29 April 2011

Ecki repairs Natalia!

Yesterday I picked up Natalia from hospital in Altötting. Also Regina came by and we had a great dinner together. Ecki is our hero - when I called him about Natalia´s accident, he said, "Send her over straight away, and I will operate her arm free of charge in case she does not have insurance." It´s good to have great friends and to know idealists! By the way, it was Easter holidays. Did not matter to him, and also Ecki´s wife Ingrid is very understanding.
The fracture was complicated, but he and his colleague were able to fix it with the help of some metal.
Right now Natalia is already playing the guitar again (I must not tell Ecki....) and singing happily in my flat. Soon I will take her to Spain to join her friends there before she returns to Russia. We are positive that she will be fit in time to fly again at the Cucco World Championships in July!

25 April 2011

Bassano Day 5

We flew again, 5 tasks in a row, I have only seen this once before here in BAssano! We were standing in the cloud for quite a while today, and base didnt get much higher than 1400m, so some of us protested when they wanted to send us over the no landing areas again low. Yesterday was low enough, and we got to 1700!
They cut the task down to about 90 km, again an air started race with two turnpoints in the flatlands - Asolo and Marostica castle. Quite a lot of us made goal, with Alex and Christian close together, but Primoz not in goal and Manfred much slower, so the ranking would be Christian Ciech in 1st, Alex in 2nd and probably Robert Reisinger in 3rd. Elio didn´t fly today, but luckily he only suffered bruises and no shoulder dislocation, he will be fine again soon!
I made goal in 2h 30min, and Im quite happy to rank around 30th place altogether (1st woman), it was a difficult, crowded competition.
Best German pilot is Roland Wöhrle, probably amongst the top 10, second best Andre Djamarani or Gerd Dönhuber!
Luca Donini won the paragliding comp, and Petra Slivova or Seiko won the women´s ranking.
The award ceremony will be at 8pm tonight, and there are still not all the pilots back from retrieve, so I could not check out the final results.
For pictures also check Matjaz´s, Zhenya´s and Ashanta´s blogs.

24 April 2011

Bassano Day 4

The forecast was for rain in the late afternoon, so today we flew a shorter task of 85 km around Paderno, Rivit and Caerano as turnpoints. Base was only up to 1700 m at the most, so it was not easy to get across potatoe country without too many landing options. As there was plenty of shading too, sometimes the day was really slow and you had to patiently circle in some cm per minute, while at other times there were nice 3m/s thermals.
Alex Ploner won the day, and Primoz must have been in as well, but I don't know who else and the ranking yet, as I was the last one in goal. When I circled in a huge cloud of paragliders at Asolo, our top gaggle came already back from the last turnpoint. It was amazing to thermal with the top guys flying these huge aspect ratio paragliders. Very civilized, very beautiful to watch them in front of my nose ;)
I got quite low after the last turnpoint, but as there were plenty of possible landing fields around, I did not give up. Really nice air today, as the thermals smelt like a bunch of spring flowers. It got unreal when 4 buzzards showed me the better core of the thermal that saved me and eventually got me to goal.
Most people had already packed up when I arrived there, but I was happy not to need a retrieve. Also I heard that Elio had touched a tree on landing, Linda told me, apparently he has dislocated his shoulder and went to hospital. Coming in late at least has the advantage that there was nobody in the air anymore and no wind at all, so that made my landing pretty easy. It can get extremely crowded at times, with so many comp pilots and free flyers in the air.
Four days of valid tasks is a record I haven't seen here in about 10 years of flying the Bassano comp, and if we are fast, we might even get a last round in tomorrow. No storms or rain today, so maybe the conditions stay stable tomorrow as well, even though the prediction is for rain from 11 am.
No new results out yet, but retrieve can take a while in this area. Sorry that I could not post any photos yet, but I can't work on my computer here to upload them.

Bassano Day 3

Even though the sky was overcast, we started into a very late, short 63 km task yesterday. Lift was light, but it was there, so we went to Marostica castle, Asolo, Marostica, and back to the Trofeo goal in Semonzo. Barely 10 pilots made goal, Christian Ciech was followed by Primoz and Elio. I got furthest in women's score, about 18 km short of goal, but it still took two hours.
The only German pilot in goal was Stefan Boller, he is doing really well in this area.
The guy who tumbled two days ago is an Italian local pilot, flying a T2. He had to release the reserve and did not get hurt, even though he touched down high in the rocks.
Sunny again today, but rain is predicted for this afternoon. We will see if a short task is possible.

23 April 2011


Sorry for the late report, but internet is still not for free and not so easy to find at the Bassano competition.
The first day, we had a task around 4 turnpoints with 138 km, but only about 20 of 110 pilots made goal, as the flatlands didnt work well on Thursday, and the whole day was not as fast as expected, with blue conditions and not the highest base.
Elio Cataldi won the day ahead of Friesi and Primoz. Tim was 2nd in rigid class, Walter Geppert from Austria won the rigid class.
I landed 15 km short but was still the best woman. Linda (US) is competing here for the first time, and Virpi, Monique and Natalia are in the comp as well. Zhenya does not compete as she destroyed her leading edge before the comp started and could not find a spare. Unfortunately, Natalia broke her arm on the first day.
Luc Armant won the paragliding task, best woman was Petra Slivova, and German Yvonne Dathe was second best woman. Elisa Houdry is here, but she is ill and took a break after the first day.
Top German paraglider pilot in the first task on 10th was Thomas Ide.
Yesterday we flew to Belluno and then over to Terme Levico, a very scenic task, we had clouds and strong thermals, 5m/s up was the average ;) the task was about 130 km, and I think they wanted to keep us out of the landing area. With the big tent of the exhibition, it gets a little crowded when 200 paragliders and 110 hang gliders come in for landing...
Manfred won the second task, a few seconds ahead of Christian Ciech. Many people made goal yesterday, then it was an hour to drive back to Bassano.
Today the sky is overcast, but as long as there is no rain, I think we will fly and try anyway!

15 April 2011

Antenne Bayern Sunday 17.04., 11.45 am

This Sunday at 11.45 am you can hear an interview on radio if you can receive Antenne Bayern (mostly in Bavaria). Florian Weiss interviewed me for "People on Sunday" - I like radio very much, it is a great challenge to find the right words to take people up into the air with me, let them feel the wind and smell the clouds!
When I was at the studio just north of Munich, I had to laugh when I saw the sign on Florian´s studio´s door. And when I carefully opened the door, a really big dog was looking at me and happily greeting me ;) so cool that they can take their dogs to the studio!

Back from Delhi

After a brief work trip to New Delhi, I just arrived in time back home for the next high pressure system. Today it was still raining along the alps, but it looks like there is a really good flying week end ahead of us. It got cold again and some take offs had some snow, but it will hopefully warm up again soon.

11 April 2011

Early season

The cable cars to the mountain tops are barel running yet, but the weather decided to turn spring on already. When I left for Sao Paulo, it actually felt like summer in Munich, and it was warmer at home than in Brazil. I was sitting in pouring rain, while my friends flew the first large xc distances...
Yesterday I was lucky and enjoyed my first spring flight at Tegelberg - it was more stable than we thought, so we didn´t quite reach our goals of meeting in the air: Regina started in Bad Tölz, while Ute and Christa were trying to start at Chiemgau. I could hear them on the radio, but it was no day for big crossings. Anyway, it was good to see that the snow was gone. Great training and good fun to soar around with friends! (I haven´t received the Tegelberg photos yet, so Florian Wagner helped out;))
Rebi flew with us yesterday, so I guess there will be some photos uploaded soon on Rebi´s page!

08 April 2011

Mike Harker

Last year at Tegelberg during the World Championship, we were honoured to have a special guest. Mike Harker (USA) was the first hang glider pilot who ever flew from Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. With his flight in the early seventies, he started the sport and got quite popular in Germany.
He went for one last flight last year before retiring - he had a big smile in his face after landing right at the bottom of the castle of Neuschwanstein. I felt privileged that he enjoyed spending time with us, and due to the bad weather, many of us had the chance to talk to Mike. Both Bavarian TV and ZDF made a film about his last flight.
Sadly I have to inform you that Mike had suffered a stroke on April 1st and died at the age of 63. He seemed much younger in mind, way too young to leave! We will miss you, legend!

02 April 2011

Lucky Day in Miami, Timezone GMT -4

I was really lucky last week when I had a short stay in Miami - the weather was beautiful, on the photo you see the view from the balcony when we arrived at the hotel in the evening. No clouds! After the flight back, our captain was going to fly straight to Orlando, as he wanted to see the "Sun & Fun" festival at Lakeland, after Oshkosh the second biggest aeronautic meeting in the States.
I hope he did not get into the big storm - apparently a tornado ploughed through the planes and left wing carnage behind. Heavy rainfall and strong wind - difficult to imagine such a change just two days after we left... hope the weather improves again befrore the Flytec Race & Rallye starts in early May.

By the way, sand castles in Mexico look different - I took this photo on the beach of Akumal, just north of Tulum. A great little model of the great Maya pyramids! I wish I could have stayed there long enough to see the equinox at Chichen Itza, the descent of Kukulkan on March 21st.