GermanDE-CH-ATEnglish (UK)

About us

Finsterwalder & Charly - airsport equipment since 1974

HRB München 52509, General manager: Dipl. Ing. Thomas Finsterwalder

muenchen

>> Contact & Routing

The history of Finsterwalder & Charly

wildwasser pitz_palue alpspitze bergfexe
Finsterwalder "Banane" Ascent to the peak of the Pitz Palü
"Huber Stone" at the
Alpspitzgipfel 
Die "Bergfexe" Willi & Renate Ritter, Dieter Valte & Thomas Finsterwalder

thomas_tour1963-1982
At the age of 16 Thomas Finsterwalder became self-employed and produced white-water boats and kayaks from fibreglass/diolen with two hired hands.

The design was revolutionary and trend-setting: The white-water boats had an elliptical layout for the first time, and a kidney-shaped cross-section. The kayaks had a trapeze-shaped rear that later helped racing kayaks to Olympic victories.

Grammar school and engeneers degree were successfully completed alongside the boat production.

1972
Thomas Finsterwalder purchases an "Alpine Glider" from Hartmund Huber (known locally as the "Huber Stone" since it had a glide angle of 1:stone).

5 minutes of instruction from Hartmut Huber on the telephone was sufficient: Ski launches and touch-downs from the Stubai glacier worked out fine from the beginning. The 20 kg Alpine Glider could be rigged down to a length of 2 m and taken on mountain hikes. However, spanners and screwdrivers were necessary for the assembly.

Wonderful flights were made from the Alpspitz summit in Garmisch and from Pitz Palü.

1973-1974
Thomas Finsterwalder developes a glider of his own design.

With specially developed high-strength super light-weight and large diameter perunal tubing, the "Bergfex" (mountain freak) weighed a mere 11 kg and could be dismanteled in 8 minutes down to a length of 1,80 m without the use of tools, by means of snap fasteners.

Mountaineering pilots became more and more - soon, no peak was save from them anymore.

Thomas Finsterwalder erwirbt von Hartmut Huber einen "Alpengleiter" (im Volksmund "Huber Stone" genannt, da Gleitwinkel 1:Stein).
5 Minuten Flugschulung durch Hartmut Huber per Telefon genügten: Skistarts und -landungen am Stubaigletscher klappten auf Anhieb.
Der 20 kg schwere Alpengleiter konnte auf 2 m zerlegt und auf Bergtouren mitgenommen werden. Für die Montage waren allerdings Schraubenschlüssel und Schraubenzieher notwendig.
Es gelangen herrliche Flüge vom Garmischer Alpspitzgipfel und dem Pitz PalüThomas Finsterwalder erwirbt von Hartmut Huber einen "Alpengleiter" (im Volksmund "Huber Stone" genannt, da Gleitwinkel 1:Stein).5 Minuten Flugschulung durch Hartmut Huber per Telefon genügten: Skistarts und -landungen am Stubaigletscher klappten auf Anhieb.Der 20 kg schwere Alpengleiter konnte auf 2 m zerlegt und auf Bergtouren mitgenommen werden. Für die Montage waren allerdings Schraubenschlüssel und Schraubenzieher notwendig.Es gelangen herrliche Flüge vom Garmischer Alpspitzgipfel und dem Pitz Palü.
autodach kilimandscharo1 kilimandscharo2 christobal
Bergfex at the Christobal Colon
Due to the thorny Puta Madres (cactuses) take-off happened from the car roof Preperations for the take-off at the Kilimandscharo The Kilimandscharo on the 2-hrs. flight from the peak to the hotel in Arusha shot from above the shoulder
misti

1975
Adventure in Peru. 

1976
Over the new year of 1976, Thomas Finsterwalder, Albert Leutenmaier and Heinz Walter achieved the first successful flight from the 5950 m high summit of Kilimandscharo.

1977-1979
With tents and hanggliders on the 5776 m high summit of Christobal Colon in Columbia. It was planned to fly from there to Santa Maria on the coast, some 48 km away.

After 3 days bivouac on the summit this expedition had to be abandoned due to storms, snow-blindness and altitude sickness. The 100 km return descent had to be made without provisions.

Successful flight followed from the summits of the 5465 m high Popokatepetl (Mexiko) and the 5671 m high Demavend (Iran).

At the Misti in Peru

 

bergfex superfex jetfex windfex
Bergfex Superfex Jetfex Windfex

1977 - The Bergfex
The picture shows the elastic deformation of the Bergfex under a load of 700 kg. The sail weighed only 1 kg and was made from spinnacker nylon 32 g/m².

The federal aviation authority issued the airworthiness certification. More than 300 Bergfexes flew accident-free.

1978 - The Superfex
680 units of this manoeuvrable and high performance, 15 kg light-weight mountaineering glider were built.
The Superfex was one of the first gliders to achieve the DHV certification.

1979 - The Jetfex

1981 - The Windfex
The revolutionary new construction with integrated cross-tube and pre-shaped mylar leading edges was sold to over 900 pilots.
The 19,5 kg light-weight glider was also certified for trike use.

1982 - The Minifex
Characterised by extreme manoeuvrability, this glider could be packed down to 1,65 m and had fibre glass wing-tips.

1983 - The Skyfex
Construction of a sickle-shaped high performance glider with 100% double-surface sail. However, neither performance or handling were convincing. Flight characteristics were unconvincing even even with rudders and this project did not get beyond six different prototypes.

Also the development of a duck-wing with 1 m wing depth and 12 m span whose wings could be pushed together like an accordian did not get to the stage of serial production.

1985 - The Topfex
With the Topfex, a forgiving, high-performance glider was achieved. Shortly after serial production began, a large fire that broke out in a neighbouring car factory completely destroyed all Finsterwalder stocks and machinery (see photo).

minifex skyfex topfex brand
Minifex Skyfex Topfex Werkstattbrand
       
eversbusch Production could first be resumed in the spring of 1986 in a newly constructed workshop in Munich-Allach. Our current glider program perfex, funfex, lightfex, airfex, speedfex, as well as glider components, carabiners and buckles have been manufactured there ever since.
charly-logo100x50 

1990
With the takeover of the company Charly Products (at that time leading manufacturer of rescue reserves and harnesses), Finsterwalder & Charly manage to access the paragliding market.
These become annually produced 500 harness for hanggliders „Charly Pinguin" and 3200 rescue systems „Charly Second Chance" 

firma-seeg

1991 - Charly distribut the paraglider brand "Edel"
As German distributor for EDEL, the company managed to sell over 1000 paragliders annually.

1992 - New Charly rescue systems are developed:
The Revolution double canopy, later also the first controllable round cap.

1992 - Chary Insider
With the design of the "Charly Insider" becomes Charly the wordwide market leader with aviation helmets.

1993 - Devolpment of the "Quick-Out" rapid separation karabiner.

1994 - Charly and NOVA become a partner

revolution insider quick-out nova
Revolution rescue system Insider aviation helmet Ouick-Out separation karabiner NOVA paragliders

1995 - Charly developed harnesses for paragliders and protection systems

1998-2009 - Finsterwalder developed in Munich Allach hardware for paraglider and harness manufacturer.

2000-2014 - Scott-e 
Charly tests electro paraglider engines and developed an harness for the  „Scott-e"

2016 No more paragliders are distributed. The branch place Seeg is closed.
Tom Grabner becomes the new devoloper of Charly rescue systems and harnesses 

titan pl-lock scott-e diamandcross
Titan paraglider harness PL-Lock buckle Scott-e Tom Grabner