24 Oktober 2007

At the factory in Botany

Today I went to the Moyes factory in Botany with Vicki. Lots of nice memories of the time when I was working with Vicki and her sister Jenny in the office. Today we worked out an interview with Attila for the "Soaring Australia" magazine, but maybe Cross Country is interested as well.
As you see, no glider in the factory because Stanwell is "on" today, so the boys went testflying for a short time, because it started raining, a front will move through today and we might even get some storms tomorrow.
Attila walked in, he had brought my harness down from Canungra in his car (so it would not get lost on the flight). And just some minutes ago Dave Seib came in, he looks a lot healthier today than through the whole competition and said that he feels much better (he even vomited during some flights, still did amazingly well and came 4th in the comp).
Feels good to be back in Sydney. Driving with Oli and Carol through Bronte and Waverley to Bondi Junction made me feel at home. Well, I guess sitting on the table with this incredible family, enjoying Molly´s fantastic chinese cooking, makes everybody feel very much at home.

23 Oktober 2007

In Bronte with Moyes

After Canungra I flew down to Sydney with Steve and stayed at Bronte Beach with Molly and Bill Moyes. Their Sunday Dinner is always a great familiy and friends event, catering for up to 50 people I´d say! Now I know how to prepare a genuine coleslaw. Guess one more step closer to Aussie residency ;)
Today I went shopping with Carol and Oli because their car had been stolen yesterday, right down at the kiosk of Stanwell Park while they were at the beach for about 1 hour! Olis harness, flight instruments, wallet, cards and papers were in the car. Not what you need if you expect a baby within the next few weeks. Also they only just got a new car. Should you have a spare harness and you are in the Sydney/Newcastle/Bright area, please help Oli - my harness is too small for him, but at least he can use my vario and gps.Contact him through oliverbarthelmes@gmx.de
We had a southeasterly change today, Stanwell was on and the boys went testflying, but I didnt have my harness yet. The wind will stay, but it might start raining tomorrow. With that car theft I would probably only fly around trying to spot Olis car anyway...
A few more days over here, then Im off to New Zealand to visit friends. A real holiday for a change, sounds just like what I need after all these long flights around the world.

22 Oktober 2007

The Worldchampion

Attila won the last day with 1000 points and went up to 2nd place, beating Steve Moyes by a few points. He went out on course early and showed everybody why he won the worlds. Attila flies very fast on his own, he is superconfident and knows the Canungra area well, so it was impossible for the second start time gaggle to catch up with him. I wonder if his daughter Yasmin will start flying one day as well?
I was the only one who took the last start time and still got to goal, because the sea breeze picked up a lot and forced most other people down.

21 Oktober 2007

Canungra Classic Awards

Unfortunately I cant upload photos at the moment, but I will try later. The awards were great, Jonny won 1000 $ for first place, Attila came 2nd and Steve Moyes 3rd. I ended up 8th and was pleased that I could gain another 2 places with the last flight. And very pleased that I could take another great Durand mug home ;)
At the moment Im waiting at the airport in Sydney for Steve to arrive, Kim will pick us up and tonight I may participate in the famous Moyes Sunday Dinner at Molly´s and Bill´s place in Bronte. Oli and Carol will be there as well, since Oli will soon pick up his new glider at the factory.

20 Oktober 2007

Coming to Japan!

I also have exciting news about my work schedule for next month- I got a flight to Nagoya and I will head out to Tokyo and bring a lot of film footage and some photos of Big Spring, the German Open and other competitions. On the 12th or 13th of November Toru Goda will set up a place for a meeting and party, and I look forward to seeing a lot of my Japanese friends out there, so we can exchange the secrets of how to fly well as a light pilot. Just today was very difficult with that strong headwind, but I made goal, and that means it is possible!

Day 6 and 7 - long flights!

Day 6

Beautiful clouds greeted us up at Beechmont takeoff this morning, promising a good task. 140 km crossing the Great Deviding Range with Killarney as the first turnpoint, then up to Warwick Airfield. When it was my turn to get into the air, the valley was in shade and it was difficult to get up. We managed to climb out, but I thought Im not high enough to cross the hills behind takeoff, so I went back. Big mistake- I did not only loose height, but also the lead gaggle with all the guns in it. All the way I was struggling, I only got to cloud base once on the way and had my harness open several times cause I thought I have to land. In the end, I made it into goal very late in the day, after a difficult fly. Four out of my team made goal, only one didnt get there!
Jonny was sick since the morning, so he „only“ came in fourth. He is still in the lead and has a few points on Steve Moyes, but quite a lot on Dave Seib on third place. Attila moved up to 4th yesterday.

Day 7

Today we found some really rough air in front of Beechmont take off and on course. The task was 98km out to Palencreek, over to Croftby and goal was Coulson. Jonny´s father tucked and he was lucky that the glider quitckly recovered. He said first he wanted to land, then he decided to go on anyway,and he made it into goal! There were about 15 in goal today, the last 25 km were really difficult, heading against a 25km/h headwind, because the sea breeze had kicked in.
Even though Jonny looked still sick, he made it in and should have won this meet for the 7th time now! And I hope that I still stay in the top 10 because then I will get another Durand Mug, the best trophy you could wish for. They are still busy with scoring now, results should be out later tonight. Attila won the day, but a few people landed just a few kms short. Even Dave Seib wasnt sure if he quite made the 400m goal radius.

18 Oktober 2007

Red Faces

In the evening we celebrated the old tradition of the "Red Faces Night". Nick started it long time ago, and it is still great fun. Our team plus Camo performed as Abba, singing "Mamma Mia" with new words - "yes, Ive been broken hearted, oh, since the cloud we parted, why why did I let Steve Moyes go..." And we even won the competition! The guys put a lot of effort into the guitars made from glider parts, and Yves supplied the backing music.
Am Abend hatten wir eine großartige Party, die Jungs hier sind echt fit und talentiert. Beim "Red Faces" WEttbewerb hat unser Beitrag von Abba "Mamma Mia" gewonnen. Später hat eine Pilotenband gespielt, es wurde bis spät gefeiert, entsprechend müde ging es daher heute am STart zu. Aber wir haben ja noch zwei TAge, die recht vielversprechend aussehen.

O Reilly´s

Gestern wurde wegen starken Windes abgesagt, also sind Warren, Phil, Neil, Cameron, Gary und ich raufgefahren zu oReilly´s, wo man durch die Baumwipfel laufen kann und außerdem recht zutrauliche Vögel trifft.

Since the day was canned, we went up to OReilly´s, did the tree top walk and played with the tame parrots up there. Great fun!

Day 5/6 abgesagt

Yesterday we had a very strong breeze from the south and the day was cancelled. Today we went up to Beechmont, rain was moving through and a fresh southeaster, low cloudbase, so at 13.00 the day was cancelled as well. Predictions for tomorrow look pretty good, we might get a big day.

16 Oktober 2007

Day 4

The Fixed Total Validity let Steve Moyes overtake Jonny Durand in the overall results yesterday. Im ranked 6th overall, quite a good result so far.
Today we went up to Tambo and the wind picked up significantly from the northwest. I considered not taking off into the 48km task, but just when it was my turn on takeoff, it calmed down a bit. The air was very rough, thermals broken, not the nicest conditions. Since I didnt want to take any risks flying into the hills in this wind, I just landed safely in a big field. One of those days that could have been cancelled for safety and fairness for everybody.
Apparently Dave Seib made the Rathdowney goal as the day winner, not many got around the first turnpoint at Hillview.

Day 3

Now we´ve already flown 3 valid and fun tasks in the first 3 days! Since we had a westerly wind yesterday, we went up to Mt Tamborine. The task was an 80km dogleg to the southwest around two turnpoints into the Rathdowney goal.
When we started, the inversion was still low and it was useful to have to wait for the 13.00 start gate. I was high and started out, seeing that Jonny, Steve Moyes, Attila and a few others hung back. They got really high and I already thought I had made a mistake, especially when they caught up on us after 50km, but later they said that they slowly got down and really struggled in the beginning of their task. Attila and Dave SEib even landed after only a few kms!
We flew only in the blue, but thermals got us up to 2000m in the late afternoon, very smooth air made it a fun flight again. At goal, the organizers were already waiting to read in the tracklogs so we could go home directly. They are doing a good job. Except that FTV thing is on again, Tim Cummings Fixed Validity always seems to steal some points and places from me. Gerolf couldnt convince him yet to drop it. WEll, at least Attila and Dave Seib will love it after the bombout yesterday.
Today it looks like another day on Mt Tamborine with a decent task. I dont know about my ranking in the task yesterday, because of the people who started with the second startgate.

15 Oktober 2007


Yesterday we went up to Beechmont launch and- found a tailwind for quite some time. The clouds looked great, so we waited until the wind blew into our face. And it really started!
The task was about 80 km around one turnpoint. A scenic flight with the goal at lake Moogera. I had a good run and was flying a lot with Steve Moyes. In the end, it was Jonny, Steve and me in the last thermal 12 kms out. We started gliding towards the lake, and the guys did a much better job than me. I fell behind and could see that it would be very difficult to clear the last hill before goal, especially that powerline on top of it. So I decided to turn around and land instead of scearing myself. I landed in a great field 5 km from goal and had a chat with a friendly farmer who came to see if I was alright.
Jonny and Steve were the top two of the day, there were another 5 in goal. My drivers came just before it got really dark, and we had a fast trip home. Then Gemma waited with a great surprise- she had picked up my lost suitcase in Coolangatta!!! So today I can finally wear my own clothes again. Thanks to all the people who helped me out with bits and pieces!

13 Oktober 2007

Canungra Classic 2007

This year we are 58 pilots at the Canungra Classic, some guys didnt turn up. I am missing Chris Jones from Sydney, also Ricky Duncan and Adam Parer from Newcastle are not here this year. Ha, neither is my suitcase! Im still walking around in borrowed clothes and borrowed equipment.
Before we went up to Tambo take off yesterday, Steve Moyes and quite a few assistants helped me to fix the new fittings for the new carbon speed bar on my Litespeed 3.5 s. Designed by Attila and Gerolf, it is a clever new improvement.
The task of 55 km sounds small, but the day started late and shuts down early, usually the seabreeze moves in and it gets pitch black at 6.30 pm already.
We flew with a decent height and very nice thermals, so it didnt take Jonny Durand long to fly the task. He won the last 6 (!) Canungra Classics and started with a win into this one as well. And always looks "as relaxed as a stoned lizard", how someone before put it. I came in 11th of the day, also a good start considering a bit of a jetlag and no gear handicap. A few Red Bulls and it all works ;)
The glider is great, it was easy to get on top of the gaggle and stay there, it flies straight and seems to have a good glide! Im so glad that Steve testflew it, because my first flight on it was the first comp day... I hope I can keep this one for the Bogong Cup as well! Its an all carbon frame, Ive never tried that before, but I like it a lot.
More photos later, now I need to get ready for the second day. The weather looks good, we might fly the whole week if we are lucky!

12 Oktober 2007

Storms and Rainbows

What a day of drama yesterday! I thought it was too windy to fly (and I didnt have my glider anyway), but when we got to take off, quite a few people had launched. We saw the fire brigade and were shocked when we heard that one pilot had had an accident on take off and had died. Shortly after, a helicopter landed, but not for rescue - australian television had sent their reporters! Six camera crews started filming, we were appaled, most pilots packed in horror and raced away. They aired the tragic news before people were able to contact the pilots relatives! What a cruel world this is, it made me sad and angry.
Later in the afternoon we had big storms moving through Canungra, followed by extraordinary rainbows. On the photo you see the main road of Canungra, and my main provider of internet.
Today it looks quite windy, and I wouldnt mind a quiet day to have more time to get ready and to find my lost suitcase. Jonnys sister Jemma gave me a lot of clothes to wear, even some Timezone pants, so I might be ok for today.

the Film

You find the latest film about the Texas hanggliding world championships here:


The Trip to Down Under

4.30 am in the morning, a noisy cackeling and chit-chatting outside – these birds are colouful parrots, so enchanting to watch that I forgive them their noisy breakfast chatter. I must be in Australia again!

34 hours after I left Munich, I arrived in Brisbane, having flown though San Francisco and Sydney on the way. Unfortunately, my suitcase didnt make it, and I already got some spare stuff so I can at least run and fly the comp, because the Canungra Cup starts tomorrow already!
Neil Petersen picked me up in Brisbane and today we will head out to one of my favourite flying places. I will stay in Beechmont with the Durands who invited me – or should I say, who adopted me? Jonny Jnr and his father are the local flying legends, and Jonnys Mum Judy cooks the best vegetarian food I ever had during a comp! I really feel at home in this wonderful place that Attila once introduced me to as „Canungra, centre of the Universe!“

Vicki sent a new Litespeed 3.5 s up for me, and I hope I can testfly it today. Looks like a westerly, so we might take off from Mt Tamborine. I bet Attila, the reigning world champion, will be back to compete as well as Steve Moyes and Rick Duncan, which, including me, makes it four world champions in that comp! Not bad.

Time to leave and find an open hot spot, so I can post the latest news for you!

Um 4.30 heute morgen ging lautes Geschnatter draußen los, lauter bunte Papageien machten hier im Garten ihr Frühstück- das war so schön anzusehen, daß ich ihnen ihr Gekrächze verziehen habe. Ich muß wohl wieder in Australien sein!

34 STunden nachdem ich in München gestartet bin, kam ich über San Francisco und Sydney endlich in Queensland an, allerdings ohne meinen Koffer. Ich hoffe, er wird bald nachgeliefert, denn morgen fängt schon der Canungra Cup an, und ich wollte eigentlich nicht in K-Mart-Klamotten durch die Gegend fliegen...
Neil Petersen hat mich gestern totmüde am Flughafen eingesammelt und gleich fahren wir los nach Canungra, das Attila mir als „Centre of the Universe“ vorgestellt hat. Ich darf wieder bei den Durands übernachten, in ihrem wunderschönen Haus in Beechmont. Jonny und sein Vater sind wahre Fluglegenden hier in Australien, und meine „Gastmutter“ Judy kocht das beste vegetarische Essen, das ich mir wünschen könnte.

Vicki hat aus Sydney einen neuen Litespeed 3.5 s für mich hergeschickt, ich hoffe, ich kann ihn gleich testfliegen, wahrscheinlich von Mt Tamborine aus, denn wir haben heute Westwind. Der amtierende Weltmeister Attila wird hier mitfiegen, ebenso Steve Moyes und Rick Duncan, das macht inclusiver mir vier Weltmeister in einem Wettbewerb. Rekordverdächtig!

Jetzt muß ich nur noch internet finden...

07 Oktober 2007

Canungra Cup, NZ and Japan

At the moment Im still on my work trip in Sao Paulo, flying back this afternoon, then getting my gear ready to leave for Brisbane on Tuesday. Im already looking forward to flying with my friends in Canungra! After the comp, I will even have the luxury of some spare time in Oz and Nz for some travelling.
Sure I will report about the Canungra Cup every day for you.
Coming back in the beginning of November, Im trying to request for a flight to Nagoya with 2 complete days off in Japan as Im hoping to be able to meet some of the Japanese pilots to bring them some films from the worlds and the german open.
I have to pay the price for my time off soon, as I have to work on standby over Christmas and new years this year, so anything is possible then and I hope to end up somewhere nice where I know somebody.