Posted on Jun 03, 2020
Our very own Johann Finkelmeier was our presenter on June 3rd.  Johann spoke to us about his extensive experience with gliders and the Sailplane Soaring.
Johann began flying in 1987 and has since taken 1,768 sailplane flights.  He uses an engine to get airborne, along with a tow from a lead plane, and the engine disappears into the fuselage once the cable is released.  He enjoys giving rides and has taken many passengers on these flights. 
A sailplane can have a 60-foot wingspan, which is bigger than a 737, and is made of carbon fiber.  Johann’s longest time in the air is 6 hours, a trip of 160 miles out and back.  He noted that it takes much more skill as a pilot to fly one these planes compared to your typical airplane.
Johann is proud of the flight he made with two other gliders from Colorado to Michigan to teach children to fly in the Young Eagles Program through the Tuskegee Airmen Glider Club.  The Club is based at Detroit City Airport and is still going strong after 17 years!  The flight took 3-4 days with many stops.  He was also was the sailplane instructor for the oldest living Tuskegee airmen. 
Even with every landing being an “emergency” landing due to the lack of an engine, gliding has the safest track record in the flying world.  As Johann noted, not all of his landings have been great but they have all been successful.