Ventus 2c / Pilot: Wolfgang Gmeiner
In this backdrop you can see the Barre des Écrins, the highest peak of the Pelvoux Massif in the French Dauphiné Alpes, is at the same time the most southerly and westerly, of the four thousand plus peaks. Its dominating location turns it into a dream destination for many a glider pilot. Even from the Montblanc Massif, a distance of over 100 km away, the distinctive snow-caps of the 4,102 metres high giant and the Dôme de Neige, just under 100 meters smaller, are easily visible. For the photo rendezvous, the Ventus was aiming straight for the formidable structure of a cumulus cloud – an emissary of the best soaring convection. The warm air parcel, heated by the sun, granted this moment of exultant temper.
Ventus B/16.6m / Pilot: Gilbert Jenni
After a launch in Münster, Serres was to be the day’s destination. Since the Matterhorn was in our way, Claus-Dieter quickly got his camera into position. Within an hour 400 frames had been put into the box! Thick clouds moved in, and our flight went even further to the west. That is how we got to the range of the Vercors and finally to the Falaises de Glandasses. No getting through again. So we turned round: first to the 1,246 metre high Col Bayard, then between low clouds, thunder and lightning to the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. Via the Maloup and the Crête de Selle, we had been aiming for the Col de Faye and Serres La Bâtie-Monsaléon, where we landed at 21.10 hours. On the ground, we fell into each others arms like brothers.
Ventus cT 17,6m / Pilot: Matthias Hölzl
It had been every-thing but the dreaded “temps maussade” (poor weather) on this day when flying towards the Pic de Bure, the third highest peak of the Dévoluy Massif. A 600 meter high cliff climbs to the “jump-off platform” at 2,709 meters. Free of snow in the summer months it is inviting for riding the wave. The lift carries us over the already deep green valley of the Buëch, a white water river sedated at this time of the year, which is flowing into the Durance at Sisteron. Landing at the airfield of La Bâtie-Montsaléon brings a soaring day to an end which caused the finest percussions for perhaps a long time to come. The Ventus had found its ideal patch.
DG 400 + ASW 15 / Piloten: Dietmar Horn, Gundolf Leuschel
On the 6th of August 2008 throughout the morning briefing, Claus Dieter was keeping an eye out for an interest in accompanying him on a photo flight. Spontaneously I agreed to it, and I did not regret my decision. Fortunately for me, a whole series of special frames were gene-rated on this tour. For example this picture, taken on the southern side of the Durance-Valley, between the big artificial lake Lac de Serre-Ponçon – stretching across the Départements Hautes-Alpes, the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence – and the airfield Gap/Tallard. To the right, in the foreground, you can see the impressive Colombos rising to 1,733 meters. Our altitude was about 2,500 meters.
DG 300 / Pilot: Thomas Barth
Claus-Dieter made eternal, the wonderful DG 300 of the flying club Nordhausen, at the Harz by this view to the north, from the western flank of the Pic de Bure. It had been a typical day at the end of August 2006, the Mistral had ceased, and Claus-Dieter and I used the evening ridge lift to fly into the sunset. I remember his words vividly: deploy airbrakes, retract airbrakes, climb back into the frame, nice and straight, do not get too fast and most importantly: smile and wave! Claus-Dieter it just has been fun! Frames like these in the sunset light at the Pic de Bure, grant these wonderful airborne moments a piece of eternity. Simply unforgettable. Thank You!
DG 500 M / Pilot: Jean-Renaud Failu
Namibia, formerly German South-West Africa, is a gliding dream come true. Endless expanses, open airspace and superlative thermals make aviators’ hearts beat faster. Superlative, the beauty of the landscape, surprising the spectator with unsuspected diversity. Just like around Bitterwasser, one of the best gliding spots in the world, in the middle of the Kalahari. Here Claus-Dieter Zink managed particularly delightfully impressions, capturing the distinctive lines of dunes in the Namib dessert. On this particular day, Claus-Dieter and I had been flying the ASH25; he had been glad, – just taking photographs and not having to aviate as he usually has to with his Mistral …
Duo Discus XL, ASW 22-A, Ventus 2 / Piloten: Dieter Schwenk, Werner Meuser/Hannes Zimmermann, Walter Sinn
We had lots of fun making those shots. Those who knew Claus-Dieter know what I mean: CD loved to give the most precise orders. He was the director and we the actors. And it was like this: - faster!, higher! Less Airbrakes! Close up! Or just: more bank! Then he took to it like a duck to water. Unparalleled! Even today his commands buzz my ear. Always short and sharp. Back then we had a few mutual photo flights, after all the ASW 22 – JB owned by Jürgen Baumgart had enthralled Claus-Dieter – no wonder, it is an aircraft beautiful to look at and has a retractable tail wheel.
Ventus cT 17,6m / Pilot: Matthias Hölzl
A fine summer’s day in August gave us a wonderful alpine flight. After hours of moving impressions, this picture was taken on our return in the evening temper at the Pic de Bure, with 2,704 meters, the third highest peak of the Dévoluy Massivs. It had become quiet at this time of the day and dusk was creeping up from the valley floor. Only the highest lying rock in the sunshine generated almost laminar lift, very quiet and just a gentle breeze. This moment generated a languorous feeling of peace in me. Claus-Dieter must have felt much the same, since his picture mirrors the aura of the moment of perfection.
Twin 2 Acro / Pilot: Martin Kroke
A training aircraft, with instructor and pupil in the cockpit, returning from a day of instructing loaded with experience. This picture of an Twin 2 Acro, favoured for the benign handling for early cross-country flights, was taken in the backlit situation of a glorious late summer day. Even this time of the year, convective conditions are so favourable that long distance wave flights are possible. Most often, altitudes of over 5,000 meters are reached. Once the vapour contained in the air condenses into a cumulus cloud at the top, it is an unmistakable indicator for a glider pilot that he has got to the right thermal.
ASW 15 / Pilot: Gundolf Leuschel
This photograph shows the spine of the St. Apôtre on the left, beneath my ASW 15. The mountain ridge climbs to 1,491 meters, at the foot of its southerly flank, is the airfield of Aspres Sur Buëch. Our altitude was about 1,700 meters. It was probably the autumn leaves, in the picture on the right hand side of the mountain slope, inspiring Claus-Dieter to take the shot. It demonstrates that the pioneer of soaring photography, also had the desire to always equally capture the beauty of nature. The repetitive changes of the earths face, with the light of the seasons, was the subject of his work too.
ASW 15 / Pilot: Gundolf Leuschel
This photo came into existence on a photo flight in the upper Ubaye Valley. The valley of the Ubaye impresses for its geological variety and its richness in fauna and flora. Capercailzies cock, golden eagle, chamois, mufflons, wild boar and even wolves call this their home. Arnica, edelweiss, alpine gentian, campion, alpine forget-me-not and wormwood, are sprouting side by side with wild lavender. These valley meadows and mountain pastures are grazing land for the herds of the shepherds, just like in time past. The Ubaye Valley, its surrounding ranges and peaks, have always been Claus-Dieter Zink’s favoured photographic places. This frame was taken at about 3,500 meters.
Ventus 2cxM / Pilot: Günter Weiß
It was April 2009 in Serres, when Claus-Dieter directed a question to an old F104 fighter pilot, whether he would be willing to make himself available for a few hours, to go on a photo flight. I did not hesitate for one second, and agreed happily. Indeed we had been almost five full hours on this photo flight, when gently the Mistral set in, and near the Pic de Bure we had been able to glide along a lenticular layer toward the sunset. Our final frame was illuminated by the dark red of the setting sun, a moment never to be forgotten, and Claus-Dieter managed to capture it with a masters touch. The impressions of those airborne hours are to me the most beautiful memento of Claus-Dieter’s great photo art.