26 Juli 2017

First task: 80km out and return

Results here. After the first day of the German Open was cancelled as the wind gusted up to 45km/h, we managed to use the short window on the second day for an 80km/h out and return to Golssen and back to the airfield.
Flex wings were off first, and when I got into the air as 8th pilot of the field, luckily my favourite tug pilot Harm found me the one thermal that was just strong enough to climb to 800m and stay. With elapsed time as a start, it was possible to wait around.
Half an hour later, some clouds started to form and the thermals got higher and better. As the day was supposed to stop at 4pm already, I decided to start on course. Together with Roland Wöhrle, Lukas Bader, Kajo Clauss, Hans Kiefinger and Detlef Maier as well as Dutch pilots Araldo and Martin I was in good company.
Against a cross headwind with low base and not exactly strong climbs, we were not fast, but at least we were flying. I really enjoyed just being in the air, and I was happy to be able to stay with the guys.
Just before the turnpoint, it looked pretty dark. I saw Lukas and the Dutch guys heading off, but it didn´t look promising. to my left, Roland and Cajo did much better, so I decided to fly a detour. Well worth it - the best climb of the day took me up to 1700m, plenty to go around the turnpoint.
Heading back was much faster. Tailwind and a nice line of clouds looked promising. 45 minutes back, while it took us almost 2 hours to get out to the turnpoint...
At this time, the rigid guys who took off after us had caught up and started overtaking us on final.
Cajo won the day ahead of Hans and "Yeti" Detlef, Roland 4th and I was 5th.
Japanese pilot Shogo Ota won the rigid race.
Two days of solid rain followed, with lots of floods all over central Germany. We went to Lutherstadt Wittenberg and had a look at the church in which Martin Luther was buried. I like the Barlach sculpture, the floating angel, in the church.
Luckily the rain stopped just now, and we might get a really early and short task tomorrow, maybe even on Friday.

23 Juli 2017

German Open Altes Lager, July 23rd-29th

Some impressions from registration and first competion day of German Open at Altes Lager, about an hour south of Berlin. The weather for here and the rest of Europe looks pretty grim for this week, still we are 30 flex wing and 40 rigid wing pilots already. Even some of our Japanese friends made the long way to participate!

Organizer Matthias in connection with task setters and safety pilot set an 80km task to Schwielochsee today, and we set up under overcast skies. In the distance, the sun was visible, so there was hope for the day to improve.
Lukas Bader took a test tow up with some cameras from TV. His tow looked ok, so I got ready, as I was 3rd in line for take off. The sun came out, but also the wind picked up and got really gustay. Lukas´ landing approach did not quite convince me for a safe tow, so I told the launch marshall that I prefer to wait for the conditions to calm down a bit.
After no improvement for about half an hour, the day was cancelled, because most pilots did not conider towing and landing conditions to be safe. Also Lukas had reported really rough, broken lift.
Tomorrow looks better, less windy. After that, at this moment only Saturday looks promising at the moment, but let´s wait and see if the Flaeming area holds some surprises for us! With fronts shooting through so fast, anything can happen really.
By the way, with Katharina Dressel, Caroline Greiser, Mareen Köhler and me in flex class, and Tina Weikard in rigid class, we are five girls this year at the German Open! And hopefully it will be more than just a "German, open your umbrella quickly" competition ;)

09 Mai 2017

Wings for Life World Run

If you missed out on this event, you can watch the video highlights here!
Two days after I participated in the Wings for Life World Run, my legs are still in pain. A sign of having been over motivated to run much more than my poor running capabilities could cope with - but it has been just so inspiring to see 10000 people running with me in Munich, some of them rolling along in their wheelchairs. Through constant rain, sometimes very muddy ground, up and down some slopes through the city!
I finished with 9,2km in just over an hour of running, Jonny made 9,6km in Melbourne, Matjaz 15km in Ljubljana. Not fast, and we pilots clearly seem to be no runners - well, except for the co-pilot of my last Lufthansa work flight, who is an ultra runner and covers 160km in one run... he asked me if I run cause he thought I look like a runner. I had to turn down this compliment, telling him that I need wings to go far and long ;)
It kind of feels humiliating to see thousands of runners sprinting past you, but it is the good cause, and the participation that counts, not the distance we ran!
In Munich, a lot of current and former Red Bull athletes were at the start, it was great to see such a huge participation despite everybody´s competition schedules!
The absolute best part of the run was to see Aron Anderson winning the race, having rolled 92,14km in his wheelchair in Dubai! Big congratulations!
And of course, we all hope that with the 6,8 million Euros support that had been raised with this years global run, the Wings for Life foundations finds individual solutions to help our friends who can not walk yet to get back up on their legs as soon as possible!
If you like to help us beat the number of 155.216 participants, you can now enter next year´s Wings for Life World run on May 6th, 2018!

20 April 2017

How to travel to Rio with your glider

Some information for all European pilots who are joining the worlds in Brasilia and who will take their gliders from Frankfurt on Lufthansa LH 500 to Rio. This is how you do it:

1. When you get your ticket on LH500, you contact Lufthansa reservations and you let them know that you will have oversized sporting equipment, a hang glider, and you give them the number and dimensions of the glider packages.
The maximum weight per piece is 32kg, but the length when you check in in Frankfurt is NOT limited. 

2. You pay 200€ per oversize piece of luggage per way.
PS- if you get a ticket in Premium Economy class, you might get lucky and get an upgrade, because the Rio flights usually overbook in Economy, so they need to bump up the Premium Eco passengers! Also, in Premium Economy you have 2x23kg luggage allowance, in Eco it is only 1x23kg! But even with a Business Class ticket you need to pay extra for your oversized glider.

3. Get to the airport early, at least 4 hours before take off, so the gliders´ transport can be perfectly prepared. There will be several teams travelling between 31st of July and 4th of August. You can check your luggage in any time until 24hours before your take off time!

4. In Frankfurt, you go to Terminal 1, area B - you can park at departures 10 minutes for free, after that you have to pay.
Take your gliders to the Lufthansa oversize luggage counter in area B, counter #445.
For check-in you need:
- your passport
- a printout of the confirmation that you paid 200€ and that your glider has been listed/registered for your flights

5. When you arrive in Rio, your glider will be delivered next to the luggage belt of your flight.

6. RENT A CAR in Rio to drive to Brasilia! Our Lufthansa station manager of Rio urged me to tell all pilots that you can´t take your gliders on inland flights within Brazil anymore! No regional airlines will take oversized luggage!

Have a good trip!

01 April 2017

Aeros Winter Race Slovenia

Results here! I was very happy to start the first competition this European season in Slovenia, with great weather. Despite the name "Aeros Winter Race", it was unusually warm - well, except on 2500m where we unexpectedly got to on the first two days!
The European top pilots from Italy, Austria, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and a lot more countries were here to celebrate the start of the 2017 hang gliding season - and we were rewarded with four consecutive days of amazing flights! We were even two girls in the comp, my friend Julia Burlachenko drove a dedicated 1700km from Kiev to Vipava!
For an entry fee of just 110€, every pilots received a nice comp t-shirt, maps of the area, a free dinner and a lunch pack with a sandwich, an apple/orange and half a litre of water or an isotonic drink every day. For an additional 50 € your drive to take off and your retrieve was organized for the whole comp too! Thanks to the organization and all the volunteers who ran this comp with a lot of experience and motivation.
We used Lijak and Kovk take off in the area of Ajdovscina in the west of Slovenia, about an hour west of Ljubljana. My first flights in the area - I was impressed by the scenic views of the mediterranean sea! The air was unusually clear, and being a southern hemisphere softie, I was glad I brought my Thermo Pads hand warmers to let my fingers survive.
Most pilots have flown here many times and know the special tricks of this area - fly fast and don´t turn!!! I was glad that Matjaz, Jörg, Roland and Tom Weissenberger helped me to decipher this technical area. Still I was very careful, as I could see a lot of vinyards, forests and powerlines in some areas. Some of the headwind legs made me want to weigh more, but I only take ballast once I´ve figured out a place and the possible (safe) landing options, definitely not for the first time in a new area.
Day 1 most people made goal at Lijak after the 61km task - and we were rewarded with a great, vegan cafe at the landing! Best food I have ever found at a goal field - local, organic produce and all vegan, tasty and healthy, for a very reasonable price! Marco Laurenzi won the day with a 46Km/h average. Man, I only made a 33km/h average speed...
On the 2nd day, once I figured out that I can´t continue my flight in a safe way (I got left behind the first two groups, going too slow for their pace), I decided to turn around and land at Lijak as well. "Mischu" Franc Peternel, one of the top Slovenian pilots, won the 122km task.
Day 3, we went to Kovk take off (Jörg went up with us and helped me find it...;)), as the wind turned more west. In fact, it was a really strong west wind, and after heading towards the 2nd turnpoint, I flew against a rubber wall and was drilled down, couldn´t get around the corner like Jörg and the others of my group. Anyway, I tried my best and enjoyed 3 hours of flying and a nice landing anyhow! My dedicated driver David found me in no time, packed my glider and took me back to Pizzeria Anja Headquarter where I downloaded my tracklog. Tom Weissenberger won the 126km task with a respectable 40km/h average speed.
For the last day, the organizers decided to stay in the Vipava area to not make it too hard to get around the mountain against the headwind, which had forced more than half the field down on the third day. A 90 km task with two laps of the same turnpoints - great way to learn how to do it! My second lap was twice as fast as the first one I guess. Almost 40km/h average speed - but nothing compared to day winners Matjaz Klemencic´s 65 Km/h!!! What a way to finish the comp.
Tom started with the 26th place on the first day and won the comp in the end - with Balazs Ujhelyi in 2nd and Franc Peternel in 3rd, and my German team mates Roland Wöhrle on a respectable 4th, Jörg Bajewski on 13th, Kajo Clauss on 29th and Semmo on 30th. I finished 39th - not exactly a top score, but a great training and learning experience in a beautiful area! Yes Matjaz, I will be back in your home yard and play some more in the air!

04 Februar 2017


In only one week on Lanzarote, I was lucky enough to fly almost all take offs. We started in Macher, and my first flight surprised me - I had expected just soaring, but it was thermalling all the time! And actually quite choppy too. Good training after a month on the ground!
Then I was introduced to Famara with a wonderful late afternoon flight. Also just thermals, no soaring, and landing on the beach. Primoz did a fun tandem flight on that day- a guy had bought his future wife a tandem flight as a surprise! She was very surprised, and thankfully seemed to really enjoy the flying in Famara!
My third flight was in Mala, where I also met quite a lot of flying friends from Germany who wanted to escape winter like me.
On my last day, Johnny Nilssen took me tandem. As an aerobatic and float landing specialist, he really knows how to land well in small spaces - I was impressed how well our landing worked out!
I could have flown a fifth day in Mala, but my glider had been rented out. Instead I was just as happy to help my friends on take off, catch them again at landing, help packing up, taking a car down and just cruising.