NOVA phantom goes step-towing and xc-flight in the north-west german flatlands

NOVA phantom goes step-towing and xc-flight in the north-west german flatlands

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– my very first flight with the phantom go to 4:17 h airtime and 81.7 xc-km –
Parcel from Terfens I’am waiting for. LUNA and I were happy with the “box”


On friday the 31th of may 2017 a parcel from terfens arrived to me with my new NOVA phantom in size L. For sunday 2th of april 2017 the weatherforecast talked about weather with „flying conditions“ for the german north-west. Not absolutely perfect but a day for trying and testing my new wing.

Forecast from Top Meteo 02.04.2017 ((c) TopMeteo)


I’am really curious about the myth about the new phantom and I want to form my own opinion about this wing.

On sunday, 2th of april 2017, I went to the field of my club and we build up the winch and starting place. At Coesfeld-Gaupel we do step-towing to go into a thermal for lift up. Since this season we tow with a E-winch. Very fine and precise towing.

Step-towling in COESFELD-GAUPEL


At my first start the thermal was not strong enough to stay in the air so I tried it again at 13:55h. I only used one step of towling to get into the thermal. In the beginning it was very hard to get up. The thermal was very soft and only a few bubbles.

My second start this day – other pilots try to get some of the thermal bubbles


After the first climb up over 500m ground it’s getting much more easier. My objection about difficulties in feeling the thermal bubbles with a low-level B wing were absolutely causeless. After 10 minutes in the air I feel very comfortable with my new wing, I notice the drift of the thermal and feel the squeeze over the breaks in the wing as well. I feel „I’am at home“ with my new PHANTOM at the first really good thermal conditions in the season 2017 in the german north-west flatlands.

Good thermal conditions – low cloud base at the beginning


And I noticed another very positive effect in this early experience of thermaling for me with my new wing: If I drop out of the small thermal bubbles and must make the circle impulsively tight to get fast in again, it was very comfortable to leave the outer break, move the body inside the circle and use the inner break lightly more, the PHANTOM goes very easy and fast (!) around and cut again in the small thermal bubble. This was much more easy in comparison to my EN-C/D wing I flew the seasons before. Nice handling!

With this finding, I’am getting very unstressed flying my new wing and if you could see me in this moment there was a happy grin in my face.

Happy pilot: awesome impressions during the first flight


So I get up fast, sailplanes and raptors showed me the optimized way up. A short sequence of thermal cycling with a sailplane is posted by vimeo.

A small raptor show me the better lift up


Thermal circling together with sailplane


In-between the first 10 xc-km I get in touch with the flight level restrictions of the airport of FMO (airport Münster-Osnabrück). At this border I have to left the thermals about 4 times underneath 3.500 ft, not rarely I had to pull big ears to stay underneath this level.

Track and airspace restrictions ((c):


Big ears to leave the thermal – flight restrictions at the beginning of my xc-flight


I’am really impressed about the feeling and the handling of this low-level-B wing again. On the one hand I feel the thermal influence over the brake very precise, on the other hand I have the safety of the low-B, best requirement for doing my video an photo ambitions.

The feedback of the wing is fine – additionally I add my self-made handles


The day developed excellent. After leaving the restrictions of the airport of muenster-osnabrück I’am go up near cloud-base sometimes about 1.700 m above ground.

Best conditions now – nice clouds for thermal flying


I don’t want to fly fast at my first xc-flight in the flatlands. I want to stay long in the air and enjoy the feeling, splendid view and awesome impressions.

It succeeded me most of the time to stay high above 3.000 ft (nearly 3.000 ft above ground) and I have no difficulties to find the next thermal for a lift up again.

Once I get low (near 1.000 ft) I could find a thermal beside a sewer. It was very easy for me again to centering this very light thermal in the beginning. The PHANTOM showed my again where to go for the best lift up. In the middle and upper third to cloud base the thermals developed very good and it was easy for me to go near cloud base.

Near SENDEN – short time later I’am low at the right side of the sewer


Thermal was found – lift up again after low safe


This day it was very awesome to see the triggering of the thermals from the movement of the cloud-shadow over the ground. I could often find the next thermal by calculating the wind drift in my mind and find the correspondent condensing clouds (or only cloud frazzles). Very often this day I could find the lift up again.

The cloud-shadows worked very well at this day to release the thermals


After 2h30min airtime suddenly I saw two other paraglider underneath me. It is not very often that you meet pilots from other air-fields when you go cross country in our region. They were from Airfield Ahlen-Borbein a neighboring club of us, about 40 km away. They could not climb up to me at this moment (I’am near cloud base) so I decided to go to the east with the clouds.

Meeting other paragliders from our neighbors at AHLEN-BORBEIN


In the course of the day the thermal is getting weaker and the clouds are getting smaller. If you want to stay in the air you must stay high. I don’t want to make the mistake and fly into the „blue holes“ very often you stay at the ground when you do this.

Don’t fly in these “blue hole” – otherwise you often stay at the ground


So I stay under the small cloud with very light thermal conditions. I flew my PHANTOM in very plain and smooth circles and drifted over the country with the wind speed.

The day passed by – only soft thermals left


The zenith angle of the sun is getting lower, the light is getting warm and smooth. I enjoy this moment, everything looks like slow motion and I’am feeling very happy in this moment. This are the moments we are addicted for: freedom, boundlessness and a little bit adventure. I’am 3h30min in the air up to now.

Thinking about the way home when the sun rises down


It’s time to think about the way back home now, too. I thought my flight will end in the next half an hour and the best way to go back home was to use the train. There were two train stations in my direction, both approximately 15km away from actual position. I decided to try to go to SOEST as near as possible and I’am sure I could not reach it with my actual height. I do not expect some more thermals because of the advanced day and the ground where to fly over was very wet and with cold surfaces.

Less thermal clouds and wet ground – I hope that I could find some more thermals


On the way to SOEST I suddenly found a small but constant thermal with nearby 1m/sec. and I flew with my PHANTOM again a lot of plane circles and my wing brought me up again nearly 4.000ft.

The last thermal allowed me to reach SOEST


With this comfortable height ist was very easy to reach SOEST and there was time enough to make a small sightseeing trip to the historic center of this village. Similarly I have time to look for an landing place nearby the rail station which I had to reach by feet.

My height allowed some sightseeing of the historic center of SOEST


Before I went down I could see at the horizon the small village I was born (WARSTEIN), it was only 15km away but today unavailable. After the wonderful flight this day there was a target for the future to reach this place and – very interesting too – at that point you will leave the flatland and go to the low mountain range (SAUERLAND) there.

Found the train station and looking for a landing place nearby


Perfekt landing place after 4:17h airtime flight


The landing with my PHANTOM was very easy. Some flags at my selected landing place showed me the wind direction. To flare out my new wing after 4h17min airtime and 81.7xc-km was the final finish in an excellent way.

The way to the train station was under 10 min., my train to MÜNSTER passes half an hour later, time to get some snacks and – of course – a „landing beer“. From MÜNSTER I changed to a small train to COESFELD-LUTUM and from that station it’s only 2km to go to our airfield. It’s getting dark when I’am back at my car.


train station in SOEST – back to airfield GAUPEL by train


What a day, what a wonderful start with my new PHANTOM. Thanks to NOVA for developing this innovative wing. I’am looking forward to fly it under different conditions to become more impressions. Thanks to my friends at the airfield at COESFELD-GAUPEL – especially the winch-driver André – for bring me in the thermal. And – of course – thanks to my wonderful wife for this awesome day.

Wonderful first flight with my NOVA phantom – waiting for the next adventure

Do you find the moon?


If you are interested in more details about this flight I’am still working on a video about it. You could see some stills from the material in this report, but there would be over 60GB to look, cut and arrange but I thought it would be great at the end.

Have a good time, fly safe and have fun,

yours markus (