Case study – Quintus a state of the art machine

Trig is the established choice for many glider pilots around the world. This includes Dutch competitive pilot Francois Jeremiasse. Francois competed at the 2013 World Gliding Championship in Uvadle Texas, against 130 fellow pilots from 25 countries. Flying a state of the art Quintus open class glider he attempted to beat the very best. Two weeks of competitive flying required all his skill and experience in a bid to become the fastest glider pilot, and winner – in the end he missed out on being in pole position but expects to improve as he gains more experience of this new machine.

His latest high performance glider has a revolutionary 23 metre aerofoil built for speed. With a glide ratio of 1:60, the Quintus can cover 60km of distance for every 1,000 metres of altitude. This is whilst the glider is flying at an impressive average speed of 145 kph. Francois said,

“The Quintus is like a Ferrari but surprisingly easy to fly; with light controls it gives great feedback so I feel the smallest thermal and bumps of rough air.

This helps me exploit every chance to react and climb in thermic air.” “I chose a Trig transponder for the Quintus as it’s so small and compact, it’s given me space to fit a larger airspeed indicator and variometer, crucial for competition flying. The TT21 transponder was easy to install and is simple to use, it makes long glider flights possible in Holland because crossing controlled airspace requires a transponder.”

But what makes a world class glider pilot and how did Francois start gliding?

“My parents moved to Haamstede when I was 13, close to a local gliding club. I remember watching the gliders with a growing determination to fly.” He still remembers vividly his first flight and early achievements of an A licence – solo flight, B licence – 5 solo flights and C licence – 30 minutes solo. “Gliding is a very social sport, the days are long. You fly, you eat lunch with friends, you fly, you put  gliders away at dusk and drink beer with friends.” He remembers the laughter of making sandwiches filled with shaving foam for his club mates. He was chased and nearly thrown into a pond by the victims of his prank.

At 17 Francois started flying in various Junior and then national competitions, gaining valuable experience. He flew in the World Air Competition in 1997 but believes the breakthrough for him came in 2004, “I flew the Nimbus 4 Open Class Glider for the first time that season, suddenly I felt that I had come home, the glider totally suited my flying style”. By 2007 he was the Dutch champion having flown the Nimbus 4 over three seasons. At the World Championships in Lusse, Germany in 2008 he finished 7th out of 42 pilots. At this level his typical average speed was 129 kph over a four hour competition task.

Competing came with occasional heart stopping moments, Francois shared, “I remember the 2009 European Championships, rounding the last turning point I was flying just below the German World Champion; it was a race to the finish even after a 630km flight. Over this last leg I lost too much height, I realised I could not make the airfield. Within sight of the field I descended over a small hill. below tree top height.

Suddenly I came eyeball to eyeball with a farmer on a tractor. He must have had the shock of his life, as I flew at almost tractor height!

Amazingly, with tiny bumps of thermal energy combined with ground effect I made the strip for an immediate cross wind landing. It took me an hour to recover from the adrenalin rush, but at least I had not lost points for landing out”.