Davos: These are the moonlight paraglider pilots


Davos GR“Fear of heights is part of it” – these are the moonlight pilots of Davos

The photos from last week are members of the Davos Delta and Paragliding Club (DGCD). These are their motives and the impressions of how they experienced the night from their perspective.

Jasmine brother-in-law

Impressions of full moon flying from the perspective of the paraglider pilots.

Steve Hiestand

  • On January 27th, a group of paragliders flew to the full moon in Davos.

  • The 20 paraglider pilots took off from the Jakobshorn and landed on the golf course in Davos.

  • Such moonlight flights have a tradition. If possible, the club event takes place annually. This year was her first flight back to Davos since 2019.

  • Now they provide an exclusive look behind the scenes of the event and explain their motives.

At the end of January, a group of paraglider pilots got together for a flight under the full moon, as 20 Minutes reported. Previously, a video circulated on Facebook of a green glowing object moving across the Davos night sky.

The whole thing was organized by the president of the Davos Delta and Paragliding Club (DGCD) and passionate tandem pilot Robert Giesch.

Flying at night has been going on in Davos for well over ten years

“These full moon flights are a traditional club event which, weather permitting, is organized annually for experienced pilots and DGCD flight students who are ready to take the exam,” he says.

He recommends that all pilots who want to experience the unique experience of a full moon flight should do so as part of a well-organized and official event. «We have never had a bad experience in over ten years. To keep it that way, we keep the groups small and follow various safety rules,” says Giesch.

How dangerous is paragliding at night?

Flying at night is not significantly more dangerous than during the day. However, additional safety rules apply, which according to the SHV (Swiss Hang Gliding Association) must be followed to ensure the safety of all airspace participants.

  • 1. Lighting

  • 2. Information an die Rega

  • 3. at least 8 km flight visibility, cloud distances in all airspaces of at least 1.5 km horizontally and 300 m vertically

  • 4. Obtain information about military night flights (Monday to Friday only)

  • 5. Radio connection or Willingness to listen with/on Zurich Information 124.700 or Geneva Information 126.350 (German and French are accepted as radio languages ​​along with English)

  • 6. Flight plan including activation and deactivation

It is also advisable to inspect the flight area beforehand or to fly in a known flight area so that obstacles such as cable cars or power lines are already familiar to you.

How exactly does a full moon event work?

Normally everyone first has dinner together on the Jakobshorn. It is then assessed whether the weather is suitable for flying. “The dinner will take place even if it is not possible to fly, so to be on the safe side we will just take the train back down,” said the organizer.

This year the club event took place in Davos for the first time in five years. There were 20 pilots who were briefed about the rest of the evening by flight instructor Muck Letsch after dinner. The pilots with less experience go first, someone new can take off about every minute and the individual flight lasts around 15 minutes.

“Paragliding is not an extreme sport”

When asked about possible risks, Giesch says: “We are not Daredevils who throw themselves out of the sky. Paragliding is not a risky sport, which is why full moon flying in Davos was canceled several times – for safety reasons.”

For them it’s not just about the thrill, but above all about the wonderful experience of nature. “Being able to experience nature from this perspective is special,” he says.

“Fear of heights is also healthy”

«Fear of heights is normal human behavior – it’s part of it. As a human being you are in an area where you don’t belong. “If you never have one, then you probably shouldn’t fly a paraglider,” says the experienced tandem pilot.

Other paraglider pilots in the club also confirm that they have moments of fear of heights. «On my first tandem flight with my flight instructor, I was very afraid of heights. “However, it quickly became apparent that respect is a better companion than fear,” said one of the student pilots.

“You notice that nature is the boss. I believe that this respect is very important. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to flying, but to all mountain sports,” agrees another pilot.

“A healthy dose of fear or rather respect is important in this sport, as is natural. But it also takes you further. “Overcoming a moment of shock, growing from it and getting better in order to fly further, higher and faster,” says one of the student pilots.

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