30 November 2011

Music and passion will always be fashion...

... at the Copacabana! I love my job. After a tough 15 hour shift, we finally arrived in our new crew hotel at the Copacabana. A déja-vu! I have stayed here before a few years ago. When we had the Red Bull Giants of Rio competition, my favourite comp ever. A relay of a swimmer, a mountain biker, a hang glider pilot and a runner. Right through the whole city of Rio. Breakfast on the top floor, ocean view, with 150 of the best triathletes of the world!
Jamie, Nina and I barely noticed the ocean views though ;) It was incredible when the whole city of Rio shut down for one Sunday to allow the athletes to cruise through the city. Numerous favelas had been bribed with skate parks and other goodies to tolerate us going through their territory. And only for that one day, we were allowed to fly from the Pedra Bonita ramp to Ipanema, spot landing in the middle of what seemed a million spectators, handing over to our runner.
On the pics you see the view from my room. Quite high up. The former Meridien, now Windsor is the tallest building at Copacabana, much to the delight of my friend Chris Mueller many years ago. He smirked and told me about his "new toy"... and asked me to help him find a way to the rooftop. Then he made sure that the police guards were asleep, and he base jumped in the middle of the night, every night, landing on the beach. Life can be hard ;)
I hope I will meet a few of my Rio hang gliding friends here or at Sao Conrado while Im in the city.

27 November 2011

The Winners... XC hang gliding 2011

Markus Ebenfeld won the German XC champion title, but also the worldwide XC Cup! Next to him on second, Peter Waldmann, a genius on XC flying - he had a severe accident years ago and suffered severe walking disabilities since, yet he flies and lands on big wheels and is just an amazing pilot!
Jochen Zeyer won the rigid XC, followed by Frank Schmid from my club, DFCA, and Dieter Müglich from Wasserkuppe.
I won the Women´s German XC title, even after only having flown half the season. I was presented with a very special trophy that means a lot to me - Claus Gerhard, a great XC pilot and book author, found an "Emily" in an antique store in Berlin, thought of me and prepared it as a trophy for today. I was left speechless - Claus is a great friend. He has managed to fly from Berlin to Bremen, my home city, on his rigid wing before, about 400 km, which is just an amazing performance in the wet northern German flatlands!
Our club, DFCA, became 2nd in the German Bundesliga, so we dedicated the title to our friend and fellow pilot Walter Rackl who died this year aged only 68.
In came Alex Ploner, just in time for his presentation after the lunch break.

DHV Day of Sports

Today we have the leisure part of the DHV meeting: interesting lectures, at the moment weatherman Volker Schwanitz is explaining turbulence due to different weather patterns in the alps and flatlands.
Later Daniel Tyrkas, new Adidas Air team member and vice German Champion this year in the open scoring of pg (Uli Wiesmeier won!) will lecture about xc flying, also Alex Ploner will give us a presentation later.
Lots of people are here today, many of them my club mates or other xc pilots (Markus Ebenfeld won the hangie XC contest, I also saw Günther Porath, another great xc pilot, Roland Wöhrle is here, Alex Köhler, Frank Schmid, Jörg Bajewski just left... like a pre xmas meeting), hang and paragliding.
The special treat is that Ecki Schröter is here with his family, our highly valued team doctor who always looks after everybody in our sport, making sure we get the best possible treatment! A true idealist, as is his wife Ingrid who puts up with him taking time off to come to Worlds or Europeans with us! Thanks heaps!
Around midday, we will have the awards of the German XC Championships.

26 November 2011

Annual DHV meeting

No spectacular news from the DHV meeting, just that Juergen Ruedinger stopped his work in the board as a technical director, and Dieter Muenchmeyer was voted into it instead, while Christof Kratzner, when proposed, turned it down.
Other than that, all as before.

More interesting that Sebastian Vettel won the qualifying in Sao Paulo today and got his 15th pole position in this season, setting a new all time record. Good work, Seb, I hope you will win tomorrow at Interlagos, finish the circuit in style!

Bamberg breakfast

We arrived in Bamberg late last night, and this morning we started with a highlight for breakfast - the last mango of the ones that I brought over from Australia! I wanted to share it with my parents and best friends, and we all really enjoyed that perfect flavour that you just can´t buy in Germany. So good to see them again, been a while.
The annual meeting of the DHV, the German Hang and Paragliding association, will start today at 1pm. I have been elected as a delegate and it is always interesting to see if people come up with new concepts and ideas for our sport. If anything of relevance for the competitions comes up, I will post it later and also send some pics. Tomorrow we will have the awards of the German XC championships, I won the women´s title even though I only flew half the season ;) It is quite grey and cold over here, the perfect day to sit in a neverending meeting. As usual, I brought some Red Bull not to fall asleep... the best way to get over a heavy jetlag!

25 November 2011


What a difference... when I arrived back in Munich, we had dark, thick fog all day, and sometimes it was snowing. The cheeky little guy in the beautiful rainforest garden would have had a loud laugh with his mates about the cold drizzle ;) Kookaburras are my favourite birds - they love to eat all sorts of spiders, even crunchy funnel webs! Legends.

23 November 2011

All my bags are packed...

... and Im about to leave the Moyes factory. Vicki will take me to Sydney airport, then Im off to work again :(

Swimming at Bronte

This is how it looks today outside the Moyes factory. Dark and cold and heaps of rain. Just like yesterday. It was my last morning though, so I went for a special treat - I got up at 6am and went over to Bronte to join Bill for his every morning swim in the rock pool. Water was about 17 C, it was raining, but it was beautiful. He is such a legend, and I feel privileged to be able to spend some time with him. And I guess coming from northern Germany, Im used to swimming in cold water anyway ;) just loved it!
Now Im waiting for my sail to be finished, it will fit into my suitcase, and then I will be off to the airport, looking at a 14 hour flight to Abu Dhabe, then on to Munich. Im sad I have to leave my friends again, because it feels so much like family and home down here, but Im looking forward to some exciting work trips and spending time with my parents at the annual DHV meeting this weekend close to Nuremberg where the famous Christmas markets are about to start!

21 November 2011

Rain rain rain

Today Im in the Moyes factory in Botany and already met Noma this morning - he had come back from Gulgong, as it didn´t look too promising weatherwise. Rain in Sydney since last night, also rain out in Gulgong for a while.
It is always exciting to be at the factory, my sail is being made at the moment, I love the crisp of new dacron and mylar. It´s always great to see how a pair of new wings come to life!


Whereever I go flying, whether hang gliding or on duty with Lufthansa, I usually have this hat in my luggage. With my fair skin I am quite sensitive to the sun and we usually end up flying in summer conditions in sunny weather, so I was very pleased to have found the perfect travel hat - light weight and indestructable. I put it into the sail before take off and sometimes forgot to take it out before I packed the glider - it stayed in the glider for days, yet it came out perfect.
Since my hat has come of age and seen many countries and comps over the past six years, I decided to find a new one, as I can only buy them in Sydney. And with the pre worlds in Forbes coming up in January, finding the perfect equipment is part of my preparation for the comp.
I had always bought these hats at Paddington market, but as that market is only on on Saturdays, I went to the studio of Maya Neumann in Darlinghurst today.
With the natural dye, every hat comes out unique. And the secret is the material - water hyacinth, you can just spray the hat with water and change the shape to anything you like! A bit like felt hats in Bavaria, just not as thick and heavy, but very light and delicate, made for summer and hot places. I chose my favourite colour and Maya finished my new "Squash hat" off. She also loves to travel the world and we exchanged some good "on the road stories".

A Koala and a Moyes family dinner

Sometimes you get rewarded even if the wind direction seems wrong and you decide not to launch. The Koala in the tree was sitting just next to take off - the first Koala I ever saw! Then just a few steps away I found the skin of a large brown snake, one of the most poisonous guys in the world. Then there are cockattoos, lazy lizards (who do they remind me of???) and wild turkeys everywhere. I love this amazing country!
And I love the amazing hospitality of the Moyes family - it is always a special treat to join Molly´s Sunday family dinner at Bronte Beach - and they really embrace me as part of the family. So good to see Vicki and Greg, Molly, Bill, Jen and Steve, Gerolf and about a dozen kids I cant quite place, as well as pilots who just drop in. Have you felt lost and in jet lag and foreign in this huge city of Sydney, at Molly´s Sunday dinner you arrive in a safe and very welcoming haven. It has become an institution over the years and I feel privileged to participate.

19 November 2011

NBN news and Volle Kanne!

You can find the NBN news story here, I was very flattered when I watched it - nice images and really positive for our sport, the guys did a great job!
This monday morning on Volle Kanne in ZDF, you can watch the full story about meeting Benjamin on our trip to Ghana. Have a look at the information about it here and pictures here.

16 November 2011

NBN TV news 6pm tonight!

Yesterday I went up to Newcastle for an interview with NBN TV. Weatherman Gavin Morris, a paraglider pilot, organized that for me - and I think it is important to present our sport in the most positive way as possible, specially in the places where we fly a lot, so non-pilots understand a bit more and might even try a tandem or start a course!
It was raining heaps and we had to shift the place of the interview away from launch to a house. No flying possible, but luckily I had lots of film footage of Tegelberg on my computer.
Of course my story is tightly entwined with Australia, as I have always won the world champion title on a Moyes hang glider and had been living in Sydney with the Moyes family many months. I still regard the world record outback expedition to Hillston and Wilcannia with Tomas Suchanek and Bill Moyes as a turning point in my career, my flying confidence just sky rocketed after that!
I was told that Sydneysiders can watch the NBN news online, and I should be up just after 6pm NSW-time tonight for people from the central coast northwards. As soon as I find the news online, I will link it for you! My first interview on Australian TV, and I hope I could get the TV producers excited to come out and visit us in Forbes at the pre-worlds and worlds!

15 November 2011


I loved that dog, Abbey was a very special family member of the Durands - I will miss her. My thoughts are with Judy, Big Jon, Gemma, Jonny and Josh.

13 November 2011


Sometimes even low on the dunes at sealevel the wind is too strong for flying. When the seagulls barely move, you better look at windsurfing, kitesurfing or exploring different wing profiles with your jacket. We were sandblasted on the beach, I guess some sand will stay in my clothes for the rest of my journey.
After that really cold experience at the beach, it was fun to take a fire bath - Cris heated a fire under the big bath tub in their garden which heats the water while you soak in it. The views are great, it is a real treat to watch sunset over the mountains from a hot little pool.

Christchurch after the earthquake

Cristchurch is still far away from a full recovery after the earthquakes hit. Lots of areas are closed, even if the houses look ok, people are not allowed to access their properties, and downtown you see a lot of cranes trying to hold up crooked, leaning high rise buildings.
The Christchurch Cathedral is not visible anymore, as you can´t access that area at all. In the meantime, containers were set up, glass fronts put into them, and shops and cafes are now set in containers. It´s just an interim solution, but it does look quite hip and trendy, just making the best out of that tough situation for all the shops.
I always considered New Zealand one of the safest havens to be, without nuclear power, not interesting enough in terms of natural resources for bigger countries to fight over, not a lot of people living there, it always seemed paradise. But one of the major falts of the earth crust runs along just under Christchurch. No tremors at all while I was there, and I hope that a desaster like this won´t happen here too soon again.
Cris and Tish own a property about 30 minutes north of Christchurch, and their house, road or land had not been affected at all by the quake luckily. They turned it into home for quite a lot of their Christchurch friends who had lost their houses and belongings after the catastrophe.

12 November 2011


After a great time of meeting my friends Phil, Annelies, James, Mary and their families up in Auckland, I flew to Christchurch to stay with Tascha, Cris and Tali. The flight was scenic and revealed some of the beauty of the southern NZ alps. As the Air NZ flight was pretty booked out, I sat in the middle seat in a row of three. As it turned out, I was sitting next to a Kiwi pilot who had just returned from a work trip to Los Angeles. Always interesting to hear about working conditions of other airlines. It is sad that Air New Zealand does not seem to have a lot of airline partners for their staff travel conditions. I can fly on a standby Air New Zealand ticket, but their staff can´t fly Lufthansa!
In Christchurch, Tish and Cris took me to the beach to see if we can fly the dunes, but the wind was not on, so we just had a nice little picknick together with their little son Tali. The beach is beautiful - it is spring at the moment, and the sand dunes are covered in beautiful flowers!

04 November 2011

NZ specials

Well the rainbow lorrikeets are actually Australian, but the Tuatara is an old kiwi favourite of mine. Needs one breath a minute, really cool guy that dragon!
Then of course the Kea, cheekiest bird alive! And could you spot the dog on the carpet? "Salty" is the Frankhams dog, and I wonder who was in the house first, the carpet or the dog?