23 Januar 2009


I forgot to post the award photo- last night we had a great party, it was very difficult to get up at 5.30 this morning to get to Sydney in time for my flight...
Carol and Heather have organized wonderful trophies again, I won a feather made from wood! and also, for 5th place overall, a very clever, useful holder for winde bottles (and of course the wine with it, I hope the bottle survives the trip). Best prize again is the stay at the Alpenhorn Motel during the Bogong Cup next year! My favourite place. And Im going to have Curt and Louise as flatmates, I couldnt wish for more.
On the photo, you see Yulia from Moscow to my left and Hadewych to my right, Heather, Carol and Luca in front of us.

Mt Beauty-Sydney-Abu Dhabi-Munich...

Today Ky took me from Mt Beauty to Sydney and dropped me off at the airport. I was lucky and got on a flight to Abu Dhabi, where I am right now. Lots of women in long black Abbayas and veils...
Soon my connecting flight to Munich will start boarding, the numbers are looking good, I couldnt be happier! At home, Lufthansa cabin staff was on strike today, and I really hope they will be successful.
My next work trip takes me to Mexico on Tuesday, and I just ordered a spare Brauniger Compeo for our paragliding national team, because Stefan Mast just told me online that they have already destroyed one.
Time to go and find the next ticket, time to get home to the cold. I heard there is a very big low pressure system rushing across Germany, strong wind, rain and snow and all... lucky I brought my warm coat ;)

22 Januar 2009

Last day in Mt Beauty

Wind speeds today made the decision easy: The day is cancelled, awards party tonight at 7pm at Settlers Tavern. Time to pack my gear and get ready to leave very early tomorrow morning to catch the flight out of Sydney tomorrow afternoon. I so wish I had another week or two to stay a bit longer in Sydney. I enjoyed this trip and the flying very much and I hope I can come back soon.
Thanks for all the support over here, thanks to Moyes for a great, fast little glider that is fun to fly, thanks to Red Bull, Adidas, Timezone and Icebreaker for perfectly suited equipment, and, most of all, thanks to Heather and Carol who again put a huge effort into organizing the Bogong Cup. Thanks to my team, especially to our driver Michael who helped me a lot with carrying my glider to take off! It was his first comp as a driver, and I think maybe not his last. He is one of Curt Warren´s hanggliding students, and Im sure he will be competing soon.
I just wish Australia was around the corner and I could meet my friends more often. Lucky that every now and then I have a good excuse to come to Australia because I "have to fly a competition". Can´t wait for Canungra!

21 Januar 2009

by 18 points....

The results today changed the top ten quite a lot - I came 4th of the day- my best Bogong cup result ever, and Blay the Forbes wonder-chico won the day, followed by Ben Dunn and Pedro! Curt Warren is on 1st now, beating Jonny by 18 points.
In the overall list, there are still 3 Germans in the top 10, with me in 5th, Lukas in 6th and Oli in 9th. Mind you, with the Austrians and Norwegians missing today, a lot of really strong pilots have already left the scene.
Jonny and I cooked dinner for our teams tonight, Mexican and Indian, also Anousha, Conrad, Oli and Lotte came around, we had a great evening on the Alpenhorn balcony with mountain view. Forecast for tomorrow looks dreadful, but then today was also way better than forecasted, let´s see tomorrow morning.

Bogong Day 8: 80kms around 3 turnpoints

Just a short blog, more later when we know the results - yes, we flew today! We went up Tawonga gap take off, as there was a total fire ban at Mystic, which means it would have been extremely difficult to access. Both Jonny´s and Davis` weather models suggested that there would be no rain, so no overdevelopment in our area today. And they were right!
Cameron Turnbridge went as wind tech and told us about conditions, and at 12 I took off as well. Not my favourite launch, because it has high trees to both sides. The wind was coming up, so I started. Once in the air, I found lift, but also quite a strong northwester. Hard work going up the Kiewa in headwind. I remember that from the women´s worlds here years ago. So I stayed patient and always went up as high as possible. Running Creek was our first turnpoint, then coming back to a bridge a few kms north of Coral bank, then out to Dederang - and then I got low. Harness already open, I found some lift in the trees, it smelled like eukalypt! so it must go up ;) and it did. Slowly I worked my way up to enough height to fly to goal. I expected the cracks already there and was surprised that we were the first five in - Ben Dunn, Pedro, Blay, Tony Lowry and me. Mind you, quite a few people took the 2nd start time, I took the first at 1 pm. But it means I might stay in the top ten!
Unfortunately, Jonny, Oli and Lukas didnt make it into goal today (and Gerolf had already left as he thought we would not be flying today) - they tried the fast route through the valley. Jonas said he flew straight to goal as he got low after gliding out from take off.
Will be interesting to see the results of today.
Forecast for tomorrow looks dark, but Im happy that I had another flight in that sweet Litespeed 3,5 s that everybody loves - Blenky, Michi and Blay did well in it, it must have really good Karma. I wish I could take the bird home with me!

20 Januar 2009

Another stinking hot day in the Kiewa Valley - temperatures went up to 40 degrees again today! This morning at briefing time, a great lenticular formed above Mt Bogong, and the day was cancelled due to windspeeds of 70 km/h. At midday, the first clouds started exploding, and soon after we had thunder, sandstorms and a bit of hail.
For tomorrow, there is a slight chance of a very short flight, but also predictions for showers and storms starting at midday. Today the big clouds moved over from Bright, usually they overdevelop on the Emu range first. Thursday again looks quite desperate. Michi, Robert and Elmar already left for Sydney. They were all really keen on fishing over here, but Robert was the only one who had managed to catch a decent size trout. Maybe they are looking for bigger fish in the ocean now? Before they left, Robert gave me a collection of his photos - one of them is the funny parrot. These parrots visited the Austrian house every morning and checked them out.
Oli proposed to delay next years Bogong Cup into March and combine it with Forbes or Corryong. Later in the year the weather mellows out and is not as extreme as at the moment when we are hit by frontal systems and trough lines every other day.
I really hope that the guys who are at Valle de Bravo for the paragliding World Championships have better luck with their weather!

19 Januar 2009

Bogong Cup Day 6: Being on the safe side

6The forecast was for strong northwesterly winds, still we had a slight chance of a comp task and went to Bright. Up on Mystic take off, conditions were gusty and the wind was crossing in from the left. At 13.15, we decided to go down and meet again at 14.15 at the landing field to see if conditions have improved, but they didnt and the day was cancelled. I was glad about that, because I have flown in bad conditions at Mystic before and don´t want to do it again. It gets rough and turbulent in the air, and the space of possible lift is very limited, with a strong drift to push you into rotory lee. Then if you bomb out, you have to land in a rotory paddock with very switchy wind directions. If you make it up, you have to face even more narrow pine valleys in a 30km/h headwind... not something you really need.
Most people went to the Porepunkah swimming hole, the Austrians went fishing again after Robert had caught a huge trout the other day.
After coming back to Mt Beauty, I invited my team and cooked a Thai curry - the Alpenhorn Motel Balconies have a great view at Emu take off, so we enjoyed good food at sunset, also Jonny and Lotte, Oli´s niece, joined in. After all, a good day.
Today it looks like even stronger winds like yesterday, at Hotham (in the higher mountains a few kms to our south) speed is up to 70 km/h in gusts, and it is supposed to get above 40 degrees today. Probably another day for the Austrians to improve their fishing skills ;)

18 Januar 2009

Mt Buffalo take off

Thanks to Jonny, I have a photo with my take off on Mt Buffalo! Spectacular launch site.

Bogong Cup Day 5: Olis Birthday Flight- 123km

Today Oli had one of his big dreams fulfilled with flying to Feathertop for the first time as a Bogong Cup task. It kept us well out of airspace, so we could use the much higher and nicer lift today to fly around 3 turnpoints.
Take off was my favourite cliff start, Mount Buffalo. It only has one disadvantage- lack of set up space. I was 15th off and had to set up down in the trees. For a small person like me it is superstressful to get across huge rocks with harness and glider - not today! Davis was last off (he scored 0 yesterday for having been in the controled airspace to high and long), so he pushed, and I panicked, asked for help. My teammate Ky, our driver Michael and my good friend Conrad carried my glider and me up to take off, even though they had to get ready themselves! Also Curtis offered help - I was very impressed and very happy to see that it is not just "competition" over here, but a lot more. That way, I had enough energy for a powerful, safe take off, so thanks a lot guys!
Jonny took a photo of me taking off, I hope I can post that later! He is way cool, taking off, then just taking some photos of us other pilots taking off, filming a bit, then getting on course - and of course, winning the day again!
Feathertop deep in the high Australian Alps was our first turnpoint, followed by Mt Porepunkah and Dederang in the Kiewa, then heading back to Mt Beauty Airstrip. Oli came in second, Curt 3rd, Lukas 5th, me 10th and Jonas 12, so the whole team Germany in goal. Also Scott, Gerolf, Nic, Phil, Blenky, Artur, 20 people made goal today after a very scenic flight. Jonas reported lift of 10m/s!
Davis is racing in his Litesport, he would have been in the top 10 yesterday had he not been penalized, and he was 15th in today. Makes you wonder if we should go back to kingpost gliders ;)
After two days, Oli is in 3rd, Lukas in 5th and Im in 9th. Keep your fingers crossed that we will have another 4 great flying days like today. Looking good for tomorrow anyway.
By the way, I came 15th yesterday and won a great bottle of Annapurna Estate Chardonnay... Heather and Carol have done a great job finding sponsors for the competition - they are calling for a big party in the end, as I can´t take that beautiful wine back home around the world with me, as Im already in trouble with overweight luggage.

17 Januar 2009

Bogong Cup Day 4: 120 km task!

Today we took off at Mystic and flew a 120km zig zag with goal at Mt Beauty Airfield. A bit more than half of the field made goal, with Jonny Durand winning the day and Lukas in third probably. I wasnt too fast and came in around 15th, Yulia was already there. More results later.

16 Januar 2009

Bogong Cup Day 3: cancelled on Mt Emu

After we nearly suffered a heat stroke two days ago, temperatures came right down to chilly today. We went up Mt Emu and had to put on all the gear that we usually wear for flying - I was so glad I brought my Icebreaker thermal shirts and the wind and waterproof Adidas winter jacket... yes, Im still in Australia ;)
A strong wind from southerly directions indicates that it comes straight from the south pole, and temperatures felt like 5 degrees. The strong gusts calmed down just a little bit, so we all started setting up, hoping for a flyable day. Out in the flats at Wangaratta they measured up to 72 km/h, so we kept waiting. Suddenly a wind dummie decided to take off. He was pushed around a lot by the turbulence and barely made it to the bomb out. Watching him, we decided it is not worth risking anything, so the day was cancelled. Nobody else flew, we all packed up and drove down.
At the moment, the wind picked up and it looks as if there is a high level sand storm moving through, the sky looks kind of sand coloured. I wonder what the weather will bring for us tomorrow. Hopefully a great flying day. HGFA fees for foreign pilots have risen to 100$, it would be quite expensive to have paid that amount just for a couple of flights!

15 Januar 2009

Bogong Cup Day 2: Still no task, cold front

This morning I got up early to give a radio interview to a local radio station. Exciting to be aired life when it is in a foreign language! They said they would call again during the course of the comp. Nice to find some interest in our sport!
Today we all went up to Mt Emu take off where we found still quite a strong west to northwesterly wind. No thermals, but wave like looking clouds ahead of a cloud cover line with a few drops of rain moving in. A trough line move right over our heads, cooling yesterdays hot air down - I even had to put on a jacket today!
The day was cancelled as there were no signs of thermal activity, but a lot of signs for worsening conditions. Oli testflew my glider down, as I didnt feel very confident with mammatus looking clouds above me. He said he likes that glider very much - and he found out that I had confused left and right wingtip, so the glider had a very slight turn. Lucky it was before the comp!
Tonight we are invited to dinner by the local cricket club. A great social event every year, with really good food! I always like to go there because I will meet one of the fire brigade guys who plucked me down from the eucalypt tree ages ago at the women´s world championships. Always good to be able to shout your guardian angels some drinks!

14 Januar 2009

Bogong Cup Day 1: Cancelled due to strong winds

Today we had the first comp day of the Bogong Cup in Mt Beauty. Due to wind speeds of up to 70km/h from NNW, we didnt even go up any mountain to try - turbulences just get too strong. Yet some guys, including Oli, sneaked off to have a flight in a sailplane. Can´t wait to get their report!
I have moved in at the Alpenhorn Motel which provides Jonny and me with great accomodation as a prize of having won last years Bogong Cup! And lucky we have a pool here- temperatures are over 40 degrees today...
On the photo you can see my retrieve team, Sam, Michael and Curtis. Not much driving around today, just a day to catch up with other pilots, do some work and get prepared for hopefully really good flying days starting tomorrow.
Luckily we don´t have any bushfires yet this year, but with strong winds and the heat the risk is extremely high, so there is a "total fire ban" in our area, which means that we sometimes have to use different tracks to the normal ones to get up to take off.
From our living room and balcony, I can see Mt Emu take off, and we will probably go up there tomorrow. It looks blue and blown out, not a single hangglider in the air.
Our German group is smaller than usual this year. Katharina is here to fly as a wind tech and help with the organization, in the comp it is Oli, Lukas, Jonas and me. The Austrians have Gerolf, Michi and Robert here, and I guess the largest non-Australian group is from Russia. Their youngest member Yulia was very successful at the Forbes competition, she finished 13th! A great result for a tough comp.
Young Spanish superhero Blay is here as well - with Forbes he won his first big international competition and impressed everybody. Good to see that there are enthusiastic, talented new pilots in our beautiful sport!

12 Januar 2009

From Albury to Wandiligong

I flew with Rex Airlines from Sydney to Albury and worried quite a bit - after having paid 30 $ for excess luggage (for 9 kilos), they asked me to choose one of my luggage pieces that I want to go. ?!? They said the other one might be unloaded if the plane gets too full... and please sign here that you pick it up later at your own costs. But don´t worry, usually everything gets on.
With my bad United Airlines luggage experience of a 5 day delay, I disappeared to the bathroom with my suitcase, put on all the gear I need for flying for a few days, running shoes, shirts, jackets, a few trousers, and then told her I definitely want my harness to have priority ;) Luckily both my bags arrived in the end, and I was happily waiting for Oli who came to pick up his niece Lotte and me at Albury.
We spent a beautiful evening in romantic Wandiligong, Carol had prepared a delicious thai curry with tofu and broccoli. It was good to see Luca rushing around the house being very active!
The next day, Lotte and I helped Carol to set up headquarter for the Bogong Cup in Mt Beauty, prepare the bags full of sponsored goodies for the pilots, pick up Oli who flew over and go swimming in the cold river. I enjoy the time here with my friends a lot!
Today we are all going to move over to Mt Beauty, register for the comp, get all the gear ready for the start tomorrow. My glider, an all carbon Moyes Litespeed 3,5s arrived last night with Michi Friesenbichler, and I can´t wait to get into the air again with that beauty! I will have to wait a bit though, it looks like today the northerlies might get really strong. That also means very hot days, tomorrow up to 40 degrees! Lucky that the Alpenhorn Motel has a wonderful pool for chilling...

09 Januar 2009

Sydney sunrise

Heavily jetlagged I finally arrived in Sydney and was warmly welcomed by the Moyes family. At the moment, I wake up between 3 and 4 am, that is even earlier than all the lorikeets, parakeets, cockatoos and delete-birds start their wild morning chattering.
One more precious day in this beautiful city before I head out to Albury where Carol will pick me up tomorrow and take me to Bright. Im privileged to have a couple of weeks here in Australia, yet I wish I could go to NZ as well to see how my friends and their kids are over there.
At the Bogong Im going to fly a Litespeed 3,5 s full carbon, and I heard from several pilots that Michi Friesenbichler is doing extremely well on it at Forbes. Can´t wait to get into the air again, to smell the Eukalipt scented thermals, to land in a flock of kangaroos... to be harrassed by magpies and wedge-tailed eagles... to be scared by huntsmen spiders and red-bellied black snakes... and most of all, to get back together with a lot of really good friends from all over the world!

07 Januar 2009

Hyderabad, Sao Paulo, Abu Dhabi...

...and a few work trips later Im on my way to Australia. I had a smooth flight to the UAE and I hope I dont get stuck here in the desert tonight, trying to catch a flight to Sydney. I will stay a couple of days with Vicki Cain´s (Bill Moyes´daughter) family, and then head on to Albury, where I will meet up with Carol. I cant wait to meet her, Oli and little Luca!
They are organizing the Bogong Cup again and Im looking forward to redeeming last years prize - I won accomodation at the great Alpenhorn Motel in Mount Beauty! Great views, a pool and a kitchen - luxury accomodation! It´s been a long time since I was in Oz and Im very much looking forward to meeting a lot of my good friends again.
More when Im in Sydney.