Shooting in the French Sea Alps with the Barre des Ecrins as a backdrop. At 4.102 metres it is the highest peak of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and in the summer of 2009, Claus-Dieter Zink circumnavigated it in a tight formation with his aviation comrade Michael Elvermann. At this point and on the passage to the Pic de Bure and Obiou, almost 2,000 exposures were made in just one day. Our picture (view to the southwest) shows the Discus of Elvermann. He writes: “Flight path & flight tactics: I learned a lot throughout the mutual flight. Thank you Claus-Dieter!”
This is the theme of a flight over the Glacier Blanc (Massif des Ecrins), taken on the 28th July 2009, remembers Pilot Heinz Heber (in his Pik 20): “After we fuelled up with enough height in the strong summer thermals, Claus-Dieter piloted me to the best position behind his Mistral. Numerous photos were made, but only very few satisfied us. This one, taken going west from the Montagne des Agneaux, was right on the mark. Just like our decision to slide down the glacier soaring – a special treat!”
The approach to the west side of the Montagne d’Aujour: the ideal filling station at the time and indispensable for the height gain in between the countless photos. At no charge the warm-ed rock face dispenses energy until sunset, for the Janus CM and the Mistral of Claus-Dieter. Today, the female pilot Alice Toups, flying her self-launching two-seater, was able to take a whole series of wonderful pictures of her aircraft home. To the left, in the backdrop of our picture the 2,709 meter high Pic de Bure is greeting the Massif du Dévoluy with its 600 meter sheer face.
With a view to the south west above the Drac valley, Claus-Dieter Zink took this picture on the way home, which shows the Col Bayard north of Gap (and behind, Le Cuchon and the rock barrier of Céüse) in the background. He promised the accompanying pilot Sven Richter (Nimbus 4): “If you fly one hour with me you get photos, if you fly two hours you get good photos. And if you fly with me the whole day, you will get photos of calendar quality.” Zink kept his word: again he managed to capture the beauty of moment.
Pilot Manfred Merz would probably just enjoy the panoramic view offered from his LS 6, while flying over the Grande Tête de l’Obiou, looking to the northeast. At 2,789 meters, it is the highest peak of the Dévoluy-Massif and most sought after meeting point for the evening ridge “surfing” gliders – one can also hike up without mountaineering equipment, starting from the car park of Cabane des Baumes. About ten kilometres north east of the Obiou is the Route Napoléon – the trek of the French emperor and his 800 followers when returning from banishment.
The southwest African ‘Bitterwasser’ in the middle of the Kalahari dessert, is known as one of the best soaring centres of the world. Claus-Dieter Zink flew here to get his delightful photo impressions of the Namib dessert. Our picture presents an Antares E and a DG 500 M, in formation flight above the distinctive dune lines, which are so typical for this landscape in Namibia. Martin Kroke writes: “One of the most beautiful moments is the half an hour before sunset, when the orange-red dunes throw shadows enforcing the relief.“
July + August
“If there had not been three of us, no one would have believed us”, said Claus-Dieter Zink on the radio. The mood, in the early even-ing of the 3rd September 2009 at the spur of l’Obiou, between Vercors and the Montagne Féraud is very special. The sun is already deep in the west and illuminates the harsh rock with warm light and rich contrasts. These reflect some of the warmth into a steady lift, which is supported by the “breeze”. The peak of the l’Obiou (2,790 m) is hiding in a big cumulus, so we can’t get any higher than 2,700 m. The landscape of rock is fascinatingly unreal, but inviting at the same time, as the face of the l’Obiou reliably bestows lift after a photo session with Claus-Dieter. The face seems more like Arizona than Southern France. One could almost believe oneself, to be flying on Mars. A few days ago, we explored the area by car and set foot near Mens, at the base of this mountain on some of the larger out landing fields. There is also a little private strip situated near a castle, where we could “park” “Golf-November” in case l’Obiou would stop it’s work.
The two Ventus 2 cM’s of pilots Yann Cottier und Blaise Convert seem to almost touch one another in this exposure. Which was taken before the coulisse of the Cretes de Selles looking northeast. The Ventus 2 cM (at 18 meters wing span) has a maximum speed of 285 kilometres an hour. Numerous current world records document the performance potential of this craft, made at the factory of Schempp-Hirth.
Every year the “Förderverein Deutscher Segelflug e.V.” (Friends of German soaring) and the sports committee of gliding/motor gliding, presents a junior with a glider, for one or two years, at no charge. Known as Lady Enid Paget Junior-Foster Price, a brand new Nimbus 4 “EP” complete with everything, was offered. Due to his achievements, Sven Richter was one of those eligible to take his seat in the cockpit of this super-orchid. Seen here in a flight joining Claus-Dieter Zink, along the west-wall of the Pic de Bure (an easterly view).
This picture, taken at the end of July 2009, displays the ma-chines of the gliding comrades Heinz Heber (Pik 20) and Bernd Hein (Kestrel), in front of the Rocciamelone (3,538 metres), in the southern fringes of the Grajischen Alps part of the Italian Peidmont. Since the Rocciamelone overshadows the village of Susa by 3,000 metres, for a long time it was believed to be the highest pilgrimage, as well as the highest peak in the Alps. Initially on this day, Claus-Dieter Zink wanted to fly to the Wallis, but a rapidly descending cloud base confounded the plan.
Another photograph from Claus-Dieter Zink’s session in Namibia. Martin Kroke noted: “I remember very well the one hour final glide to Bitterwasser, and our delight at the clouds over the range dividing the Kalahari from the Namib Dessert. Illuminated by the back lit sun, the clouds displayed a magnificent yellow-orange-red! Particularly fascinating was the moment the blood orange sun reappeared between clouds and horizon, before finally setting.“