Monday, December 14, 2009

First Glider (Sailplane) Flight in the Philippines
Left to Right: Eric Monnier, French glider pilot; Jonathan Tayamora, Filipino engineer who built the winch; Walter Narath, Austrian glider pilot; Rolf Dunder, German glider pilot; Sven, Rolf's eldest son; Joyce, Rolf's wife; Dirk Verhaeren, Belgian glider pilot. Behind is the vintage single seater Ka-8 glider.  Background is the 800 meter airstrip at Rancho Caridad, Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija.

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Gliding in the Philippines became a reality on Sunday, December 13, 2009, when a group of gliding enthusiasts wrote a small piece of aviation history. Finally, after two years of preparation, what is believed to be the first flight of a glider (sailplane) in the Philippines occurred at Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija.

Two gliders were launched from the 800 meter grass runway using a fabricated glider winch. German glider pilot and prime mover, Rolf Dunder, took the first flight, which saw a single seat Ka-8 soaring over the Luzon countryside for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The second pilot in the Ka-8 was Walter Narath, a glider flight instructor from the Alpine Gliding School in Unterwoessen, Germany; a shorter flight because the increasing northeast monsoon breeze was making it more difficult to find thermals to soar. The third flight was in a Ka-7, two seat glider - heavier but still perfectly launched, proving the capabilities of the newly constructed glider winch.

The gliders used the grass runway at Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija - not far from the McArthur highway, just past the town of Paniqui, about twenty kilometers North from the end of the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

The international team of gliding enthusiasts from Germany, France, Belgium and the Philippines, welcomes anyone who is interested to take up the sport of gliding to contact them through their website--

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