Flying is my passion since 1991. I still remember and can actually feel the moment my hangglider lifted me off the beach on the Maasvlakte (The Netherlands). The thrill, the feeling of lightness and the freedom it promised. I couln’t wait to get my flying license so within one year I was able to free flight. I didn’t fly XC till 1997 as I had enough fun flying in the vicinity of the landingfield. Only after my first XC I enjoyed going for the unknown.
In 2003 I participated for the first time in the Dutch Open in Slovenia. In 2004 I joined the national team and scored a third place with the women team during the Worlds in Greifenburg Austria! Since then big competitions every year and lots of fun & flying.
When the Worlds in Tegelberg (Germany) in 2010 unfortunately resulted in no tasks at all because of the bad weather and in 2011 I had a silly accident during the Europeans I decided that it was enough. Koos also stopped flying big competitions and we concentrated on fun flying with friends.
In 2014 we decided we wanted to try paragliding and we entered a course with our youngest son. This fun week resulted in buying all the gear and enjoying a different kind of flying. In 2015 I had an unfortunate crash with my hangglider and I dislocated my shoulder (probably for the second time). With pain in my heart (and shoulder…) I decided to just focus on paragliding as I find landing a paraglider is a lot easier. Life is all about choices…
If you want to know more about my flying past, such as the Mountain Madness on Tegelberg in 2010, check out my previous blog. You will find posts with lot’s of videos that date back to 2007 and cover competitions, flying courses and fun flying. Some is in Dutch, some in English, all about being up in the sky!
Not knowing what to do in a holiday in 1993 I ended up with a friend in a France hanggliding course. The only instructions I understood were: “run-run-run”, “Pull-pull-pull”, “Push-push-push”. After one week I knew I was addicted. The feeling of being picked up by the glider and gliding 3D through the air at 2 meters above the ground was amazing. In the following years flying took over more and more parts of my life. The sport became a way of life. In ’98 I joined my first competition in which I met lots of other fanatics. It became my world for 15 years. Going from EC’s to Pre-WC, to Dutch nationals. Work was only neccesary to cover new equipment en travel expenditures. Luckily my boss accepted my addiction and let me go.
Gliding through smooth air changed to joining thermals and upstreams before mountains. Understanding weather and laws of nature. Looking for birds and join them in thermal updrafts to cloudbase. From cloud to cloud flying in almost all continents. With the competition experience abroad me and my flying mates started to fly cross country in Holland. Flying down wind over farmland and rivers. Always enough landing fields and no mountains blocking our route. In 2005 I flew from the southern border, near Belgium to Noordhorn in the North of Holland close to the North Sea border. 218,5 km, a new Dutch record.
We met in 2002 but it took till 2007 to become more than just flying mates. It is wonderful to share both passions; flying and traveling. Flying together is fun, but not easy because we are different pilots. Koos loves speeds and is more focussed on distance, Daphne is more cautious and likes to do mindful flying (the journey is the destination…).