Tony Hoskins, who led the team building the glider, had admitted before the flight that he was concerned about it gaining the necessary speed off the runway to allow it to fly. Seconds after its abrupt landing he admitted to feeling sick but proud. “We proved the concept worked. We got it off the roof and into the field. It’s here and not in anyone’s house.”
Hoskins and his team had built the glider in the loft space directly beneath where the original one was made in 1945. But to get it onto the roof at daylight this morning they had to break it up into five key pieces, including the two wings and the fuselage, carefully transfer it onto the runway platform through a hole made in the roof and then reassemble it.
The Mayor of Colditz, Matthias Schmiedel, was among dozens of locals who waited for several hours to see the glider fly. He said he hoped it would renew interest in the castle and bring tourists to the town. But did he think it was a slightly madcap idea? “No I don’t think it is crazy. The people here are open-minded and very positive. The story of the castle is an important part of this town’s history. It is important for us to have this story told.”
But last word to the youngest member of the whole project, 24-year-old Jess Nyahoe from Horsham in Sussex who helped with the glider build. “If we got it wrong, then the world would have thought that they got it wrong. For them and their memory we wanted to get it right.”
The Channel 4 documentary will be shown in early summer.