In issue 146: Yassen Savov On Fire

If it’s there, pilots will flirt with it. And on this day boy did they have some fun! Off-the-scale lift measured at 19m/s as pilots flew into ‘fire thermals’. Yassen Savov relives his reserve ride through the inferno

Gliders at the Superfinal in Colombia. Photo: Federico Rios

Gliders at the Superfinal in Colombia. Photo: Federico Rios

“A moment later my glider reinflates behind me with one or two cravats, then shoots down below me, but not enough for me to fall inside, then comes back above me and in the next moment quickly spins above my head … I’m pushing the risers apart in an effort to untwist myself, and then I feel them closing on my right hand.”

The PWCA Superfinal in Colombia will go down in history as the ‘Fire Thermal Superfinal’. Monster columns of ash, smoke and angry air rising up from petrol-fuelled sugarcane fires.

If it’s there, pilots will flirt with it. And on this day boy did they have some fun! Off-the-scale lift measured peaking at 19m/s and smoking hot displays of glider (out-of-) control everywhere.

Most got away with it – except for European Champion Yassen Savov who, twisted up and directly above the fire, looked down and thought, ‘Now what?’

Writing in the March/April issue of Cross Country magazine Yassen re-lives the flight from the difficult backwind on launch to the fear of falling into a raging fire to the moment he touches down “like the Bulgarian ballerina I am.”

It’s an absolute classic tale, brilliantly told by an expert pilot who, for a moment in Colombia, thought he really was, On Fire!

Out now in the March / April issue of Cross Country magazine.


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