Over the Alps in a glider

December 2, 2011 • 8:48 am

Don’t miss this! Even if you’re having a horrible or stressful day, watching this 13-minute clip will calm you down and cheer you up.

What you want to do with this stunning video is to click though to YouTube and then click the icon in the lower right-hand corner to fill your screen with the picture.  It’s a long glider flight (no engine!) over and through the Alps by an Italian pilot, courtesy of The Atlantic. If you have a big screen, it’s like you’re in the cockpit with the pilot.  What a view!

Here are the stats:

Flight date: April 13, 2011
Pilot: Alberto Sironi
Glider: Ventus 2 CXT
Takeoff from ACAO (VA) Italy.

And here’s a map of the flight: the distance was 1002 km with an average speed of 123 km/hr:

Clearly this is a pilot of great skill, who uses the updrafts in the mountains to great advantage. Wouldn’t it be nice to ride with him?

h/t: Michael

15 thoughts on “Over the Alps in a glider

  1. “Nice to ride with him?”

    Not with that music blaring.

    Also, the additional weight (of me) might render some of those updrafts ineffective….

  2. Apologies for nitpicking, but I happen to know the region a tiny bit.
    – ACAO (VA) is not a place, as implied. It is the acronym of the Aero Club Adele Orsi, near Varese; the pilot, Alberto Sironi, is a distinguished member. (Adele Orsi having been a notable aviatrix and local champion.)
    “Over and through the Alps”:
    well, okay, not as misleading as the Atlantic header: across the Alps, but still not the cat’s whiskers in Alpine geography.
    The flight follows a path parallel to South side of the main chain of the Eastern Alps, in W-E direction and back, with a spectacular view of the Dolomites. A flight “across” the Alps would be transversal, in S-N direction (not recommended for a glider).
    The ascensional currents so skillfully used by the pilot are the effect of a strong orographic lift on the South side. The converse falling winds on the North side often result in foehn.

    1. I’d settle for being on one of those ridges when he sailed past.

      I suppose there’s a particular time of year that’s best for this? Late summer/early fall?

      1. Maybe but, you might want to contact a local glider club or two or three. Current and forecast weather conditions might be more relevant than time of year.

    1. The “critter with the tail” is the yaw string. This simple device helps the pilot fly efficiently by keeping the air flow basically inline with the fuselage. The extra long wings of gliders makes them prone to yaw when the ailerons are deflected (when turning or correcting course). The change is air flow is indicated by the yaw string deflecting to one side or the other, simply apply a bit of rudder to the side the yaw string “points” to to correct yaw.

  3. Hey, I’ve done that – albeit in the Appellations and not in the Alps. Wave soaring rules…

    I’ll have to send this to my Dad – a glider pilot for 50+ years.

Leave a Reply