My Other Life with Lothar Krinke

PM360 recently spoke to Lothar Krinke, PhD, Vice President and General Manager, Deep Brain Stimulation, Medtronic Neuromodulation, about his passions for piloting, biking and adventure.

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PM360: Lothar, we hear that you are an avid plane pilot. Tell us a bit about that.

Lothar: I’ve been a single-engine plane pilot for eight years now and I’m a member of a flying club at an airport one mile from my home. I’m the only person in my neighborhood who loves being close to an airport!

You don’t hear that often. What makes you passionate about flying?

A German song with lyrics by Reinhard Mey portrays my passion for flying: “Über den Wolken muss die Freiheit wohl grenzenlos sein,” translated to “Over the clouds, the freedom is without boundaries.” The song captures the emotion of the take-off as you leave the ground, float toward the sun and the lights fade. In the air, whatever seems so big and important on the ground becomes small.

That must be an incredible adventure! What “high” do you get from flying? No pun intended.

I love to achieve goals. Getting a pilot’s license is not easy, but achieving that certificate was so rewarding. I have the satisfaction of seeing a unique view of the world from above and arriving at destinations where others cannot. Getting somewhere in an hour versus several hours by car provides a wonderful satisfaction!

Aviation is a very technical field. Did your scientific aptitude factor into your interest in piloting?

Although I opted for club membership over ownership, as a kid I always had the goal of owning a plane by age 30. So making my dream a reality and achieving a pilot’s license was all part of the evolution. As a scientist in the area of brain modulation and neurosurgical navigation, I became intrigued with aeronautical GPS since the brain’s navigation system and the plane’s GPS system are quite similar in that both are used to plan trajectories to a target. I strive for continual advancement as a pilot and professionally in my role leading a team to advance the area of precise navigation and modulation of the brain.

Who inspires you, Lothar?

My wife of 25 years, Mona, shares my love of adventure and activity, and inspires me always. She got me into biking even before we were married. We’re training now for the August ride, which is sponsored by the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s. It’s an opportunity for me to raise donations to help people like Davis, an Olympic medalist and cycling legend who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s at the age of 40.

That’s a wonderful cause. What other adventures do you enjoy?

We do lots of traveling to see my parents in Germany, my brother in London and friends that live all over the world. I also gather regularly with a group to speak German. I ski and I’m pretty good at ballroom dancing, too. Mona is encouraging me to try yoga and horseback riding. I will try just about anything.

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