28 November 2010

DHV annual meeting in Leipzig

Yesterday I joined the annual meeting of the DHV. This year, it was quite unspectacular - unfortunately, as I had hoped for some good stories about the World Championships at Tegelberg. But as you all know, they drowned in rain and snow and did not take place, so the only topic briefly discussed was the monetary loss that we had with this competition. The DHV covered it by saving on costs in some other places.
A new head of the board of training was elected - Peter Cröniger is a pg and hg instructor and wants to push the concept of training by tandem flying with an instructor. He is also a Lufthansa Captain of the 747, but I only know Peter from my own training as a hang gliding instructor.
Today I was asked by the DHV to do a presentation about how to find and keep sponsorship. I did my best to help the pilots and I hope I could motivate a few to just go and try. It is a lot of work, but then it can be really rewarding too!
After the presentation, the winners of this years XC competition were honoured. Markus Ebenfeld is the new German Champion, I am the women´s German Champion and 12th overall, Tim is the junior Champion. And together with some other pilots of my club, DFC Achental, we came 2nd and 3rd in the club ranking and German Bundesliga. Most successful clubs were DFC Ruhpolding and DFC Südschwarzwald.
Now Im on my way to Sao Paulo on another work flight. Can´t wait to see the sun, even though I saw a prediction of rain for my free day in Brazil. Anything is better than the freezing cold dark days in Germany at the moment!

27 November 2010

Trip to Leipzig

It was cold and snowing when we arrived in Frankfurt, so I knew that my flight to Leipzig would be delayed. Only two hours after schedule, our little Embraer Citiliner was allowed to start dancing Samba. In the take off line in Frankfurt, we overtook "big mama" the A380, must have been the Tokyo flight.
Now I will join the annual DHV meeting, the awards for the German XC competition and talk about how to get more sponsorship into our sport. It´s all white in Leipzig, perfect weather for the romantic Christmas markets.

26 November 2010

Tehran, Iran, Timezone UTC +3,5

For the first time, I just had a work trip to Tehran. Before getting off the plane, all the women, including all female crew members, put on scarves and coats. We also have to wear them as soon as we leave our hotel room. At least it was not summer and superhot, but just around 10 degrees. Sunny in the morning and the view from our hotel was spectacular - a mountain range with peaks up to 4000m, a bit further up to 5600m before descending rapidly to the Caspian Sea... and yes there are some take offs not too far from the hotel, but I learnt that I have to contact the local school/club before and get a permission to go flying with them. In

coat and scarf, I will consider that for next time.
The day started clear and beautiful, but soon a thick smog fogged up the mountains and they turned invisible. Must have been a thick inversion that kept the fumes from the big city down. Instead of flying, I went to see the Golestan Palace in the city. Great painted tiles and millions of mirror tiles in all the grand rooms, Baroque looks modest in comparison ;) unfortunately it was a public holiday, so I could not venture the big bazaar.
Going back to the plane, we also had to wear scarf and long coat again - I had quite a fight to keep the scarf on my hair, as it kept slipping down. Sometimes to the front so I coulnd´t see properly, also the hearing isn´t as good if there is something on my ears. I usually never wear scarves, so it was an interesting experience. It was a strange feeling of somebody else controlling personal matters. I was never treated disrespectful, and I also respect the Persian law and culture, yet I remembered a great old song about the freedom of the thoughts, of the internal life regardless of the external conditions:
1. Die Gedanken sind frei
wer kann sie erraten?
Sie fliehen vorbei
wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen,
kein Jäger erschießen
mit Pulver und Blei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!
2. Ich denke, was ich will
und was mich beglücket,
doch alles in der Still’
und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch und Begehren
kann niemand verwehren,
es bleibet dabei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

3. Und sperrt man mich ein
im finsteren Kerker,
das alles sind rein
vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken
zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!
And for sure, next time I will find a way to fly those beautiful mountains of Tehran!

19 November 2010

Sebastian Superhero!

Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel for winning the F1 World Champion Title! Since I met Sebastian a year ago in Sao Paulo, I kept watching the F1 races and kept my fingers crossed for him! It was a tough season with him being either in 1st place on the podium, or with a broken down motor not in goal... he managed to keep suspense up until the very last race in Abu Dhabi last Sunday.
Four guys had been close enough to win the title, and Sebastian started with quite a lot of points behind the leading guy, Alonso. Keep up the dream, stay calm and go for it! I thought and hoped and kept my fingers crossed for this young guy who is so amazingly down to earth.
I saw the start of the race while I was in Saigon airport at the gate, but then I had to go on board of our 747 for working on the shuttle flight back to Bangkok. When our co-pilot made the announcement during our flight that Sebastian Vettel just won the world championship, I screamed with joy and excitement - he let the dream come true, against all odds he won the race, while Alonso, Webber and Hamilton fell back! I adore this "never give up" - spirit, it is so inspiring, so energizing!
The week before, Team Red Bull Racing already won the World Constructors´Championship title, and I was sad that I could not party with the crew in Hangar 7 on Monday, as I was still on work in Asia. But Im sure I will be able to go and see them racing again next season. And definitely the finals in Sao Paulo!
It is interesting to see the side effects of Sebastian winning such a big title - suddenly I also get a lot of interviews with German high profile magazines and newspapers, because they want to find out more about "Red Bull" as a company in extreme sport sponsoring. Who are they? Who are we? Why are they so successful? You can read one story next Monday in "Spiegel" magazine.

18 November 2010

Fit for Fun

Im flying around the world a lot at the moment, to destinations Ive rarely been to like Singapore and Bangkok, so it is difficult to find some time to update my blog. Just wanted to let you know that if you live in Germany, have a look into the sports magazine "Fit for Fun". In the current edition you will find some great photos from the Dolomites and a really good article - five pages long, I hope we will see more hang gliding students soon!
Regina and Alex Ploner helped me big time to organize this very short trip. We only had one day to get everything, and apparently the editors liked the photos so much that they decided to give the article more space than planned ;)
On the flight to Bangkok last weekend, the sky above the Himalaya was really clear and we could see all the high beautiful mountains. Breathtaking! Some cu´s were above what I think could have been Nanga Parbat, base must have been at 9000 m at least... so difficult to imagine walking up Makalu, K2 or the other high peaks, but flying along the "roof of the world" would be incredible.

03 November 2010


It is amazing how many places you can visit in just one week. A bit of a race, and I was happy to have a short rest of one complete day in the heat of Singapore. And you have no idea how energizing it is to drink a Red Bull for breakfast if you are in the wrong timezone! Otherwise I wouldn´t have been able to get up until the afternoon, as we were 6 hours ahead of German time.
In the Indian quarter of Singapore, it looked like they have Diwali coming up soon? All nicely decorated. And the best vegetarian food in the city!
Just one more month of full on work-flying, then I will be back to my part-time contract, more time and hopefully a trip to Oz and NZ in January... I envy you guys down under and in Florida, our Euro flying season is over, storm is on, snow not too far away. Maybe I am a goose, as I feel the urge to migrate south whenever it gets cold and dark up here.