Yves Gerster | Never Stop Exploring

Yves has shared many interesting flights with us this season. We got the chance to talk to him after he won the WeGlide Sprint competition for Europe.
Yves Gerster | Never Stop Exploring

⏳ Flight hours: 3300
✈️ Current glider: JS1
😌 Glider of your dreams: JS1/JS5
🌎 Where you want to go gliding someday: Argentina & Scandinavia

Hey Yves, where do we reach you at the moment?

You reached me at my flat in Bern, Switzerland.

You have won the WeGlide Sprint competition for Europe this year, congratulations! What was your most interesting flight?

Thank you. I did not plan on doing that. There were many interesting flights this year. It's hard to pick one. At the beginning of the season, I flew from the Jura to the Lago-di-Garda and then decided to come back through the Aosta valley. There were a lot of snow showers which forced me to fly to Po Valley in Italy. There was still a bit of Sun left and somehow I made It back across the alps to my airfield. That was quite interesting.

Yves in Montlucon, France

To us, it looks like your three fastest flights were all in wave conditions. What is the biggest challenge for you on these flights?

Wave flying is mostly a logistical challenge. You need to find an airfield with suitable weather, a tow plane, and have your glider ready. Airspace, weather, and cold temperatures can also be challenging but it gets easier after a couple of flights if the preparation is good.

Most of the top pilots always fly the same glider on all of their flights. You did your top three flights on a Duo Discus, an Arcus, and a JS1.

I have always flown on different gliders. I find it easier if my glider has at least 18m of wingspan but in general I like flying everything. Since wave flying is mostly a logistical challenge it can be helpful to have a second pair of hands. Also, I like to fly double-seaters to share the flight and pass some of the knowledge on to other pilots.

On your furthest flight this season you launched at 6 am. Do you struggle to get sleep before these special days?

When I started flying wave, I was not able to sleep before the flights, because I was so excited. Now it's a bit better and I usually get at least 5-6 h of sleep in, which is enough for me. Often, I feel more relaxed after the flight than before.

Can you guess what our favorite flight of yours this season was?

The furthest would be the 1500km flight but due to the narrow weather window, the flight looks a bit ugly. So I guess you liked the flight to the Atlantic.

Exactly! After taking off from Courtelary you flew over 700 kilometers to Île d'Yeu, an island off the French coast. How did you plan the flight?

I decided to go somewhere for a swim the evening before. Looking at the weather and the map gave me the idea to cross France to do it in the Atlantic Ocean. The planning was quite easy. I had a quick look at the airspace, filed a flight plan, and booked a room on the island.

Sadly the file was not valid, you would have won the WeGlide Explore cup! We have spotted many flights of yours where you travel to other airports. What are the five most important things to take with you on such adventures?

I did not know about the Explore cup. The Nano lost the GPS for a couple of minutes and I did not bother uploading the second file from the LX8000 since the distance was not that big. Next time I will make sure to upload a valid file. The five most important things would be in this order:

Flip-Flops, Credit Card, Swimming-gear, Cell phone, and a decent preparation to know what to expect during the flight.

Is there any flight you have been planning for years and are just waiting for the right weather?

Yes, there are a couple of these flights. Besides the 2000km JoJo or a 1250km FAI triangle in wave, I also would like to do more explorative flying and fly to destinations where people haven't flown before.

You were one of our first users from Switzerland. Next season WeGlide will also host the NSFW. Is there any feature that you would like us to add?

I am not sure if I know all the features you already have. Congratulations on your fast-growing platform! It would be nice to have a weather overlap for flight analyze and maybe also for planning. Adding a satellite-picture, wind information, etc. to the layers would allow identifying how a flight was done.

The satellite animations are available for flights in Europe and now also for America and Namibia

Besides that, we really need to make gliding more popular. So, API's to social media platforms, automated news flashes filtered by region, which could be used by gliding clubs and newspapers, etc. Anything to get the word out.

We are looking forward to seeing more interesting flights from you. Do you already have something special in mind for next season?

Right now, the wave season is about to start. So, I am looking forward to some nice wave flights. I am definitely also going to do some more travel-by-glider but I don’t know yet where the weather is going to take me.

Thank you for the interview Yves! We have to say that we love the interesting photos you share with us, for example, the one in Geneva city. Do you want to mention anything else?

Thank you for your great work with WeGlide. You added the experience & adventure dimension to gliding. Gliding is much more than pure distance hunting. I really like the way you promote all the aspects of gliding.