The book "Za modré obzory" ("Beyond The Blue Horizons") reports on the making of the world soaring records by Hana Zejdová (with the assistance of her father) during the "Kangaroo Expeditions - Soaring in Australia", over the past decade. Hana holds more world records than any other person in the soaring history (49 records), and in 1999 was awarded the aviation world's most-prestigious Otto Lilienthal Medal.
The book is printed on chalk paper. On eighty pages the reader can read the fascinating accounts of making of the world records during the expeditions, and view the results achieved. Eighty five pages contain color photos. The book is written in Czech with an English summary.
Beyond The Blue Horizons
PhDr. Dusan Schneider, Author
In this book we present two record-breaking champion glider pilots, Mr. Vladislav Zejda (1934), and especially his daughter, Miss Hana Zejdova (1962). In the course of our narration, we will mention some details of that beautiful silent sport and of Australia, where Hana since the beginning of the 1990s has attained a number of national and world gliding records, so as to break them in a relatively short time again and again. To make a comparison, we are going to offer the life stories of another two woman pilots, Hanna Reitsch from Germany and Amelia Earhart from the USA.
Hana Zejdova started gliding at the age of sixteen and so far she has taken part in a lot of national and international competitions and championships, and achieved good placings at them. As early as 1997, she held the full 40% of all female world gliding records and she even beat some of the world records of men. On January 4, 1997, as the first glider pilot in the Czech Republic, she was successful in reaching the 1,000 km-distance: 1,025 km and 100 m! with Nimbus-4DM (VH-ZBY). During that amazing flight, she had to keep on assessing her situation according to the weather, and satellite navigation, making her decisions and weighing chances and risks. There are already 28 types of gliders and 3,500 hours, which equals 175,000 km, in her pilot log-book. By the way, Hana's mother, Mrs. Ruzena Zejdova, was a glider pilot too.
Since 1991, in November of every year, both the Czech pilots have left their country and their city of Brno in order to spend summer in Australia with our antipodes, but not on a beach but at hard work. Their gliding activities are organized within the framework of the "KANGAROO EXPEDITION" at Tocumwal Airfield with its SPORTAVIA SOARING CENTRE - the best equipped and world famous gliding school with good facilities near the town of Tocumwal and the Murray River, New South Wales.
We need not emphasize that organizing and running such an expedition is a very demanding business, and it is Mr. Vladislav Zejda, who shoulders the heaviest responsibilities not only at home to obtain sponsors providing financial support (there are absolutely no subsidies by the state or the Czech air civil organizations) and prepare all the necessary things for the next trip, but also in Australia where he acts as the manager of all the expeditions. He spares no efforts to run and do everything: planning, calculations, technical maintenance, securing weather-forecast, communications with Hana and providing help and safety for her while she is flying
or forced to make an outlanding, contacts of various kinds, in particular those earning some money. He started gliding as a young boy and very soon did he begin to gain gliding badges and participate in national and international competitions and championships. Let me mention that in 1960 Mr. Zelda carried out a straight long distance 644 km-flight from the town of Zamberk in the Czech Republic to the town of Brad in Rumania with an L -21 Spartak single seater glider. A year later, he reached a 10,510 m-altitude in Slovakia (now the Slovak Republic) with an L -13 Blanik single seater glider. Both the national records have not yet been broken up to now. Mr. Zejda has flown 46 types of gliders and spent 4,300 hours in the air, which equals 118,000 km.
Nevertheless, we can ask why
the Zejdas go gliding to such a faraway continent. Briefly, there
are several reasons:
1) The fall of the "Iron Curtain" and the former Communist regime in 1989 made such expeditions possible.
2) There are very good thermal and other meteorological and geographic conditions for long distance flights there, even if the bush or desert -like terrain can be very dangerous. It seems, however, that the Australian weather gods mostly smile upon the gliders there.
3) The Australians themselves, including airmen from other countries, e.g. Germany and Japan, are excellent and wonderful friends, who once enabled quite an unknown couple from Europe to become first-rate gliders very soon. And our people who in the past emigrated to that continent also continue to help.
That is why we have every reason to believe that the Zejdas will fulfill their goals step by step in the years to come: to break the present national and international records, and to carry out straight long distance flights of about 1,500 km. To accomplish those they have good knowledge, a high degree of discipline, technical understanding and skills. What they will need is a good glider or a superglider, favourable skies, accident free stays and a lot of good luck in their endeavours. Of course, we fully trust their competence.
Dear Reader, I have good news for you: Writing this SUMMARY, I hear that FAI (Federation Aeronautique Intemationale) awarded Miss Hana Zejdova its highest distinction for the gliders - "Otto Lilienthal's Medal”. Congratulations!
PhDr. Dusan Schneider, Author of “Za Modré Obzory” , Beyond The Blue Horizons. Brno, mid-March 2000. Czech Republic