Valley soaring pilot going to Germany for World Cup

Glider pilot Rick Walters is going to Germany this summer to participate in the World Cup near Potsdam.

Rick's a top-ranked glider pilot who has been flying gliders since 1972. He is a member of the 2008 USA Soaring Team Multi-Class.

His father was a World War II pilot who purchased a surplus glider at the end of the war. Rick said his first experience with flying was at the Reno Soaring Nationals in 1966.

The 53-year-old general contractor started racing in 1985 and has four wins in different classes.

Rick grew up in San Jose learned to fly in Fremont. He was an engineer until he moved to Carson Valley in 1990 for the soaring.

Rick's qualified in three classes, open, 18-meter and 15-meter, which describes the wingspread of the glider.

This won't be his first gliding trip to the old country. He is being sponsored by a glider factory in Germany.

"They have a preworld contest and I won that," he said. "I took a week before to practice in the French Alps. I could see the Matterhorn and the Mediterranean. As a glider pilot I've always wanted to go there."

The August trip will be to a field near Potsdam, about 100 kilometers southwest of Berlin in the old East German sector.

"It's a grass field in the former East Germany," he said. "It's cool to look at some of the former Russian sites they had."

Unlike Carson Valley, which has soaring year around, the soaring in Germany is thermal and therefore during the summer.

His father, Fred and uncle Carl were glider pilots during the 1940s and 1950s for the "Bishop Wave Project," which first explored the Sierra Wave.

Rick's a contractor who does green building projects. He operates Sage Design/Build.

n n n

Gardnerville author Frank Rocha and his granddaughter Melissa Ann have joined forces on Rocha's fourth novel, "Come Home, Santa."

Frank is a retired California police officer who wrote his books over the years.

"Come Home, Santa" is about how a 13-year-old and an old cowboy team up to help the cowboy's stepson save his Nevada ranch.

Melissa Ann is 15 and took the cover photos for Rocha's previous three novels, "The Scope of Death," "The Scope of Death II: The Secret of Pine Summit," and "Life Beyond the Courtyard."

n n n

It's spring and that means it's time to work on the Carson Valley Almanac. I apologize in advance if I seem distracted. I won't be as available as usual over the next few weeks while we put the magazine together.

The magazine out May 28 come heck or high water.

The biggest complaint I got last year was the lack of a calendar, so we'll include one this year.

n Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at or 782-5121, ext. 215.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment