Episode 57- Phil Glutz and Confidence, Complacency and Chasing it

Phil puts a smile on his passengers face!

Recorded live from Mexico! During the Pre PWC in Zapoltitic I had the honor to sit down with Phil Glutz, a pilot I’ve been keenly following on XContest for years. Phil sends big lines in the biggest terrain in the Alps and decided a couple decades ago to ditch his engineering career because the sky was calling. An Australian native, Phil discovered Zermatt over twenty years ago and made it his home. We discuss the business of tandem flying and the inherent risks involved; the importance of confidence when flying XC; how to “own it”; the best flying sites in the Alps; the call of the big mountains; how to make a career in flight; what makes the “perfect” student; and how to always be wary of complacency. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

  • Matterhorn and the Alps- a local’s guide to the big mountains
  • From Engineering to paragliding- how to make a career in flight
  • Why engineers fly?
  • Why confidence matters
  • What makes a good student?
  • Who do some pilots choose to fly in the big mountains and why most are scared of them
  • Best FAI chances out of Zermatt
  • Best flying sites in the Alps if you like big terrain
  • A warning- identifying complacency
  • How to be receptive to advice when you’re learning
  • Phil discusses his accident in Zermatt a year ago and the lessons we can all learn from it

After the episode one of our listeners was having trouble visualizing exactly what happened with Phil’s accident. Here is some follow-up information from Phil to help us visualize what went down:

Sketch 1: We are ridge soaring in light lift with our right wingtips closest to the ridge. I am following my colleague.
Sketch 2: He turns 180 and returns to the slope and I follow him.
Sketch 3: He turns 180 and returns to the slope. I continue along the ridge as I felt a little more lift there.
Sketch 4: We both then turn 180 and start to return to the slope, now flying towards each other.
Sketch 5: Because of our relative positions (my colleague is slightly closer to the slope than me), we both hesitate slightly as to how to avoid each other. He decides to hug the slope rather than turn out, and I turn hard left, avoiding a collision but spinning the glider.

The question of how to avoid that situation ever happening is a tough one. I guess it just comes down to flying conservatively around other pilots, and understanding that the risk certainly doesn’t diminish around trusted colleagues.

Mentioned in this episode: Miguel Gutierrez, Garmin, Inreach, Bruce Marks, Chris Banford, Michael Vichi, Scott Schmitt, Glen Plake, Tom Payne, Heinz Gluer

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