31 Dezember 2011

Testflight at Stanwell and out to Forbes

Yesterday I testflew my glider at Stanwell - sweet little glider, very easy handling, going fast and straight. Promising great fun flights!
Len Paton and I had picked up Jim Prahl in the airport and after the little stop in Stanwell, we headed off to Forbes. On the way we stopped for some lunch and found this huge Merino sheep - I had to take a picture in my Icebreaker gear, as it is made from pure merino wool. Very nice to wear even in hot weather. but yesterday it was quite cool. Even out here in Forbes it is very pleasant and green.
Now Im waiting for Len to come out to Forbes airfield with my glider and have a little test tow. All blue at the moment, Jonny and Curt have their xc clinic group sitting next to me and talk about their flight experiences yesterday. Interesting to listen to, these guys know how to make it fun and how to teach people and get them out on long distances!
Every minute people are arriving here. Ive already met Hadewych and Carol, the Italian team, a lot of Australians... it is nice to be out here and have two weeks of quite promising weather ahead of us!

27 Dezember 2011

Bronte morning, Sydney, Timezone GMT +11

Great big waves and a southeaster today at Bronte, looks like a nice day this morning.

Bremen-Paris-Abu Dhabi-Sydney

Im the second of Team Timezone to arrive in Sydney, heavily jetlagged Im up at 3.45am to write for you! Primoz is already here, Joerg will come tomorrow I guess (thanks to him for this great little Timezone logo - it´s actually GMT + 11 here, but aren´t we all in jetlag?).
This morning I started superearly flying out from Bremen to Paris, got on to Abu Dhabi and just made the flight to Sydney. Only 28 hours later Im in Australia where the sky just looked like in Bremen. Grey?! At least about 10 degrees warmer. And Steve said Stanwell will be on the next 3 days, so I look forward to some coastal flying before going out to Forbes! Time for a rest now.

25 Dezember 2011

Steve Moyes Interview

This is a great interview with one of the best hang glider pilots ever, Steve Moyes. He has not only built all the gliders I have ever won a World, European and German Champion title with, but Steve has also won a World Champion title and several national titles. I had the honour to fly quite a few times with Steve and I have always been in absolute awe of his technique - he barely seems to put any effort into steering the gliders, because he anticipates!
Now at the pre worlds in Forbes in January Steve is offering a special program for new and upcoming pilots to improve their flying and competition skills. Gerolf, Attila and Jonny Durand will also be part of this program, and also I will give as much input as I can from my competition experience. Guess everybody would like to be a Moyes pilot now to get a special tuition from some top guys in different aspects of hang gliding!

23 Dezember 2011

In Bremen for Christmas, in South Africa with my mind

Visiting a lot of African countries regularly with my job, I was curious how the political situation in South Africa is progressing. I admire those grand, wise men Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu just as much as the Dalai Lama. They stopped Apartheid and racism in a peaceful way, a revolution without a war (nevertheless a lot of good people lost their lives on the way there).
Certainly the ecomony of South Africa has grown immensely since I was there last about 8 years ago, the country seems to be on a good way to peace, freedom and more safety - I was walking through the city of Cape Town, sharing bus rides with people of every colour and origin, not feeling threatened but always meeting great curiosity: "Where are you from? What have you seen of our country? How do you like it?" While I tried to learn from the Xhosa-people how to properly pronounce the clicking sounds of their beautiful language.
But some recent developments within the ANC seem to be extreme and racist the other way around, much to the concern of the former party leaders. I hope that politics and the country don´t stumble into the opposite, the Zimbabwen way.
It was great to absorb a lot of sun at the southern cape before arriving in my home in Bremen- just grey all day and drizzle, dark like dusk. Guess we are too close to the polar circle for the day to lighten up during winter ;) don´t know how my Scandinavian friends survive the cold season. I will run away to Australia soon...

19 Dezember 2011

Cape Point, UTC +2

While I was in South Africa, at Cape Point I already found a hint to my next big adventure - Australia, not quite in swimming distance! Before that, I will go to Berlin, Munich and Bremen and then head south again. Sydney! Pre World Championships in Forbes, 5 hours west of Sydney, 100 pilots entered already, Vicki and the Moyes team are doing a great job organizing it all!
I will meet a lot of friends there again, plenty of German pilots, but also my favourite Kiwis are going, with Tascha flying again after some time. It is always great to be in the air with your best mates!

14 Dezember 2011

WDR 5 radio, monday 11.05 am

Yesterday I went to an interview for the radio in Cologne, WDR 5, which will be aired next monday at 11.05am, about half an hour about hang gliding. Im on my way to work, so more pictures and infos soon...
Also, I am in a book about outdoor legends now. It was very flattering to find myself between Arved Fuchs and Germany´s first astronaut Sigmund Jähn, I don´t live quite up to their legends I feel, but it is an honour for me to be mentioned and portrayed as well!

09 Dezember 2011

Jeddah, UTC +3

After having softened up in Australia, I was looking for warm work destinations to fly to after having come back to cold Germany. Seems like it worked out - while it is pretty chilly in Sydney right now, I have been baking in Rio and now in Jeddah. Even more so under the black abbaya coat that the women have to wear... and no matter if I wear abbaya and scarf, abbaya and hat or abbaya and just my hair - the cars passing me will still honk. Just why? They can´t just be all Indians who do that for the mere joy of honking?

Now in the afternoon, there are lots of little picknicks happening at the sea - if you have a closer look at the photo, you can see some women in black gathering. Now there is a group on every one of those little bends. Just it is not quite as cozy as on Australian beaches, and no barbecues are installed. And well, definitely no chardonnay going on here ;) Nobody in or on the water, even though the breeze seems perfect for kite surfing or wind surfing, with whitecaps all over. But then, how would I do that in an abbaya?

Also, Im not allowed to do my workout in the gym. I asked if there is a separate time or room for women, but no mercy. At least I could borrow a mat to take to my room. Guess I cant just through my sling trainer across a palm tree and train in the garden. But tomorrow, after our shuttle to Asmara and back, I will go to the beach club - I heard that women are allowed into the gym there. I will try. And hopefully find some colourful fish in the water.

05 Dezember 2011

Sportschule Puch

Back in Munich, I went to see Lenz Westner of Sportschule Puch straight away to receive a new training schedule - I still need to do a lot of workout to be fit for the pre world championships in Forbes in January! Lenz is much more than just a trainer or a physio, he has an amazing grip on how to straighten and train up a body after having had an injury.
I had just started with my training when I ran into good friends from our Red Bull family - Marco Smolla and Bene Mayr, also training because it hasn´t quite started snowing yet, so the free skier and the snowboarder are still "gounded" like me ;) great training partners, but much stonger than me. As you see on the photo.

01 Dezember 2011

Link to Pepe´s documentary!

Steve Blenkinsop sent me the link to the great documentary about Pepe Lopez - a lot is in English, some of it in Portuguese, and I consider it a "must see". It is dealing with a sensitive subject of our sport very well, the editors did a great job not to blame the risks or danger of hang gliding, but to show Pepe´s passion for flying and life. It also protrayed our group of pilots in the sport very well, showing how close we all are and that we are ready to help each other when it comes to extremes.
Blenky said the docu won a sports journalism award last week. Really deserved it! The link to SporTV is here. If you click on the little winndow at the left bottom, you should be able to watch the 50 minute docu.

The legend of Pepe

Despite the wind not looking good at all for Sao Conrado, I had to go there to meet some old friends. Betinho took me up to Pedra Bonita launch, and I think this is the only ramp where tailwind take offs can work. Ive done that myself, but it is always strange. The tandems dropped down significantly after leaving the ramp ;)
In the evening back in the hotel, I started zapping through TV channels, and believe it or not, there was a documentary on SportTV about the story of Pepe Lopez who had died in 1991 during the world championships in Japan. I stopped on the channel because I heard Blenky talking. How strange, I am in Rio and see some of my friends on TV. The accident happened before I even started flying comps, and unfortunately I had never met Pepe. I also had no idea that Blenky landed in the trees close by Pepe trying to save Pepe. Also Pedrao, Phil and Nader were interviewed, as well as several other well known faces of the Carioca hang gliding scene. The program went on for about an hour, with a lot of historical film footage. I have to ask Blenky if he got a copy of it, it was really great to watch!
In Rio, Pepe Lopez is nearly as great a legend as Senna, with streets and places named after him. He was a surfing and hang gliding world champion and was also a really successful musician. Good to see that his legend is still alive and people remember.