Sports spotlight | ZES’s favorite number? “A rhetorical question!”

The range of glider planes depends on the wind and sun

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Sports spotlight | ZES’s favorite number? “A rhetorical question!”

TU/e boasts a total of 38 student sports associations. And every one of them offers its own unique experience: from slamming aces to skimming across the water. At student sports center SSC, you get a wide range of options to choose from: gaming, jumping, running, cycling, rowing, flying, shooting, hanging, playing chess, surfing, punching and pushing. Cursor wants to put every one of these associations in the spotlight. The first question is “What is your favorite number?”

photo ZES

Warming up

“A gliding club is not some sort of alien thing,” says president Kay Janssen. “ZES is actually a very low-threshold association; and how amazing is it that students get the chance to learn to fly without an engine?” After many dual control training flights, there comes a moment – always unexpected – when your instructor tells you that you’re ready to fly solo. For Kay, it was the 69th time he took to the air, and he will never forget that day.

Gliding falls within the scope of sports associations. The goal is to make a beautiful flight, and those who are best at recognizing and using thermals are able to stay up in the air the longest. It’s a mental exercise, even though it also requires physical strength to push the landed gliders back to the take-off point for the next flight.
There are even championships where about ten gliders race through a course. The winner is the person who glides from cloud to cloud most efficiently.
ZES pilots feel free as birds. They also study birds; buzzards show them the way to the rising air.


  • The founding year is 1963; Zweefvliegclub Eindhovense Studenten [Eindhoven Student Gliding Club] is one of the three oldest Eindhoven student sports associations. What’s even better: this year marks the 66th active board.
  • There are 2 student gliding clubs in the Netherlands, the other one being in Delft.
  • 82 is ZES’s record number of take-offs made in 1 day.
  • There are 99 members, 86 men and 13 women.
  • ZES spends 0 hours a week at the SSC, as its home base is the LKB barracks in Vredepeel.
  • ZES was airborne for 839 hours in 2023. The year before it was 1912 hours, which goes to show just how bad the weather was in 2023, because it was not due to ZES that there was less flying.
  • The exam for a flying license involves 9 theory subjects. These include laws, meteorology, and mechanics. No ornithology.
  • The membership fee for ZES is 60 euros per month. That covers training, insurance, and unlimited flying.
  • ZES owns 6 association gliders.


When a pilot can no longer find thermals and is unable to return within glide range, they make an outlanding, usually in a field.

At an altitude of 600 meters, the plane detaches from the winch. After that, it can continue to climb to the condensation level, the altitude at which clouds form. This can be up to 2 kilometers high, giving you a great view.

During a summer camp in Germany, ZES made 82 flights. With the winch operators, pilots, and communication supervisors all working together, the “flight operation” runs like a well-oiled machine. It was only due to the setting sun and legal regulations that the 83rd take-off couldn’t take place. ZES complies with the visual flight rules and therefore navigates by sight. A powered aircraft, on the other hand, follows instrument flight rules.

PS. On May 3, ZES is organizing a passenger day. For 35 euros, students can join a glider flight. Sign up via this email address.


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