30 April 2009

Buenos Aires, Timezone UTC -3

Flavio Galliussi from FlyRanch Buenos Aires came to our crew hotel at noon yesterday and picked my colleague Ines and me up to drive an hour south to the beautiful FlyRanch. The weather was perfect for a relaxed afternoon flight. I was able to borrow a (tiny) Moyes harness and a little glider from a girl, and after a very smooth tow with the dragonfly, I enjoyed soaring the skies above the Argentinian pampas for about half an hour, with a great view of the Rio de la Plata to our east.
After I landed, Ines went up for her first hangglider flight with the instructor Flavio explaining everything to her. She landed with a beaming smile! As she is a photography artist, she went up in the dragonfly again to take some photos of the area around FlyRanch. Later on, we did some groundhandling with the light glider that I had flown, I taught her how to hold the glider, how to run and control speed, while Flavio had another tandem flight with a student.
Then we all sat together and enjoyed the clear air and the beautiful birds while handing around the mate, a wonderful Argentinian custom.
Coming back to the city, Flavio took us to a great pizza place called "Filo". It took me one minute to find the right pizza (the only one without meat ;)), but then I suffered... I was the hungriest one of the three of us, but for some reason, they forgot my pizza (guess I was too fast with my order) and I had to wait for it for one hour, slowly sliding under the table. Sure Flavio and Ines offered me a piece of their pizza, but I really don´t like pancetta. Anyway, we had a lot to talk about and I could improve my Spanish a little bit, eagerly listening to Flavio´s lovely porteno accent.
Today the wind is really strong at low level, so we picked the best possible day for our flying adventure. Tomorrow on May 1st everything is closed for labour day, so I better do my shopping today - mate tea, alfajores con dulce de leche and maybe a nice Malbec?

28 April 2009


Directly after the hanggliding course I had to go to a huge work flight to Buenos Aires. We arrived last night late, and tomorrow I will go and visit Flavio at the Fly Ranch Buenos Aires where Christian Zehetmaier worked over winter as an instructor. My colleague Ines comes with me - we met in Valle de Bravo during the PG worlds where she lived for some months, took a lot of photos and even had an exhibition! Great to be in a crew with her now, accidentally. I promise to take pictures tomorrow and post them for you, even though it is autumn here already, the weather is georgeous, better than last year in February when I was here last.

27 April 2009

Last day of the hanggliding experiment

Today we had a last day on the south slope training hill of Wasserkuppe. The girls did more running to train take off and speed control of the glider before they had another couple of flights from a little higher. The wind had picked up since yesterday, so they got into the air quite easily and flew very far, it was nice to watch a good finish.
We had to stop at around midday, because the thermal activity changed the laminar wind into strong, unpredictable gusts. I flew to test conditions and to show the others what the air does - I nearly landed, then I was picked up to about 20 m again, flew all the way down the slope and eventuelly landed. Quite obvious that those conditions are way too strong for beginners. But I was superhappy that half of the course ran down to help me carry the training glider back up. We talked a bit more, had a relaxed lunch (and I answered all of Nadjas questions for the Red Bulletin) before they started leaving, still a big smile in their face and a sparkle in their eyes. We had a great time and I think Günter the instructor and I managed to show them the magic of hanggliding. I hope they will keep flying, and I will keep you posted about more classes, as this one seemed to have been a good concept.
It was great that my parents came from Bremen to have a look at the place where we always had a fun time together, and of course this time again!
Thanks to Rebi for todays photo - i nicked it from her blog as Im too tired to find my camera and download the photos. More pics as soon as Daniel the Red Bull photographer mails me some.

26 April 2009

German and Austrian Nationalteam 2012 ;)

The wind turned to the south and eased off, so the girls learnt running for take off and steering in the air today on the big south slope of Wasserkuppe. In the end of the day, they had really long flights - yes, they can fly now! The virus has started...
After the mid day break, I also set up my glider and showed them some differences to the beginners gliders and explained why. I let them pick up my glider, which is exactly the one I won the Euros and Worlds with last year, and I told them it is mainly technique to handle it - Im not stronger or taller than them, and they can learn to fly such a big glider as well! I also told them that it took me 3 years to become German Champion for the first time, everything is possible ;)
Some big flights with good reactions later, the slope was suddenly swamped by paraglider pilots. About 100 guys were groundhandling and skimming along, with me trying to chase them out of our hanggliding line... the photographers had a hard time to get their lens around the paragliding sails. But the girls all stayed cool and flew around the obstacles.
I hope today we will finish with some more flights from the top of the south slope, which already gives them a height difference of more than 100 m from top to bottom, enough air time to relax and enjoy!

25 April 2009

Day 2 learn to Hangglide - big smiles!

A strong easterly was perfect for a lot of airtime for the girls today. We first went to Heubach, but the wind was off too much, so we went back and flew at the low little Eupe slope at Wasserkuppe. We put ropes on the glider so we could control the beginners pitch and roll. A nice laminar breeze took the girls up to about 10 m and they loved it! Big beaming smiles in the air all day.
I can feel my legs from running with them up and down the slope, great training with a good purpose. Predictions are south for Saturday, and the big south slope is the nicest training hill you can possibly wish for, with the possibility of really long flights.

23 April 2009

Hanggliding 4 girls day one

Today we started a hanggliding course with five girls at Wasserkuppe. Even though it was cold and in the clouds at first, we had a great time to get to know each other and to start with a bit of theory, equipment and simulator training. After the lunch break the sun showed up and we went to the beautifully flat training hill at Abtsrodaer Kuppe to start with some running and steering training. Not so easy to relax, let go and trust the glider will fly, but the girls are very athletic, did a great job and - most of all - were beaming with joy because they took off for a few meters.
In the evening, I invited the course over for dinner and cooked some Indian veggie curries and rice - something healthy and hot to get energy back and the cold out of the body.
Tomorrow we will go to a larger training hill at Heubach and they will already get some longer flights with the possibility of steering, great fun. The light training gliders are like toys in the laminar wind. For more pics, also have a look at Rebi´s Blog, link is on the right!
Too bad that our friend Katharina can´t come here to join us - we wish her all the best and a fast recovery! Also all the best to Christa from us - she will fly with us at German Open and Pre Worlds in May again. Please feel free to come around to Wasserkuppe and have a look or have a try, the forecast especially for Saturday and Sunday is great! And if you just need a bit of fitness training, we would love to have some help carrying the gliders up the training hill again ;)

20 April 2009

Red Bull Paper Plane Contest

Last Saturday I was asked to be member of the Jury for the Red Bull Paper Plane Contest that took place in Schleissheim in the German Museum. Heaps of fun, so of course I went there and was surprised to see simple paper planes built from a simple sheet of A4 paper flying more than 30 m and doing all kinds of beautiful aerobatics.
I was asked to judge the technical design of the paper planes, while Phillip (he won the German contest two years ago) judged the flight and Loomit creativity of the performance. Loomit had to be strong not to be influenced too much by his daughter who complained when she thought he didnt give enough points ;) He is a mural artist who started the whole spraying hype in many countries. When he talked about his work, I was extremely surprised that I already saw his art in many places without realizing it was his, not only jogging through some tunnels along the Isar in Munich, but also driving through Sao Paulo and Rio. My friend Jamie takes photos of Graffitis on her travels for her brother - and Jamie, here I have a person who can probably date most of your Graffitis and give you background information about the artists ;)
The other judge, Phillip, is about to finish his studies of dental medicine in Heidelberg. Sure enough, he likes travelling a lot too and thinks about moving to Brazil for a while to start working. As usual on Red Bull events, you meet so many interesting people and you see so much creative, amazing stuff that it is difficult who to turn to first!
At the moment, Im preparing my gear to drive to Wasserkuppe and teach other girls hanggliding. So far we will be around 6, maybe even more, and it will be a lot of fun because the weather forecast looks like four full days of perfect training hill conditions with a lot of sun!
Should you be interested to join in from 23rd to 26th of April, you find informations here: wasserkuppe.com
We will meet at the school on top of Wasserkuppe at 9.00 am, feel free to join us!

15 April 2009

Invitation to learn Hanggliding!

From the 23-26th of April I will teach a hanggliding course at the place where I learnt hanggliding myself, on the beautiful soft slopes of the Wasserkuppe close to Fulda.
This course is specially for women who always dreamt of flying and who want to try to get airborne with a hangglider. If you flew a paraglider so far, you are very welcome to have a look at "the other side", but also if you have never been in the air so far, please come around and take off with us!
I would like to see women from all over Europe, so far we have interest from Germany, Austria and Italy. You will find information about the place of Flugschule Wasserkuppe here.
My main aspects are safety and fun! Just bring all weather clothing and mountain or running shoes with a good grip, the school will provide you with all the other equipment. See you at Wasserkuppe!

13 April 2009

Day 5 Bassano: Cancelled due to strong tailwind on takeoff

The wind from the northeast picked up and formed some beautiful lenticular clouds above take off today. A 99 km task was set, but launch conditions looked more than iffy with strong tailwind and side wind and a lot of changes. After waiting another 30 minutes and no improvement in sight, also with strong wind reported from the landing field, the task was cancelled. We had 4 big tasks and no need to risk take offs in very difficult conditions. Everybody packed their gliders up and drove down, because it did not look launchable until we left.
Manfred won the comp, with Gerolf in second and Robert Reisinger in third. I was first ranked woman out of six, Andy Becker was the best out of seven rigid wing pilots, and Christian Zehetmayer best German pilot on 13th place. With 3 Austrians on the top 3 places and 5 amongst the top 10, we get a clear picture for their ambitions at the worlds in Laragne ;)
Ulli Prinz from Germany won the paragliding competition (like last year, I think he likes the flying here!), and Women´s paragliding world championette Elisa Houdry from France won the women´s ranking with an amazing 7th place overall.
The award ceremony is tonight at 6.30, then it´s a long drive home after the Easter weekend.

12 April 2009

Bassano task 4: 122 km

Today – again – we flew 122 km around 4 turnpoints, Elio Cataldi won the day ahead of Christian Zehetmayer. I got to goal as well, but quite slow. A few people landed short today. The paragliders flew a shorter task today, 80 km around 4 turnpoints, and Maurizio from Italy won the day.
After 4 days and a total of 20 hours of flying, I need a little rest and Im looking forward to a nice dinner today, so excuse this short report today, hopefully more strength tomorrow!

11 April 2009

Results here

you will find results of the comp here under Trofeo Monte Grappa 2009:

3rd task: 115 km around 3 turnpoints to the east

Another long day – we flew to Vittorio Veneto today and crossed the famous Prosecco area of Valdobbiadene, a no landing zone full of vinyards of about 15 km. Mind you, cloudbase was at 2000m today. Still the crossing into a headwind of 25 km/h to Monte Cesen was not easy. After Elio Cataldi´s home city, we came back to the paragliding take and then crossed the valley to Asolo into the flatlands, 115 km.
When I got to goal, I was told that Christa had a bad landing at Monte Cesen, she touched a tree and was unconscious briefly. A French pilot who is a medical doctor landed with her, also some Belgium team pilots looked after Christa. She was taken to hospital and hopefully only suffered a concussion. At goal, another pilot hit a tree and was taken to hospital, there was also a midair between a paraglider and a hangglider, also a crash on the hanggliding ramp where the free flyers take off.
A very rough day, and I was superhappy about my safe landing at goal. Christian Ciech won the day today, followed by Manfred and Gerolf. First rigid pilot was Andy Becker again. The paraglider pilots tried to cross valleys and fly over with Feltre as a goal, and they told me that probably Luca Donini or one of the Valic brothers won the day.
Best German pilot was Roland Wöhrle, but also Andre and Christian Zehetmeyer got in shortly after. It looked as if about half the field made goal.
We expect flying days until Monday at least, so this year it looks like a fully valid Bassano competition in fully valid difficult Bassano conditions.

10 April 2009

2nd task Bassano: 122km

Today cloudbase was 200m higher in the beginning, rising up to a luxurious 1900m later in the day. Visibility (outside the clouds) was much better than yesterday. Task was 122km around Monte Tomba, Cervare, Possagno, paragliding take off, Piscina Conca Verde and goal. Christian Ciech won ahead of Manfred Ruhmer and Alex Ploner. I was very happy to get to goal today, because two times we had to cross an area without proper landing fields. I watched Jörg low and didnt envy him, he luckily got out and also made goal.
Andy Becker was first rigid wing pilot today, and Aljaz Valic from Slovenia won the paragliding race around 5 turnpoints and 96 km.
It was a race start again for the 100 pilots, but before the gate opened, I saw a yellow paraglider in the trees at about 900m above the valley, not moving, so I radioed to the organization. They sent a helicopter to rescue the guy (I heard his head was injured, he was taken to hospital, but he will be fine), but the task was not cancelled, so when we came back from the first turnpoint, we all flew around, above and below the helicopter rescue team hovering above the pilot... luckily nobody else was injured!
The weather looks good for the next days, so we might get 5 comp days this year.
Andre Djamarani was probably best German pilot in goal, and on the photo you see Jörg Bajewski preparing his glider with another big Timezone sticker.

09 April 2009

Bassano Meeting Monte Grappa: Hasta la vista, baby - Manfred is back

After a few work trips with Lufthansa and a lot of training Im finally in Bassano where the Easter competition started today. Loads of good pilots are here, current European Champion Elio Cataldi, Moyes designer Gerolf Heinrichs and nearly the full Austrian, Italian, German, Norwegian, French national teams. Also Carol from Switzerland is here and my team mates Ute, Monique and Christa.
Spring „Primavera“ is here, the set up area at Campeggia is packed with beautiful flowers of all colours. Hopefully thermals are primavera as well.
Today they set a 108 km task out to Possagno, over to Cervara, back to Possagno and to goal. Visibility was next to nothing and cloud base at 1050 m. Flying towards the second turnpoint, I decided to turn around and fly directly to goal as I know that there are no safe landing fields for quite a while if you only have 1000m. Of course, a bunch made goal anyway with Manfred Ruhmer winning and Gerolf and Christian Ciech coming in just behind. Best in rigid class was Toni Raumauff and I think the paragliding task was won by Luca Donini from Italy.
I hope tomorrow cloud base will be a bit higher and make flying a little safer. Looks like we will fly at least until Saturday, Sunday and Monday might be a bit iffy.
Tonight the pilots are invited to a dinner buffet at Antica Abbazia, there will be another dinner on Saturday.