Join Till Middelhauve, Michael Werner and Eric Behr as they embark on a border crossing-adventure of eastern Europe on 'Flykes'… flying bicycles!
The Flyke is a hybrid of a push-bike and a paramotor, and can be pedalled engine-off, motored propeller-on, and, of course, flown.
Over 15 days the trio fly, pedal and motor the 1632 km from Hanover to the Black Sea. Travel with them as they breeze down leafy lanes, cycle across summer meadows, fly over wondrous cloudscapes, push through deep valleys under orographic mist and propel themselves, motors on, down bustling highways, dwarfed by articulated trucks.
It's an eyebrow-raising, hilarious adventure that crosses boundaries and leaves bystanders astonished. With the Flyke, the journey never ends - you touch down, fold your wing, and cycle on!
- Documentary, English and German languages
- Running time: 37 minutes
- Special extras: 20 minutes, including interview with Michael Werner
Here is more information about the "East Wind"-Project:
Pictures made on the tour by Erik Behr:
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There is a really long diary which was basic work for the film, which translated automatically with 'Babelfish' results in very funny English! Anyway, the really interested one will have fun reading the whole story in all details!
View the funny translated diary...
In summer 2005 there were two TV reports about East Wind in the German TV.
View TV reports
So you - yes you, reading this.
Are you from the moon?
You say you’ve flown all this way, over mountains, up as high as the clouds, and just landed in my field – and you’re going to pack up your bag and hitch-hike home?! As if!
Marvel again at this: the great unfeasibility of your XCs, the bizarre way you drift off willingly toward the horizon, placing your trust in your glider fabric, your skill, and your luck. Think of the out-thereness of those afternoons in the sky, and remember the incredulity upon which you’ve been met by the earth-bound on your return.
Because after several years of enjoying crazy, dream-like, immortal, Icaristic adventures, it’s sometimes easy to grow blasé, your enthusiasm tainted by so many similar conversations with curious earthlings.
And if that’s the case, then East Wind is going to kick you hard in the nuts.
In this film, we join German pilots Till Middelhauve, Michael Werner and Eric Behr as they do something truly unique: they fly and bike their way across eastern Europe on flying bicycles that actually work. Remember that bit in ET where he bikes over the moon? Yep, it’s kind of like that.
German engineer Michael got his idea for his ‘Flyke’ after getting fed up with the weight of his paramotor. The Flyke a hybrid of a chaisse-long style bike and a paramotor, and can be pedalled engine-off, motored propeller on, and, of course, flown. And with that kind of bionic, trippy imagination as a platform, a seed was planted for a huge border-crossing adventure.
Over fifteen days Till, Eric and Michael fly, pedal and motor the 1632 km from Hanover to the Black Sea. The nature of their travel is pure joy - think ‘Herbie goes to Monaco’ meets ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.
The trio breeze down leafy lanes, cycle across summer meadows, fly over wondrous cloudscapes, push through deep valleys under orographic mist and propel themselves, motors on, down bustling highways, dwarfed by articulated trucks. With the Flyke, the journey never ends – you touch down, fold your wing, and cycle on!
Between marvelling at the ingenious possibilities of the Flyke, I had an overwhelming sense of joy watching this film – the kind of joy you get from watching three human beings totally liberated from the shackles of convention, just out there pedalling their own mad journey, uninhibited by the perceptions of those around them.
I won’t spoil it for you by giving away some of the prize moments, but their refuelling at a McDonalds drive-thru and their encounter with the border police at Poland (engines-off, they are mere cyclists, so are completely legal) are particularly special…
The journey is interspersed with sharp observational humour. After one day of flying over the clouds, Eric, a commercial airline pilot, compares the flight with his day job. ‘Everything was moving, we had a real sense of speed, he says; ‘it was just like a day at work’. ‘But with no-one serving you coffee’ interjects Michael. Near the end, Eric is beset with rage – his Flyke unit is bandaged by duct tape, and has been almost totally rebuilt after numerous mishaps. He struts around his wing like a demanding stage diva, saying, ‘all I ask is you stay in one piece and just work, for just one full day, OK?’, while preening his lines like a peacock.
The point-of-view footage is awesome – there’s lots of helmet mounts and line mounts and an obtuse angle where the camera flies behind the propeller on a line, giving a whacky fisheye perspective as Till throws wingovers. The music score is good too – rocky, without being too thrash, if you know what I mean. But to be honest, I found the story so endearing that its production values were of little consequence.
East Wind will not only charm your pants off, it will leave you dreaming of a Flyke of your own. I’ve already dreamt up my own Flyke adventure flying down the Rift valley in Africa. This is an eye-opening story about imagination and the stuff at the heart of what makes us fly in the first place – launching into the great blue yonder.
After Never Ending Thermal’s release last summer, I thought it would be a long time until I’d enjoy another truly brilliant flying film. East Wind has proven me wrong.