Klaus Ohlmann is now the proud owner of an Antares 20E. The expert for long distances has accomplished many of his record flights, like for example his 3,000 km distance around three turn points, a flight over more than 2,000 km in a straight line and his fastest speed record flying at 306,8 km/h along a 500 km out and return, in a Stemme S 10 and with a Nimbus 4D. Here he tells us why he’s now counting on an Antares.

Klaus, how did you get to fly an Antares? What was your first encounter with this glider like?

My first flight with an Antares 20E happened more or less accidentally. On a rest day, one of our guests in Serres offered me to fly his glider. So, at around 2 pm, I decided to take off for a relaxed afternoon flight. The electric-power launch at a climb rate of up to 4 m/s, and the way everything worked just straightforwardly were fascinating. I was thrilled, right away!

Only once before, I remember having had such an enthralling experience, when many years ago I was invited to try the first Ventus cT. Before that day, I had only been flying gliders that worked more or less according to the "displacement body principle", in big battleships like my Calif. The Ventus cT was truly a huge step in experience. Now after a long time, I’ve finally had this feeling again when flying the Antares.

On that first flight I simply could not soar the glider slowly. That afternoon, I completed 850 kilometers. Well, once I had to use a 1.5 meter thermal. The conditions near Tête du Cuguret were not really great, so I rushed on and barely made it over the Col d’Allos. The Antares had encouraged me to fly it that way. Of course I knew there would be no place to land in the Verdon-Valley until Colmar. So, for safety reasons, I then decided to use this somewhat weaker lift.

You may compare this sailplane to a Formula-1 racer. Where I usually fly my ridge at 150 km/h, the Antares takes me along at 200 km/h. Of course I tought that maybe one day I should get one of these ships.

Also when talking about maneuverability and control forces?

Absolutely! The control forces are extremely light, everything is nicely and ergonomically designed. All is very well considered. You find yourself sitting in a relaxed position, it makes you feel at home, at once. Take your seat and feel good! Plus the propulsion unit is very simply manageable. My first impression was very positive.

Will you be able to break your own records with your Antares 20E?

I have a lot of ideas in mind with that ship. One aspect is that I will now own an aircraft which flies very fast and may with respect to its maximum speed -VNE- within the scope of a permit to fly-approval go even faster than that. The cooperation with Lange Aviation, I’m talking about Axel Lange himself, is very good. My glider will soon get the totally mass balanced and extremely rigid flaps, which have been developed for the brand-new Lange research aircraft Antares E². Fortunately most of Lange’s staff members in Zweibrücken are highly motivated glider pilots. Jochen Polsz built an Antares all by himself.

With the enlarged VNE it will be possible to fly in laminar wave lift again faster than before. My intention is not to be flying in turbulence.

The higher maximum speed, which will be possible after some modifications, will also increase flutter safety, an important aspect for my high altitude plans. I can also imagine to take my Antares up to the stratosphere, like the Perlan Project is planning to do. A very light Antares could carry the necessary equipment while at the same time it would be suitable for high altitude soaring.

For my third plan, to make soaring pioneer the use of renewable energies and thus promote our sport, the Antares will be the perfect bet. High tech and speed, both topics to inspire young people, are forming a symbiosis. An Antares flies at Formula-1 speeds, its wings are designed with the most recent airfoil.

You have presented an Antares for the universal audience with a spectacular launch at Courchevel’s alpine high-altitude airfield in a commercial clip for Volkswagen’s SUV Amarok. Did you always feel secure?

The Antares’ reliability and its high performance were basic requirements to get a permission to launch from Courchevel. The valley below the altiport is totally spoiled with structures, an outlanding is impossible. Taking a video of auto towing an Antares from Reinsdorf, which also showed its great handling qualities and the propulsion unit’s reliability, we were able to convince Courchevel’s mayor. Aviation authorities, who had to give their go, could also be persuaded with our data.

In Courchevel, I launched hundreds of times behind that car, then started the motor, climbed a bit and landed back on the upsloping runway. Without any difficulties at all. With its 23 meter wing span the Antares 23E, which Johannes Koenig had offered me to use, is a genuine open class glider, but still a handy ship.

Gerhard Marzinzik has interviewed Klaus Ohlmann on our behalf.

Klaus Ohlmann – Foto: www.flyserres.com