The head of skywalk paragliders.
The 52-year-old has been in the paragliding business for almost three decades, but he is not a bit tired yet. You can say his motivation increases at the same time with experience. Arne is never too busy for any job and always gives 100%. You can meet him where it is most important. In doing so, he can sometimes seem a little hectic, but Arne lives true to the motto “get out of your comfort zone”. Self-development is what drives him, because he sees skywalk as a school for life. Arne likes to take time for people and always has an open ear, because further development is important to him for all skywalkers.
Arne, how did you get into paragliding?
While skiing, we were standing in line at the lift. Then I saw paragliders above me for the first time. I knew that I really wanted to do that and started a paragliding course with four friends in 1989.
And after that your career in the paragliding industry started?
Unfortunately not, it was a long road. I had my only crash while still in training. The instructor didn’t seem to have much idea and sent me tot he lee side. Fortunately, it was only a bruise on my spine in the end, but how to deal with it and what to learn from it? Besides the incredible euphoria for flying, I knew that you need a lot of knowledge to assess circumstances correctly. So I bought a paraglider, spent hours, days, weeks, months on the training hill and learned to handle the glider blindly. I learned to get flight time out of small hills from minimal height in the flatland, but was afraid as soon as I got too high.
In the flatland I met Armin Harich and we spent a lot of time together since then. In Greifenburg we made a glide through cloud holes. I lost my fear of the clouds and the next day I completed my first cross-country flight with him. The blockade in my head was solved, I could now fly at high altitude and loved cross-country flights in the flatland. In 1993 I supported Armin in his paragliding store, and subsequently we also held training seminars. In 1997 I started as a test pilot with Swing and got to know Manfred Kistler.
How was it for you to get started as a test pilot?
Exciting! I didn’t have much experience with extreme flight maneuvers, I hadn’t even done any SIV training before. I had to learn a lot of skills first, but thanks to my time on the training hill, I learned quickly. I still remember my first fullstall very well, but I never needed the rescue parachute.
What was your job in the early years of skywalk?
Since we first started with Flysurfer, I built kite bars, worked in order processing, advised end customers and packed every package myself. Later on, I worked at skywalk again as a test pilot and learned to develop kites with Jürgen Kraus. At some point I took over the management of R&D, followed by sales management and finally the management of skywalk paragliders.
Did your accident also influence your approach to glider development?
Since air is a medium in which humans are not at home, it was important for me to feel the air through the glider. As a pilot, you should know where you stand, without the glider being unstable. A big component for safety is active flying. But if the glider is too damped, the pilot may not know in which conditions he is flying.
What has been the most important product for you at skywalk so far?
I am especially happy about the X-ALPS5, because this is our first two-liner. In principle, however, every product is important, because it is always developed specifically for the target group and the pilot’s area of application. Whether it’s a MASALA, which provides a wonderful introduction to the 3rd dimension for sport-oriented pilots, a CHILI, which is a faithful companion for cross-country pilots, or the RANGE X-ALPS, which is now enjoying immense popularity throughout the market. The pilot should feel the benefit when he chooses one of our products.
Do you still have personal flying goals?
Thanks to the experience I have gained in my flying life, I enjoy every flight. It is an incredible privilege to be able to fly in my life.