He joined his gliding club, Bremer Verein für Luftfahrt e.V., at the age of 13, gaining his glider pilot licence at the age of 16 and a glider and his motor gliderinstructor rating in 1983 at the age of 21. Since 1984, he has assisted at glider aerobatic courses as a tow pilot. He obtained a glider aerobatics rating in 1987. In 1994 he competed in a glider aerobatic competition in the advanced category for the first time. The 1998 German National Championship was his first competition in the unlimited category.