09 September 2016

Hannes Arch

Oh Hannes - dear friend, my flying hero for half of my life - I can´t believe it! The day in the alps was so beautiful, so peaceful yesterday - I thought of you when a helicopter passed me low at Loferer Steinberge in the afternoon, while I was dancing up to the cloud. My heart is broken :( so many crazy action flying adventures. So full of life and love for flying, every day in the air! How could you dare leaving so early? The sky will miss your wings!

04 September 2016

Day 7: 67km/h of wind, day cancelled and Awards!

I just finished my German report for the DHV homepage here!
Final results are here!
When we arrived on take off for the last day of the preworlds, the wind was howling with up to 67km/h an hour, almost blowing anybody off the ground who tried to open a wing. After two briefings and a few hours of waiting and hoping for the storm to drop, the day was cancelled. Because of a military air show, we would have had to land at Esplanada before 4pm, but the conditions were not safe to have a comp day anyway.
Instead we just headed back to the city and prepared for the awards ceremony at sunset on Esplanada headquarter. The Italian team proved itself again unbeatable, even though their top guys Alex and Chris were not here to compete! The Brasilians tried hard to beat the Italians, but Flavios team showed once more an incredibly perfect team flying and working together in the air and on the ground.
The Australians finished 3rd in the team ranking, with a very happy overall champion Jonny Durand who said that this was his biggest comp success in his hang gliding career so far! Brasilian pilot Carlinhos Niemeyer finished in 2nd place, and Italian Davide Guiducci in 3rd was just the first out of 3 Italians ranking in the top 10 of the comp!
Françoise Dieuzede won the women´s competition, for me it was just a 4th place this time. Just like my team mate Primoz - this is what Tomas Suchanek always called the "potato medal" with a wink in his eyes. Chico Santos, head of the Brazilian hang gliding and paragliding association ABVL, came up from Rio to Brasilia just to host the awards ceremony, and he is great at entertaining the pilots and showing appreciation to every single competitor!
We had great flights anyway, and fantastic training for the "real one" next year!
Thanks a lot to the organizers Betinho and Cid, to Nani and her huge crew of incredibly friendly helpers during this whole week! Thanks to all the drivers for their enthusiasm to get us out even from the most difficult places with locked gates and all! It was a fun event, and I´m looking forward to coming back next year!

03 September 2016

Task 5: 80km around 2 tp

The wind was howling with up to 50km/h on take off when we arrived today, yet an optimistic 109km task was set, again with goal Esplanada. I was almost ready to quit and just go there directly, when they decided to postpone the take off for safety reasons and cut the task down to 80km.
I didn´t realize that the first leg included about a 30km/h headwind and kept fighting hard, together with Françoise a lot of the time. Such a relief when we finally got the turnpoint and could turn towards Brasilia. I was slow again, but the clouds looked promising. I´ve never done the final glide so low, because we are not allowed to climb higher than 2745m sharp! The last 12 km you basically just find lake, buildings and highways, with one decent bombout field that Billy and Josh tried yesterday.
First my numbers looked a bit iffy, but with two crazy guys way below me just above the water, I thought I will be fine.
Esplanada at it´s best - landing here is just a party! So exciting to make your approach around highrise buildings and highways, with traffic buzzing around the goal field. Many happy faces in goal today, and finally I made my first goal in this competition as well!
Big congrats to Andre Wolf (BRA). At briefing he said that his arm hurts a lot, and he heard that I had taped Glauco´s arm already, so I pulled out the tricks - and his pain was gone ;) also I wished him all the best, hopefully to win the day. When I landed at goal, he smiled and said that he did - best day of the comp for him!
Also Primoz had the flight of his life - he made a 30km final glide, going along with 80-90km/h under a cloud street! He keeps climbing up at the rankings, currently he is placed 4th overall!

Task 4: not worth talking about

The highlight of flying in Brasilia, landing at Esplanada in the centre of the city, had been closed for us until today, because of demonstrations and actions of the impeachment process of (ex-)president Dilma Roussef. She lost, left and now we can finally go for the exciting final glide through the ministery buildings. Well - if we make it that far, that is.
I wasn´t fast, but found myself with an excellent gaggle - Andre Wolf, Nene Rotor, Pippo, Glauco, Marcelo, lots of big names of the top guys. So I kept flying with them, gliding into - the deck! Bad timing again, just another day of hitting the bloody ground not even half way around the course. Could not believe that the guys didn´t come up with a plan B?
We flew through rain and were rained on after we landed, also some thunder and lightening happening out there. Half an hour later, it opened up again.
My team´s retrieve car was packed to the roof with pilots and six gliders when they arrived at my field just before sunset. Luckily Glauco came along and had offered to help - and he also had another surprise for me. His landing was anything but elegant, ploughing in with tailwind he finished upside down. But he landed in some farm fields and made me smile when I found the freshest, tastiest Broccoli possible in a bag, harvested with his base bar ;)
Glauco had been ranking 2nd with good chances of winning until we bombed out today, but he didn´t winge or display a bad mood at all. I was impressed, the Brazilians have an amazing, great national team!

01 September 2016

Day 4 preworlds: cancelled due to strong side wind on take off

I was pretty nervous as the second early bird pilot in my lane on take off today. The wind kept crossing with 90 degrees and quite hard, barely 30 seconds from the front within 20 minutes of grueling waiting. What a relief when the safety committee and organizers finally agreed to cancel the day!
Off to the waterfall, the "cachoeira"! It was fun to watch crazy Wolfi jump from the top of the rock, and the others a bit lower through the waterfall. Such a nice place - hard to imagine that the air just on the field behind that place had been throwing me around in very turbulent air like in a washing machine! Not quite a full rest day, but a peaceful break to get new energy for the last two days. As the impeachment is over and president Dilma Roussef had to pack her suitcase yesterday, now the Esplanada, the main aisle of Brasilia, is open again for the cool stuff - we can land there the next three days! Will be challenging because the ceiling is lower than ever before, but I hope to arrive there with a big smile on my face one of these next three days! Report in German on the DHV page.

31 August 2016

Pre-Worlds Task 3: 105km around 3 Tp

Today a beautiful photo from Jörg - I also update the German report on the DHV-Hompage (here), so Jörg sent me his beautiful pictures today to upload them!

First the best news of yesterday: Primoz won the day and got 1000 fat points!!! We are all very happy, even if Jörg landed 5km short, and I was at the last turnpoint, 17km out, with a huge forest and 25km/h headwind forcing me to stop. We were flying along together for most of the way, just the long glides are really difficult for me, as I fly without ballast. The wind is really strong on take off, but when you land, I had no wind at all more than once and really want to be careful! Nene Rotor even went down on the reserve yesterday as he hit a dustdevil. Luckily he is fine!
Jonny Durand was a bit slower in goal yesterday and lost the lead.
We are 5 girls in the comp here - Claudia Mejia, Chisato Nojiri, Françoise Dieuzede, Kathleen Rigg and me. Francoise made goal yesterday, and Chisato almost got there! Great effort for us light girls in these strong conditions! It´s fun to fly here, as it all reminds me a lot of Australia. Just even a bigger adventure if you land out - there are emus here as well, but instead of kangaroos, you could meet leopards and panthers... you definitely have to get along well with cats and dogs, if you don´t make it to goal ;)

30 August 2016

Pre-Worlds Task 1 & 2

Results here. Not an ideal start into the comp for me - no goal out of the first two tasks of about 103 km each. Some excitement in the morning though when I had to change the flat tyre of the German team car...
I landed what felt like in the middle of nowhere yesterday, after the ridge at the bushfires just didn´t work. Bad timing I guess, bacause half an hour later some dust devils started racing through the field.
Luckily I like dogs, because there were no humans in the first couple of farm shacks that I walked to. Three big dogs accompanied me to the third farm house where I finally found a girl and two kids. I told her that I landed in the field on top, but as I didn´t have phone reception, it would be great to be able to use a phone. I was glad when she smiled and started dialing the number of my driver, cause phone and electricity are not a given in the poorer countryside places of Brasil :)
She explained to my driver how to get to the place where I landed, and they picked me up 15 minutes before sunset! I was exhausted, as I had to carry the glider for about 2km out of the field, but happy to have met really friendly, helpful and interested people who told me that a French guy had landed there before, and also a Japanese pilot (who did not speak a word of Portuguese they said).
Jonny is still in the lead overall, Pedro won the day yesterday, Primoz of our German team came 4th yesterday. I fell back down in the ranking, but today is a new day and I try my best again in this great adventure!

27 August 2016

Preparation days for the Pre-Worlds 2016!

There´s a lot to do if you have a few days between two major competitions: Looking after all the instruments, cameras, trackers and back-ups, washing clothes, register for the new competition, get the new waypoints on your vario, log the new retrieve driver and team, try to help the newly arrived pilots to settle in, go shopping, cook some healthy food for a great night with friends, ... in short, it was not boring!
Also I had been invited to the media conference for the Pre-Worlds, together with Brazilian Champion Nene Rotor and winner of the Open Brazilian Nationals, Jonny Durand. We thought we would speak English during the interviews, but shortly before we were both told that it would be much nicer for the whole audience if we speak Portuguese. Jonny and I smirking at each other - right! That makes it a bit more challenging, with Jonny´s vocabulary mainly to chat with cute Brazilian girls, and my vocabulary mainly to sweet-talk some guys to help me shift my glider around ;) Luckily the organizer Beto Schmitz was sitting in the middle between us and helped out with words and understanding of the questions, so in the end the journalists seemed to take it as a given that these Australian and German hang glider pilots all speak some Portuguese. Well, luckily I had my daily training with my friend Claudinha´s mother who even made me read recipes early in the morning as a test for my pronunciation ;) very cool lady!In the evening, we were rewarded with a nice get together in a super nice location on the lake, the Mormaii Surf Bar. So nice to meet lots of friends from the international flying circuit!
Tonight we are going for the opening ceremony, and a safety conference afterwards.