Flying my First 200km Triangle at 18

Flying my First 200km Triangle at 18

It's still a dream for many pilots from my club to fly a 200km triangle. Exactly three years ago, I managed to close my first 200km from our main take off, Uwald in Italy.

The day looked pretty good with a high cloud base and with a moderate north wind. It was still very early in the season and all the mountains were covered in snow. I took off late at 11:15 AM. Thermals were still weak but after a while, I got high enough to cross the border to Austria. I flew along a mountain ridge and set the first turnpoint at the highest mountain of Austria, the Großglockner. It's always a pleasure flying over this beautiful mountain.

After the first turnpoint, I flew back to Italy. Due to the north wind, cold air arrived and the thermals got better and better. I had climbs of over 10m/s and reached a maximum altitude of 3600m. The main leg of the triangle was nearly 100km long and I set the second turnpoint in the Ridnaun valley. I have already been flying for over 4 hours and covered a distance of 110km. That moment, I got very optimistic about closing my first 200km triangle. Shortly after, I chose a bad line during a valley crossing and got very low to the next hill. Three weeks before that day, I was already very low at the same hill and didn't manage to climb up again. The wind got stronger and I was fighting for every meter. I gained some altitude but the strong wind destroyed the thermals and I got low again.

After 50 minutes, I luckily managed to climb up again to the cloud base. High up, conditions were good again and it was easy to fly to the dolomites. The dolomites are very famous for their breathtaking scenery so I took my time to enjoy the view. I set my last turnpoint at 18:05 PM near the Heiligkreuzkofel. I still had one hour left to fly the last 27km back home. I circled the last thermal at 18:50 and set off to the final glide with 2000m under my feet.

I landed after 8 hours and 42 minutes and closed a 205km triangle. It was a tough battle sometimes but the hard work paid off and I was very happy with my achievement. I was only 18 years old at the time and had only been flying for two years.

Currently, I’ve flown several 200km+ triangles. Check out some of my adventures at my Instagram page: @manu_hfmn



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