Episode 166- Going Big and dealing with Setback with Serena Ronchi

Swiss pilot Serena Ronchi started flying in 2018. By chasing it maybe harder than anyone I’ve ever heard of, this past season Serena won the female XContest and flew OVER 10,000 kilometers in a single season! She quit her job as a teacher and went on an 8 month sabbatical to fly and spent over 3 months in the Sertão of Brazil. Serena takes us back to her time in Brazil learning about flying in a lot of wind, towing, figuring out the flats and having it all come together. Serena takes us through her journey to become a pilot, the addiction that set in, her dreams and hopes with flying and then the accident that brought it all to a sudden halt and the extraordinary and difficult road she’s undertaken to recover. When your dreams collide with reality the mind can be friend or foe, and attitude is everything. Come along for this wild and at times heartbreaking and yet inspiring ride.

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Topics we discuss on the show:

  • Flying the Sertao. For 3 months!
  • Flying in the wind, dealing with the stress
  • The Swiss League
  • The XContest win
  • SIV and Acro training
  • Figuring out the flats and overcoming stress
  • Assessing the risks
  • Goals post-accident
  • The accident- how it went down
  • Learning to walk
  • Flying again
  • Looking back at the accident- what caused it, what can we learn?
  • What Serena will change going forward
  • Getting confident again?
  • Advice to others who have had accidents- advice for the victim, advice for our community

Mentioned in this show:

Russ Ogden, Cross Country Magazine, Chrigel Maurer, XContest, Swiss League, AirDesign, Dominique Rohner

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Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. I have no housekeeping today. We can jump right into this. My guest today is Serina raunchy. You probably all heard her name. Recently. She won X contest this year, which was a phenomenal feat considering she started flying in 2018 and she did it by flying over 10,000 kilometers. This last year, she quit her job and went on an eight month sabbatical and spent three months think down in the Sur in Brazil.

And she was flying down there on an ENB wing and got under the wings of Dominique Rohner, who we've had on the show, very accomplished and others, very accomplished swish pilot. And yeah, she really started putting it together, down there and getting some big flights that took her to the top of X contest. And so we talk about her progression and how she got into the sport and all the things she was chasing. And then it all came to a pretty abrupt and scary halt or a pause, I guess it would be about six months ago, I got hit by it.

She thinks of pretty powerful dust devil coming into land. And she's had to kind of go through six months, a really brutal rehab, and that is still ongoing and basically learn how to walk again. So we of course talk about that in her accident and recovery and flying with Kriegel recently and getting back into it slowly but surely. So I really enjoyed this talk. Serina is as a consequently optimistic person and has the hugest smile.

And I think you'll find this, this chat hard, but inspiring and, and very real. So enjoy this talk was Swiss pilot, Sabrina raunchy, Serena, welcome to the Cod bass man. We've been trying to do this for months now, and I know we're both pretty hard to pin down and you've been, you've been really busy there. We'll get into that later.

Why, but welcome to the show and thanks for giving me some of your time. Thank you.

Speaker 2 (2m 34s): I'm so happy to be here and yeah,

Speaker 1 (2m 37s): It's a, it's actually really good timing to talk to you. Cause the, the magazine, the X, X, Z mag just put out the latest issue with Russ Ogden on the cover is amazing wind down at the worlds. And there was a really nice article about you in there. You're I didn't realize you flew over 10,000 kilometers last year. You spent a lot of time in Brazil, down in the cert towel. So let's, let's start there. That's a, that's a lot of, that's a lot of distance in a single year.

Speaker 2 (3m 6s): Yeah. So it was in July. I quit my job to, to have eight months free to fry and it wasn't planned to go to Brazil. It was first planned to go to to start flying. And then I learned that Domini, Kona, Swiss stopped pilots was going in Brazil. And I wrote him and I asked him if I can go with him.

And yeah, then he said, yes. And I flew there. And at first I was really scared to be in Brazil, to fly with a lot of wind. And then it was so magical. I really love to fly, to fly on the flat and I spend three months there and then I went to Mexico for two weeks.

And then I came back from, to fly in the, in Switzerland where I live in the spring and yeah, eight months to fly, fly, fly almost every day.

Speaker 1 (4m 25s): Amazing. The towel is so I, I have done the SureTel once. That's actually where I met Dominique years before you're talking about, but he and I spent some time. I was, I was flying from to SEMA mostly, and then had a nice flight to basically put me down near Kesha. And so I flew the rest of the trip out of Kesha to and met Dominique there. And, but that's a long time to be in the SureTel. Did you, were you mostly towing and, and how did you handle the, how did you handle the desert for all that period of time?

Because you're right. It's pretty windy. It can be pretty stressful,

Speaker 2 (5m 4s): Really crazy to spend three months there because you know, there is nothing there. If you bond out, you just turn that to your hotel and it's so hard, there, there is nothing to do. So you wait, you see the clouds over your head and you were asking you what I'm doing here. And yes,

Speaker 1 (5m 27s): You've got some perseverance girl. You are stubborn. I dig it.

Speaker 2 (5m 33s): And yes, I spend two months towing in twice, first in Kayako. And then it wasn't as Sue. And there, there as it's two places where you can tow where the Swiss league is going to Keiko to, to try to do some more world records. And as soon as it's place where you can fly very long distances, but it's a bit difficult if the wind comes a bit more south, because there is an airspace.

So it's better to go to Geico and two months towing. And then I went to Keisha, it's a small hill where you folk lounge and it's pretty really Wendy and turbulent because yeah, there is an effect of Venturi. And with the Terminus, you can have wind too. I don't know. I had, so between 55 and 60 kilometers power and it can be really dangerous to, to stop there.

Speaker 1 (6m 46s): Yeah. I got, I got a sense for that into SEMA in 2016, I was there and, oh my gosh. I mean, every night I would just lay in bed and prepare myself for the, you know, the inevitable windy launch at five o'clock in the morning, the next day, you know, it was just, oh man, it was madness. Some of the days were really crazy where you're just, oh, come on, give me a little bit of a break here. Give me a little bit of a break and then you pull it up and just you just skyrocket. It's pretty wild.

That's a, it's a, it's a tough way to start the day. It's re you quite relieved when you get in the air. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (7m 24s): And sometimes when the terminal is coming, you have really strong wind. But if there is, there is not the terminal, you can start really easily because there's maybe 25 30 and yeah, you just have to be very, very careful because sometimes you don't know if the terminal is coming because you see the Bush, it's like dry, dry plants and who lived.

So it's difficult to see if the wind is coming or not. And yeah, sometimes it's just a luck or bad luck and it can be really, really dangerous.

Speaker 1 (8m 15s): Yeah. They have a, they have a guy who sits up in this kind of tower and Kesha and they call it for you. It's a man, you know, there's, I don't think there's nearly the number of pilots there anymore because you know, you run into the jungle and 400 K out. So they ever been, everything's moved more to the east, you know, to, to Keiko and ESU where you're you were flying from. And, but there was, and they, they were really good at it. They would go go, you know, and they put their hand up and, and yell at you to go. And then that was that you had to pull up right away.

You just, you couldn't, you couldn't pause at all you to be really ready to go. And they would just, they call these lulls. And, but like you said, I, I, you know, didn't have that in to SEMA. And it was pretty spooky. Had you done much towing before you went to Brazil?

Speaker 2 (9m 2s): I did once here in Switzerland and it was just like, I dunno, maybe 200, 200 meter high. And it was just for fun to try, but yeah, really, it was, I think, yeah, the second time I did it in Brazil and I was really, really scared about it.

Speaker 1 (9m 27s): I bet you were. I mean, towing's always a bit nerve wracking when there's a lot of wind, but when you don't have to go into a place like the sir towel green hats off to you, that was your, your heart. Must've been racing.

Speaker 2 (9m 42s): Yeah. And, but you know, you, you do it maybe 10, 15 times, and then you find it really, really cool. It's funny. And it's a lot more safe for them to foot lounge with a lot of wins in Keshaunda. So yeah, first you try and you're really scared and you asking you, what are you doing here? And, and then you wait when the time you have more time to, to see what's what's around you and you can't start to fly during the tow.

So you can start to see the clouds and to analyze the, the, the sky and see if you see birds and all the gliders. So then you can really start to yeah. To start to fly and not just focus on your wing.

Speaker 1 (10m 42s): You're you're living in Lozan you're Swiss. How did you get into flying? And when did you get into flying? Understand it hasn't been, it wasn't, it was pretty recent, correct.

Speaker 2 (10m 53s): It's my fourth year now I started in 2018 because I I've done a lot of VRC rata. And one day I was so two guys flying down the mountain after VFR, outta that climbing way. And I thought, wow, that just amazing to, to go down the mountain like this, I really wanted to do the same because I like to climb, but I didn't like to, to go dial by food.

So I, I called a para gliding school and yeah, I started in 2018 and I had my license in November. And then I started to fly in the winter and into spring. I joined a Swiss league. Yeah. That was a nice group of, of pilots where they're doing some trainings and we flew together.

Then we had some good briefing and debriefing things and yeah, that helps me a lot to, to start to fly better.

Speaker 1 (12m 16s): The Swiss league is, is race the goal, correct? It's it's it, is it all oriented around racing or is the Swiss league also more a club where you just get together and support each other for flying?

Speaker 2 (12m 28s): That's the Swiss club. Yeah. Club where all the pilots are there to, to do some competition and some training together. Yeah. We have the XL league, whereas some trainings may to do some, some long, some long flights, then we have to hike and fly league. That's pretty, you that's the league to do hike and fly trainings.

And then we have competition league. That's where you can do some task. And the, yeah. The competition, how you do in, in the PVC

Speaker 1 (13m 21s): Is your, is your, you said you were doing a lot of via ferrata is before that, is your background mostly climbing or what was, what, what did you do for sport before flying?

Speaker 2 (13m 33s): Before flying? I was, I was not often in the mountains. Only four. Yeah. The via ferrata that's the climbing world. It's not like climbing on the, with the hand on the racks. It's a way. Yeah, I've done some CrossFits and fitness, but yeah. I didn't know anything about metrology.

Speaker 1 (13m 59s): Can, can I ask you look quite young? How old are you just for, for the, for the audience to

Speaker 2 (14m 5s): 29, 29.

Speaker 1 (14m 7s): Okay. When you're your yes. So you're, so you started flying in 2018. You're going into your fourth year for those who are listening, who don't know this, you won X contest last year, which is no small feat, I guess that helped with the very long stay in Brazil. Was that a goal was to, to win X contest or did that just something that happened that you weren't even paying attention to because you were in Brazil?

Speaker 2 (14m 36s): Yeah. It, wasn't not cold at all. I, I just started to fly in the flat lands in Brazil. And for me, I, yeah. I maybe had a goal to, to fly 200 K, but I really didn't expect that, that, but yeah, it was really lucky because there were not a lot of pilots in Brazil and the very good pilots. Yeah. Why are blocked?

Where they're like live because of the COVID. So I was lucky to, to go there and to be there three months to try and try and try. And

Speaker 1 (15m 21s): That's amazing. What was your, what ended up being your longest flight?

Speaker 2 (15m 26s): It was 315, I think.

Speaker 1 (15m 29s): Yeah, it was a fourth year pilot. That's awesome. You must've been on the moon? It was pretty exciting. And what, when do you fly?

Speaker 2 (15m 39s): I flew the air design sorrow. It's very light, be hot, be highly wing. And then at the end of the holidays, I flew the air design vault. It's the sea glider. Okay.

Speaker 1 (15m 60s): Okay. And you mentioned you, you had planned on going to Ola Denny's to Turkey to do some accurate training that that didn't end up working out because of COVID I assume, but the, the, if he'd done some SIV and accurate training and in this four years,

Speaker 2 (16m 20s): Three SIV, and that's why I wanted to start our crew because I liked the sensation of the full stool and weighs over. And I wanted to start to, to, to improve my skills and maybe to, to gain some confidence.

Speaker 1 (16m 45s): When you were down in Brazil and you started, you started doing these bigger flights, you know, you were flying with Dominique, who's an amazing pilot. What were some of the things that started clicking for you in terms of, you know, when you saw, okay, this is working I'm, I'm figuring this out and I'm starting to go further. What can you chalk that up to? Was it any particular thing that you started figuring out?

Speaker 2 (17m 11s): Yeah, but first I, I really was very stressed because I didn't know the condition. I was scared to fly with the wind. And after a few flights, I felt so good because it's just so nice to fly there because yeah. Flying with the wind. It's, it's really funny because you can do some really big distance.

And when you tear a model, it's, it's funny because you can do a terminal, like 4, 5, 10 Ks. And, and then I learned a lot about the sky, the clouds, because I really didn't know a lot of the clouds forming before. And I think, yeah, it takes some times when you start to fly in the flatlands, because first year you don't know what to do.

You don't know what to look after. And then when train, train, train, you can see the clouds are farming or not. You can see the birds, you can see the color of the Browns, the trigger pollens, and yeah, first year, last 10. And then you see that slowly, slowly, you, you start to, to learn and that's so, yeah, that's, that's so grateful because sometimes, often you land first and you don't know why you land.

And you're really, really sad. You want to know why, but you don't know. And she'll just say staying at the grounds,

Speaker 1 (19m 16s): What were some of the things you would hear pretty regularly from people like Dominique or other mentors that were there? What were they, what were they telling you? Just out of curiosity, what were the things that were, they were saying, Hey, did you know that this was great, but you could work on this.

Speaker 2 (19m 36s): I think the most important thing is the security first, because you have with the winds, you have to know that if you try to catch a terminal over the Bush, you may be, will coats in the middle of the Bush. And you really need to, to know where you can land because that's can be really, really dangerous.

And then yeah, just try to, to see the clouds and to see the birds. Yeah. The trigger points.

Speaker 1 (20m 22s): I'm curious, you know, to, for, for someone like yourself who was, you know, hadn't flown very long and, and decided to go down to Brazil where it's quite windy. I mean, it's, it's, it's it, like you said, it's a big, it's a big undertaking. I'm curious. What is inside you that allows you to push things like that in terms of the risks side of it, you know, you're, you're obviously you were, you know, it was, it was scary when you got there, but you, you felt like, Hey, I, I need to go do this.

What was it about you that felt I'm imagining kind of, I have to go do this. I have to go to Brazil and see what this is all about. You know, that's not what I'm saying is it's not for everybody. It's a, you know, this is a, this is a niche part of our sport.

Speaker 2 (21m 11s): I knew that I have the skills to handle my wing with the strong wind, because I very often was ground handling here in Switzerland with a lot of wind. And yeah, my, my teacher always say it, you have to, yeah. Ground handle is very important. And so I I've, I do know some, I pass so many hours to go in fields and try to ground handle and try to do some exercise.

And by really loved that I really love to, to handle the, when in, in strong wind. And I, I was scared about the wind during the flight, but on the ground, it was okay. But yeah, in the flights, when you are high, it just so funny because you go so fast.

Speaker 1 (22m 14s): It is nice when you're away from the terrain, isn't it, it just cruising along. What do you love most about flying Serena?

Speaker 2 (22m 23s): I think the, the Liberty and the sensation of levitation and then the landscapes to be with the friends in the train or at the take of, but I think the first thing is it's the Liberty. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (22m 46s): When you, when you think about, and we're going to talk about the accident a little bit later on, obviously that has changed things, but the, when you think about your future and flying, do you, what, what drives you about it? What, what do you think about, what, what are your goals? Where would, where would you like to see yourself in five years? For example,

Speaker 2 (23m 9s): Now it's pretty difficult to talk about this because I had a very big accidents six months ago. And before that, obviously it was two to my biggest goal was to participate at the exiles. And I was really, really motivated to train and to yeah. To get the skills to participate and for sure to, to do some long, long flights.

And yeah. Now I think, I don't know. I just want to gain confidence again, to fly in the Alps and then we'll see. I don't know. I don't know how my recovery will go if I can walk then more hours by foods and yeah. It's, it's a, it's a good question.

I difficult to ask no to answer.

Speaker 1 (24m 20s): Well, well, let's, let's talk about it, Dan. I was planning on talking about this later, but six months ago, what happened?

Speaker 2 (24m 27s): Yeah, I've done. I wanted to do my, my first B work tour and it wasn't planned, but a friend warned me and said, Hey, maybe tomorrow we can go to, to do some beef work beaver trip. And yeah, we moved to teaching to scene and we started to, to do a little tool.

We don't have plan because we just wanted to follow the, the material and we never flew together and that's was difficult because yeah, after the first day we land at different places and we just lose ourselves. So yeah, I continue on my own and it was five days a trip of five days.

And yeah, the last day I taught, we had always good weather. It was really, really hot, low wind. And the last day I flew two and a half hour and I wanted to land in a, in a, in a valley in yeah. Into just really, there was not a lot of wind. It was like maybe 10 of 15 maximum kilometer, power of wind.

And I decided to land in, in the grass field. And just before landing, I feel some sinking air, but really, really strong, like four or five meters per second. And I told, oh, okay. It's, it's good for me. I, I want to go down. So I stay a bit there. I made 2, 3, 6 to go lower.

And then I saw my field and I, the trees moving very, very fast. And I thought, oh no, but that's not the value when that's a big terminal. And I taught to, okay, I hold my wing and I go land. I didn't, I didn't know that I was taking a risk there. And I went there and I think like 20, 30 men are high, my wing collapses.

And it was too late to do something. I think I flew in a dust because it was a really, really strong turmoil and a really hot day. And yeah. Then my wing collapses and I felt on my two legs and yeah, I saw that my legs was broken and I add on a lot of back H yeah, two guys were there, saw me and called the ambulance and yeah.

At the hospital, I, they told me I have two broken lumbar vertebra and a broken two broken bones in the leg. And that I have to be, to have a surgeon surgery very fast because the broke one, broken veteran was really bad. So yeah, I was operated and then I, I lose the sensitivity almost completely in one leg and do all the leg was maybe the half of the sensitivity.

And yeah, it was really, really difficult because I had a lot of pain and I, I didn't know if one day I will walk again. And yeah, I spent two weeks in this hospital waiting tool place where I can go to do my rehabilitation because it was impossible to go at home. Cause I couldn't walk. I was just laying in the bed and yeah.

So then after those two weeks I went in a rehabilitation clinic. It was a bit near of my, a year of my home. And then I, I stayed there five and a half months to learn, to walk again and to do a lot of physiotherapy swimming, fitness to gain the muscle again.

Yeah. It tries a pretty hard time, but now I'm since three weeks out of the clinic and I'm back home and I flew, I flew again then. Yeah. That makes me really, really happy because yeah, it was all my life flying before and I'm really happy that I can fly again and food lounge again alone.

So yeah.

Speaker 1 (30m 17s): W what is, do you have, how much sensation do you have now back in the leg and the one leg had none in the other lady adds some, is, is it all back now or is it still

Speaker 2 (30m 28s): No, it's still, still a long way. I think, to gain the sensitivity again, because in the left leg, it's almost completely there, but in the right leg, under my feet, I don't feel yeah. Under my feet. And that's caused some problems with equilibrium, But yeah, it can takes maybe two years or more to, to have it a game before.

I think I won't recover fully because I have one feet that is, that lose a lot of mobility. There is some atrophy and it's in six months, it's not moving a lot. So I'm doing the physio for this, but yeah, it's will be difficult to, to gain again, the mobility of the feet.

Speaker 1 (31m 36s): Obviously this has been incredibly hard physically to go through six months of rehab. Sounds like there's still much more ahead. What's it like for up here? What's it like in your mind, knock on wood. I haven't experienced an injury like this, but I can't imagine chasing it as hard as you were and, you know, thinking about the X outs and, and then having this just, wow.

That's a, it's mentally, that's gotta be really hard.

Speaker 2 (32m 12s): First, the first day when after the accident I taught, I taught ya fraying, it's over. I don't want to fly anymore when it's can be so much cruel or so much yeah. Bad when you have something like this. But then after a few days, I, I taught, well, maybe I think I will, I will fly in a wheelchair and I will try to do something, some flying with wheelchair.

And that will be fun. And maybe a lot of people want to fly with wheelchair so I can, I can show them that that's possible. And I really talked about this and then I started to walk again and I thought, yeah, it's, it's unbelievable how I will, I will fly alone and I will fly again. And yeah, I've done some, a lot of mental flying.

So I was in my bed and I was imagining me at the lounge with the friends and to start and flying with the birds and in the terminals. And I think it just helps me a lot because I was still in the sky and I did and forgot the yeah. Happiness of flying.

Yeah. I think when I flew again, the first time, I really, I forgot how magical is it to fly because you can do this month on flying training, but with the time you forget how amazing it is. And yeah, when I flew again, I didn't know if, if I will like it again so much. And if I ha will have fear and yeah, it's was really unbelievable.

The feeling when I flew again, it was, I I've done a flight with three girls that's, but that was such an amazing, because he write me, he wrote me on at the Christmas time and because it's, he's in the excerpts, he made the excites academy in a, a group of training where I am, and you want me to ask me how I am?

And then he proposed me to do a flight with him because I, I'm not able to fly alone. And when I, I read that, I was just so, so happy because flying with trigger on a tandem and yeah, it's special, really, really special. Yeah. And I flew the first time with him just four days when after creating the clinic.

And yes, when we flew together, it was so magical. The feeling of, yeah, just Liberty levitation. It was just so amazing. And wow. I could, I think I was singing the whole day and child thing of wow. It was unbelievable. And then I knew that I want to fly.

I landed, I, I, I jumped in the arm of Kriegel and I said, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Now I'm ready to fly again. And I just want to go up again and, and fly. So, yeah. Then 2, 3, 10 days, and I flew, I I've done my first flight solo sort of flights, and I couldn't run very fast, but then were just perfect twin conditions.

So I put the wing over my head and I walked three steps and I was in the deer and yeah, just first I w I was a bit scared when I, when I went in the terminals, but then I went on the flats. It wasn't a day where the flatland was going. Pretty good. And yeah, when I went into Tana twice, just to just magic, I could do my, my own game again and flying with the birds and the clouds.

And yeah, I really, really loved it. And now I just wait to fly again.

Speaker 1 (37m 35s): I love that. You're still so passionate about it. I'm sure there's some part of you who struggles though, knowing the accident and what it has done. You know, if you could often ask this question to pilots that have been flying for decades, you know, if you could rewind the clock to your 50 hour self, what would you tell yourself? But with you, that's, that's pretty recent. It's just four years ago. But if you had been able, you know, back in 2018, if you had a crystal ball and you knew that this was going to happen to you, would you still fly?

Well, you've still got

Speaker 2 (38m 15s): It's so really difficult for question it's so difficult because, you know, I have still a lot of pain and I don't know yeah. How I will do the, if I can do sport again without pain. And I really love to do some sports and yeah, but the flying is so amazing, but I think I, I S I will say yes, because I think the accident, then it, eh, it helped me to, to see your life differently and to see how the family and friends are important.

Sometimes you forget it. And I have, yeah, I think it was a really bad experience this accident, but I, I grew up a lot with,

Speaker 1 (39m 20s): Yeah, that sounds like a hard takeaway, but a good takeaway, hard lesson, but a good lesson, you know, we have to appreciate what we have done. We, the, you mentioned that you quit a job to go on this kind of eight month flying sabbatical. W w what was your job? What, what, what were you doing?

Speaker 2 (39m 42s): I am a teacher in a primary school. I teach every material to children from eight to 10 years old. And yeah, I really, really love this job. I love children's. And, but yeah, I wanted to do my, my tandem license to start to work a bit as a tandem pilot and to do some little job at the school in the, in the winter time, maybe 1, 1, 1 teacher is waiting a kid, or is sick.

Do you have kids now? I don't have, I dunno if I want to have some kids,

Speaker 1 (40m 27s): You're still young. Look at me. I just started. And I'm almost 50. Yeah. Plenty of time. Plenty of time. Oh, geez. I kind of took the wind out of me there a little bit. I just can't imagine what you've been through. And I've, you know, since I've been following you for quite some time now, just getting ready to have this chat with you, and you seem, consummately optimistic in your posts, and you've really attacked this with what seems to be from an outside perspective with a very good attitude.

Speaker 2 (41m 3s): Yeah. I was really, I was really positive the false first months after the accident, because I saw the progress and I knew that I still can progress. And I, I thought, yeah, I would put this positivity. You go, you can go faster. And when you're motivated, you can go faster. But yeah.

Then I, I, I think I I've done too much with my body. I trained too much and I had a lot of pain. So for three weeks I had to, yeah. To, to rest and to stay a bit coma. And that it was difficult because in a recovery like this too, it's always like waves. It's going better. And then it's going a bit bad and it's difficult mentally.

But because when you see the progress, it's, it's easy. You, you know, you you're going forward, but when you have more pain and you can maybe woke, it's, it's more difficult. You have to be really, really passionate. And yeah, to the last moment, it was really difficult for me because I could walk without the crutches. And suddenly one day it was not possible anymore.

And I thought, oh, no, what's happening. And yeah, it was fine. Maybe three weeks like that. And I was just waiting that my body was okay to walk. And sometimes you can't understand because there was no reason that I can work anymore. And yeah, sometimes it's, it's difficult, but I think when you see the progress, it's more easy because you know, you're going forward

Speaker 1 (43m 12s): Serena in the last six months, I bet you've replayed that incident. And the dust devil in the field and the, and hitting the ground a million times. It doesn't seem like, you know, there wasn't a, there wasn't an obvious mistake. You know, these, these things are obvious, obviously they're usually, and it sounds like in this case, you know, a series of things that, that led to an accident, but it wasn't didn't sound like you were really pushing it or, you know, in a particularly bad spot, but what, is there anything where you, when you look back and you think, you know that, and maybe not even that day, but six months private prior to that, you know, were you really pushing it too hard?

Were you doing something where you being complacent, where you, you know, all the things that we talk about on the show over and over and over again, you know, is there anything where you go, God, I wish I would have done X or I wish I would have done something.

Speaker 2 (44m 18s): I wasn't pushing hard at all. I just wanted to go land slowly and in a safe way. I really didn't know that it was dangerous to land, but yeah, after reflection, I think I could do something else and land in another place because the D sinking air that I flew before land for maybe four or five meters per second, I should have, have an alarm in my head and say to me, oh, now if there is this sinking hair here next to this place, there will be a very big terminal.

And yeah, I should have landed maybe far from this area. So yeah. Now we're really, really a lot more careful things like this,

Speaker 1 (45m 33s): More, more for the listener aspect of this, but you said you were probably 80, 90 meters off the ground. Was the reserve, did you consider it?

Speaker 2 (45m 44s): I know I was maybe 2030 meter from the, yeah. Yeah. The first, first thing I was thinking, it's, it's too late. I just remember the sentence in my head. It's it's too late. And I, I don't know how I made it at the, I felt on my two legs.

Speaker 1 (46m 7s): You said two years, you know, most likely what will there be more surgeries or if the, if the rehab is the re of the doctors basically saying, now it's just rehab. It's just a matter of training.

Speaker 2 (46m 21s): Maybe in the bone, in my leg. I can, I can put away the metal because I have a long metal stick in, in the TVA. I don't know if she'd say that. And now my, my knees hurting a lot when I walk, I think because of the metal thing. And when the knee, when the bone is okay, I can put a ton of weight, but in my back, the broken vertebra is too bad and I have to leave it from yeah.

For, for my life.

Speaker 1 (47m 2s): When you get back into flying and sounds like you're pretty excited to do that. And, you know, the, the, the body keeps working better. Well, anything about, well, your approach to the sport be different than it was.

Speaker 2 (47m 17s): I, I don't know. I think, I think so, because now I have a lot more fear and I would have need to gain confidence again. And I don't know if I were able to gain this confidence again, to fly with serenity in India, because that can be really strong terminals and strong condition area that are difficult to fly.

So, yeah, I don't know. But first, I, I really just want to, to enjoy the flying with friends and not concentrated on X or flights or yeah. Just fun stuff. Yeah. Just fun stuff. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (48m 14s): I know there are many people, unfortunately, listening to this podcast who have had similar accidents, you know, that this sport can be quite unkind. There's a lot of people who have had back injuries and, and other, and in this sport, can you offer any advice to people that are going through what you are going through, just in terms of what you've learned that has made this very challenging time, better, you know, the, that help the kind of daily grind of getting through an accident.

You mentioned, you know, that your appreciation for friends and family, you know, people like Kriegel reaching out, but, you know, are there, are there things this community can do for people like yourself who are in this position and also just what you've learned about, you know, kind of getting to the other side.

Speaker 2 (49m 12s): Yeah. I think every, every people is, is different and some people maybe wants to be, to be mom more alone when they went their bags. And I was lucky too, to have some very good, good friends that helped me a lot to, to be positive. And, and some, all the people that I really, really don't know, and they wrote me and they, they just give me, give me confidence.

And they told me, yeah, they had some accident and, but they are flying again. And they are loving that again. And that was really, really helpful. And then, yeah, the family is really, really important because you, yeah, you live with them. And I wasn't near from my, from my father that's my father was there every day.

And he, he formed with me a lot. And I was really surprised of that because the, I didn't have a lot of contact with my father. And that was, yeah, that was a beautiful thing in the accident.

Speaker 1 (50m 38s): So there, it sounds like there've been some little, the roses that have, you know, grown from, from this experience, things that are, I guess, quite unexpected. So that's nice Serena, that's probably a good place for us to wrap things up as well. I really appreciate you sharing this quite difficult period of your life with us and, and your exciting year, both good, bad, obviously, but this has been a real treat and I wish you the best of luck with healing and getting back into flying and managing all of this in the style that you have and hats off to you for, for having such a great attitude.

Thank you very much. We'll see you at Cloudbase. I hope soon. Thanks serene.

Speaker 3 (51m 38s): If you find the Cloudbase Mayhem valuable, you can support it in a lot of different ways. You can give us a rating on iTunes or Stitcher, or however you get your podcasts that goes a long ways and help spread the word. You can blog about it on your own website, or share it on social media. You can talk about it on the way up to launch with your pilot friends. I know a lot of interesting conversations have happened that way. And of course you can support us financially. This show does take a lot of time, a lot of editing, lot of storage and music and all kinds of behind the scenes costs. So if you can support us financially, all we've ever asked for is a buck, a show, and you can do that through a one-time donation through PayPal, or you can set up a subscription service that charges you for each show that comes out.

We put a new show out every two weeks. So for example, if you did a buck, a show, and every two weeks, it'd be about $25 a year. So way cheaper than a magazine subscription. And it makes all of this possible. I do not want to fund this show with advertising or sponsors. We get asked about that pretty frequently, but I, for a whole bunch of different reasons, which I've said many times on the show, I don't want to do that. I don't like to have that stuff at the front of the show, and also want you to know that these are authentic conversations with real people. And these are just our opinions, but our opinions are not being skewed by sponsors or advertising dollars, and think that's a pretty toxic business model.

So I hope you dig that you can support us. If you go to Cloudbase, Mayhem dot com, you can find the places to have support. You can do it through patrion.com/ Cloudbase Mayhem. If you want a recurring subscription, you can also do that directly through the website. We've tried to make it really easy, and that will give you access to all the bonus material, a little video cast that we do, and extra little nuggets that we find in conversations that don't make it into the main show, but we feel like you should here. We don't put any of that behind a paywall. If you can't afford to support, then just let me know.

And I'll set you up with an account. Of course, that'll be lifetime. And hopefully in your being in a position someday, to be able to support us, but you'll find all that on the website. All of you who have supported us or even joined our newsletter or bought Cloudbase may have merchandise t-shirts or hats or anything you should be all set up. Did you'd have an account and you should be able to access all that bonus material. Now, thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate your support and we'll see on the next show. Thank you.


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