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.

30 November 2011

Music and passion will always be fashion...

... at the Copacabana! I love my job. After a tough 15 hour shift, we finally arrived in our new crew hotel at the Copacabana. A déja-vu! I have stayed here before a few years ago. When we had the Red Bull Giants of Rio competition, my favourite comp ever. A relay of a swimmer, a mountain biker, a hang glider pilot and a runner. Right through the whole city of Rio. Breakfast on the top floor, ocean view, with 150 of the best triathletes of the world!
Jamie, Nina and I barely noticed the ocean views though ;) It was incredible when the whole city of Rio shut down for one Sunday to allow the athletes to cruise through the city. Numerous favelas had been bribed with skate parks and other goodies to tolerate us going through their territory. And only for that one day, we were allowed to fly from the Pedra Bonita ramp to Ipanema, spot landing in the middle of what seemed a million spectators, handing over to our runner.
On the pics you see the view from my room. Quite high up. The former Meridien, now Windsor is the tallest building at Copacabana, much to the delight of my friend Chris Mueller many years ago. He smirked and told me about his "new toy"... and asked me to help him find a way to the rooftop. Then he made sure that the police guards were asleep, and he base jumped in the middle of the night, every night, landing on the beach. Life can be hard ;)
I hope I will meet a few of my Rio hang gliding friends here or at Sao Conrado while Im in the city.

27 November 2011

The Winners... XC hang gliding 2011

Markus Ebenfeld won the German XC champion title, but also the worldwide XC Cup! Next to him on second, Peter Waldmann, a genius on XC flying - he had a severe accident years ago and suffered severe walking disabilities since, yet he flies and lands on big wheels and is just an amazing pilot!
Jochen Zeyer won the rigid XC, followed by Frank Schmid from my club, DFCA, and Dieter Müglich from Wasserkuppe.
I won the Women´s German XC title, even after only having flown half the season. I was presented with a very special trophy that means a lot to me - Claus Gerhard, a great XC pilot and book author, found an "Emily" in an antique store in Berlin, thought of me and prepared it as a trophy for today. I was left speechless - Claus is a great friend. He has managed to fly from Berlin to Bremen, my home city, on his rigid wing before, about 400 km, which is just an amazing performance in the wet northern German flatlands!
Our club, DFCA, became 2nd in the German Bundesliga, so we dedicated the title to our friend and fellow pilot Walter Rackl who died this year aged only 68.
In came Alex Ploner, just in time for his presentation after the lunch break.

DHV Day of Sports

Today we have the leisure part of the DHV meeting: interesting lectures, at the moment weatherman Volker Schwanitz is explaining turbulence due to different weather patterns in the alps and flatlands.
Later Daniel Tyrkas, new Adidas Air team member and vice German Champion this year in the open scoring of pg (Uli Wiesmeier won!) will lecture about xc flying, also Alex Ploner will give us a presentation later.
Lots of people are here today, many of them my club mates or other xc pilots (Markus Ebenfeld won the hangie XC contest, I also saw Günther Porath, another great xc pilot, Roland Wöhrle is here, Alex Köhler, Frank Schmid, Jörg Bajewski just left... like a pre xmas meeting), hang and paragliding.
The special treat is that Ecki Schröter is here with his family, our highly valued team doctor who always looks after everybody in our sport, making sure we get the best possible treatment! A true idealist, as is his wife Ingrid who puts up with him taking time off to come to Worlds or Europeans with us! Thanks heaps!
Around midday, we will have the awards of the German XC Championships.

26 November 2011

Annual DHV meeting

No spectacular news from the DHV meeting, just that Juergen Ruedinger stopped his work in the board as a technical director, and Dieter Muenchmeyer was voted into it instead, while Christof Kratzner, when proposed, turned it down.
Other than that, all as before.

More interesting that Sebastian Vettel won the qualifying in Sao Paulo today and got his 15th pole position in this season, setting a new all time record. Good work, Seb, I hope you will win tomorrow at Interlagos, finish the circuit in style!

Bamberg breakfast

We arrived in Bamberg late last night, and this morning we started with a highlight for breakfast - the last mango of the ones that I brought over from Australia! I wanted to share it with my parents and best friends, and we all really enjoyed that perfect flavour that you just can´t buy in Germany. So good to see them again, been a while.
The annual meeting of the DHV, the German Hang and Paragliding association, will start today at 1pm. I have been elected as a delegate and it is always interesting to see if people come up with new concepts and ideas for our sport. If anything of relevance for the competitions comes up, I will post it later and also send some pics. Tomorrow we will have the awards of the German XC championships, I won the women´s title even though I only flew half the season ;) It is quite grey and cold over here, the perfect day to sit in a neverending meeting. As usual, I brought some Red Bull not to fall asleep... the best way to get over a heavy jetlag!

25 November 2011


What a difference... when I arrived back in Munich, we had dark, thick fog all day, and sometimes it was snowing. The cheeky little guy in the beautiful rainforest garden would have had a loud laugh with his mates about the cold drizzle ;) Kookaburras are my favourite birds - they love to eat all sorts of spiders, even crunchy funnel webs! Legends.

23 November 2011

All my bags are packed...

... and Im about to leave the Moyes factory. Vicki will take me to Sydney airport, then Im off to work again :(

Swimming at Bronte

This is how it looks today outside the Moyes factory. Dark and cold and heaps of rain. Just like yesterday. It was my last morning though, so I went for a special treat - I got up at 6am and went over to Bronte to join Bill for his every morning swim in the rock pool. Water was about 17 C, it was raining, but it was beautiful. He is such a legend, and I feel privileged to be able to spend some time with him. And I guess coming from northern Germany, Im used to swimming in cold water anyway ;) just loved it!
Now Im waiting for my sail to be finished, it will fit into my suitcase, and then I will be off to the airport, looking at a 14 hour flight to Abu Dhabe, then on to Munich. Im sad I have to leave my friends again, because it feels so much like family and home down here, but Im looking forward to some exciting work trips and spending time with my parents at the annual DHV meeting this weekend close to Nuremberg where the famous Christmas markets are about to start!

21 November 2011

Rain rain rain

Today Im in the Moyes factory in Botany and already met Noma this morning - he had come back from Gulgong, as it didn´t look too promising weatherwise. Rain in Sydney since last night, also rain out in Gulgong for a while.
It is always exciting to be at the factory, my sail is being made at the moment, I love the crisp of new dacron and mylar. It´s always great to see how a pair of new wings come to life!