Episode 47- Max Fanderl and a lifetime of flight

Max Fanderl in the X-Alps

Max Fanderl began flying paragliders and then hang gliders in the late 80’s. A few months after his first flight he quit his job to become an instructor and decided flying would be his new life. In addition to instructing Max became a test pilot in the 90’s in Europe but then he discovered the epic flying in Canada and in Max style- once again never looked back. He opened a school, competed in the Red Bull X-Alps four times, flies sailplanes and ultralights and well- you get the point. This dude digs flying. When Max first moved to Canada he met Willi and Chris Mueller, two legends in the sport- but most people don’t know that Max taught them both to fly paragliders. In this episode we explore how Max learned how to fly into the wind and why all flying should be approached with mindful training; where most new pilots make mistakes; why getting into flying too fast leads to many people getting scared and leaving the sport; how to maintain a solid margin and understanding to know when NOT to go; how to develop respect instead of fear; the importance of SIV and how you should approach it; how learning to fly properly should be focused on all the little pieces- micrometeorogy, understanding the wing, groundhandling, etc. rather than being bold. Get out your note pads, this one is loaded!

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Show Notes:

  • Max discusses getting into flying in the late 80’s and how the addiction took hold right away
  • Canada becomes home and we discuss the flying differences between Europe and the Rockies
  • Max talks about the terrible tragedies of the Chris and Willi Mueller and his own accident and creating his 20% rule
  • Mistakes most people make when they learn
  • The importance of learning the small things and taking each of the foundational steps
  • Why learning fast is the wrong way to learn flying
  • Knowledge before ratings
  • Why groundhandling leads to success in the air
  • How to become one with a wing through learning the “feel” of the flying
  • We talk the X-Alps and Max’s four campaigns and what is magical about the race- and how it has changed over the years
  • Max relates his lowest and highest moments in the race and how sharing the adventure with his family and his wife Penny, who was his supporter in all four campaigns is one of his most cherished memories.

Mentioned in this episode: Will Gadd, Chris and Willi Mueller, Tom De Dorlodot, Juergen Kraus, Chrigel Maurer, Tobias Dimmler, Aaron Durogati, Ondrej Prochazka


Max and his family in the 2013 X-Alps

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