Yael Margelisch is one of the superstars of paragliding. She inspires the community with great performances in hike&fly, cross country flights and competitions. Last week we had a #navitalk and some great flight guidelines came up. Read about her experiences, practices and advice she follows in this blog post.
How long have you been flying?
I have been flying since 2010. At the beginning I just wanted to fly. I was doing a lot of mountaineering and since I didn’t like going down on foot as much as I did going up, I started to fly. Then it quickly went over just mountaineering with flying down and started going more cross-country style flying. Although, it didn’t really feel as »going cross-country«. We were a group of friends, having a good time, and so we all started flying more, we didn’t care where we landed, we were just happy to get »out of the bowl«. We found it all super nice and it evolved into XC flying.
Would you categorize yourself as a beginner, cross-country pilot, or a competition pilot?
I think that it is pretty interesting, that I am doing everything. I am doing competition, and I am doing pretty well. I am doing XC flights, and also doing well. I also feel as a hike&fly pilot, but it is always difficult to race against boys. I used to do quite a lot of acro, but then I got a bit scared, so I stopped for a bit.
What is your biggest flying achievement so far?
I think to be the first to get over the 500 km line is quite something. It is always special to be the first in the world to achieve something. I think that was the most successful thing.
But I am also really proud of the performance in X-Alps. Even though I didn’t fly that much, I think it was great and it was so much fun being there.
How would you describe yourself as a pilot?
I am quite emotional, but I am a passionate person. I do what I do because I like and enjoy it, that’s the most important – to do it for yourself and because you like doing what you do. I can also be a bit stubborn and ambitious.
What is your favorite place to fly and why?
It is definitely flying in the Alps. When we have amazing conditions in the mountains, it is crazy to be there with a paraglider, in the middle of the mountains and super high. This is what I really like the most. And when these conditions are above your hometown (Verbier) it is even cooler.
How do you prepare for your flights?
I have some check lists. It is particularly important in hike&fly, because when you have an assistant, he has to know what you bring with you so everybody can check if they have everything. For competition I also have a check list with all the material I must take with me, so it makes packing pretty easy.
On competition I often listen to some music, it helps me relax. I don’t mind talking to people before on the take off, but sometimes I don’t want to get intoxicated with what others say. I rather make my own picture about the day when I get into the air.
How do you use your instruments in the air?
It is really important that you can rely on your instruments. I do 100 %, it never crashed in flight, so that is really good. I fly with a dedicated instrument and a phone.
I mostly check the vario, but for XC flying it is important to have information about the flight distance, flight time and how many hours you have left in the day. That is really important to reach the record. And in competition, the most important would be glide to goal.
Do you analyze your flying?
Actually, I don’t do it that much on the computer, or I mostly do it for myself. For example, if I am flying with other people and I lose the gaggle, I will check where I lost them, why and how can I correct that. I analyze what went wrong and what went well.
What was the greatest advice you received?
I think the most important thing for me is: »Keep cool and have fun.« If I start being emotional or getting angry with myself, then it is really unproductive for me. So, I really try to enjoy, stay calm and focus. That is the best advice I got.