Overview I'm a big collector of soaring and aviation related movies. I
stock as many as possible. Some of them are
films and some are training videos. Please let me know if you are
aware of any good soaring videos which I should add to my site. I want
this to be a complete collection of current and old soaring films.
NTSC format for use in North America, South America and Japan. PAL is the most common
outside those areas. However, many PAL DVD players can play NTSC DVDS and
vice versa. I have found that PAL DVDs don't play in my U.S. "TV set
top" players (even though they are quite new), but they do play perfectly
well on my PC. I have shipped NTSC DVDs to many customers in Europe
and have not had any complaints. Below is a note from someone in Germany.
European VCRs and DVDs are either dual system capable for NTSC or PAL or
can be "unlocked" with codes found on the internet, and can be viewed on
Printable Video and Book List Sometimes it is nice to be able to print a complete list of the
available books and videos. The PDF file below is just such a list.
You can use it to highlight books and videos to be purchased by friends and
family members as gifts. Videos-And-Books-Printable.pdf
How to Order To order a product, click on the
button next to the product. When you are ready to complete your order, click on the
button. Click on the small images to view larger versions.
(Click on images below to view large versions)
1st World Soaring Grand
Prix DVD-R, Format: NTSC or PAL, Duration: 25
minutes, Released in 2005, Director: John Elphinstone
A dramatic half-hour in the sky, as some of the world's best sailplane
pilots race for the championship through the magnificent peaks of the
high French alps. The Grand Prix racing format is a new type of
sailplane racing. The contest is designed to make soaring
competition more interesting for the general public and for those
watching the event in real time. All gliders start at the same
time and fly the same course, so the first glider across the finish line
is the winner.
A Fine Week of Soaring DVD, Format: It is "Region 0", so it
will play anywhere in the world.
minutes, Released in 2003
Written, Produced and Directed by Juan Mandelbaum
An exciting insider’s view of the 2002 Mifflin, Pennsylvania regional contest
from the back seat of a Duo Discus high performance glider, with 15-time
US national champion Karl Striedieck at the controls. Flying at high
speed at treetop level over the Appalachian ridges or climbing under
majestic snow showers, we get a sense of how a champion plies his
craft. The supporting cast includes competition director Charlie
Spratt, two-time world champion George Moffat, still a formidable
competitor at 75, and the contest pilots and organizers.
Charlie Spratt, Competition
“The best film I have ever seen on contest flying. The photography
is super and the story line perfect.”
Doug Jacobs, 1985 World
“Ever wonder what its like to fly Pennsylvania’s fabled Allegheny
ridges at high speed and low altitude? How about a chance to climb
in a thermal up close and personal with a Nimbus 4, its enormous
wingspan somehow made delicate in circling flight? Want to know how
soaring competitions work? How tasks are set? Where to hunt for lift
on blue days or how to fly cloud streets? Or, best of all, how a
master like Karl Striedieck plies his craft, getting the most out of
glider and weather with keen decision making and flawless flying
technique, whistling his way across the sky? Well, you’re in for a
treat. Juan Mandelbaum’s new and exquisitely photographed film A
FINE WEEK OF SOARING shows you a Mifflin, PA regional contest from
the perspective of the participants and organizers. Plus, it puts
you in the back seat of a Duo Discus with Karl at the controls. Shot
from all conceivable angles from cameras mounted both inside and
outside the cockpit, this film is part soaring essay, part
documentary, part instructional work, and all soaring enjoyment.
You’ll not only get Karl’s insights, but hear from two time World
Champion George Moffat, the dean of American competition soaring, as
he reflects on the development of the sport over many decades. And
adding to the educational value of what you see on film are
interspersed GPS flight trace excerpts, masterfully displayed by the
3D terrain mapping features of the marvelous SeeYou Flight
Information Software, including head to head comparisons of multiple
sailplanes hurtling down the ridges. Whether you’re new to gliding,
a beginning cross country pilot, or an old competition soaring dog,
you’ll get a heady dose of information, pleasure and inspiration
from this fine film, and end up counting the days, hours and minutes
until you can get back in the air. Enjoy!”
George Moffat, 1970 and 1974
“Juan Mandelbaum's new film, A FINE WEEK OF SOARING, is a must-see
for anyone interested in sailplanes, especially contest flying.
Filmed at the Mifflin Regionals, it is marked by stunning
photography, much of featuring the famed Pennsylvania ridges, up
close and personal. In the 70 minute film, producer/director Juan,
an accomplished soaring pilot as well as a professional movie maker,
flies with Karl Striedieck in his Duo Discus on each contest day,
and we get to listen to The Master's laconic and often amusing
commentary on why he does what. Several other pilots are featured,
showing varied viewpoints on each day's flight, with experience
varying from a World Champion down to a relative newcomer. An
interesting and helpful added feature is the use of SeeYou animation
to show the tracks of some of the gliders. This film is a highly
professional job and a delight to watch.”
Argetina - Gliding in
the 5th Dimension - 3,000 km in a glider DVD, Format: NTSC or PAL, Duration:
45 minutes, Copyright 2003
Language: Includes versions with translations in English, German and
This is an excellent documentary of Klaus Ohlmann's amazing world record
3,008 km (1,869 mile) soaring flight in wave over the Andes in Argentina
in a Nimbus 4DM.
Review by Paul Remde
I love this film. The scenery and cinematography are awesome.
The views of clouds flowing around mountain peaks are spectacular.
I like how he shows water flowing over a rock and compares it with the
wind and clouds flowing over and around the mountain peaks. The
effect is very well done. The flight is truly an amazing one and
you get to relive it as he describes his thought process as the flight
unfolds. The film also includes a great interview with Klaus about
the flight and future flights. He talks about many topics
including how sleep deprivation is a major factor in flights like this
because late night weather analysis and early morning preparations don't
leave much time for sleep before the flight. At the end are more
breathtaking views of volcanic craters, impressive lenticular clouds,
etc. It is a beautiful, inspirational and motivational film.
Why does he call it "Gliding in the 5th Dimension"?... You'll have to
watch the film to find out.
Black Sands White Wings DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration: 25 minutes,
Released in 2004
Gliding in New Zealand is largely
dependent on the prevailing westerly wind which, when crossing the
country's backbone of mountains, provides wave conditions
extraordinaire. Spectacular heights and long distances have been
achieved, so much so, that pilots have now run out of land to increase
distances flown, much beyond the 2300 kms already attained. The "Roaring Forties", as New Zealanders know their
prevailing wind, constantly flows onto the east coast of both islands,
but in recent times pilots have been experimenting with lift that is
generated from the sand dunes that prevail along the coastal edge of the
North Island. This is the story of the first attempts - there is much
more to follow. The flight
takes three Auckland pilots from Raglan to Muriwai and back along the
beach for a total distance of more than 200 km (124 miles).
The Boy Who Flew With
Condors DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration: 49
minutes, Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, Region 1, Copyright: 1967
At last...the best of Sunday night TV is back! It's the legendary TV
show that's been popular with audiences for decades, and the longest
running weekly prime-time series in television history. The winner of
numerous awards, including seven Emmys, it's The Wonderful World of
Climb aboard and soar skyward towards everyone's dream to fly.
THE BOY WHO FLEW WITH CONDORS is the true-life adventure of Chris Jury,
a California teenager who goes from admiring the endangered condors'
flight to sailing sky-high with them. Inspired by his new friends, a
sailplane instructor, a NASA test pilot and a budding glider pilot, he
risks it all for airborne thrills. But to earn his wings, he'll have to
navigate a dangerous storm. Will he come through with flying colors?
Find out in an exciting story sure to bring out the spirit of adventure
in the entire family!
Starring (as themselves): Christopher
Jury, Margaret Birsner, Fred W. Harris (gliding instructor), Milton O.
Thompson (NASA test pilot)
Based On The
Story "The Sail Plane Story" By Ken Nelson
Teleplay By Homer McCoy
Narrated by Leslie Nielsen
Filmed in Tehachapi, California
Review by Paul Remde
The story follows a teenage boy as he gets into soaring and progresses
through his Gold and Diamond badges. There are many memorable
scenes (see below). It is fun to watch Chris learn to fly and dive
into cross-country flight and badge flying while being mentored by his
flight instructor. I especially enjoyed the 2-22 landing in a duck
pond, and the auto-launch behind an old jalopy. It was also
interesting watching the winch launches, ridge running and beach
landings at Torrey Pines. I also enjoyed having Walt Disney
introduce soaring and hear Leslie Nielsen as the narrator. This
was filmed in 1967 when a Schweizer 1-26 was a "high performance model".
It sure looks like fun to me! I remember watching this film when
young. It sparked my first interest in soaring. It is great
to see it again. I have recently had many soaring pilots tell me
that "this film got me started in soaring". The film appeals to so
many different types of people. It is good for kids to watch, it
is great for Schweizer 1-26 enthusiasts, and for those that love
watching classic gliders soaring over the cliffs at Torrey Pines.
The Boy Who Flew with Condors Click on the images below to view
Margaret Birsner does an off-field landing in a Schweizer 1-26
Margaret Birsner in a Schweizer 1-26
Ridge Running at Torrey Pines
Aerotow from the beach at Torrey Pines ends with the 1-26 in the
flying lessons in a Schweizer 2-22 with Fred Harris in the back
"baptized" after his 1st solo flight.
Water landing in a 2-22
Chris goes for his Gold Badge in this "high performance model"
course landing - sneaking up on an unsuspecting putter
Test Pilot Milt Thompson gives a quick tour of Edwards Air Force
Base including this X-15 "hypersonic glider".
Research Vehicle (LLRV) "Flying Bedstead"
NASA M2-F1 "Flying
Bathtub", Note the Schweizer tow ring and tow hook on it.
Harris, Chris and Margaret discussing plans for Chris' "Diamond
Chris flying for his Diamond C Badge in a Schweizer 1-26.
The goal is Bishop.
Difficulty near thunderstorm. "Altitude gone, visibility gone,
Dawn Flight DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration: 17 minutes,
Released in 1978
Dawn Flight is both a film about the wonder
of soaring and a film about self-discovery. The symbolic dawn in
the title bespeaks the sense of renewal that comes to the young glider
pilot when he conquers his fear and meets the challenges presented to
him by a mysterious pursuer.
Producer, Lawrence Lansburgh wanted to do
more than make a typical glider film:
"I wanted to take a fresh approach
in a soaring film, to use motorless flight not as an end in itself
but as a means to express something else that was on my mind."
Academy Award Nominee - Live Action Short
Overview from the DVD Case
Stunning aerial maneuvers, tree-top chases and hair-raising pursuits
through narrow rock canyons mark this sailplane adventure story.
Haunted by a mysterious superpilot, a young glider pilot first flees,
then confronts his challenger. In his fixed wing, 30-foot wingspan
glider (Schweizer 1-26) he finally draws abreast of the rival plane...
and learns who the pilot really is.
Remastered - This version is a
bit better quality than the previous version, but don't expect the moon. The original film used
did not yield great results.
The scene in which the pilot is
sleeping in a bed made from a glider fuselage is included in this
full-length version. Also, another scene is back in this
version which shows the pilot admiring and caressing his glider
early in the morning.
Interview with the star Denis
Commentary version with creators
talking over the film
Review by Paul Remde
I love this little
film. The loops and rolls in Schweizer 1-26 sailplanes are great
fun and the low altitude flying chase scenes are impressive
and fun to watch. I'm very happy that the full length version is
now available. I was very frustrated that some key scenes had been
removed from the previously available version. If you are
interested in cinematography you will find the new special features
(interview and commentary) interesting.
The photos above are from the case for the
new full-length version. The photos are not from scenes in the
movie, but rather from the bonus features.
The photos above are from the original
version and show scenes from the movie.
by Christopher Woods
DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration: 18 minutes, Released in
From the back cover:
In 1976, Chris Woods, then a student at the California Institute of the Fine Arts Film School, made this short documentary during the 43rd US Unlimited Class Soaring Nationals held at the storied El Mirage Glider Port in California's Mojave Desert. The nostalgic images in this film have become a time capsule from one of the greatest soaring sites in America that ceased operations in the mid-1980's.
Review by Paul Remde
This is Chris Woods' first soaring film. He later produced several excellent soaring films including: The Quiet Challenge and Running on Empty. It is a neat time capsule to the days when Libelle's and Glasflugel 604's and Nimbus's were the hot ships. It is neat to see Gus Briegleb in the film running the El Mirage Glider Port - which he did for over 30 years. Pilots that were soaring back in 1976 will probably recognize many of the pilots in the film. I recognize Hannes Linke. Let me know if you recognize other soaring pilots in the film. The dialog contains interviews with pilots about soaring and why it fascinates them. Any pilot that flew at El Mirage will love this film. It is also interesting to see how different crewing was back then. Crews would follow pilots around while on course and try to help them select suitable landing fields. Of course, the cinematography is excellent - as in all Chris Woods films. I thoroughly enjoyed this nice short film.
Gladiators of the Sky
DVD, Format: Available in NTSC or PAL, Duration: 90 minutes, Released in
The world's top pilots fly through
New Zealand's unforgiving Southern Alps in a new type of glider race -
The Grand Prix. This ruthless head-to-head racing - where height and
speed are constantly being gambled. Each race is over the most
challenging terrain - where one mistake could mean losing the race - and
having to attempt a safe landing between the towering peaks and the high
glaciers. Each pilot has to fly at the edge of his own abilities - and
the technical limits of his sophisticated aircraft. World beating
graphics, specialist air-to-air helicopter shots and over 30 miniature
cameras bring the race to life. Duration 60 minutes and a bonus chapter
of 30 minutes. Total Duration is 90 minutes.
Out and Return - A
closer look at the exciting sport of soaring
Duration: 15 minutes
By Bill Liscomb - LightWing Productions
This little film does of great job of showing "a day in the life of a
glider pilot" - from pulling the glider out of the trailer and
assembling it with the aide of a one-man rigging system, to aerotowing,
flying an out and return flight and landing back home and rolling up to
the trailer. It is great for those interested in what soaring is
about, or for showing your friends what you do in a typical day at the
gliderport. There are many shots from inside and outside the
glider - including the beautiful mountainous scenery around Warner
Springs, California, USA. The featured glider is a 304 CZ and the
pilot and producer is Bill Liscomb.
The Quiet Challenge -
Hilton Cup Soaring Camp Written, produced, photographed and directed by Chris Woods Format: NTSC, Duration: 28 minutes, 1985
Back Cover Review by George Moffat, Two-Time World Champion Newly digitally restored in DVD format, Chris Woods' 1985 file
The Quiet Challenge is a must-have item for anyone interested in
sailplane flying. This film, beautifully shot in the Nevada
mountains at Barron Hilton's famous Flying M Ranch, records the
star-studded 1984 Hilton Cup Soaring Camp.
Flying in to be narrator in his 1931 Waco,
John Denver, the legendary songwriter, brings his enthusiasm for all
things aeronautical to soaring and succeeds in getting his 200 mile Gold
'C' cross country in a Libelle. On the same day the great Kees
Musters, 1983 World Champion from The Netherlands, attempts a flight over three
times as long and lands only 20 miles short of a new World Record after
eleven hours in the air. The drama of long distance record
attempts, both for the pilots and their worried crews, is beautifully
portrayed, much aided by an excellent score by Richard Conrad. For
those of us who know and flew against such pilots as Helmut Reichmann,
Ingo Renner and Kees there is much nostalgia as well as beauty seeing
them again in their prime in this outstanding film.
Running On Empty - The
Hitachi Masters of Soaring Championships Written, produced, photographed and directed by Chris Woods Format: NTSC, Duration: 22 minutes, Filmed in 1987
Back Cover Review by Doug Jacobs, World
It's not often in life that you get to go around twice on a great thing,
but reviewing Chris Woods' masterfully produced Running on Empty
in its new digitally remastered DVD edition is one. Shot at the
1987 Hitachi Masters of Soaring competition in Estrella, Arizona, the
original captured the gleaming essence of high powered sailplane racing
as practiced by 20 of the world's best glider pilot who were asked to
participate in this by-invitation-only meet.
The in-flight shots have to be seen to be
believed, whether we're talking about gaggling or ridge running, and the
close-ups of pilots' faces while in flight are deep into the category of
"How'd they do that?" While complex racing strategies and the
mechanics of competition are made transparent by Chris Woods' focused
vision, he goes one step deeper - effectively exploring the backgrounds,
personalities, and motivations of this amazingly diverse group of
Narrated with great style by the
legendary Cliff Robertson, this production easily ranks as one of the
finest pieces ever made about motorless aviation. And for those
who've never seen it before? You're in for a treat!
Sailplane Grand Prix in
the Andes Format: Blu-ray (HD 1920 x 1080
pixels) or DVD (720 x 480 pixels), Available in NTSC or PAL formats
Duration: 24 minutes + other
short films (see below), Filmed: January, 2010
You never knew gliders could do this: The
speed, the adrenaline, the breath-taking beauty.
Sailplane Grand Prix in the Andes is
quite possibly the most extraordinary aerial footage you have ever seen.
It's the buzz of world championship
glider racing blended with the best of High Definition technology to
bring the battle for the skies into your living room.
Welcome to Sailplane Grand Prix in the
Andes, a multi-feature Blu-ray & DVD tracing the story of one of the
most beautiful sports on earth.
Sailplane Grand Prix in the Andes
(full version - 24 minutes) - The one that started it all, this
is the cut that was televised in more than 160 countries around the
world during the summer of 2010. Sailplane racing like it's
never been filmed before.
Sailplane Grand Prix in the
Andes' little brother (12 minutes, Dolby 5.1) - a shorter cut,
but the audio to the max. Enjoy.
Dinámica - One day in Sailplane
Grand Prix - focusing on one decisive day's racing at the World
Championship Finals in Santiago. An insider's view and a
pumping soundtrack. (Fantastic! This is the highlight of
the DVD in my opinion as a contest soaring pilot. - Paul Remde)
The "Aquarium" shots - throw
out your fish tank; we bring you more than 35 minutes of stupendous
High Definition sailplane footage set to original music. Turn
on, turn up, soar away... Or just have it on in the background at
Kawa in the cockpit - fly
with reigning world champion Sebastian Kawa as he puts his aircraft
through its paces high in the Andean Cordillera.
Day Six raw race animation -
One for the sailplane nerds among us: watch how tactics and lift,
experience and nerve play out with the complete race at 20 x real
time. Pilot course and tracking over mapped terrain through a
six-point 330 km competitive flight. No sound.
I just finished watching the film in HD (high-definition) on my computer. It is
fantastic! The cinematography is awesome! The close-up
views of the sailplanes in flight over the Andes are spectacular.
My favorite shot has the camera flying through the Andes mountains -
introducing the contest "playground". As the camera ship (not
visible in the shot) descends, eight sailplanes seem to rise up in
front. They are all flying together - perhaps on final glide.
This is the first scene showing sailplanes - and it is dramatic and
beautiful! The detail and clarity of the entire film are
excellent. I can't wait to watch it on a big HD TV. This is
the first soaring film available in high-definition (HD) on a Blu-ray
However, the film does not try to document the contest.
It does not show the daily results or the drama as the leaders
race home at the end of a tight race day. As a soaring contest
pilot I wish it did include much more in the way of race details.
It does show the winners of the contest about halfway through the film.
I guess the film is targeted at a more general (wider) audience than
just sailplane racing pilots. However, the extra features "Dinámica
- One day in Sailplane Grand Prix", "The "Aquarium" shots", "Kawa in the
cockpit" and "Day Six raw race animation" were created with us sailplane
pilots in mind. Dinámica is a fantastic segment - my favorite.
The film does do a great job of showing sailplanes in
flight in spectacular surroundings. It also is great at explaining
what soaring is about and how elegant and lovely and efficient
Click the play button in the images below to view preview clips of the film.
Click the "HD" icon to enable HD resolution viewing and then click the
small icon with 4 arrows in the lower right corner of the video to view
it full-screen in HD. It is awesome in HD!
Silent Wings - The
American Glider Pilots of WWII
DVD, Format: NTSC (Region 0, so it can be viewed in any country)
Duration: 113 minutes, Released in 2007
Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby®
16:9 aspect ratio enhanced for widescreen TV
Color and Black and White
From the early race to build gliders to the D-Day invasion at Normandy
to Nazi Germany’s final surrender, Silent Wings – The American Glider
Pilots of WWII narrated by Hal Holbrook, reveals the critical role
gliders played in World War II offensives. Through rare archival footage
and photographs, the film places the audience right at the center of the
action in the dangerous world of the American glider pilot.
Narrator by Hal Holbrook
During WWII, 6000 young Americans volunteered to fly large unarmed cargo
gliders into battle. These brave men were an eclectic band of misfits.
One general called them “the bastards nobody wanted and the most
uninhibited individuals ever to wear an American uniform.”
Yet for these glider pilots every mission was do-or-die. It was their
task to repeatedly risk their lives landing the men and tools of war
deep within enemy-held territory, often in complete darkness, using only
a stopwatch to navigate.
They had no motor, no parachutes and no second chances.
Silent Wings Features
Two broadcast legends Andy Rooney
and Walter Cronkite who glided into Holland with the 101st Airborne
Division in 1944.
Archival footage and photos
Interviews with glider veterans
"I don't think the 101st Airborne thought
that this was a terribly difficult landing, but to me it was a scene
from Hell". - Walter Cronkite
There will be an advanced showing of this
film at the 2007 Soaring Society of America Convention on Friday,
So You Want To Fly
DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration: 1 hr. 38 minutes, Released in 2005
From the Sporty's "What you should know" series
Preview Video - Note: The preview video refers to the film as
"Transition to Gliders" which was the previous name for this product.
They changed the name to "So You Want to Fly Gliders" because it is a
good video for all new glider pilots, not just power pilots
transitioning to gliders.
Perfect for power pilots who want to discover the joy of soaring - or
for beginning glider students - this new video shows you “what you
should know” about flying gliders. Bob Wander, noted glider instructor
and best-selling author, joins the Sporty’s Academy team to take you
into the cockpit of several training gliders. With exciting in-flight
footage, you’ll see maneuvers from inside and outside the aircraft, and
you’ll ride along for a self-powered launch, an aero-tow and a winch
launch. Also covers aerodynamics, stalls, spins, speed-to-fly, spirals,
variometers, all training maneuvers, soaring weather (including ridge,
wave, convergence and thermal soaring) and much more. State of the art
3D graphics and animations are used throughout to explain complicated
subjects. This comprehensive program will prepare you for your FAA
glider checkride and beyond.
From the Back Cover of the DVD Case So You Want To Fly Gliders, part of the What You Should Know
series, gives power pilots and anyone interested in gliders insight into
and an appreciation for powerless flight.
Whether you want to add a glider rating
to your existing pilot privileges or just learn the ins and outs of
soaring flight, Sporty's shows you how.
Bob Wander, noted glider instructor and
the author of the Gliding Made Easy series of books, joins the
Sporty's Academy team to lead you on your video journey from glider
neophyte to glider aficionado.
So You Want To Fly Gliders takes
you inside the cockpit of several training gliders to give you a real
sense of what soaring and gliding are all about. Outside the
glider, you will see how your control inputs are affecting the aircraft.
State of the art 3-D graphics & animations are used throughout the
program to explain more complex concepts. You will learn what you
should know and enjoy yourself as well during this exciting program.
The program starts with an introduction
to the FAA training requirements and the glider launch methods.
You will ride along as we self-launch in a motorgliders, get towed aloft
by an airplane, and get pulled into the air by a ground based winch.
You will see how gliders differ from airplanes and be introduced to the
aerodynamics of gliding flight. Along the way, you will see all of
the maneuvers and cover the topics required for your glider checkride.
Weather as it relates to soaring as well as methods to find and harness
the lift that Mother Nature provides are also included.
So come along for the ride as Sporty's
shows you yet another way to keep flying fun!
Soaring, "John Roake
Provides an Introduction to Soaring" Formerly called "Soaring 'Your Sport' for the New Millennium"
DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration: 14 minutes, Released in
Produced by John Roake, Directed by Gavin Wills
Great introductory video for handing out to potential new soaring
pilots. Filmed in New Zealand, it includes footage in the New
Zealand alps and scenes showing a young female pilot named Lucy learning to fly
- as well as footage from the World Gliding Championships in New Zealand.
The footage comes from the films "Windborn
- A Journey Into Flight" (Lucy Learns to Fly) and "Champions
of the Wave". Excellent quality and information. A great,
low cost introduction to
soaring. This is the DVD I give to people interested in getting into
Note: The most recent batch of these DVDs are titled "John Roake
provides and introduction to Soaring" on the front of the DVD, but when
viewing the film it is called "Soaring 'Your Sport' For the New
Millennium". Regardless of the name, it is a great film.
The Sun Ship Game Directed by Robert Drew
DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration 82 minutes, Region Code: It is "Region
free", so it
will play anywhere in the world.
This new DVD release is from a new video
master made from a film print, so it looks super. As you can see
in the photos at right, the new version of the film is much sharper and
more vivid. And yes, it
does include the Bee Gees music - as in the original film.
menu has 9 chapters, a photo gallery and closed captioning. On the
DVD box itself is an essay by Robert Drew on "Why and How The Sun Ship
Game" (see DVD case images at right) and a review Doug Jacobs (see
DVD case back cover at right, and review text below).
Doug Jacobs - Former
World and 8 time U.S. National Soaring Champion
If you're like me, The Sun Ship Game
serves as the standard against which to measure all attempts to
convey soaring in motion pictures. Centered on a remarkably
determined George Moffat's pursuit of a National Championship on the
way to multiple World Championships, it captures like none other the
majesty of the slender wing and graceful vulnerability of glider
against the big, big sky and heartstopping terrain of Marfa Texas.
Yet even more compelling is its captivating story of eyeball to
eyeball struggle between pilots to win, to excel against one
another, to accept the tribulations, sacrifices and danger of this
beautiful but little known sport despite its meager prizes.
Bob Drew, noted documentarian, pulled
this triumph together in the early 1970's, capturing on film the
amazing aerial footage never before seen of gliding competitions and
blending it with an up close and personal window into the
personalities and aspirations the pilot contenders, their families
and friends, strengths and flaws, into an all-too-human montage of
the soaring scene. The result was a classic that has inspired
and motivated hundreds of soaring pilots of my generation.
However, inspired as we were, we were
equally annoyed that well traveled films in the possession of the
SSA were often scratched, patched and in generally poor quality.
An attempt to save the work through converting it to VHS was only
partially successful, but nonetheless cassettes were snapped up by
collectors eager to have their own copy of this remarkable story.
Now comes deliverance - Bob has taken
the original masters and professionally converted them to DVD
format. Back is the amazing clarity and color quality of the
original film and terrific sound (especially if you're a BeeGee's
fan - break out the paisley!) of the original for you to savor
without the distractions of failing media.
The chance to own and view this work
should not be missed by any serious soaring pilot, and studied
intensely by those who chose to compete. A masterful story,
one that belongs in the collection of everyone that shares our
devotion to this compelling and amazing sport.
Review by Paul Remde I'm very happy that this classic soaring film is available on DVD.
It is a fun and interesting trip back in time. It is more than a
soaring documentary, it is a film which digs deep into the skills and
philosophies of 2 very different soaring contest pilots: George Moffat
(contest number XX) and Gleb Derujinsky (contest number CI). The
action begins at the 1969 Sugarbush Regional Soaring Contest and ends at
the 1969 U.S. Nationals Soaring Contest in Marfa, TX. Toward the
end of the film the battle ends up being between George Moffat and
Wally Scott. This is a time when a "flight computer" was a
circular paper glide calculator - and they were not adopted as necessary
"technology" by all glider pilots. The film documents many
interesting off-airport landings. Some of these pilots were
willing to risk landing straight ahead (on course) in order to use every
bit of altitude to get a few additional point for the day. One of
my favorite scenes shows George using a saw to cut off the tip of his
sailplane's wing and attach longer tips. It is hard to watch the sawing,
but neat to see what was done to improve the performance of the
sailplane. It is also interesting that during this era every
contest pilot had a dedicated crew that followed them around the course
with the glider trailer in tow. There is high-drama near the end
of the film as George makes a bold move on the last long leg of the
final task in the U.S. Nationals. I love this film!
George Moffat's reaction to the DVD
version - as printed in the January 2010 edition of
"The Sun Ship Game, Bob Drew's
remarkable film of the 1969 Nationals in Marfa, Texas, has long been
the best-ever film of what competition soaring is all about.
In it he captures not only the beauty of soaring but also the
dramatic aspects of the competition and the tensions between the
leaders, their differing philosophies, and their wives, families and
crews. Now Bob Drew has taken the original master and
professionally converted it to DVD. I recently saw the result,
and it is breathtaking as to color, sound and clarity. I did
the flying for most of the thunderstorm scenes, and the sharp color
and clarity brought them vividly back to life. Nothing in this
film was staged. Everything you see was filmed as it happened.
This new DVD version is surprisingly vivid and new despite having
been filmed forty years ago."
Below is an excellent overview found on
the rec.aviation.soaring newsgroup. It was posted by Aldo Cernezzi.
He states that it was provided to him by "a close friend of the
"Some words on the film: As far as I
know, The Sun Ship Game is the only real movie, not a documentary,
dedicated to soaring competitions. It has was filmed at great
expense (about 300-400,000 U.S. dollars in 1969, equivalent to at
least 10 million Dollars today), privately financed without any
perspective of reasonable revenues -- by the Director and producer
Robert Drew, for one of its great passions, soaring.
I consider Bob an exceptional person,
and his movie, which in 20 years I have probably watched and shown
over 20 times, is a true masterpiece dedicated to soaring
competitions. Its beauty is revealed gradually, when, through
repeated viewing, one understands the untold in the conversations
between the pilots. I recall in particular a confession: "…soaring
pilots - a champion is speaking -we become aware that our talent,
when we win a contest, is inexplicable; and we live therefore with
the fear of losing it…"
I suggest a visit here:
http://www.drewassociates.net/ to see how much and what Robert
Drew, as one of the prominent figures of the "cinema verité", has
filmed in its professional life. This movie is a wonderful "gift"
that this director-soaring pilot has given to the world of soaring.
The plot of the narration is based on
the major difference in the personalities of the two protagonists,
Gleb Derujinsky, CI (an advertizing director, the first one to
appear in the film, on a bicycle in New York) and George Moffat, XX
(a professor, who appears in a classroom teaching English
literature). Gleb, an instinctive pilot, is described as "unbeatable
when he's in top condition", but he's also sometimes inconsistent.
Moffat, on the other hand, is a cold "analytical-numerical" pilot
flying a modified Cirrus with longer wings, but we finally see that
he's also "human after all" through his flying and the suffering
against Wally Scott who had a new ASW-12.
George will win (at least) two World Championships, Marfa 1970 and
Waikerie 1974. Gleb, instead, will drive form Marfa to Mexico in
order to get a divorce, always followed by Bob's movie cameras.
The movie features a gallery of prominent figures of soaring,
including, Klaus Holighaus, Stouffs Sr., and Hal "The Judge"
Lattimore, contest director."
The images above are from the new
version of the film. The images below are from an old copy of the film.
You can see that the images above are sharper and more vivid. If
you click on the images you can view the large images side-by-side.
Windborn - A Journey
into Flight (Lucy Learns to Fly) and Champions of the Wave
DVD, Format: NTSC, Duration: 110 minutes, Released in ~1998
These 2 titles (formerly available as 2 VHS videos) have now been
combined into a single DVD.
Produced by John Roake
Windborn - A Journey into Flight
Have you ever dreamed of flying, soaring high above land, free as a
bird? Teenager Lucy Wills did, and this is her story. With
her father Gavin as her guide and instructor, Lucy makes her first
nervous flights through to her long-dreamed-of first solo as a glider
pilot. We also join Lucy, her father and uncle as they attempt an
historic flight which begins at New Zealand's highest peak, Mount Cook,
and ends in rugged and spectacular Fiordland. It is a journey that
is not only dangerous and challenging but also one of great beauty.
Champions of the Wave Omarama, New Zealand, is one of the best gliding locations in the
world. Here a unique weather condition forms, know as 'The Wave',
attracting glider pilots from around the world who come to challenge
this famous and thrilling phenomenon, in the World Gliding
Championships. With cameras mounted inside and outside the
gliders, we take viewers with these pilots as they soar over the
Southern Alps at speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph).
The battle is on to determine who will become the Champions of the Wave.
Zulu Romeo: Good Start -
1974 World Gliding Championships, Waikerie, South Australia
Produced and Directed by Johnnie Walker DVD, Format: NTSC and PAL, Duration: 50 minutes
Digital editing and format conversions by Kempton Izuno - Thank you
DVD and DVD case artwork by Paul Remde
Note: The original masters of this film were
destroyed by fire many years ago. This is a digital copy made at
some time, by someone. The quality is only OK. As you can
see in the image captures below, the colors are not vivid and there
are defects such as streaks and fuzz on the film, etc. It is not
horrible, but it is not great either. A few minutes into the film,
you won't notice the quality issues. The audio is quite good and
the story is great. I'm confident you'll enjoy it very much as
long as you don't expect high quality or high-definition.
Review by Paul Remde This is a great soaring film. If you love "The Sun Ship Game",
you'll also love this film. It has many soaring legends in it: Helmut
Reichmann, George Moffat, Ingo Renner, Tommy Beltz, Hans-Werner Grosse,
Klaus Holighaus, etc. It does a great job of documenting the excitement
of the contest. My favorite feature of the film is the way the film
makers asked the same questions of several pilots, and received
extremely different responses. "Is physical conditioning important?",
"Is the crew as important as the pilot?", "Are you flying for your
country, or yourself?", etc. The answers really give insights into the
minds of the competitors. I love this film.
It has been fun working with
producer/director Johnnie Walker to bring this wonderful documentary
back to you. This is a legal and approved version of this film.
Free 4-page Insert Included
I have included a 4-page insert inside the DVD case which includes black
and white promotional materials from the original film release in 1974. It
is a neat trip back in time!
Notes from George Moffat
"What a wonderful thing that Zulu Romeo: Good Start will live again on
DVD! For me the Championship was memorable not only for winning, but
because it was the most nearly perfect contest I ever flew in some forty
years of competing, with an average daily score of 975 points. Johnnie
Walker, the producer of the film, has done an extraordinary job of
capturing the tension and the drama of the contest together with the
interaction of the leading pilots and their crews. The film is very much
a human interest story as well as a gliding story at the top level of
Notes from Ingo Renner
"Zulu Romeo: Good Start documents the first Australian World Comps - up
to that point in time the best organized World Comps with the best
weather. Never before had there been twelve competition days. I was very
fortunate to be a part of this contest and made many lifetime friends
with competitors and crews. Quite often in my life I look back at this
time with great pleasure and the movie is a wonderful record of these
Notes from Hans-Werner Grosse
"The seventies were the great years of experimenting and finding out how
to improve your cross-country efficiency. Championships were the best
testbeds. Wing loading was a big topic. Some pilots drilled holes
through their spars and flew with wings full of water and 70 kg of lead
behind their heads. They were probably too heavy. My Schleicher ASW 17
was flying with 80 L of ballast. That was not enough. Start line games
were invented. Helmut was very good at it. With the knowledge of the
early seventies you would not go far in modern comps, but it was a more