Friday Night Interview with Nicole Schmidt


Hi Nicole,

Please shortly describe your flying accomplishments to date:

Instructor since 2006
Tandempilot since 2006

Sporting Carreer:

1st Place Newcomer Class XCountry 2007
8th Place Solo overall Acrolatino 2010 –
my first Acrocompetition Participating in Acro APWT since 2011
3rd Place Synchro Acro Invitational Beijing with Xandi Meschuh 2012
1st Place Synchro female APWC with Alexandra Grillmayer overall 2012
1st Place Solo female APWC Acroaria/Italy 2014
1st Place Solo female APWC Acromax/Italy 2015
1st Place Solo female APWC Acroaria/Italy 2015
17th Place Solo overall World Air Games Dubai – flying Olympia

How long have you been flying?

Since 2004 a lot! 

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

I have been living in Innsbruck/Austria for quite a while! For more than 10 years now I'm in Tyrol and I love it and I am sure I will stay a bit longer! I was born in the east of Germany in Karl-Marx Stadt! Now it is called Chemnitz! After I finished school I left for studying and traveling! Well I traveled more than I studied! I spend a long time in Scotland and I nearly moved there! After not being sure what to do – study, travel, moving – I decided to move on to live in Spain! There I stumbled over Paragliding by a small sign!

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

For Acro I think it is Francois Ragolski! I was fascinated about his style and his simplicity to move in the air – always with a smile and a „Hello“! Even years later after becoming famous he has still the same style!

In XCountry it must be Chrigel Maurer!

Are you as passionate about another sport?

I am passionate about kitesurfing and snowkiting but I don’t have so much time for it! Sometime I wish I could stop flying Acro and just dive into kitesurfing! So I'm also passionate a little about other sports like running, swimming and XCountry skiing and I love Yoga!

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

Kitesurfing! Or is this flying? Mhhh, I don’t mind not flying in kiting ;) ! I would go hiking a lot more if not flying and not kiting – just like I did it before I started paragliding – I was staying in the mountains for days, sleeping up there and enjoying the top of the world!

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

Getting less and less! Before I was flying nearly every single minute I could fly! So I was flying nearly every day! Now with my studies I just fly few time a month!

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

Infinit! The way to learn Infinit is hard because it is a long maneuver where you find so many strange situations in the beginnning! In the end it is the easiest one! You built up a lot of experience while learning Infint slowly! 

What trick are you learning at the moment?

It is winter and I am totaly busy studying! I try to get used to my new wing if I find the time! But I have not much at the moment! 

Have you invented any tricks or connections?

No, no! I m happy to fly the existing manouveres more or less both sides! That is enough for me and there is still a lot to train! It is fun and I love training! 

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

I don’t mind where as long as I'm happy! 

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

No! This is too fast for me! But I wanna do a tandem with someone! Maybe I will change my mind!

Does anybody else in your family fly?


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

Enjoy flying – have fun!

Take care! The glider knows the manovere but you might not know it good enough!

Respect your limits!

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

There is a good organisation behind! Sport is a living in France and it is supported! I lived in France for 3 years and I wish I could be french! 

Where are you intending to fly this year ?

Let’s see! My focus is not any more in winning the World Cup but I might go to enjoy the FAMILY and have fun!

How many times have you thrown your reserve?

Once during a XC-Flight while testing a new harness what was not set up properly with a XCountry competition glider! Once during a heli drop in Norway!

Should paragliding become olympic?

Sure! It already exists! The World Air Games in Dubai in december 2015 was Olympia for many flying sports and this year was the first time when they invited Paragliding Acrobatic Solo/Synchro! It was amazing to get to know other pilots in their sports and even for them it was interesting to see what WE can do with a glider! Perfect event! It always should be like this!

But I think it would be nice to have smaller national competitons as well to help new pilot into the sport! Austria and Germany lags back a lot in this field!

What is your profession/job/education?

I worked many years as a ski and paragliding instructor in Austria and France. I did a degree in grafic design but last year I started studying physiotherapy here in Austria.

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

It never stoped! I live in Tyrol and I'm German!

Which was your most memorable flight and why?

There are many! I even remembered my first solo flight! I remember this feeling of freedom after taking off! I remember many XCountry flights where just incredibly beautyful things happened – passing by eagels, flying with them, being guided by them, climbing up inbetween clouds, jumping over to different valleys, the view of being high up in the sky ... ! In Acro I remember my first Infinit and I think I will keep remembering my first helidrop in Dubai for a while (a chicken is calm in comparison)!

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

My instructor! Where I learnt flying there was just me and him flying! Gracias Carlos Gonzalez!

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

Stylish way of showing paragling to the world!

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

Big enough to sleep in it! Always open to the east. Choose good company with wine or beer wherever from! Harry Potter and a cat! 

Thanks for that Nicole!

Nicole is an Aloft Pro Team member.


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