19 Januar 2008

And the winners are...

Yesterday night at the award ceremony, Yulia, Corinna, Hadewych, and then Attila, Jonny and Balasz. Jonny Durand won all the Australian comps of this season and won over world champion Attila who takes it with humour and respect!

Bogong Cup task 4: 103 km over 2 turnpoints

The day looked cloudy, the forecast was for rain later in the day with possible embedded thunderstorms. We went over to Bright and up Mystic anyway, a task was set into the northwest and hopefully away from the dark skies. Once the window opened, I was ready and took off soon after Attila, Lukas and a few others.
We found lift in the unstable air and got up, but it didnt look promising towards the courseline. I thought of staying west of course and maybe getting out of the way of the rain, but it moved in too fast and I didnt want to fly across non-landable area. As soon as I saw the windspeed picking up, I landed a few kms south of Myrtleford. More pilots joined me on that field. Later I heard the day was stopped and cancelled, because also other pilots and Carol in goal experienced strong gusts ahead of the rain - Carol couldnt even fix the goal line, it was blown away.
Today of course the discussion was started, pilots who did well yesterday loudly protested and attacked Heather because they wanted the day to be scored, and maybe they succeed. Heather did her best, made a safe decision to stop it and gave a good example for the young, new pilots not to dare too much, not to fly in these iffy conditions, not to head into the darkest of clouds. Taking risks like that should not be rewarded. Guess we have both seen too much tragedy to want to see anybody at risk.
I dont loose or gain anything whether the task is scored or not, but I certainly agree with Heathers decision and I admire her for standing up for it, because normally the comp directors only want to go with the flow and put all the responsability towards the pilots. And those were always the days when we saw severe accidents at big comps.
Whatever the outcome of the day, I think people clearly see how much Heather and Carol care about safety and I hope also the new pilots feel well looked after in the Bogong Cup and will come back next time.
It keeps raining today, so we will already start at 6pm with the award ceremony at Settlers Tavern. Time for me to update some pictures and get ready for the long trip back tomorrow morning. I havent seen final results yet.

17 Januar 2008

Task 3: 166 km!

Today we went to my favourite take-off: Mount Buffalo! And the task was long, around 3 turnpoints with goal at Brown Brothers Airstrip. Unfortunately I landed at 5.30 pm, so the winery was already closed. Still I was very happy with todays flight.
We went way out into the flatlands and had a great cloudbase, good lift and even clouds later in the day. Jonny came in first and won another day, followed by a whole bunch of pilots, Lukas in 4th, Oli, Jörg, Roland and me not far behind. All i know is that Attila had only 6 minutes on me - not bad for 166km!
tomorrow more, we got back really late.

16 Januar 2008

Bogong Cup task 2, 107km

Today we went up Emu launch again but waited a long time for the wind to calm down and to swing straight into the launch slope between the gum trees. Once more Heather got everybody off safely, and at 3.30 pm the first launch window started for our course around 3 turnpoints out to Bullioh in the end.
We just got back and it looks like the French had a very good day, with Mario Alonzi and Luis Rizo first to goal. When I got there, there were already about 15 gliders there, and after me a lot more arrived. The southerly change kicked in while I was packing up, but there were still a lot of gliders coming in. Pedro had a shocking landing, he is ok, but he broke the leading edge of his Aeros. Davis Ozreport Straub likes to look at a rasp weather model and today it was exactly right with the prediction of a strong southerly later in the day.
All Germans in goal again, but it was a tough day with strong headwind and turbulent lift. It felt like flying for 5 hours even though it was only two and a half.
Tomorrow will be an interesting choice for the takeoff as they predict southeasters. I would love to go up Mount Buffalo, I like that launch ramp a lot. A scenic start into a task!

15 Januar 2008

Bogong Cup 4th day: too windy!

What a hard day in paradise! I saw big lenticular clouds over Mt Bogong this morning and expected strong winds. They measured up to 70 km/h from the north again, but we went over to Bright to wait and see if it calms down. At 1.30 pm Heather called the day for safety reasons, and I was very glad I didnt have to fly in that turbulent air!
Instead we went back to Mt Beauty and I just took some pictures with Tony and Karen who sponsored the best prize ever: The male and female winner of the Bogong Cup share a stay in their spacious holiday units of the Alpenhorn Motel with a scenic view, pool - and very useful, great cooking facilities, in walking distance to headquarter. During a comp it is most important to get a good rest, a good nights sleep and healthy food, and this is one of the best places to do that. Belinda, Davis Ozreport Straub and Scott Barrett are my neighbours, as well as usually quite a few more pilots. Last year I stayed with Attila and his family, the year before with Jonny Durand.
Weather for tomorrow looks more promising than today, the wind will swing around and we might go up Emu again, hopefully fly another nice long task.

14 Januar 2008

Bogong Cup Task 1, 114km

Today we went up to Mt Emu take off. Blue skies, no wind and comfortable temperatures. The guys set a task of 114 km around 3 turnpoints, first up the valley to Gundowring, then over to Myrtleford hwy turnoff, after that back into the Kiewa Valley to Running Creek and back to Mt Beauty airstrip.
Already after the first turnpoint I got very low and had a good look at the enormous power station. Luckily, Jonny Durand flew over my head and showed me the last possible way out of that situation. I got up again, and after that it was piece of cake. I enjoyed flying with a wedge tailed eagle (I got the nice guy, the poor Russian pilot now has big rips in his leading edge...) and came into goal. There were already about 30 pilots, and I guess 45 made it in today. Difficult to say who won the day, probably Jonny. Roland and Olli did also very well and made it into the top ten.
We are 3 girls in the comp, Hadewych from the Netherlands, Yulia from Russia and me. Yes, and Katharina from Germany freeflying if she finds somebody to drive the car down the hill, we are working on that one. So far she was only driving, we definitely have to get her into the air in this beautiful place!
The flies at goal drove me crazy again, they keep trying to get into ones eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Carol saved me and lent me a big white mozzie net to wear while I was packing up my glider. The guys looked a bit puzzled when they saw me, but i could breathe and speak without a fly between my teeth, so it was worth the embarrassment of being a walking mosquito net.

13 Januar 2008

Forbes photo

This is a great picture of Jörg Bajewski flying above the outback in Forbes, the previous competition. He flew 45 hours in 8 days! And dont ask how long the drives back to Forbes took...
You dont want to land in that desolate area, not enough shade out there, let alone signposted roads.

Bogong Cup Day 1 & 2

55 pilots entered for the Bogong Cup, and it started with a day off yesterday. People coming from long hours of flying and driving from Forbes didnt seem to be too sad that the wind was too strong. A hailstorm a 2pm proved the decision of Heather the meet director right. Thunder and lightening stayed with us until the early evening.
This morning, skies were bright and blue again, but the wind is still a threat. Ahead of a coldfront pushing in, it is supposed to swing around to the west at some stage this afternoon, but today was also cancelled as the wind seemed to increase during our briefings.
If you are in Mt Beauty area tonight, Olli is organizing the legendary Bogong Cup Barbecue again.
We hope for better conditions tomorrow and for the rest of the week. At least this year we can see and breathe! Last year we were covered in smoke from bush fires. More news and photos tomorrow, I hope a bit more exciting then!

11 Januar 2008


How can you do well if you go to a competition on a different continent where the timezone is upside down?
I started travelling 6 days ago and went to New Zealand first, so I could get into the right timezone in a relaxed way. It was a comfortable 24 degrees celsius in Auckland, while temperatures in Victoria went up to 40! When you come from winter, it is better to slowly acclimatize.
Last night I arrived in Canberra and did last preparations for the comp before we leave today. I will stay in an appartment with cooking facilities, so I shopped for some healthy, tasty food to cook, some rice and pasty dishes that are fast and easy to prepare, yet very nutritious for a long comp. As ballast in the first And the incredible cloudbase today tells me that we will cover a lot of kms next week!
Also the water supply is important. I always carry up to 1.5l of water and two cans of Red Bull in my harness, not just as ballast, but also to hydrate and refresh after landing. And sometimes, if I needed help from a farmer to find to my driver, they were quite enlighted if I handed them a can of Red Bull, usually quite chilled because it has been up high in cooler temperatures for a while. So I need to find Jonny Durand – he just won the Forbes competition and is undoubtedly Australias number 1 pilot – and he is also sponsored by Red Bull and usually helps me to stock up on energy in his country.
This morning I went running along the lake and realized once again that Im in Australia. Two rosellas were sitting in the grass, happily chatting along. I like parrots, as long as it is not a flock of cockatoos waking me up at 4 am. Tonys appartment has a spectecular view ober the lake. There is a big fountain that reminds me of the one in Lake Geneva. Just not as many houses and people out here. Canberra is quite designed and has a feel of Brasilia to it. It didnt develop naturally, but some people decided where the inhabitants would work, where they would live, where they would go shopping. There are a lot of parks, trees and green areas throughout the city, but that also means everything is quite far apart, and my walk to the shops this morning was quite exhausting.
Well the weather forecast predicts a cool change coming through tonight, so that means fresh air (and appropriate temperatures at night). Cant wait to get to Mt Beauty. I tried to call Carol, the organizer, but she is already giving interviews, talking to radio stations and tv channels. Heather and her do a great job for our sport with their competition!

09 Januar 2008

I saw a ghost

I saw this little penguin on our boat trip and was just fast enough to catch a photo before he dove under water again. quite cute those small ones. And they seem to like the warm water!
At the ferry wharf I saw some fishermen and one of them had pulled out a baby stingray. Lying on its back it very much reminded me of a ghost. Probably haunting the guy who pulled him out of the water ;)
On my way over to Australia today, I hope the Qantas flights are not too overbooked.

Blisters in the sun

Training in paradise is hard, but nice! Yesterday I went sailing with my friends family, a fantastic cruise from Waiheke Island to Rakino Island, and I did plenty of rowing from the shore to the ship and vice versa, always with a loaded dingy. A lot of fun and a good workout considering that my arms need to be fit soon for the Bogong Cup!
There were numerous penguins in the water, very cute to watch, but difficult to get on a photo, as our boat was going along at quite a lot of speed. At 48ft length you can imagine the size of the beautiful big sails!
For me the trip ended with a few blisters on my hands, but well worth it!
Tomorrow I will meet my friends Phil and his family as well as his brother Stephen and his folks. Stephen is the legendary technician who once fixed the high tech camera of a German film crew at the worlds in Bright with a kitchen knife.

06 Januar 2008

The way to Down Under

And again I worked hard to get a couple of weeks off to fly my favourite competition in January, the Bogong Cup. After the suitcase desaster in October in Canungra I was smarter this time- I left my harness with Carol and Oli and only travelled with carry on luggage! This time of year, flights are incredibly full so I had to go through Vienna and a 5 hour stay in Bangkok. I treated myself with a Thai foot and back massage at the airport, so time flew by very fast.
Now Im on the way to Auckland to stay with friends for a few days – no chance to fly straight to Sydney. I dont mind, the whole Sydney crowd is in Forbes at the moment anyway. Looks like my whole team is over there competing already, Lukas, Oli, Hans, Roland and Jörg. Great effort, this is the best winter training you can get!
Vicki from Moyes promised me I would get the great Litespeed 3,5s again that I already flew in Canungra – makes it easy for me, that way it is no problem to arrive only the day before the comp starts because I already know that the glider is perfectly trimmed!
Also I got very comfortable soft contact lenses, I already tried them on the plane on long flights and they are perfect to keep the eyes moisturized thus the perfect vision also for a long hanggliding flight.
Will take me a few days to overcome jetlag, I hope Carol has already organized the Red Bulls again.
I guess I will finally have some time on my hands to answer a few questions from Japanese pilots – Noma will probably be in Mt Beauty as well and help me with that.
During the Bogong Cup I will stay at the Alpenhorn motel again, so I will have intenet access to update my blog frequently with photos and news. You can also find news at www.dhv.de

01 Januar 2008

Happy new year from Kuwait!

Hello everybody and happy new year! May you all have good health, enjoyable work, great friends, incredible flights and- most of all - always happy landings! I had to work again and ended up in Kuwait. There were a few signs of firework yesterday, because there is only a minority of Christians here, and the Muslim new year has already started.
Now we will go downtown and check out Kuwait city. Maybe I can find a race camel to take home ;) they are great animals. Or I find a sponsor for the fuel to all my hanggliding trips... there are oil rigs everywhere. Cant wait to see downtown. Back later.