But it is not quite so simple with the palm tree. According to the FAI 1,000 km diploma, three declared turning points must be flown around and the correct aircraft type and pilot must be entered in the logger. Many a flight has failed because of this. So watch out!
Since 2019 there is also a palm for flights according to the FAI 1,250 km diploma. Whereby here deviating from the FAI regulations the flight may also be carried out two-seated.
Then there are also the palms for world records, which were flown from Bitterwasser and still are. By the way, for world records wild date palms are planted, which have small but tasty fruits.
History of the palm trees
Since the 1960s, Bitterwasser has been known to aviators as the Diamond Farm. Peter Kayssler, the former owner of the Bitterwasser farm, was an enthusiastic glider pilot. With the simple airplanes of that time and an old winch in the form of a drum with willow fence wire, he already used the thermals of Bitterwasser.
Why diamond farm?
In Namibia, diamonds have been found. But fortunately not in Bitterwasser. However, the FAI ( Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) the supreme air sports organization, awards badges and diplomas for special sporting achievements. It starts with the A-badge and goes over B-, C-, Silver C, Gold C to the Gold C with diamonds. And because there is very good weather in Bitterwasser, a lot of diamonds were flown in Bitterwasser. This led to the diamond farm .
The conditions are per diamond:
- An altitude gain of 5000 m.
- A flight over 300 km as a target return or triangle route.
- One free cross-country flight over 500 km.
Due to the progressive development in gliding, it became necessary after 1960 to extend the performance levels with regard to the achieved flight distances. Today there is a diploma for each level, which is awarded from 750 km flight distance - in steps of 250 km.
Peter Kayssler wrote a book about his life shortly before his death on 16.10.1999. Fortunately, much of the story has been preserved as a result.
The book can be purchased in Bitterwasser and has the ISBN number: 3-00-011463-7.
In 1955 the pan became an airfield by erecting a pole with a windsock.
1969 the first guest from Germany flies a diamond
In 1972 the idea of "Diamond Palms" was born and the first 21 palms were planted. From now on, for every flown diamond or world record, a palm tree was planted. Thus, little by little, a palm tree alley was created.
1984 From now on there are also palms for 1.000km FAI diploma flights.
1988 From December 1988, after the 150th palm, no more palms were planted for the track diamond. Only two diamond palms were added for altitude diamonds in the 1991/92 season. Now there are only palms for 1,000km FAI diploma flights or world records.
2019 In addition to the 1,000km FAI Diploma, a palm may now also be planted if a flight under the Diploma rules exceeds 1,250km. Deviating from the diploma rules, this flight may also be made in a two-seater.
As of 2022/23 there are:
150 +2 diamond palms,
13 world record palms for 49 world records and
111 FAI 1,000km diploma palms
1 FAI 1,250km diploma doubleseater-palms
Diamond Palm Count Direction