Up among the clouds

Peder Sandström, hobby pilot

When Peder is not working in the quality department at AQ Enclosure in Sollefteå, he often floats away - sometimes, only his head is up in the blue, but quite often, he is entirely above the clouds.

His great interest is namely aeroplanes. He has had a pilot's license since he was 15 years old and has been an ardent soul in Sollefteå Flygklubb ever since.

It is certainly possible to imagine the feeling of freedom, to soar silently in a glider high above the earth. As a child, Peder Sandström was fascinated by aeroplanes, looked dreamily up at the sky, and devoured fact books.

- My first report at school was about the Boeing 747. It was probably entirely uninteresting for everyone, but I thought it was cool, laughs Peder, whose eyes still light up when he talks about various engines and aircraft.

As a 15-year-old, he obtained a glider certificate and a PPL certificate to fly powered aircraft a few years later.

- At that time, we often took a trip down to Stockholm to eat pizza and then go home again - it was a cheaper hobby then, but now it is pretty costly with fuel and administration. But it's still just as fun!

When it was time for the rag, it was a given with a place on I21 or T3, but Peder hustled his way to a place as an aircraft mechanic in Östersund, where he got to live out his dream.

Sollefteå flygklubb conducts flight operations with UL aircraft (ultralight) and gliders and departs from Sollefteå/Långsele airfield. Here, Peder is also a flight instructor on a non-profit basis.

The club currently has two aircraft, the two-seat glider ASK-21 and the UL aircraft TL-3000 Sirius. Ultralight aircraft is a class of severely weight-restricted aircraft with many advantages.

- They are cheap to operate, and we can service and maintain the plane ourselves, which is a significant advantage, says Peder.

The club currently has around 15 active and as many passive support members. Although a rejuvenation is in the works, as I said, the cost is one reason why there is no rush to this hobby. For a "normal pilot", an hour in the air costs at least SEK 500 plus fixed fees.

Anyone interested in obtaining a pilot's license can register at the club's flight school, where Peder is an instructor. He has around a thousand flight hours and flies several hours each year.

- There are many points to keep track of, you have to be able to make crucial decisions under stress, and for many, it is a real challenge to orient yourself in the air, says Peder and continues:

- But nothing beats the feeling of freedom that everything down here on earth is gone when you're up and flying. For me, it is the height of recreation with these fantastic views. If you want some adrenaline, you can fly advanced with looping.

So what is it like to fly in a UL plane? Of course, we had the pleasure of going along on a trip and can state that it is easy to understand that Peder was hooked on flying.

The views from the small plane are spectacular, and many familiar landmarks look entirely different from above. The feeling of freedom was fantastic, and we are already dreaming of trying gliding!