Interview with “Flying Femmes”! Thanks Erica Dobie!
WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO FLY?
In 2002, Southside of Sierra Nevada,Spain with Carlos González-„Horizonte Vertical“! Not an easy teacher but a really good one! I think I copied a lot from him!
WHY DID YOU START?
I actually went to Spain to work on a horse farm but I stumbled over a sign saying PARAGLIDING! After the first tandem I was sure I wanted to learn how to control it and to fly with it wherever it would take me – like a steering leaf!
WHEN DID YOU START FLYING ACRO?
In 2009… I had a BlueXS on which I learnt FullStall, Spins and Helicopter. Now I fly the Thriller X3.
Since 2006! I love the job but it is intense! You need a lot of experience and a lot of responsibility! I think this job should be paid much better and there should be a more demanding selection to become an instructor! I will do my performance trainer soon so I could teach SIV but this is even more intense! Let’s see if I could do an SIV for girls one day!
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT FLYING?
I started studying physiotherapy half a year ago and this is really time intensive but also really good! It gives me a link to the ground and a perfect focus in life! Before this I was flying much more and I worked quite a lot in teaching and flying tandems. It showed me that not flying all the time is actually better for progression than flying too much! It is not just flying that makes me happy! It is a good mix! I need my friends who don’t fly the same as my friends who fly!
HOW DID YOU GET INTO ACRO?
My Ex-boyfriend! He and his friend where just talking about doing Helicopters. I was tired of just listening and I was sad that nobody paid attention to how I flew! So I said „I will know it before you“! And that’s what happened!
I went to Lago d’Idro, a quiet, hidden place near Lake Garda in Italy! There I could train Fullstalls, Spins and while doing a Spin I ended up in a Helicopter just by mistake! Then I was sure I wanted to learn Helicopter just to win my bet! After knowing helicopter both sides I couldn’t stop and I continued! Now I know Infinity, Esfera, even Reverse stuff. New things like Booster and Jocker and some basic twisted stuff I’m training at the moment but there is no end! What will be next?
OTHER THAN WORKING RUNS, HOW DO YOU TRAIN?
Whatever feels good to me I try to do! But I think I should prepare my runs with more visualization, studying, mental training and so on. I’m too lazy! Often I come to the take off without knowing what to fly which is not so good for a comp! Something to improve!
DO YOU FLY XC AS WELL?
When I started flying I was more into XC! I won the Newcomer Class in XC in 2007! Even before I got my license I made little tours around the valley! After competing in 2007 with so many good and long flights, I joined the Austrian League but I ended up in a tree while training and my passion was not like before! There were many reasons why I stopped… like the wrong harness, the wrong glider, not much time, no strategy, too much teaching, too many tandems etc.! I felt lost and wasn’t motivation to continue.
WHY DO YOU LOVE TO FLY?
I love to have control and, in Acrobatic flying, you learn how to get control and you can even enjoy flying upside-down! I enjoy being in the air. It doesn’t matter if it’s flying cross country, soaring, acro or just playing with the wing on the ground. It is finding the balance of your skills to control you and your wing in any given circumstance! Also, paragliding helps me to understand how I really feel today! In the sky, you cannot lie to yourself! You are just you!
IN WHICH COMPS HAVE YOU REACHED THE PODIUM?
All since 2011! Missing the ones in 2013 to recover from my accident. I reached the podium every time but not the top! I started to win in 2014! It was a nice comeback to win in Omegna/Acroaria last year! It gave me motivation to continue!
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO TRAIN?
I don’t mind – France is cool, Organya is cool, Lake Garda is cool … so many places are cool!
WHO HAVE YOU TRAINED WITH? HAVE YOU LEARNED A LOT FROM THE GUYS?
I trained a lot on my own! For me it was obvious how to learn the manoeuvre step by step. I was really shy to ask the guys about flying! I didn’t ask many times! It took a long time to understand and to feel the flying bits. But this way actually helped me progress fast. It allowed me to make mistakes which were not too big to master. I could eventually build up a big pillow of experience which helped me a lot!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ACCIDENT? HOW DID YOU RECOVER?
It was 2 years ago while on my skis. I hit the ground hard! I broke my sacrum and my leg but luckily I survived! It took one year, with no flying, to fully recover! Psychologically, it is still a big issue when I’m flying close to the ground like in ground spiral, top landings or even soaring sometimes! But I work on it and I don’t push too much! It is improving step by step and I’m so happy if it works to top-land or if I come to relax in some of these scary moments. You should not be blind to your fears! They should lead you to be a better pilot!
YOU MADE 60 TURNS IN INFINITY LAST YEAR! WERE YOU INTENDING TO SET THE RECORD?
No! I continued training my Infinity in Turkey and on the last day I just did so many that I broke the record! I was so lucky that it was filmed! It was a nice day!
IS THIS STILL THE CURRENT RECORD?
The record is 76 now! Beverly made 75 one day – so I had to do more! It would be nice to break it with a good special moment! I don’t know how. But I like the way Felix Rodriguez did it – one day going xc with an acro wing over Mont Blanc, top landing and breaking the record! That would be me! I think 76 is nothing and if you can do 50 you can do 200! So it doesn’t matter! It just says you know the maneuvre!
DO YOU TRAIN WITH ANY OTHER WOMEN? HOW DOES IT HELP YOUR PROGRESSION?
HOW DO YOU THINK WE CAN WE GET MORE WOMEN FLYING ACRO?
I ended up in the World Cup really quick and I felt wrong there! So I think it has to be more fun for girls to participate! If you go to the World Cup you will fly one time, twice if you’re lucky! So imagine having 10 or 15 girls flying a comp… you could fly like 5 or 6 times. Isn’t that more fun?
Right now, there are no Austrian comps, no German comps, nothing! In Scandinavia they have around 5 a year! Look how many Scandinavian girls fly competition? I know that there are so many talented girls around so let’s try, no?
Not really! Girls think more but this could be an advantage too! So normally we should fly like the guys!
ARE THERE ANY WOMEN IN PG THAT YOU LOOK UP TO?
If I look up to somebody then I look for XC girls! I like Klaudia Bulgakow! She told me a lot about XC and her history and strategy to become a world champion in cross country!
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE AMBITIONS FOR FLYING?
Fly XC again and travel flying wise!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE OR ENCOURAGEMENT TO SHARE FOR OTHER LADIES GETTING INTO ACRO?
You don’t have to fly! Take your time to learn it even if it takes long! Enjoy yourself in the air! Don’t define your personality through flying, you are more than this! Who has the loudest scream is usually wrong!
I started my studies in March! I had not much time to practice flying but I always found some minutes for some training! I am so lucky to study here so close to the flying spots! I can study till my head is full and after I jump in the car and I m off flying!
If you have a focus then it is easy to reach goals! Ok – easier! I could improve my flying and it is still so much fun to learn new things! I always thought I will stop after I know Infinit! But no! When I remember my first tandem flight in 2004 with Carlos, my spanish instructor, I said, I would love to control this FLYING-PLASTIC-BAG! Well, that’s what I still trying to do! I never thought of flying TWISTED, but that’s sort of CONTROL as well, no?! Well step by step – easy cheesy! I m a chicken in learning! For me it takes time to improve! I don’t want to be too crazy and I know if I respect my own time period of learning things I will be quite safe in learning even Twisted things! I m learning slow but maybe that is the reason why I never had a rescue with Acrobatic flying! But well that’s a way ever pilot when he/she starts to mingle in this sport has to decide his/herself! Unfortunately most of the pilots are way too fast! But WHO AM I to tell?
Anyway! I won both of the world cups in Italy! There were just 2! One in San Simone, Lago Cavazza near Gemona and a week later in Lago d’Orta in Omegna! I was not so happy with my runs but it was enough to win! But competition is competition! You are a bit nervous and you do strange mistakes! But well! It was fun! Specially the IN-BETWEEN-MOMENTS with nice friends! Thanks Beverly to come with me to VEREL to fly in little Organya with me! She is such a shy pilot and so good! She doesn’t need competitions! She will be always better in her way – and that’s why I like her!
This year I was not sure what I will do after the World Cup! I had some moments where I didn’t know what to do – more competition or shows or just leave?! But this crazy NOT-KNOWING-WHAT-I-WANT gave me time to think about it! Yes, I like competitions and I think it is quite a big part in my life! So I should stay and start thinking about how to change the ACROBATIC-WORLD in my own country, especially for girls! There are so many hidden talents so many hidden places so many hidden ideas! Years ago I joined really friendly and open-hearted comps (NO WORLD CUPS) where it was not interesting at all what maneuver you fly as long it was fun to join the community and to have fun! I miss these kind of comps and I think it would be great to work more on this side!
Comps are not over yet! I decided I will go to DUBAI for the world championship in December! Why not? It is all about experience and a OVERCOMING THING with the helicopter launching! AHHHHH! And – SORRY! I need better pics – photographers are more than welcome!
NEW LOVE! 2 weeks in El Gouna! I knew I m not only a AIR person! I even went snorkeling twice! Such a nice world down below! But I prefer if the wind is ON!
Back home I discovered Snowkiting! I went few times to Achenkirch or to Reschensee! Perfect hobby in winter because you don’t get so wet!
6 weeks of holiday on the other side of the world! Love this! Went to see a good friend in Sao Paulo! Both, we went south (Barra de Ibiraquera) for a week of holiday! I went to learn how to kite surf! Really nice people and nice place where we were! Just like normal holidays! Hotel on the beach, relaxing, swimming, stand-up paddling, talking – just nice! UNTIL I got the news from the university that I received one of the rare places to study physiotherapy! WOW – that changed my life!
After 10 days in Brasil I went to “GOOD OLD” Iquique! I spent more than 3 weeks there! Nearly 4! If you ask me – too much if you just stay there! It was so nice to fly there again but I missed the adventure a bit like what I did the years before! I didn’t go to see Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia or Argentina form there! I just stayed and flew every single day! I had really good moments! Moments where you are “JUST RIGHT IN TIME” to be on the right spot! Perfect! I wanted to make a Infinit Tumble wherever I went and I could! It was my INFINIT year and I enjoyed it sometimes even nearly too long! But well, there is always a bit LUCK involved while you are “enjoying” or “not enjoying” life! Whatever! It was a good time in the end!
I finished my trip in Argentina. I went to Buenos Aires! Wow! For me it is like Paris of South America! It is great! Don’t know why they have a crisis because I did the best shopping ever there! … thanks Julie for your patience and your selling skills!
Coming back from Turkey and floating in the flow of not knowing what to do next the perfect autumn hiking weather helped to get a clear head! 3 days in a row I went hike&fly at my home place where I spend more then 6 years. Last but not least … so just to remember how nice home is! Well, I will leave to South America to spend 6 weeks in Brasil, Chile and Argentina! Back for Xmas with my family this year! Cool! I love my life!
Back in Paradise for another 10 days! Thank you Kadri for inviting us every year for the Airgame-Show!
Nice to share moments with the other pilots especially when I can share the new record for INFINITY with Beverly! She did 75 and some days later I did the same!
Flying- and “In-Between-Flying” moments from the summer 2014!
World Cup Omenga/Italy- 3.-6. July
It was my coming back from my long time resting from my accident! It was a good coming back because I could show all my new skills in 3 runs! I never dreamed to fly Esfera or Antirhytimic in the comp but it went pretty well and to make a good show it was just perfect! Even I think I surprised some guys as well with my entertainment because in the first run I flew at place 12/33. Pretty good but never mind there is still a lot of homework! The guys showed me there twisted manovres and I have to say … WOW … cool not bad! Let’s twist and try! I enjoyed the comp and I think I will come to the last Worldcup comp in Udine/Italy! Why not giving some guys and girls a harder time to battle!?
After the successfully world record flight in Turkey and my operation just a day later I trained after a month break mostly in southern tyrol in Plan de Corones, Luson and a bit farther south on Lake Garda! Even at home in Stubai I had some nice training days before the comp!
After the comp the weather was not flyable and I decided to visit my french italian friend at his hidden place just around the Lago d’Orta in a small and nice quiet place called Parone/Varallo! He has restaurant there and it is sooooo nice! Check out this place! VALDIGOJA! The next day the weather didn’t improve so I quietly went over Passo de Semplon and Passo de Grimsel to Luzern to unintentionally see my friend in the hospital! But well we have all days and moments were shit happens and the guardian angels are over-fully booked! I know! Thanks life to be with me!
For more training I went to fly with in Gerlitzen, San Simione and Organya.
World Cup Final Lago Cavazzo/Italy 14.-17. August
The weather made us wait 2 days without any flight! Even before these days waiting in San Simeone it was not much flyable, means not much training! After coming back from my training in Organya I had some troubles to adopt to the smoooooth slow air over the lake again! I think it was a combination of all, weather, adopting conditions, not flying and maybe some other strange stress what didn’t help my mood to perform good! I had just one chance/flight and I missed it! I really wanted to win the comp but NO! Anyway there was no chance to win the whole world cup! I missed one of the comps in Albania because of my operation in may!
But like a good friend tried to give me some comfort! She said: ” … Just one shit flight but so many good training runs with having a lot of fun”. True! I even learnt the last manoeuvre on my To-Do-List, Rhytmic to the other side! So now I can say I flew all the basic manoeuvres, even XChopper (by mistake :/ ) ! Actually I could stop flying now ! Don’t worry! Flying is like a really good drug! Hard to give up! It is just too good!
Sonchaux Acro Show 21.-24. August
It is definitely my favorite place to fly a show! Villeneuve is placed at the lake of Geneva in Switzerland! 12 of the world best pilots were invited for a funny sort of competition a battle! I don’t know how I got into these 12 but let’s leave it with these words … it was a really nice experience! 2 pilots fly the same time and the one with the better show wins the run and if you are lucky you are in the final runs! It is a bit hard as a girl to fly against the guys but well … why should a girl not fly like a guy??? There is no reason why we could not win! It is just a lack of training!!! But it was fun! I flew with Raúl Rodríguez (the Sierra Nevada Team – well we both learnt to fly there), with Tim and Marvin! I enjoyed flying with the guys because it was a really nice atmosphere. “Hacemos un buen trabajo, Nicole!” (Horacio said this to me after being out of the battle and doing his trabajo = show flights)! Well, and the good party on saturday! Why is it not always like this? Who invented competitions? So stupid! It is much better to do a show!
Coupe Icare – Acro Show 19.-21.September
Next show! It was not planned to go to France! Normally I wanted to take it easy to be present in the Acro-scene this year but well there was someone who gave me a reason to go! Listen to your heart … how romantic! But well it is true! I never had a better Coupe Icare! Even before I arrived, the french TV was calling me asking me for a interview! It was a perfect weekend meeting everybody, flying together and having fun after the season finished!
After season training
After some nice days flying in France and exploring some little Organyas in France I went over water again to train my “ANTIRHYTIMIC”! I went to Lago di Garda again! Perfect weather and good flying made it happen that i made again a big step to understand this maneuver! I did my first ESFERA TO ESFERA! Perfect! How I love flying, how I love my life! Thanxs everybody who is sharing my moments! I m so happy to be with you!
Now I am the female world record holder for Infinity!
10 days in the paradise in Turkey, on of my favorite places to fly! Where can life be so easy – flying, swimming in the sea, wonderful sunsets, easy living, nice weather and nice friends – well here in Ölüdeniz! That’s why I come back here after my long winter in France! I mastered to king-manoeuvre THE INFINIT with so many turns! I love this manoeuvre so much that I even flew more than 200 turns in one day! Well, I was tiered after! But it was the best therapy for my coming operation removing the metal of my leg which was just 2 days later!
Back again! After my crash I am more enjoying skiing, flying and touring! Is it true that human beings need a bit of a bounce once in a while? Mhhh … I wish the answer would be NO! But good to be back!