Ralf Holighaus, age 56, started gliding in 1978. He flew championships at the national and international levels, trained beginners as an instructor, and captained two junior teams in the European Junior Championships in the 90s. In 1994, just before losing his father Klaus in a glider accident, he had moved to Berlin to build a career in IT and data communications. Along with some friends, he later started a business selling solutions to mobile network operators, managing their data network access when mobile internet was just taking off. Their company was sold in 2007, but the products are still up and running in big networks including T-Mobile and Verizon.
After gaining experience in Global corporate life and later making some money as a freelancer, he came back to Kirchheim in 2013 to support his brother Tilo Holighaus, CEO of Schempp-Hirth, in the adventure of building gliders and continuously making them better.