Logatec, not far from Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, is home to the Front Electric Sustainer, designed by glider pilot Luka Znidarsic.
“We are two pilots, a team captain, Maja and Nika,” Mr Znidarsic said, explaining the make-up of his team.
“And Nika is the most important!”
“Maya was crewing me for many years and eventually we got married and had our first daughter, so I had to figure out something because she was not really eager to pick me up from fields anymore,” Mr Znidarsic said.
“I supported it because I believed it was the safest way for him to come to dinner on time,” said Maya Znidarsic.
‘I said ‘go ahead and cut the nose off!”
Mr Znidarsic fitted a propellor to the front of his glider, and hasn’t out landed since.
“Sales are going pretty well. We have already equipped 110 gliders,” he said.
“Half of them are self-launchers and half of them are sustainers. People like it because it’s a different way of flying.”
Mr Znidarsic is in good company within the Slovenian team, along with fellow pilot Erazem Polutnik, the owner of instrumentation company LX Nav, and the man who developed “See You”.
“I don’t know how it happened but there are a lot of producers of gliding instrumentation and parts in Slovenia,” Mr Polutnik said.
“We also have one of the largest producers of Ultralight aircraft. It just happened like that.
“They start calling us the Slovenian Mafia!”
“I’m a glider pilot of more than 30 years and I have never been satisfied by how gliders look in the interior,” Mr Gagula said.
“My friend Erazem Polutnik challenged me, but I am not from the upholstery business. My official job is as a sound engineer,” he said.
“After a few months I produced the first one and Uys Jonker saw the interior and he was happy with how it looked and he published it on a website with a name “Delux interior from Slovenia” and people started to share it, so then I had a name.
“My company has only had two years on the world market and 35 gliders of the 116 here have a delux interior so I’m very happy.”
The three men said it was important to have a presence at the World Championships so they could support their customers, but their real passion was gliding, with Mr Gagula comparing addiction to the sport to “hard drugs”.
“My girlfriend tells me I am crazy for spending time, energy and money on gliding. But I like this!”