31 Januar 2011

Our Team Doc

Last week I visited our Team Doc, Dr. Eckhart Schröter, in his practice in Altötting. He is specialized in orthopedics and surgery, but whenever he travelled with us to World Championships, we realized that he is also specialized in the psychology of team dynamics, physiotherapy, retrieval - in short, a perfect and superreliable assistant for the team leader.
Ecki will come to this years world championship at Monte Cucco, and whoever is on the team, is really lucky. Thank you, Ecki, for all those years of professional help, assistance, fun, fast retrievals, for sevillana and salsa, and an even bigger thanks to your family for granting you and us the time and for understanding how important your role was and is in our team! I will do all I can to qualify for Monte Cucco.

23 Januar 2011

Oliver Schmidt

I know that many of my international friends around the world knew Oliver Schmidt, as he loved to travel as much as he loved to fly, and he had been a member of the German National Rigid Wing team for quite some years. Sadly, Oli´s father Manfred informed us that Oli died last Wednesday in Mainz, never having recovered from a severe accident.
My heartfelt condolences to Oli´s family and friends.

18 Januar 2011

Snowsnowsnow in Oslo

Hei Øyvind, be happy that you are in Australia, there is plenty of snow in Oslo - stunning to see, as the rain has washed away all the snow in Germany, and there had been lots too. But where are all the elks, again I haven´t seen a single one. Maybe just a myth for the tourists. How does a Brazilian survive a winter in Norway?
Very foggy here at Gardermoen too, not much to take a photo of. And the rest of this trip is a secret ;) I admire all my Norwegian hang gliding friends for flying even in winter conditions, very brave and dedicated!

15 Januar 2011

Falaffel instead of Aloo Ghobi: Cairo, GMT +2

Originally I should be in Bangalore, but our work schedules often change at the moment, so I got a tour to Cairo instead. And for the first time here ever, I saw rain! And rain means big puddles on the roads, or even flooding here and there. In Egypt! So instead of a tour to the pyramids or a treck with a camel, I stayed in the hotel. Must be a very rare wind direction too, as I never saw the planes from Cairo airport taking off and leaving directly above our hotel.
I was the only one counting tiles in the pool, as it kept raining every now and then, and the water temperature was warmer than the air temperature. I also realized that they have a good gym and a nice hot whirlpool in the fitness club area. But the falaffel can´t quite compare to the great paneer tikka masala and aloo ghobi I enjoyed last week in Chennai.
Looks like they might get some great flying weather next week for the Bogong Cup. Not too many pilots have entered, which is a good sign for great big flights ;) I hope I can come back to Oz for Canungra in autumn.

12 Januar 2011

Tim in Africa

A group of pilots, amongst them Tim Grabowski and Toni Raumauf, is in Namibia at the moment for record attempts. It looks that "La niña" even changes conditions in Africa, not only Australia. While Davis Straub called the Forbes Flatlands this year the "Forbes Floodlands" (congrats to Jonny Durand for having won both competitions in a row! Forbes results here), Tim tells us that they experienced heavy rain in the Kalahari desert... you can read his news here: Tim in Africa He just flew over 200km yesterday, with a great, high cloudbase: dhv xc
Rain and floods everywhere, here in Germany it got quite bad over the past few days, but nothing compared to Queensland. People drowning in Toowoomba, I hope my Canungra/Brisbane friends all built their houses on top of a hill... The Durands´house is high up on Beechmont luckily, but I really hope the others don´t get troubled too much by the floods. Neil, Davo, Glen, Tim&Sue - are your feet still dry?

09 Januar 2011

Shanghai Surprise, Pudong, Timezone GMT + 8

This is the Chinese version of Red Bull - in a yellow can, and not quite the taste I am used to, as you see in my face ;) But I was curious when I saw "Red Bull" on the menu of the Park Hyatt, so I had to try...
The view from the 87th floor of the World Financial Center in Pudong on Shanghai is spectacular. In the background you see the Oriental Pearl tower, changing colours rapidly with the different sun angles. Full view on the "Bund" with it´s grand old buildings, and you really get a feeling how vast this city is and how fast it grows.
Yet no fireworks to be seen for New Year´s - too dangerous, forbidden by the government, and I could find no place to buy them... guess I have to wait and come back for Chinese new year!

05 Januar 2011

Good-bye to some legends..

I just got to know about the deaths of Jos Guggenmos and Craig Worth, two hang gliding legends - both have done a lot for our sport.
Jos Guggenmos from Allgaeu has dedicated most of his life to the development of glider design. He was one of the first to experiment with a glider without kingpost. He has also been a successful competition pilot for many years and has helped me to improve my landing skills - even though I could never pull it off as smoothly as he did. Jos has had a heart condition and had been wearing a pace maker for many years, that´s why he had stopped flying a few years ago. My thoughts are with his partner Rosi Brams.
Craig Worth has done a great deal to push hang gliding in Australia. He has run the Australian HG and PG Federation for many years and he has also organized the Women´s World Championships in Australia in 1996 which is where I met Craig for the first time. We´ve had our clashes ("we don´t want Mickey Mouse tasks, so no women on the task committee..."), but it was good to see somebody so involved and dedicated to push our sport. Just last January I talked to Craig when he had briefly taken over the HGFA matters again while they were looking for a new manager. I heard that Craig had suffered from cancer for a while.
These two guys were some real characters who pushed our sport a lot and loved flying. I will miss you.