A lost season

I am supposed to sit on a train right now, heading South, from the flat fields to the Alps. In just a bit more than an hour my flight instructor is supposed to pick me up at a little town that translates into “overseas”. But instead of the beautiful landscape of Bavaria passing by my window, I’m staring out at the leaves falling in my backyard and the raindrops sprinkling my window.

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A betrayal with consequences

„How about you do one test flight and if you absolutely don’t like it, we can still fetch the ASK21?”, my instructor suggested. We were four students and I the only one flying the ASK21. It did not make sense to move three other planes to get her out of the hanger and then to pull her all the way down to our starting position just for me. I knew it. Still I hoped my silence would show my strong discontent. Underneath the sunglasses, my instructor’s eyes were fixed on me, waiting for an answer. “Ok”, I hesitantly gave in…

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Not for the fun of it

Back on the airfield after eight long weeks of business trips, seminars, holidays and bad weather. And of course, things did not work out perfectly – but that was going to be the smallest concern after today’s flying day.

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A flight into family history

Personal histories sometimes intersect at unexpected points and places. Just as my uncle’s and mine did on Thursday at the airfield of Ljungbyhed, a former military drill ground in the South of Sweden. More than half a century ago, my uncle did his military service here at the 5th flying corpse of the Swedish air force, while I would take off in a glider with a member of the Swedish national gliding team.

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Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something.

– Jake the Dog from Adventure time (cited in How to be Everything from Emilie Wapnick)

Being at my best when it counts

I gasped sharply as the sailplane rose from the ground. A tension shot through my body like a flash of lighting. I saw the sky opening up above my head as the ground vanished from my sight. All I could see were grey, deep hanging clouds. Why had the start taken me by such a surprise? A bare week lay between now and my previous glider flight – and yet it felt just the way it had the first time I climbed into the cockpit.

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Crash landing

I crash landed the plane this weekend. No worries: nobody was injured (except for my pride), the sailplane took no harm and my flying instructor dared to climb into the cockpit once more after the incident. But under many circumstances, this could have been the end of my brief and unsuccessful flying career. So why wasn’t it? Because someone did everything right in the moments I did everything wrong.

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Head in the clouds

I was lying in bed and I could hear the rain through my open window. A soothing background sound while still half-asleep on an early Sunday and the perfect excuse for a slow morning. Yet, I had no desire to let the day pass by, nestled in my soft warm sheets. I was keen to get to the airfield, back into the cockpit of the ASK21 – but at the moment the weather did not necessarily promise any good gliding conditions.

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Karen, Beryl and me

There will never be an account that will place my name along side Karen Blixen’s and Beryl Markham’s – unless I cheat myself into their ranks. You might think, how impertinent of me if you know of these extraordinary women, I so easily want to link myself to. And yes, you would be right. Neither in achievement or beauty, in talent or intellect, in boldness or bravery I am able to stand up to either of them. But both inspire me immensely – and when it comes to flying, we seem not just to share the feeling of freedom it bestows us with, but also the reason that brought us up to the skies.

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A hesitant return

Conferences, meetings, studies, holidays and the simple need for a calm weekend at home had kept me away from the airfield since the season started in April. It was end of May now and I had not set foot on the green field again after serving my winter working hours. There was this half-hearted attempt in mid-May, after too little sleep and too much good wine, but my train was delayed by almost an hour. A sign, I thought. So half relieved and half with a bad conscience I went home again.

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