Where some tremble not to have enough fuel for their selflauncher or turbo, Ton Leenders (54) of the Venlose Zweefvliegclub has flown without any excitement with his Antares 20E the great hiking glider Euroglide 2016 over 2400 kilometers across Europe. And that as the fastest! After seven stages, he was back at the starting point in Venlo. Ton Leenders after the Euroglide: “I was able to recharge the batteries at every stage location.” Only in Jelenia Gora, Poland, he refrained from doing so because of the thunderstorms that raged there during the night. This was not a problem. By team it went the next morning to the airfield Klix in flyable conditions. Ton Leenders: “I still had 80 percent battery capacity there.”
Ton Leenders, who was accompanied by a ground team with a team of tents and sleeping bags for rustic overnight stays at the landing sites, had used the drive tactically. Each participant had around 250 credit points, which he or she could spend as distance kilometers in power flight or on the road without dropping out of the evaluation. If Ton had to use the engine to reach an airfield as the end point of a leg, he would fly back the next morning to the point where the glider flight ended, start the new day’s leg there, and save credit points for the last critical days. “I always made the switch to powered flight as late as possible, too,” Ton explained, “The single-lever operation is so simple and safe. Full power is available in eight to ten seconds.” His further tactics looked like this: “I then climbed to safety altitude, around 100 meters, and then continued the flight with significantly reduced power to save batteries.” He also did not seek out giant heights in his stage starts. Around 300 meters was enough for him to connect to the thermals. Ton Leenders also cleverly chose the starting location, which was actually Venlo. From the bad weather in Holland he fled to Oerlinghausen, from there he flew west to the first turn Borkenberge, the way was even further than from Venlo to Borkenberge, and thus did not give away any credits. He then made it to Reinsdorf, from there to Biskup Kazmierz, Krosno in southern Poland, Jelenia Gora, Kasssel-Calden and Oelde. The first of nine successful finishers, he was back in Venlo on June 28 after starting on June 21 in the self-starter class. Ton Leenders, an airline pilot by profession, will again have to share his Antares 20E, with which he has now accumulated around 150 flying hours out of a total of 300 in gliders, with his three fellow pilots. The most prominent partner of the holder community is Professor Loek M. M. Boermans, for a long time head of the laminar wind tunnel at the TU Delft, where he also developed the profiles for the Antares.