François started soaring at age 13 in the French Alps. He has lived in Knoxville, TN for the past 40 years. His home field is Chilhowee Gliderport in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. He was the program chairman of the 1999 SSA Convention in Knoxville, has written several articles for Soaring magazine, and has served as CD for several regional and national contests. He has logged about 3500 hours in gliders, has flown in many U.S. Nationals, is the current US Club Class National Champion, and has been a member of the U.S. Soaring Team seven times. He is keenly interested in the new generation of all-electric self-launching sailplanes and is looking forward to competing in this first World Gliding Championship of the 13.5m Class.
Tony learned to soar with the Silent Knights Glider Club in Ames, IA while attending Iowa State University in Aerospace Engineering. He began flying cross country in his Cherokee II, eventually making flights of 100 miles accompanied by many many off airport landings. After moving to Wichita, KS he joined the Kansas Soaring Association and flew Gold Distance in the Cherokee II as well as a Region 10 Contest which set the hook for contest flying. With a step up in performance to a Standard Cirrus the flights became longer, with Diamond Goal and Distance now achieved as well as a 525 mile free distance flight in 2014. In the 2014 Sports Class Nationals he flew a borrowed Apis to qualify for the US Team in the 13.5 Meter Class and in 2015 looks forward to flying the Pan American Gliding Championships and the 13.5 Meter World Championships. Tony is an active CFIG, Towpilot, and President of the Kansas Soaring Association. This is his first time as a member of the U.S. Soaring Team.
Leah has been crewing for Tony for the past nine-years and they have been married for five-years. They met as fellow students studying Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University. She has had her private pilot glider certificate for three-years and is the Secretary of the Women Sailplane Pilots Association “WSPA”. Leah works as an aircraft structural engineer and is a volunteer coach with the Wichita Rowing Association’s youth program. She learned how to drive a trailer as a canoe guide in college and is originally from Minnesota. When not chasing Tony she likes to read, row, ride horses, soar and be outside. Rather than the traditional steak dinner, after a 100*F straight out flight retrieve she prefers to be “paid” in ice cream.
Adam Kite- Road Trip Sidekick and Practice Crew
Adam Kite learned to fly gliders with the Silent Knights Glider Club in Ames, IA, where he met Tony. Adam joined the Utah Soaring Association in Logan, Utah right after graduating with a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University. Most of his time in gliders is spent instructing new glider students at the local FBO or in the club ships. When he has free time he enjoys flying cross country along the Wasatch Mountain range in his Jantar Standard 2. He achieved a third place ranking in his first and so far, only, regional soaring contest. Adam is proud to have completed his Gold badge and is working toward his Diamond badge.
If the weather is bad, you’ll find Adam in his shop refurbishing a wooden CARMAM M-200 to prepare it for the International Vintage Sailplane Meet next July or doing composite repairs. He keeps a backlog of glider projects to occupy his time throughout the winter months to ensure no free time is spared.
Peter von Tresckow – Tony’s Crew (Part 2)/Translator
Originally hailing from Germany, Peter didn’t start flying airplanes until coming to the US in the 1990’s. Since 2007 he has been flying gliders with the Wisconsin Soaring Society, and bought his first sailplane the next year. Inspirired by Tony’s cross country exploits Peter has his gold distance, diamond goal distance and more land-outs than any other club member. Currently Peter owns a H201 Libelle and a Ka-6 he is restoring.
When not flying his H201 Libelle or giving glider rides, Peter can be found cycling or tinkering with his motorcycle.