Flying with the Champions - Day 5 and 6 - Kiripotib 20162016-11-10


Flying with the Champions - Day 4 - Kiripotib 20162016-11-08

Today the conditions why we come to Namibia.
After the week conditions at the last days, we expect normal Namibian weather.The forecast brings good conditions in the east and good lines in the west, all areas with cumulus clouds. Pilots should decide where to go, some flew to the west some to the east. In the evening we will know where it was best.

So at about 11:00 local time took off and reached within minutes the base in 2800 meters The first climb was not too bad, 2,5 Meters average. Where from we know about that? The new OGN system brings live the position of the gliders on the screen. All four Namibian gliding centers have installed this new system.

Here in Kiripotib we have that for installed a big screen where we see the traces of the gliders, two live picture from our webcams looking south east and west and the actual weather dates.
Under this link you can also follow the pilots from your home:,18.08979&z=10&s=1&l=zr

The fourth Arcus M is also running again, Bernd Mangold from Schempp Hirth, now in Bitterwasser came over with a glider and repaired a sensor, so we can use the glider again.

Flying with the Champions - Kiripotib 20162016-11-07

Now we have already the third day of “Flying with the Champions 2016 in Kiripotib and it’s the first time I have got time to report about it.
As you might have heard, there where big changes in the organisation and operation of Kiripotib Flying Farm. Under Kiripotib-Soaring three well known gliding firms,, Soaring Mountain und Rent-a-Glider, will run this Namibian gliding center from now on.
This project started already in early summer. Containers had to be prepared, all the new equipment must brought from Europe, the glider transport had to be organised.

Finally two weeks before the containers arrived and we started building up the infrastructure. Nearly everything came new, Radio, weather station, lights at the glider parking, a petrol pump, oxygen filling station are only parts of it. Also the electronics have changed, new Wi-Fi, webcams, OGN receivers, briefing with beamer and so on. You could say only the runways ae the same.

In the cooler morning hours we rigged the gliders, runwayboys had to be trained, from this year on the will help the guests on their gliders.

On last Friday then our first arriving guests, will everything run as planned, will we reach our expected target. We had some little things to be changed, but overall we can say: Kiripotib 2.0 runs well

Now to Flying with the Champions

On Friday all our trainees and champions arrived, as well in Kiripotib as in Bitterwasser. After the first hours of acclimatisation we started in the afternoon in a short briefing our program. Pilots where introduced, the trainees told us their expectations, finally we formed the teams and these took over their glider for the next days. The day ended in Kiripotib at a sundowner at the cheetahs.

The teams In Kiripotib:

  • Trainee Matthias Krauss from Germany with  Champion Marcus Frank, also from Germany
  • Trainee Borut Mlakar from Slovenia with Champion Janusz Centka from Poland
  • Trainee Franz Josef Draxinger from Germany with mit Champion Lukasz Wojcik from Poland
  • Trainee John Heffernan from Monaco with Champion Pete Harvey from England

In Bitterwasser:

  • Trainee John Buchanan from USA with Champion Arndt Hovestadt from Germany
  • Trainee Jean George Schwartz from France with Champion Wolfgang Janowitsch from Austria.

All of them will fly Arcus M

I may report from Kiripotib

First day:

The morning started with a big problem, the motor of one of our Arcus did not start. After hours of searching and trying, we could not find the failure, so we changed the team to our Arcus E which is not in use this week.
Due to the lasted time, finally John Heffernan and Pete Harvey on the Arcus E where too late to come in soaring conditions in the air. Team Draxinger /Wojcik even was coming back when they took off. For John and Pete it was that for only a short turn in the beginning rain.  
All the other teams had first nice flights, and overall only smiling faces in the evening.

Day 2

After being not able to start the Arcus M again, John and Pete had to take the E also on their second day. The forecast showed good conditions in the west, all our teams wanted to fly there. As we could see on the OGN tracking all of them where good on the way until we finally lost them out of the range. It was the first time after stressy days, to sit down and relax.

Suddenly, it was about 16:00 local time, a telephone call from Germany brought us back to “now”
The ELT of one of our gliders has sent a signal, they wanted to know if we have contact to our pilots. Within a second adrenalin was in our blood, what has happened, is the team ok, we had to think of the worst.

After seconds we had the reported position, it was very closed to Rehoboth airfield, have they landed out there, on the OGN the where not visible.
On all available frequencies we tried to reach them, we looked for other pilots to be get them on the radio. After more than 20 minutes on the radio we seemed to hear them, we need to a confirmation.

Pokweni also tried to reach them, a framer in Rehoboth started his car and was driving to the coordinates, we wanted to have an
After really bad minutes, which felt like hours, we heard, the glider was flying everything was ok.
What has happened: on the start the pilot switched on the ELT, but put the switch to the wrong position, he did not arm it, he switched it on. As the Satellite was not over Namibia at that time, it took two hours until he got the first signal.   Very interesting, the glider did not hear the own ELT signal, the other gliders did.

In the evening at all teams happy faces, lucky that the day ended up like this.

Day 3

Today the task should go to the southeast, a front coming in from North will influence the area around Kiripotib. So at about 12:00 o’clock the first gliders took off, but it was not easy to stay in the air. The forecast brought light winds from east, but I think the direction was the only thin as forecasted. The wind got stronger and stronger during the day, we had gusts up to 35 knots, and the sky got darker and darker.  On the OGN we saw the gliders south of us, they seemed to have no problems.

From 17:00 on the first gliders came back. Two of them used the engine to come home, safety first.