Friday Night Interview with Simon Winkler

Hi Simon,

Please shortly describe your flying accomplishments to date: 

SIV – Instructor since 2011
Testpilot DHV e.V. since 2013

Sporting Carreer:
4th Place Solo APWC Acrojam 2011
1st Place Synchro Acro Invitational Beijing 2013
Participating in APWT since 2010

How long have you been flying?

My first flight with a paraglider by myself was, when I was 12 years old. Before that I had the chance to get airborne with a tandem paraglider or in a trike with the friends of my father. He is a hang glider pilot since the early 80’s. At first my parents were not very happy about my interests in flying. They said I should go play soccer or tennis. That’s maybe why it got even more interesting. With 14 I started my licence in Austria. So this year is my 10th year I am official allowed to paraglide ;)

Where do you currently live? Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I grew up in the middle of Germany – in the flatlands of the north part of Bavaria close to the Czech border. That’s the place where I grew up and went to school. But at the age of 18, after finishing school, I moved to lake Achensee in the Alps of Austria. Since the beginning of my tourism study I have my base in Innsbruck/Austria.

Who do you think is the most talented acro / XC pilot at the moment? 

In Acro? I think it’s Francois Ragolski and Tim Alongi. They have the most skills in all parts of Paragliding and they are really flying their own style!

XC is difficult - there are so many Pilots and I am not really in the scene. But for sure one of the German National Team. HEHE

Are you as passionate about another sport? 

I really love Outdoorsports. Especially enduro/downhill MTB in Summer and skiing pow in Winter. Maybe I love skiing most of all the sports I am doing – but I am still technically very bad at it, because I just started 3 years ago. So my friends still call me “Piefke” (It’s a bad word for a german tourist in Austria).

If for some reason you couldn't fly, what would you invest your time and energy into?

Friends and probably other Sports like skiing and MTB. 

How many days a year do you train on average? / How many days do you fly per year? 

It becomes less and less every year but it’s still enough to keep my level and to even add some new tricks like the twisted stuff. Due to my Job I fly still a lot – but not acro.

What was the hardest trick to learn for you and why? 

Infinite Tumbling on my Team5 Black 16. Why? because after some really hot situations I recognized that my gliderhad a production mistake and was not able to infinite tumble…

What trick are you learning at the moment? 

After getting the twisted rhythmic last year - I will continue with the twisted tumbling ;)

Have you invented any tricks or connections? 

I am a little coward. So I always have like one year of delay in getting the new tricks. But maybe that’s why I never had to throw my rescue in acro paragliding.

If you could only fly one location for the rest of your life which would it be? 


Have you ever tried hang gliding? If yes, how was it? 

I tried it once with the one of my father. But I just ran down the training hill. I think it’s a really awesome part of our sport. I am definitely going to learn it in the near future.

Does anybody else in your family fly? 

Yes, my Dad.

What is your top 3 tips for acro / XC beginners?

Go step by step!
Don’t switch to an acro glider to early!
Fly for yourself – not for others!

Why do you think France has so many pilots and America so few? 

Good question! I don’t know..

Where are you intending to fly this year? 

I will stay in Austria, flying in the Alps.

How many times have you thrown your reserve? 

Once during a XC-Flight with a competition prototype wing. Front collapse to a big ball of textile in very low altitude..

Should paragliding become olympic?


What is your profession/job/education?

I studied Tourism in Austria and finished it this year with a Bachelor-Degree. But I am working as a Paragliding Instructor since I am 19 years old. Now I am working more and more for the German federation of Paragliding – the DHV e.V.

What did people tease you about when you were a kid? 

I was/am a horrible soccer player – in a country where only soccer exists.

Which was your most memorable flight and why? 

Puh there are so many. Little things like catching a thermal on a 30m hill and going very high, or my first XC flight with top landing a “Alm” when I was 15years old…. The latest was, doing an Infinity during sunset at the Red Himalaya Dune in Sossusvlej/Namibia – without rescues.

Who was your hero/role model when you started paragliding? 

Xandi Meschuh and Bernd Hornböck, The Team Against the Grain from Austria.
It’s funny because I still have my very first Helmet with autographs of them on it.. Now they are good friends.

Describe Aloft - Boundary Layer Apparel in less than ten words! 

Finally a paragliding clothing brand with style.

Mini or Jeep? Thai curry or Fish'n Chips? British wine or French beer? Schwarzenegger or Stallone? Dogs or Cats?

VW Bully, Bavarian Weißwurst with Brezel, Tegernseer Hell Beer, Bruce Willis, ok..and Dogs ;)

Thanks for that Simon!

Simon is an Aloft Pro Team member


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