people more excited about throwing their reserves. Cause you obviously do it all the time.

Speaker 4 (14m 20s): Yeah. Hi, gaving it's an honor to me talking to you. Thank you very much for the opportunity. We'll we found high adventure in the 19 early 1994 and we were, or we still distribute novel paragliders and some other brands. But at that time we also work on already on the first rugala reserve, put a shirt, we received one from our manufacturing in Korea, and those were some shoots.

They were jumping of the airplanes at the time, 90 17 and a, a 90 80 that you had a short period where they use a rugala shirts between the round ones in the square canopies. Now that's how everything began

Speaker 5 (15m 20s): And your, your, and again, I wouldn't really encourage people to see these videos, but you're doing all your testing over the ground and you've got amazing systems, you know, these cutaway systems. And I wanted to just talk about how you you've developed your process for testing and what should the listeners know about throwing their reserve? Cause you're obviously about as comfortable with doing it is a very, very seasoned acral pilot.

I loved watching them. They're they're just, they're they're very educational.

Speaker 4 (15m 54s): Yeah. Well, at the beginning we started to test everything above water, for sure. We're a bit because we were not experienced at all. And then when the, the rugala shoots came, when we started to test them, it was so much easier in the sink rate was much better, much lower. And so we started to do with a test of ground also, you know, preventing the fabric and the lines from shrinking.

And we, we didn't lose that much time in between the different tests. We didn't have to wait until the canopy dried out again and for, for repacking and all these things. So we were pretty fast doing the test with this first, regardless short because we, we just ruined up and down and we did a, even a few tests per day.

And we were really very fast with this summer. And then later on, when we started to test the regular reserve parachutes, like hemispherical ones round one's, and even now in the last a few years, there's a square shoots and we started to test them also in the winter time we landed on the ground, but I'm getting older man. Now with Hertz 5.5 meters per seconds, if you hit the deck that it's not, it's not so nice, especially if you do it once or twice a day.

So I started, you know, thinking about a system where we can use the advantage of the steerable rugala reserve parachutes, which are, which has a bigger surfaces law, a lower thing creates you, can, you, you can avoid flying in to an obstacle. I just started to combine the experience I've made during a skydiving was a skydiver for a short time and then a new This three ring systems.

And, you know, the cutaway system of, of your main shoot, if you have a problem, when you have to pull their reserve. And that's how we finally ended up with this design and it works really well.

Speaker 5 (18m 33s): Can you tell me, let's clarify, are there misconceptions about the regard low for, for example, I was, I have always been told that, you know, if you're flying in a comp and you've got to reserves, maybe have your, regardless of is your primary and a square around as your, as your secondary. And then let's, let's talk about the difference in the square and round and you know, your preferred reserve. But I have been told that if you're, if you're quite low to not go with the regards of, we'll go with one of the others, because you're not going to be able to get in into steering mode fast enough is a, is that a misconception?

Speaker 4 (19m 12s): Yes, for sure. Because the way we designed our Rogalla reserve parachutes, it is that you don't have to steer them. So they come in a pre-brief a pre break break setting. So steering his chest. It's just a, you know, that's, it's more like the freestyle program. That's how I call it in my, in my safety clinics. When I teach really begin there for the first time when there's throw reserve or when they, when they show up with a Regal Regal, a reserve, they also use a cutaway systems or like a quick heart carbine.

Isn't all of this kind of stuff. And I never let them do to two cutaway. They're lighter before they are not in the situation to, to fly a combined or a connected to their main paraglider, because what, this is a misunderstanding because most of people think I have a steerable reserve now. And if something happened, they, they, they throw their reserve.

And the first thing is they focus completely on their cutaway system. They don't look at their paraglider. They don't take care about their paraglider because sometimes it's a really important you that you prevent it from still from flying on for, from disturbing. So the procedure is always the same. I tell them that they have to prevent their paraglider from flying before they do everything, something else.

If they have their paraglider on the control, then they can try to steer. They don't have to cut way. This is also something people didn't understand at all of the ones who never tried this before. It, the, the, the focus of this has to be on the planet. Glider. First, if you're on a regular Perisher red reserve, shoot a square one, or around on a thousand matter, all you want to do is bring the system a two on the control, right?

Speaker 5 (21m 51s): You're you're doing that in your videos. And it looks like just incredibly easy and you just, you reach up and you grab your B's or C's, whatever's the, the, the last cascade and the wing you're flying and just pull it down. And it's often just a you and then you just hold them with one hand. I've noticed it's, it looks very easy to just kill the glider.

Speaker 4 (22m 11s): You know, that's, if you do it, you are prepared and you know exactly what what's, what will come, or you think that this code, this code come next. So you are prepared. I mean, if you, if, if it's in the real situation, if you're under stress, if there's a lot of value of indoor or a strong thermals, whatever, a lot of , sometimes it's, it's difficult, you know, and to be honest, if you have a, a, a huge twist in your system, if your, if your risers are twisted up a four or five times, or the lines are twisted up four to five times, then it's not that easy anymore.

You know, I have videos. I'm a very, very one can see that a coach, a release, the glider. I was testing a prototype. So I have to release my glider because he was on the ground, plenty of obstacles around power lines and all the things. So, you know, that's when you need a cup, a cutaway knife, I just, just caught off everything. But normally this is to come back to the, to your first question is the procedure.

It's the same for everybody. You have to throw the reserve and then you have to check that it is open. That's the next checkpoint. When it's open, you take care about your you're a pattern lighter. So doesn't matter if you have a steerable or a non steerable reserve from the good thing about an hour, regardless of who it's is that they open very fast because of the pack in is completely different.

There for them is different. So they inflate much faster and they have a much bigger surface area. So they are 30% bigger than the modern, a reserved parachutes. That's for me personally, the two strongest arguments for that kind of design and a that's a, that's a very important argument. If you are close to the ground, fast opening and the larger surface makes the decent rate, a decreasing smaller.

And then if you have time, if, if, if you are trained, I mean, you've got to have to do to try this at least once, or you will, you will see how it works. You just grab you just grab this one hand, one brake handle and you pull it out. And since it's a, pre-brief, the opposite sides is still on there, on the brakes. So you can, you can steer with one hand, right or left by going off the brake.

Then it pulls through the other side, by pulling down the brake pulls through to the opposite side of the cutaway system, takes a, another action. One more action. And, and you have to be really trained in This to, to then after you, you prevent you're a lot from flying. You have got everything on the control to, to release the main glider, quick heart kind of binders of something.

It's a good option. If you are high, or I would say, even in a competition, I will not fly in a competition with 30 of the 30 other pilots in, in the same, or the risk of a tangle is this is pretty high. So there, I would definitely recommend to fly with a cutaway system. So if you could toggle it to another part of the lighter pilots, and you're just, you know, cut off goodbye, and you just use the full potential of a steerable reserve, but everything before is not focus on the cutaway system.

That's my, that's my tip. You know?

Speaker 5 (26m 40s): Yeah. So the, there's two things here with the regardless of the day, because in one of your videos, you showed that you wrapped up, you, you pulled out the regardless of age and you just had a at your hand and you twisted it a bunch of times, and then you threw it and then you just steered it with one. And that's not something I ever knew about. So that's, I want to make sure everybody understands that, that you can just steer it with one, one toggle. And then the other is, what about, it sounds like if, so, if it's in the break to position, it will it not turn dead, cause I've heard, you know, okay. The problem with, regardless of, if there's a lot of wind as they can turn down wind and you can start accelerating beyond what you, you know, if you don't have it in steering mode, it can go downwind and, and, and go to fast.

So that sounds like another misconception. If it's in the brake, if it's packed correctly and it's braked, it's just basically coming down like a square,

Speaker 4 (27m 28s): Correct. What happens quite often? You know what? We're not to do my tests just next to the company. It's in a, in a, in a small Valley from, from, from knowing we have a pretty strong value in it when we do tests. And when I test and when you have your main Pettit lighter under control, you know, you're just, you're just drag it behind you because you have, before he would speed is solid little, you know, when we found out you're in the last few years, that the difference in the speed of a square or his career round kind of be compared to a two hour big roll is like a three to four kilometers an hour.

It's really just a little, a bit higher. But when you track your paraglider behind you, this is like M a S S inaccurate. Does that sound familiar to you share I'm a sailor. Yeah, of course. So it's like a screen actor, you know, it turns you around. So all of those stories that you're, you're you, it turns you automatically w with the wind, it's just not true.

We just make it a completely, a different experience with that. If you'd like to reconnect it to you, it's, it's a big, it's a big resistance, black, a a, like a Spinnaker. It, it pulls you around. It pulls you're actually into the wind. If you, if you disconnect your main glider, I mean, then you have to break lines. If you steer, you decide, where are you going to land?

If you, if you don't do anything, you might end up flying with the rain. For sure. That's, that can happen. But you still have more options compared to a regular reserve. What do you personally

Speaker 5 (29m 42s): Fly with when you're, you know, when you're going XC, what what's, what's your kit? What's your harness? And what are your

Speaker 4 (29m 49s): Reserves on flying pot? Haunters from, from Woody Valley and next next are seven. And my primary reserve is a, a Beemer three lights. The big one we are flying in the Alps. So the chances that you might have a problem in the high altitude, this is, this is bigger. So, so I recommend to all those pilots flying in high altitudes to really go for a large surface reserve parachute, because St create a will, will increase with altitude.

The, the backup reserve is, is a Pentagon, a smaller room because of, of, of weight and the volume. It's a Pentagon for a a hundred kilos. Okay.

Speaker 5 (30m 50s): Tell me about S scene create. That's an important one. I think with the, with hike and fly, becoming such the rage in really, really light gear. I think many people maybe are compromising quite a bit on safety. I mean, I know all of my buddies and the XC ops, we all do this, but consciously, you know, we've all got the lightest round you can possibly get. And, and, you know, but the sink rate is, is pretty high. And in when you get up, what, what is the number for the magic number where you can really start getting hurt?

I've always been told at six.

Speaker 4 (31m 28s): Well, that's, that's a difficult question because of it, it depends a lot of a test run where you hit the deck. You know, if it's, if it's a steep grass, Alpine metal, you, you just walk away with six meters per second. But if you, if you will hit a Rocky face and, or, or a cliff or something, no, no good news.

So, you know, the thing is the thing is the shorts, the reserve parachutes, when they are tested those 5.5 meters per second, that's always calculated on sea level, right? So if you have a sh, if you have a, a canopy tested for light, let's say a 5.5 meters per second, it allows you to carry it's.

It's been certified with a 120 kilos. It's an easy, easy calculation to find out hooking weight, like on 3000 or 2000 meters, the rest of the same scene credit you can hook in around 90 kilos. So you're already 30 kilos under the limit.

And you still think with 5.5 meters per second, if there is no wind, if there are no thermals, that's a important information. So th that's the point, you know, if you guys, during the exams, if you're really going to the limit a year, and if you have a sketch on, on, on, in an altitude of two or 3000 meters, you, you got to have a chance to, to land on a really steep metal.

Otherwise you are probably out of business for that race. Yeah.

Speaker 5 (33m 48s): Something's going to snap or break or certainly get awful sore.

Speaker 4 (33m 51s): Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, five, 5.5 meters per second. I, I did it quite often when I, when I tested those kinds of, of, of reserves a, you know, I saw on the Barrio, ah, it's 5.3, 5.4. It's not a problem at the drift. It's okay. There is hardly in a wind, the land in a flat area and the clean area, there are no obstacles around.

So I just safe for me the pack in front of the rail system. So a lot just land on the prototype. And, you know, when I was younger, it was not a problem. I just, you know, it hurt a little bit, the muscles, we were a little bit tired the next day, but now I did it two or three years ago. I, I have to visit know practically or the next day it really hurt.

And I really hurt myself. Nothing was broken, but I had problems with my back with my neck. And I think that's, that's, you know, just to give you an idea about a 5.5 or if, if a Lander on the rural collards 3.5 0.7, and it's a huge difference.

Speaker 5 (35m 22s): That's a huge difference. I can say that from my own experience and you have much, much more, but it is really a huge difference. And it's, you know, I think the PLF and all these kinds of things are really important, but you're often in these weird situations where doing a proper PLF kind of tricky, you know, stuff's batting around and there's, you know, you're, you're, you're either oscillating or, you know, something is going on, but I, I do really appreciate the, the cutaway remark because it seems like, and you've got more experience certainly than I do, but it seems like the, the accidents these days is it in comps are, are coming more and more from mid airs than they are from, you know, back in the day, it was, it was gliders blowing up and they don't really blow up anymore.

Certainly they get in trouble as always, but, but it seems like a lot of the, a lot of the real tragic accidents are happening for a mid airs. And if the, if the, you know, with cutaways, I've only ever used them with, with acro and I've known I've needed and to make that switch, but I'm glad you said that because your videos make it real clear that that's an awful nice way to go and just it's gone and here you go, you're under, you're a nice regardless, and you can steer it in.

Speaker 4 (36m 40s): Yeah. And even that, even, I think, you know, all those guys I'm trying to set a new world records, or even for us, when we land in a, in a steep Valley and there is still, you know, we feel on too early and there is still a strong value in it. Or as I said, the guys in Brazil on the fly was 60, 70 or 80 kilometers, an hour of wind. If, if you bond out right off the takeoff, it's, it's not, not always so easy to, to, to get stopped afterwards.

Speaker 5 (37m 18s): Yeah. I, I spent a few weeks in Texas this summer trying to break the world record with Donna's that day in Cody and a few other really good pilots. And we had some real interesting landing. So, you know, it's all cactus and Mesquite and stuff you don't want to get stabbed into. And no, of course all the roads are perpendicular to the wind. I'm sorry. Yeah. Perpendicular the wind. They're not paralleled with the wind, so you really have to stab it in and it'd be good at getting that thing down quick. Or you were, you were flying YHA through the, through the Mesquite. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (37m 49s): Yeah, no. You know, Gavin to come back to just quickly on, on this reserve discussion, I think, you know, all kinds of different systems. We have all the modern reserves, they are working very well. The now that's the systems out there. They are good at what I, I quite often see in my clinics or, or when we talk to people having a crash or a serious accident.

What I always learn is that, or recommend a, it's a recommendation after all these experiences that people just don't take enough care of, of, of that complete of the complete system. And I really, I highly recommend to everybody to, to do at least once an opening, to see, and to feel how it is on the reserve.

Because if, if you, if you have a, a serious problem up there and the time is running, you know, if you're close to the ground, there is no room for taking decisions for too long time. You know, you're, it's a procedure. Richard come from your deep inside. It should be in your awareness or your in, in, in your subconscious and every single move should be in their programs, in your muscles, in your subconscious, like the sky divers, they practice This.

I miss This on, on the, in our scene, people, quite a lot of people, they don't know how they should really do the whole procedure. And if they're under stress, they won't know how to

Speaker 5 (39m 53s): No, if you have been following Matt Wilkes is he's has a group of, they've been doing a lot of simulations and studies the last couple of years with, with reserves and not so much, you know, This reserve over that reserve, but just w w put people, put pilots and stress in the simulator and see what happens. And, you know, there's a pretty high number of people that never get to it. And it's, it's, it's real fascinating, this freeze or flight syndrome and how people react under stress, and when, when fear is involved and, and just not being able to get to the handle, you know, the, the, the brain in the hand don't link up.

And, and, you know, if you don't have it as an automatic, I mean, I think this is one of the things that the acro pilots just really have down because they throw it so much and like watching your videos to me, it's just an encouragement to do it because it's clearly it works. And it's not that stressful. And if you have that kind of muscle memory, I've been encouraging people on the, on a show. We'd been talking about this quite a bit. This is just every time you go fly, make a habit of that, do it with the right hand, do it with your left hand, come up with a system.

So when you're suddenly in some kind of weird, you know, SIV situation or cascade, it's not something you have to really think through. It's just an automatic, you just go, go, go do it.

Speaker 4 (41m 18s): Exactly. And Matt did really brilliant chop was this work that's, that was a, an Australian. Hopefully. Now I open it for a, for a lot of pilots out there.

Speaker 5 (41m 30s): Yeah, no, that's terrific. Well, don't let me have this subject, if you have more to say, but I would love to dive into your history. And I thought, you know, you've done this terrific job of your emails was great. I've read it several times now, a fascinating history. And I thought, I'd just let you let you tell it as you, as you like. But if there's more to say on the, on the reserves, let's not leave that subject. But if we've said enough, then let's move on.

Speaker 4 (41m 58s): Yeah. Let's, let's move on to the other stuff here.

Speaker 5 (42m 2s): Your dad was at your dad was, sounded like he was pretty critical and you learning how to do this. When you say he was a, he, he was, he worked at the local gliding group. Was he an RC pilot as well? Are we talk in sail, sail planes?

Speaker 4 (42m 16s): He w he was an RC pilot before. That's how everything begun. Yes.

Speaker 5 (42m 25s): To me. I, I, so many of the kind of real legend pilots we've had on the show came from RCS. W what, what is it about? It seems like they just have a, you know, you're definitely learning something, even from just watching our sea planes, that that becomes part of your skill repertoire. It seems like.

Speaker 4 (42m 45s): Yeah. I mean, I mean, flying is a fascination on the phone. If you get into contact with it so early, when, when you're even when you're a kid, when you're a very young you're out there, you know, you are in the nature. You know, at that time, when, when, when we were there on the, on the slopes, there were no hand is nothing, no mobile phones. So we were, we're not looking into a screen at the screen.

We were observing the gliders, you know, we were helping them how to launch, or, or we brought them back when they landed somewhere else. And, you know, you, you look at the birds, you look at how they, how they fly around you. You, you, you know, you, you make your own paper, paper, the airplanes, and, you know, I think that's that all together leaves, leaves, traces, for sure.

Speaker 5 (43m 56s): And so was your, was your father quite instrumental? Was he, was he encouraging of, of flight

Speaker 4 (44m 3s): Encouraging towards me or, yeah.

Speaker 5 (44m 6s): Yeah. Did he, did he encourage you to get into hang gliding, paragliding SailPoint?

Speaker 4 (44m 12s): No, no, no, no. Not at all. No, no, real all this has to, to really, to ask him He, that we also could fly his RC planes. You know, he was one dad. He was not always happy. And, you know, at that time they really, they designed their own RC planes and there was a lot of work in there. And so that was sometimes pretty hard fights with between him and us.

You know, I have to go to a, of a broader is. And even when I was, when I became 16, you know, that was a time where we could Veritas as possible to make the license, to say a plane license. He never forced, you know, but we were so often we spend so much time on the, on the airfield. And I was just, I was interested, my two older brothers, they were not at all in this, but this thought pattern lighting earlier than I did later on, but they were not interested in to a flying sailplanes, but for me it was, you know, it was really cool.

And then I started, I started to, to learn it.

Speaker 5 (45m 37s): And yeah, it sounds like you're your first wing was your, your older, brother's nine cell paraglider and in 88, that's, I've seen a few of those,

Speaker 6 (45m 47s): Like you said, it's,

Speaker 5 (45m 48s): It's basically proximity flying in slow motion.

Speaker 4 (45m 52s): Exactly how it felt like, yeah, I was all of this. I was, you know, I was always laughing at them because they started, I think this started something like 86 or something were the first lucky strike or comes in they, they, they flew there and they flew every single weekend. And when I saw them, I was just, for me, it was a joke. It was immediate.

Speaker 5 (46m 18s): This is kind of a funny thing, but it doesn't the Rogallo now he doesn't want of your reserves have a better way.

Speaker 6 (46m 28s): Yes. Yeah.

Speaker 5 (46m 30s): So you got into you, but you got into it, then it sounds like it really grabbed hold because you were, you were competing in worlds and the world cup and San Andre just two years later.

Speaker 4 (46m 43s): Yeah, I was, I was a really enough to retire, you know, when I, when I found out that one could flying in terms of this specific client is at that time, I mean, I'm modified mine, you know, and I made it slower. I trimmed it and I put some, some handles on the, on the biggie riser to slow it down in the, in the Thermo, even like a, and there was just a piece at that time, like the two line is today.

And I was just psyched when, you know, when I saw people going up on, on those pieces of fabric and the simplicity and, and yeah, he could just go all over. And that's when I got into it really is a really deep,

Speaker 5 (47m 38s): Yeah, this is going to sound quite ridiculous. But you know, in the States here, we don't have nearly the numbers. You know, you don't see paragliders at the top of every mountain like you do in Europe. And a buddy of mine had gotten into the flying and kinda the mid nineties tiger mountain near Seattle, very famous site here in the States. And you used to beg me to get into it. And I would go out to the LZ and watch. And I, I just saw all these people floating around on these colorful wings. And I thought it's kind of neat, but I had no idea that you could go anywhere. I just thought they can't one off the mountain.

And most of them did, they just went off and they flew around and then they landed at the LZ. I just thought it looked really boring. And it wasn't really, until I saw that my first X helps that I thought, wait, why,

Speaker 4 (48m 21s): What, what do these people do? Yeah.

Speaker 5 (48m 24s): By air. Yeah. It just, I didn't realize it for a decade. I didn't realize.

Speaker 4 (48m 29s): Yeah. You know, the, at that time, when, you know, 88, 89, it really, it really went fast after it's, you know, every new glider, it was just a plus one, one glide ratio, you know, they were really dangerous. But the, the, the plus in, in, in, in, by the ratio was the most amazing each, each new lighter flow so much better that it has been so much so fast.

You know, like two years of serious lights, we were flying a 150 kilometers with them. And you, you,

Speaker 5 (49m 20s): At an early record, I don't have that up in front of me, but in the, in the press release, I mean, in the early nineties, didn't she break a record that was 200 and something. K. And it was just, I mean, I, I wasn't flying back then, but that must have been just an absurd number back at the time.

Speaker 4 (49m 37s): Yeah. That was at the time that I think the previous world record was a 147, something like that done by South Ramo. He used to compete together a French, a very well-known French pilots. And I have to say that just a few weeks before I did my world record the Andrew Smith.

You probably, the name sounds familiar to you, really, a non, fortunately, already a lifetime. Also he did the first flight over 200 kilometers, just a few weeks before. I think he was also to 20 or even, or even more. But unfortunately he did not document at the time. You know, you have to think is pretty much the same today, but you have to take pictures before, take off, you need a paragraph.

All the things was a lot more difficult or more complicated than it is today. But yeah, I was, I was really, I was, I was a, the rock star at the time, you know,

Speaker 5 (51m 1s): You're, you're, I mean, I S I see this, this rock star in that era. I mean, I recently talked to a Rabi widdle in a way that she'll be out here pretty soon at the parties just sounded like a very different, you know, you'd go to a, you go to a World Cup these days. They're pretty serious.

Speaker 4 (51m 18s): Oh gosh. I, I, you know, I tell you won't believe it gave him, but I mean, in, in, in, during the World, in, in Southern dry, in 91, I think we were, we were twice. We came back at four o'clock in the morning from Virginia. We had such a good time there. And a year later on during the European Championship in Slovenia, I made it one day directly from the nightclub to where the breakfast and then ride into the micro bus to drive up to a takeoff.

It was crazy.

Speaker 5 (52m 1s): W when you, when you write that these are the flashy full body preservatives.

Speaker 4 (52m 5s): Yes, exactly. And just, you know, go along all This all disguise on the head, the gear Robbie, with all of these people, you know, that was really, he wasn't, he was serious, but he wasn't as a prophet far away compared to the professionality from today. Today. That's a, that's a not, wouldn't be a good idea anymore.

Yeah.

Speaker 5 (52m 37s): You had, you had a lot of success in the next few years. There was a, the Europeans and world cups, and that must have been an exciting time everybody's flying prototypes, right?

Speaker 4 (52m 48s): Yeah. Pretty much. Yeah. That was at that time.

Speaker 5 (52m 52s): It's scary to think of going straight from the bar to the Hill on those gliders.

Speaker 4 (52m 57s): Well, maybe it made you more relaxed. It made it easier, more relaxed,

Speaker 5 (53m 11s): Then it, then it gets a little darker after that. He had some downsides you're. Tell me about, you had a couple of really,

Speaker 4 (53m 19s): Yeah, I had, I had one just before the World in Verbier that that was during the, the real good times. You know, I had a, a near-death experience just two months before the world is in verbiage. Now I have visited the flight school, just next door to the next, around the corner. And I flew over at the Lake and did some maneuvers is my, was my glider.

I flew two months later on during the world and just, you know, nothing serious, just a few collapses. And I just, I just got this cravat, a small little trot. That was a, at that time, it was kind of new. We, we knew what is it can happen, but he didn't know exactly what to do. And I'm, you know, a spiral like a three and a half to four meters per second was really nothing serious, but I could not hold it to fly straight back to the, to the, you know, when I check the sync rate of thought, I'm not gonna remember the reserve because I was going to add on the line into the water.

So it's got to be, I can stall it just before in the land, pretty, pretty safe. But what I completely didn't have on my radar is that when I was in, in the water and I started to swim and I thought, well, my friends are around. You know, there was a, the instructor with his, with his a beginner's, he, he, he was on the Hill, there were other pilots around, but nobody saw me.

So I will say in the air, maybe a hundred meters away from, from the shore. And after seven to 10 minutes, I found myself like in, in, in a forest check that, you know, I was just, I couldn't move my legs anymore. My feet, everything. I was just like tangled and in the water, like, like, I dunno, like a sausage there. I could not do anything anymore.

And that was a really, it was an experience I gave up. I went, I went on the air, the water, and there was this fisherman sitting on this, in his, on his balcony, having lunch, he saw me and he can and, and pulled me off the water. So that was, that was one. But at that time I could easily put these away. I don't know how, you know, you, you mean mentally put it away, put it away.

Yeah. I was like, I couldn't, I didn't slept that World over the next few, a few nights, but when I went to work, I was ready again. No fear, you know, did you go,

Speaker 5 (56m 34s): How many kind of Urs, when, when, when you gave up and kind of went under the water, was there any kind of a, I had a, I had a somewhat similar incident kayaking down in, in, in Mexico a whole bunch of years ago where, you know, it was beyond the panic stage. I had been under water so long and I'd swallowed so much water that it was, he was like, okay, well that, that's it, you know, I'm, I'm dead. And it was incredibly calm for a little while. And just, but then there was this voice in the back of my head that, well, wait a minute, your you've got to do something.

And can you talk about, more about w was there any kind of a, okay, well, that's it, I, I guess that's it for me?

Speaker 4 (57m 16s): Yeah. The thing is, the thing was, you know, I was really, at the beginning, I was very relaxed because I thought I can swim. I'm not far away from the shore. So let's, let's swim, ah, to the shore. And then when I, you know, every, every minute starting to get worse, you know, and when I realized that that no one will come and help me, then I started to panic.

I started to panic so much, you know, I started to shout to cry, to, to whistle. And until I got completely powerless and then the same happen to me, like you just described it, you know, I mean, I was fighting a until I couldn't, I had no power anymore. Then th there was this relaxing feeling coming back, you know, it was just like, it's, it's a, you know, I really felt no fear anymore.

I was completely distressed. I saw this lights to a hit music. And I remember I had the, the, the thoughts that this is it it's, it's, it's, it's all real. I really finished at the time, at that moment with my, with my life.

Speaker 5 (58m 50s): Yeah. So keep going. And you said it, you said that it, it didn't really, but then he saved them and it didn't really change it to change your approach.

Speaker 4 (58m 59s): Yeah. Then, you know, then at the world's I was in the leading Goggle on the first day when we flew back to verbiage and I had in the last big thermal, just like maybe eight kilometers away from, from the algae out there in the verbiage I have in the, in the Lee side of a collapse, again is the same glider, same, same, same, like two months before, a lot, a little little cracks on the outer ring tip.

It's went in to a deep spiral, and then you, I have to have to throw my reserve now, you know, and I threw it. And when it was open two seconds later, I hit the wall. I landed in the steep Rocky wall on a grassy across the Lake, and I was not hurt at all.

I was a very lucky you now. And then even that I was not such a big problem for me. I flew the next day again. And I catched from, I think I was at the first day, was in the position of 105 or seven. The second last failure was back on the, the first 10. I messed up to the last, the last task then, but I just went all or nothing. But really you to say before in, during the millennium change, at the beginning, I split with my, with my wife.

We were together for seven years, we had a two and a half year old daughter. And that was just, it was so tough for me that, that time in our, in the years that followed later on, because we, we were in a difficult situation. We were, you know, all that kind of stuff, fighting to see the kit. And, you know, that pulled me really darling on that brought me completely to another lifestyle.

I, you know, I was, I was on the search for, for answers for this because before, as I said, rockstars, you know, and we went from event to event, we were a part of a successful, I have a successful in business at the same time. Also in my business did not run well. Everything came together, you know? So you situation, I then found out that best for me was when I went out into nature, I was, I was w whenever it was possible, I went home.

I went for hikes. I went into the, into the mountains here, around the place where I live. I was spending hours in, in the forest around and went on tours, hiking, climbing mountains. And I got this, this experience with nature, which gave me a lot. I could fill up my batteries. I could find home series of my questions.

You know, I did, I did even a Hawk trees and stuff. You know, I went in that direction then, and it was really the only thing, which brought me back on track after, after a three for years, you know, until, until it gets really in to normal life. Again, if, if, if I can say it like that

Speaker 5 (1h 3m 6s): Was th was this period marked by any kind of clinical depression? Was it, was it, you know, is it the kind of a thing it's just hard to get out of bed? Is it, you know, I think there's, there's a lot of pilots that seem to suffer and maybe this is just society at large, but it seems that there, this is really an IL with our family, with our community. And I think it's, you know, the, the, the adrenaline, the risk, the, you know, the, the flying takes people that are, that can be kind of manic out of that.

But when you're not here, you suffer.

Speaker 4 (1h 3m 47s): Yeah. I mean, you know, in, in our looking back to that time, I think there was, there was this break and the lack of, of, of seeing, seeing our kit and, you know, the fights a rich, rich happens during those, those kinds of things. This is one thing. And I think the other, on the other side, there was also, it was kind of, of, of, of, I think it was, I was close or I was in a burnout.

He was close, or I wasn't in a burnout. And my lock was really that, that I have the chance to, to go out too, to, you know, to go into nature and calm down. And I was not in a therapy or something like that, but I had good friends, you know, a good friends around flying friends where, you know, like I could talk. And Dan was really important for me.

What was the,

Speaker 5 (1h 4m 55s): During this period that you didn't fly? Did you just not feel like you had the right head space for it, or was it just a burnout and he just didn't want to go after these accidents. And you mentioned in your, in your write-up, you know, obviously there was, there is other accidents, too. You lost good friends.

Speaker 4 (1h 5m 12s): Yeah. There was just no, no desire anymore. You know, I had, there was actually nothing. I was really, I could get hooked into it again. And it was just, I was just in the, I think I was in a survival mode for sure. And that took enough energy, so no energy for something, something else.

Speaker 5 (1h 5m 43s): And so this, this period was, was how long, what,

Speaker 4 (1h 5m 48s): Talk to me, talk to me for two years, at least two or three years, you know, and then, then I started, I really made some good experiences with, you know, meditation, Scharmer meetings and all of this kind of a practice, all these things a little bit. At that time, I also went on a trip. My, at that time, I really have this strong feelings for, you know, being alone for a longer period, hiking through a country where I don't speak the, the local language where I don't know everybody.

And that was a real, a real good adventure for me, really. That was the one of my best experiences. Have you ever did

Speaker 5 (1h 6m 46s): at a time and, you know, that was kind of before the big mining boom, as I understand it. And most of, I mean, I think it's still a very special place, but that, that would be a good place to heal. It seems like it's just, there's nothing but in nature.

Speaker 4 (1h 7m 2s): Yeah, exactly the

Speaker 5 (1h 7m 4s): Way it was, the, the, the, the work you did with, with the shamans and that community. Was that in where you, where you experimenting it all with a psychedelic?

Speaker 4 (1h 7m 17s): No, not at the beginning. I did that later when I was, when I was stable. Again, I did some, I did some later on, even in the last few years, I did it twice. The at your house. That was really also a good experience. But now that was everything, a matcher, a natural experiences. It was really with all of this kind of stuff.

Yeah. Singing, singing, dancing, meditation, it works to you.

Speaker 5 (1h 7m 59s): There is a meditation now, a really a part of your kind of daily life.

Speaker 4 (1h 8m 4s): No. Or at least, at least not a run on a aware or consciously, you know, I'm the kind of guy I don't like too much noise around me. I prefer the silence. And even, even when I was a kid, when I was 13, 14 years old, quite often on a ski tours, you know, a hiking or whiskeys, a skin's on journeys to mountains.

And I felt most comfortable when I did this by my own. I need, I need my, my islands of silence from time to time. So I think that's where I'm a real, I can, you know, refill my, my tank.

Speaker 5 (1h 9m 9s): So tell me about kind of coming back to flight. It sounds like in 2008, you, you, you came back to it. What was that? What was the impetus? There was just, the curiosity came back. The desire came back.

Speaker 4 (1h 9m 23s): Yeah. Then I really felt, felt good. And I had some, some friends flying in XC still, you know, there wasn't a voice at the flue that much XC when, when I was a active, active pilots of office, more involved in two competitions, the world record was just the, I gave it a try, but you know, the, at that time, I didn't, I can't remember when the, the GPS instruments came into into the game.

You know, the documentation of a cross-country flying, loading up your track the same day or the next day having a results right away. You're on the internet. And that's, that brought me back in to 2008 or something. And it was so fascinating for me because before, you know, the last XC flights we did for the four, the Swiss cross country Cup, you have to declare the flight before takeoff.

You had to take a picture of yourself with the flight declaration. You have to take pictures of the turn porins of philanthropy place. You have to have the guy sign in you that you have landed there. It was so complicated. And then all of a sudden this freedom and I was in This, I was in this, you know, nature shamonic type of deal. I was right in there and it gave me so much freedom in the air.

You know, I was playing with my intuition. I could, I could, I could follow my, my, my belly feeling and even so much different to me that I just, I just fall in love. It was just like, he was almost like the first flights we did a, we were just blasted. You know, it's interesting

Speaker 5 (1h 11m 39s): That you had a, quite a different experience than when I talked to Robbie. You know, the reason he, he still flies, but the reason he really kind of quit the sport in a sense, certainly in the competition and was, was, was actually the advent of all the instrumentation. He recalls that how pure it was to just go by your gut and intuition and feel it all. And now you've got instruments that tell you, you can make goal and their alarm goes off and, you know, you, you go on.

So it's, you know, it's become much more, your flight deck is a lot more busy and he, he, he didn't like that.

Speaker 4 (1h 12m 18s): Yeah, no, not for me, for me, it got even better. I think, because, you know, I use for sure, I used the instrument. I used the app, a calculator, because I wanna, I wanna fly at a big triangle enough for your triangle. That's a great help. You know, I had in 2011 already, I got in contact his navigator. They have no instruments for paragliders.

So I knew where they have instruments for, for cyber plane pilots. And the friend of mine showed me how it works. And that, that was great. And I use the, I use the instrument as asked before for various, most of the time to adjust the sound. I don't look at the instrument and to use it for sure. The real are in this direction. I would say right now for me is airspace restrictions.

This is really a, a big a, this is a pain in the ass, especially in Switzerland, a place where we fly. You know, you really have to be careful with that, but all the rest of, you know, for me, it's much more working with my raise, my awareness conscious, raise my barely feeling. I have much more time in the room to follow my intuition as it was before it, because before you had all of this to concentrate, I need to go to that turn point.

I have to do with a federal to read. I miss I screw up the whole flight, because if, if you didn't make the turning point, was it, and now, you know, you can play, he can play. You're okay there. And let's, let's fly. And the other tool Ks. Now it's still feeling, it's still feeling great. My power animals, tell me, go keep on going. And this is a good day, you know, and I think I have much more freedom compared to that time before for sure.

Or maybe in the competitions, they've got, it got much more technique. Ah, and I think if, if, if you don't know your instrument in all the settings, you, you probably will never win a task. That's the way that became very important.

Speaker 5 (1h 14m 51s): Tell me about your power, animals and spirit helpers. This sounds fascinating. And certainly something I'm familiar with in theory, but I don't know, you know, I, I've never explored this spiritual side, obviously enough. The sound's fascinating. Can you give us some more background on that and how you, you utilize these to, to fly so well,

Speaker 4 (1h 15m 16s): Yeah, it, you know, they are just, for me, they are just help us. And then they just make my, my flying in the life easier. It's like a, friend's flying with you, you know? And the, if you do wish a Chemonics journey into the underworld, you, you, that's where you, you, you try to, to find spiritual help. Most of the time, those are the animals powered animals.

And then you work with them. You travel with them, especially for during shamonic journeys, but they'll also, they can help you also hear in our life during, and during this, this time of year. And, you know, I talked to them like friends and, you know, a typical flying Dave for me, it looks like I'm going to, to, to a takeoff place.

I already prepared the flight. I'm I know pretty much more or less what I'm trying to fly on that day. When it, when I'm on take off to try to, to find the place where I have a little bit privacy, not too many people around, I need that. That's very important for me. I'm always, most of the time I go out with friends, but we go somewhere else, not where, where another 50 pilots are, or, you know, sitting around and asking questions and all this things.

So then before takeoff, I always visualize my flights in, in the minds Island and also ask for this plan to come through. So I'm more than the actual type of guy as a writer. I see exactly the flights I want to do today. So I asked for that. So I asked, I asked my power animals.

I asked them I do a, a small protection exercise. I always do this also before I have to wear a reserve parachute test above ground. I do wear kind of a protection exercise for me and for my soul. And then when I take on it for you,

Speaker 5 (1h 17m 56s): What is the protection exercise? Can you give us some details? What does that look like? And then also give us some details on the visualization is that, you know, you're, you're literally seeing yourself climb up or is it more, you're just visualizing, okay, I'm starting here and I'm going to get there and kind of work down through your flight plan.

Speaker 4 (1h 18m 17s): Okay. The, the exercise I do before each, before such a flight or before a test flight is just an exercise I prepared for my own. So I ask her, I asked for the protection of divine omnipotence and my spiritual fail, if you will. I just wanna, I just want to try to stay all the time, my own, not to, to rule by someone else or whatever, you know, I want to, I want to be in my own.

And I also always say, thank you to the elements that they protect me. And I wish the, the flight will come through all of this kind of thing. That is that OK. For the first part. Beautiful. I love it. Then the second part is by visualizing my flight it's it's. I used to ski race when I was, when I was younger, you know, I grew up in a ski ski area, ski resort.

So, you know, what we learned there is that just before you go, before you start your, your ski race, you, you got to have to know exactly where rear, where the Gates are. Now you've got to have to know the line you want to, you, you, you want to, you want to ski down. Sure. And I do exactly the same for my flight. And now today is a good day.

And my plan is let's say in FAI triangle for 250 kilometers. So I always try to stay realistic. You know, I, for sure, I push always a little bit. I don't want to fly a longer, but I try to stay realistic. And I believe in giving the last four or five years, I probably messed up two flights with all the flights. They were like five or 10% less, or a five or 10% more than what you planned before the plans.

It's a really, it's really amazing. And then I just sit there and I visualize my flights. You know, the, I know the, the place is now. I don't have time to travel far away. I mean, I do four, four or five cross-county flights a year. So I go to, to place this know Switzerland now really well from the year. So I know the key points, the key places.

And, you know, I just try to, to see where I'm going to fly or the over the main reach, where a church, a verbal switch, a few of the Valley sides and all these things. And I see me, I see me flying there. So for me, you know, what I've learned in, in the us before is that what I learn every day is that the, my energy follows my consciousness.

And by doing this, I really put positive thoughts, positive energy in all of this side to much more, and to also do our practices then in flight, during the flight, you know, when I worked with the power of the animals and it really helps me to, to keep me always in a good mood, you know, I'm never, even if I, if, if I have, you know, what we call a competitor, if, if we get stopped on the construction site, now the word in English, in a way, if you, if you are, if you can't move for half an hour, you don't climb.

It gets dark. Exactly. Then I call my power on animals or, or a singer or something. And I, and I'm never pissed, you know, when I, when I'm in such situation, because as the positive, this is, I don't know if that really helps for me. It works. It keeps me always in a good mood.

Speaker 1 (1h 22m 47s): I mean, I think optimism is so key. And it sounds like, it sounds like you've created the methods that just keep you very optimistic. Is there for her in the flight.

Speaker 4 (1h 22m 58s): You know, I think, you know, it, it works for me. Everybody might have his own. I mean, if you, if you talk to, to a Thomas throw a lot, he might have, he might have another plan for you or, you know, so, but it's, it's really, it's really interesting. And I really love this about cross-country flying because I can, I can live my into and, and, and that's so great.

Speaker 5 (1h 23m 36s): It sounds like, it sounds like you've also created a nice system for really being present in what you're doing. I think the often you went, when we look back at accidents, kind of with 2020 hindsight, it often accidents often happen to folks who are dealing with something else in their life. They're not really there, they're there. Like you said, they're dealing with it, an ax or a spouse, or the fight they had that morning, or a bill or finance, or just something there's, something is bothering them and their life.

And you know, that, that way, when you make it, one of those kinds of obvious human mistakes, like forget the, to clip in or something, because you're just distracted. You're not, you're not really there, I guess, I guess in a sense, you know, when you only have time to have for five or six cross country flights a year, are you going to put everything you can into it?

Speaker 4 (1h 24m 32s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I, I also think, you know, that was probably the reason why I was not flying that much in the early, the early millennium years, you know, when I was really in, in, in a very bad mental situation and, and I'm sure that's where accident accidents just happens. You know,

Speaker 5 (1h 24m 59s): You've won the Swiss cup, you get to keep it now you've won it so many times as I understand it. And since 2013, do I have that right? You've won it five times, always on an ENB is just to tell the folks who don't know what it is. Cause I'm actually not very clear what it is. What, what is the Swiss Cup and, and how does it, how do you win it?

Speaker 4 (1h 25m 22s): We have a here in Switzerland, the Swiss cross-country competition. So you, you guys all know the M a X contest, I think, or are you using it as well? Yeah.

Speaker 5 (1h 25m 41s): And we, we is, this is this like a league thing, you know, it's, it's X contest for the country. So it's your, I think it's your five or six best scores over the season.

Speaker 4 (1h 25m 49s): Exactly. So we have, we have our hour on a ranking in Switzerland for that, and we have different categories in Switzerland and it starts the, the way it used to, it used to be the fun and safety category that was everything up to and including EMB.

And then you have the category sport that includes Ian, see lighters, and then you have the open category where he can fly Oprah classic lighters. And there is also the senior class glider categories is, is in there. So I, I flew from this five years when I was reading about trophy.

I flew four years. I flew in the EMB ENA in DNBi category, but I won in the standard category all the time. One of the year after year is a ENC, a lighter. And I also won the, the, the, the sport category. I mean, in, He,

Speaker 5 (1h 27m 20s): You're not an ERG way, buddy. You're in Switzerland. It's a, you know, arguably the best pilots of the world. That's just incredible. And to, to, I mean, I'm not trying to make you red in the face right now, but the key to only fly four or five to six times a year at, for per XC. I mean, I realize you're doing all the testing, so you're flying quite a bit, but to, to go big, you're only doing that a few times a year and to win the Swiss, that's remarkable and in a shout-out to, well, let's talk about the wing choice and because you're mostly flying the mentors that correct.

And that's, I, that's very inspiring that you're, you're being it. You're pulling off these big triangles on, on an EMV.

Speaker 4 (1h 28m 12s): Yeah. You know, the good days. I mean, that's my advantage being, being, I run the business so I can, I can leave. I can leave. And there is a really good insight. So that's for sure I'm an advantage. If they're, if the conditions are good, you can do very well under, in the end, be lighter here in the Alps.

There are some disadvantages on the big Valley crossings, or if you fly a long time with the wind, th there is a disadvantage on an hour, I call my glider, it's a pony, you know, it's, it's a, it's not a race horse. It's I call it a pony. The good thing also is that I can fly on the group that we fly 11 hours or even 11 in the half hour, always.

And under, under a, a and M two liner, you need to be a very, very good pilots to, to being able to fly that long. Yeah. And that was, you know, that was happening. I mean, I mean, back in 2013 or 2014, I don't remember exactly. I even won the open class with, in, in the Swiss ranking.

Speaker 7 (1h 29m 54s): Yeah. You want to know everything that year on an be,

Speaker 4 (1h 29m 57s): You know, since then finally, you know, that was, is that it was a coal, I mean, those guys, they, they did, they did a really great flights, you know, the hot shots in Switzerland. We have so many good pilots and we have so many good pilots flying, working as a test pilot, and they are not afraid on the lungs gliders and they can fly. They can fly $11 to, but you know, they'll land at like five or six o'clock in the afternoon where I was still flying in the other two and a half hours.

So now they, as I said, it was a wake-up call. Now they, they dominate us for sure. You know, the, the cross-country flying got a very, very popular during the last few years. We, we, we built cross-country league in Switzerland and that's that, that's what I was part of Martin Cheryl's idea, you know, to bring as CrossCountry pilots, to give the rest of the competition pilots.

And now this is, you know, this is a big, a big cake now. And, and it's, it's really a great source of exchanging experience and inspiring. And, and now, you know, the young guys, they are, they are hot, you know, the pushing and now we see really some excellent flights. The orphan class glide is now here in Switzerland.

We have no chance at all anymore to, to, to get, to get close to them. I mean, we are still, still like 10% behind them still go for it. But yeah, I, I mean, I would laugh to fly such a, such a, a ring. I mean, those are beauties, you know, but it's probably for, for my next reincarnation now,

Speaker 5 (1h 32m 11s): I, I did want to ask you about that. Yeah. I'm glad you touched on that because, you know, Given your SIV experience, given your lifetime of experience and your, your comp experience, it must be awfully tempting. You're not that old Urs I'm just behind you.

Speaker 4 (1h 32m 29s): Okay. So you think I should, I should stay.

Speaker 5 (1h 32m 38s): No, no, but I w I mean sure. But, but I, no, I just mean it's a, I mean, I think it's got to be, it's got to be tempting, but at the same time, it's also a very inspiring that you're doing this on what you are, obviously that's, that's, you you've, you've certainly found the sweet spot, but it's got to be tempting.

Speaker 4 (1h 32m 59s): Whatever I do, my philosophy is it has to make a fun, I really enjoy still flying. And what I, what I feel like now, you know, a few years ago, I was, I was able to fly two times in a row. I mean, one day after the other for 11 and a half hours, I did some really great flights, but now this is not what I'm looking for anymore.

And I just, I'm just dead after, after an 11 hour flight. But so far flying is still, is still a still totally dialed in. And last year I started with the kite surfing. You know, there is this, this guy called Tony bender. He told me, he told me a three or four years ago, Urs, you've got to have to try for a plane, you know?

And he said, it's, it's just, it's just unbelievable feeling. And I'll leave next to a Lake. And last year when this, this bloody lockdown came over, it started over here. So I was sitting in front of our house and all of a sudden I saw this, this for him to is out there. You know, it's a small Lake thermal conditions, not that strong winds, but they were having so much fun.

And then a new, this, this is the call, you know, and then they're not just the a few weeks later I went shopping. I just brought up a hardness and I call some friends and then an ad bought a boat. And we went to France. As soon as the lockdown was over, we traveled to France to, yeah, the beautiful place to stay to high call.

So, and that was down there with my wife. And that's just a few lessons how to hide sort of normal board. And I was just dialed in right away. And this was like, this is, this is cool. And yeah, this is, this is something new. So let's see what will happen in the near future.

Speaker 5 (1h 35m 39s): Learning, learning is, is, is where it's at. Isn't it and learning anything new. It's just is so exciting. I want to be mindful of your time. We're getting up close to our heart out here. So if you don't mind, I'd love to end on just a few kind of rapid fire questions that I got. We did a survey a few months ago on just, you know, how to make the podcast better and tapping into our listeners. And they, they provided a bunch of fun questions. So I just wanted to give you a few of these. You can answer them shortly or, or in a long form, whatever you prefer, but what was the biggest aha moment you've had with paragliding?

The question is in the last year, but I'll just make that your whole career. Was there ever a moment where it was something just really clicked when you look back?

Speaker 4 (1h 36m 30s): Yeah, I think we were, we were already talking in this interview about it when I, you know, the place where I grew up. I knew from, from my experience as a sailplane pilot, that where the thermals were, and then the gliders thought to, to perform so good that it was a, it was, we were able to fly in the thermal. So I just hiked up the mountain. I launched right into it.

And that was, yes, this is it. This is it. And I got, I got connected for see,

Speaker 5 (1h 37m 12s): Have you, you kind of knew it was going to happen from your experience in sailplanes you go, okay, I'm going to fly over there and this is going to work. And it did.

Speaker 4 (1h 37m 19s): Yeah, yeah. Free. Exactly. What's the

Speaker 5 (1h 37m 22s): Earliest thing you've seen when flying.

Speaker 4 (1h 37m 27s): Who's the funniest thing that was flying on a sail plane. And, you know, we, when we pick on to fly, we were not allowed to leave the airfield for about a, a radius of, of 50 kilometers in a week. After a while, there was a young guy flying together with me.

So we were chasing, we were chasing hi, curious in the mountains. We were just flying with the richest pretty fast. And I Spot a couple of, they were naked and they were having fun.

Speaker 5 (1h 38m 27s): Do you do some flybys? Do some Tom cruise?

Speaker 4 (1h 38m 30s): I was young. I was a young man.

Speaker 5 (1h 38m 34s): That's exciting. Yeah. This is back before a, you know, the porn is just proliferating all over the internet. It is like, is like having a magazine played out in front of you, a little Playboy on the ground. That's great. Last one. If you could only make one more flight, where would you go? Where would it be?

Speaker 4 (1h 38m 58s): I would just follow my intuition. It could be just here around the house next month. I think if it's, if it's the last flight for me, it can happen to wherever. You know, it doesn't matter. Every flight, every flight is a beauty.

Speaker 5 (1h 39m 20s): I love it. Fantastic place to end earth. What a pleasure. That was a, that was a real joy. Thank you so much for sharing your time and giving us a little window into your remarkable life.

Speaker 4 (1h 39m 33s): Thanks, Gavin and M all the best to you for the X ops race this year, and watch out for maybe a comment and visit you somewhere in Switzerland.

Speaker 5 (1h 39m 48s): That would be great.

Speaker 4 (1h 39m 51s): I'll lend you. I'll lend you one of my power animals.

Speaker 5 (1h 39m 54s): That would be fantastic. I need all the help I can get getting through. Kriegel his backyard. Yeah. So that would be that be welcomed. Thanks Urs. Yeah,

Speaker 4 (1h 40m 4s): You're welcome. Bye-bye Gavin. Thanks a lot.

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