31 Mai 2011

3rd task: 85 km around 2 turnpoints

Today the forecast was for storm development in the afternoon, so they called an early, short 85 km task around Mokarspitze and Windische Höhe. Base was higher than predicted, and luckily we had less wind than predicted. It was great to just fly straight and fast again! Crossing over into Gailtal, we found a fair bit of turbulence, but also good strong thermals of 6m/s integrated! So it was a really short day, I already landed at 2.30 pm!
I was quite fast, but Bernd Otterpohl was even 5 minutes faster on this course today! He has beaten a few of the rigid wing guys who again had a clear advantage, as we had a few big crossings on course today. The score is a déja-vu of yesterday: Patrick Jung 1st, Dieter 2nd and Manfred Vaupel in 3rd place. Overall Bernd is climbing up into the top 3, definitely when they deduct 10 % as a factor for the advantage of the rigid wings. Walter Schurr is 2nd in flex class, and I am 3rd, even though I bombed out completely yesterday ;)
Probably some rain tomorrow, the storms have not arrived in Drautal yet!

30 Mai 2011

175 km to Toblach and Goldeck

Today I was happy that we got a big task to fly - 175 km was a record task for Hessenmeisterschaft, and 6 people made goal! Patrick Jung was first, followed by Dieter Müglich. Also Oli flew the task with us, but he is not in the rankings unfortunately. Bernd Otterpohl was first flex glider in goal, and Walter Schurr was second and the only other flexible wing who made the course. They did a really great job, cloud base was low considering the big crossings on the way, and the thermals only got really good after 4pm (they said, I didnt exprience really good lift today...).
I landed quite early today, already in Lienz, as I took the crossing from Zettersfeld to Hochstein way too low and got into a very strong valley breeze. It was a tough day anyway, as Im fighting off a cold at the moment, plus a bit of Argentinian jet lag... very difficult to find the core of the thermals if you are not too concentrated, so I decided I better land as long I still have a good concentration. I still enjoyed the day very much, as I filmed 3D again, and I followed a huge vulture around above take off, I really hope he is on the 3D film footage that Im downloading at the moment.
Tomorrow we can fly again, and then a front will move through on Wednesday.

Results Day 1

The first results were out on the Hessenmeisterschaft Homepage:

1. Dieter Müglich mit 44,9km/h
2. Manfred Vaupel mit 36,7 km/h
3. Corinna Schwiegershausen mit 34,7 km/h

Not bad, considering that the two guys in front of me were flying rigid wings! Nearly half the field is flying with rigid wings. There is also a "Fun Cup" for people who don´t want to fly bigger tasks, but I don´t know yet who signed for which comp. I had fun yesterday anyway!

29 Mai 2011

Hessenmeisterschaft DAy 1

Today we started straight away into the first task of Hessenmeisterschaft in Greifenburg. Only 85 km around 4 turnpoints, as cirrus shaded the valley and the forecast was rather weak. Turned out to be better, also the valley breeze was really weak, thermals worked well from quiet low. Good for me - I was so tired that I flew rather straight than in many circles, getting low quite often.
No results online yet, but I think Dieter Mueglich won the day in his Atos, followed by Axel Hartmann. My friend Walter Schurr, also a Lufthansa Captain, got to goal pretty fast, probably ahead of me. We had a goal radius of 1000m and I landed on a different field, so I didnt see all the guys in goal. But there were many of our small field of about 20 pilots.
After my landing, I met these great kids who had watched my landing. Immediately I saw the kid in the Red Bull Kini Wings for life shirt, his name is Lucas Schiffbaenker, a local. He promised to come back on Saturday to watch our final day of the competition. But I should write it in German, I don´t know if the kids speak English.
Ich hab mich sehr gefreut, nach meiner Landung in der Thaler-Wiese (wo ich wohne) diese Kinder zu treffen. Einer von ihnen, Lukas Schiffbänker, hat ein Red Bull Kini Wings for Life Shirt angehabt, und bereitwillig ließen sie sich zu einem Foto mit mir überreden. Lucas hat versprochen, am Samstag, unserem letzten Wettbewerbstag, wieder vorbeizuschauen, dann bringt er auch seine Red Bull Kappe mit und wir werden im Partnerlook sein!

28 Mai 2011

Hessenmeisterschaft Greifenburg

After a long flight marathon of 13 hours and a very emotional good-bye to our Captain Ruedeger von Lutzau I flew to Munich and drove straight down to Greifenburg where my favourite European comp starts tomorrow: Hessenmeisterschaft! The photo taken by Samo Vidic shows me above Emberger Alm, but it is not just great to fly here, but it is always meeting old friends who learnt flying with me or even long before me in the same region of Germany. They are a great bunch and it will be a fun comp. Oli Barthelmes is here as well, and if Walter Schurr turns up, it will be a challenging race this week.
I will post pictures and results as soon as we flew, looks good for tomorrow and really great for Monday!

26 Mai 2011

Buenos Aires

Great weather in Buenos Aires! I am lucky to accompany one of my favourite LH Captains, Rüdeger von Lutzau, on his last flight before retirement. Today his family, friends and our crew are planning a trip to the Tigre Delta to enjoy the autumn sun.
Yesterday I met Flavio Galliussi from FlyRanch Buenos Aires - he said he has loads of work with hang gliding courses and tandem flights, even though the season is nearly over. Christian Zehetmayer had been working with Flavio in winter, and Flavio said they could have done even more flights - economy is picking up and people love to get out of the city and have an exciting time at Fly Ranch. It was a season of great weather conditions. Soon Flavio is planning on a holiday in Canada to visit and fly with Stewart Midwinter.

22 Mai 2011

Sebastian wins again!

I never ever thought I would sit down to watch the F1 guys racing, but I just like to see Sebastian Vettel winning too much! And he just won the race in Barcelona for the first time, with his Aussie team mate Mark Webber in 4th. Congratulations!
Team Red Bull rules!

21 Mai 2011

TV again

Yesterday I went to Tegelberg again for another TV production, this time for ZDF, one of the major channels in Germany, for the first time they are interested in hang gliding! As soon as I have dates and times for the shows (two different programs), I will post it here.
Weather was good for filming, Regina and I stayed in the air for an hour, and the film crew seemed quite satisfied with the results. We had to land quite early though as the clouds overdeveloped in the early afternoon, rain and storms like this whole week.
Thanks for your interest in the Ferrari Race film, on youtube that video got 65.000 clicks in just 5 days, I am really impressed!

17 Mai 2011

I won the Ferrari-Race...

... and I wish I would have won the Ferrari too ;) but no, they would not leave the little red car with me. At least now you can watch the show online on youtube here.
We had also filmed the "punishment" for Matthias having lost the race - he had to do a tandem paraglider flight from Tegelberg. I guess they didn´t have enough time to show that part as well. Or maybe Matthias just enjoyed his punishment too much? Have fun with this extraordinary little film!

15 Mai 2011

Ferrari Race today RTL 2 18.00 hrs!

Tonight the secret will be given away about my "air race" against the Ferrari California. Watch it at 6pm on RTL 2, and I will also link the recording after the show was on!

14 Mai 2011

And the winners are...

... Alex Ploner - International German Open Champion
Bob Baier - German Champion FAI 1
Norbert Kirchner - German Champion FAI 5
and me - International and German Women´s Champion!

See the results here!

The final day: Cancelled due to storms

Today we went up Tegelberg for a last task, even though it was still raining in the morning and cloud base was low. The blue sky appeared in the west, but also the prediction for early overcast and storms. We could clearly see castellanus development, and after a consultation of meteorologist Volker Schwaniz, the day was cancelled at 12.30 so we could at least have a short last flight and a safe landing.

I took off and flew around all the beautiful castles in the area, enjoying slow and smooth lift up to 1800m. It got darker from the west and also to the north, so I decided to land around 13.45. Some drops of rain and the first clear thunder at 14.20 ... My gear was packed up in time to stay dry, but right now Im blogging in the rain. Déja-vu?

The awards were great, in the tent with still quite a lot of pilots here and a good band is playing, pilots are dancing. It was nice that Carole Tobler visited us and flew with us today. No accidents at this competition, interesting tasks are a very good record for the start of the German comp season.

In two weeks, I will join the Hessenmeisterschaft.

Tomorrow don´t miss RTL 2 at 18.00 – My race against Ferrari at „Grip – das Motormagazin“ and later on BR at 22.15 in „Sport in Bayern“ a report about the German Open!

13 Mai 2011

German Open, Task 2: 70 km around 4 TP

Yesterday was cancelled due to a front passing through, and today after a night of rain we were looking down on cloud base at first. But soon the sun heated up the air and we started into a 70 km task around 4 turnpoints at 14.45. It sounds late, but the day really just started then.
It was very difficult after leaving launch and staying high in the start radius, because base was only at 1700m, and lift was broken, swept away from many different wind directions. Some of the leading pilots had a hard time - Andre and Roland landed already without making the start radius, and so did Toni Raumauf.
I got very low and slowly grovelled back up, but I never managed to catch up with the top 5 guys ahead of me. I kept seeing them, but thermals were not evenly spread and also the headwind to the 2nd turnpoint out in the flatlands killed me. I got about half way of the total distance. Alex won the day again, even ahead of the rigid wing guys who had to fly 80 km today! Second in was Bob Baier and 3rd was Primoz! Wolfi Siess impressed the paraglider pilots on Tegelberg today when he came up for a reflight and set up his glider in barely 5 minutes, ready to launch... and he kept that speed, he made it all the way to the 3rd turnpoint, into the top 10 of the day.
I have no idea if today will score a lot, as many pilots landed early, but the top 10 might get shuffled around a bit.
Norbert Kirchner won the rigid wing race today, he had an exciting day of flatland flying and liked it very much. He said he basically started his final glide from 23 km out, as he had tail wind and a nice line of clouds ahead. He will be hard to beat tomorrow!
Forecast for tomorrow: There could be a short last task possible!
Tonight we have a pilots dinner at the tent at goal, the community of Schwangau invited us.
You can watch the comp on TV in Germany, tomorrow evening at 6pm on BR at Abendschau, same on Sunday, and also late in "Sport am Sonntag" on Sunday at 22.15. Inbetween don´t miss "The Race" on RTL 2 at 18.00 where I fly against a Ferrari, also from Tegelberg. Lots of hang gliding on German TV, I will post links to download those shows as soon as they are up on the DHV home page.

12 Mai 2011

German Open Day 2: Cancelled - Cold Front

Today we had a nice start at the German Open - yesterdays winners of each class got day prizes, sponsored by Timezone! Alex, Norbert and I got new trousers. The weather for today looks grim, the cold front rolls in fast, so the day was cancelled. The sky is overcast, and it is only just noon, and strong storms with hail are predicted for early afternoon. As this weather system is really powerful, it will have moved through quite fast and we expect a great flying day for tomorrow.

11 Mai 2011

German Open Tegelberg, Day 1

Today we started the German Open at Tegelberg with a pilots breakfast and the Mayor of Schwangau. Weather looked iffy, because we have a cold front moving into our area, but no forecast could tell us the exact time of storm development.
On take off, they set a fast 65 km task in this area to get everybody into goal safely before the rain starts.
It was a fun flight with very high cloudbase of about 2700 m, rare in this area. Still some places were shaded, so it was not just blind racing, sometimes you had to slow down, get high again. We all had tracking devices, so you can watch us online flying the task: DHV LIVE TRACKING (have a look at the cool device to recharge them all...)
It does not look like we will fly tomorrow, a lot of rain in the prediction, but Friday we will have a good day for sure, in nice clear air after the front went through.
Today Alex Ploner won the day, followed by Roland Wöhrle and Bob Baier. I really enjoyed flying with Bob again today, he is such a gentle man in the air! Always helpful, always happy, climbing well, making great decisions in this area. Mind you, his new outfit in white and blue looks really smart, on the ground and in the air!
I finished between 10th and 15th today, and first woman. Monique 2nd and Regina 3rd!
Rigid class was won by Norbert Kirchner, followed by Toni Raumauff and Tim Grabowski! Many happy faces in goal, and the Bavarian TV as well, they were happy about the filming today and I can´t wait to see their report.
Results will be published on the King Ludwig Open page.

09 Mai 2011

Bayern 2 Talk

Right now there is an interview with me on the radio of Bayern 2. Presenter Stefan Parrisius talked with me for an hour about flying and the different perspectives of it. You can download the podcast here. Sorry, all in German! But it was a mere luxury to be able to talk about so many different aspects of our beautiful sport - I love radio!

08 Mai 2011

Great weather!

At the moment, we are blessed with sunny weather day after day, this whole week has seen record breaking xc kilometers. I got back from Caracas on Friday and went to Hochfelln yesterday to try a German flight for the DHV XC.
We started at 11am and it was a bit slow in the beginning, only at Wilder Kaiser the day turned on. From there, I continued to Hohe Salve and into Pinzgau, where the conditions were just marvellous, you could just fly straight along the ridge. When I reached Schmittenhöhe and looked north, most clouds had disappeared, so I thought the Bavarian wind must have started and turned around to try and fly back. Valley winds had picked up and the strong north easter didn´t make it easier to get home. The turbulence kept getting worse, so I landed not far away from Kössen and thought I can visit Toni Raumauff. But he wasn´t back yet from his flight... in 8 hours he flew 316 km, crossing the main ridge of the Alps twice! What a great flight.
I hope this weather stays around for us next week at the German Open at Tegelberg as well!

02 Mai 2011

The Race!

While the guys are having fun and racing big tasks at the Florida ridge, I am "working" on the reputation of hang gliding in general. I was asked by the German TV channel RTL II if I can imagine racing a Ferrari California in the German Alps. Of course, I said, and thought, I hope the weather works for me, as the take off would be Tegelberg at Schwangau.
I had to fly about 26 km to Oberammergau, but every pilot who ever did the crossing behind Tegelberg to the east knows about the "Linderhoftal-Problem" - it is a narrow valley with trees down to the river, nowhere to land. Anyway, the Ferrari had about 50 km to drive, so I thought despite the difference of about 460 HP between us, I had a fair chance.
We had a forecast of 2500m cloud base and good lift for the Allgaeu area. Oh well - base was barely above 2300m, and when we were ready to start with 5 cameras fixed on my glider and one in my harness (for voice recording), the sky was overcast! Matthias, the TV presenter who drove the Ferrari, was laughing and sure to win the day. He raced away with a sound that I could even perceive in the air.
It was simply dark in the whole valley behind Tegelberg. Scary thought, but my plan B was that I got the two best aerial camera men I could imagine - Andi Becker and Tim Grabowski. Together we would find some lift for sure.
I did not expect that Tim´s radio didn´t work. I also wasn´t quite prepared to dive into the dark lee side (but at least with some fields in sight far away) so soon, with the two guys staying above in their rigid wings. I turned down my radio to Andi to just concentrate and find a thermal. I got stuck in nowheresland and was sure that Sebastian Vettel would never talk to me again after this day, even if I ever got out of this.
Suddenly I saw a ray of light. A turbulent, broken something let me stay in it, but I had to turn steep and work hard not to loose it. Centimeter by centimeter I climbed out and could eventually see Oberammergau.
Now the film crew had put down a landing spot for me, but I could not find it. Haha, I had taken coordinates of the paragliding landing field, and did not know there was a different place for the hang gliders. Ok, now I saw the blue spot in the green grass - but I also saw a slope, crosswind and a final glide through between a hut and some trees... Concentration again, our sport needs to look appealing, so I really wanted to pull off a beautiful landing. All my prayers were heard, and I touched down on the spot.
I am not allowed to tell you about who won the race yet, but you can watch the whole story on May 15th at 6pm (18.00) on RTL II in "Grip - das Motormagazin". As soon as the show has been aired, it will be uploaded on their own Grip youtube channel and I guess also on DHV TV for download.