29 Juni 2011

Filming 3D in Greifenburg

You can watch a 3D movie trailer on youtube HERE
or also download it, if you have a 3D tv. Unfortunately, youtube and Gema locked the trailer for German users because of music rights, so you have to find a computer outside Germany or log in with a foreign vpn connection!
For the youtube trailer, paper 3D glasses with blue and red lens will be enough to get a good 3D impression!

28 Juni 2011

adidas Outdoor

If you are interested in the adidas Outdoor team, you can find athletes portraits directly on the main homepage of adidas now! Alex Ploner and me are up with hang gliding pics, but it is also worth browsing through the other profiles, you will find many famous names at the bottom of the page!
I have met quite a lot of the other athletes on different events, and it is great to see so many charismatic specialists in their field. When Bernd Zangerl gave me a brief introduction to bouldering, I was in awe about his majestic, feline grace. Bernd´s elegant moves looked all so smooth and easy that I just wanted to climb up that rock as well - and pretty soon I had to realize that you need other muscles for bouldering than for hang gliding ;)

22 Juni 2011

New Ramp at Melibokus

Between two flights I had a stop at my old flying site in Odenwald. My club members from 1. ODC had rebuilt the ramp, and it truely looks inviting. And might be the only place in Germany where only hang glider pilots can take off ;) Melibokus is a mountain half an hour south of Darmstadt, with about 400 m height difference, and a NW wind is best for take off. Yet you see Patrick´s take off in a southerly...

13 Juni 2011

Trip to Kuwait, timezone UTC +3

I had completely forgotten what 45 degrees centigrade mean – long time ago on our Moyes record flight expeditions to Wilcannia we experienced those temperatures more than once. And now again in Kuwait I felt the wind like a hot hair dryer in my face, not cooling, but stinging on the lips, evaporating every possible drop of sweat straight away. I told Bill Moyes that I quit work at 45 C because it is just too much. People in Kuwait are allowed to stop when it is 50 C, so the official numbers never move past 48 C, I was told by Bashar Al Huneidi.

Florian Wagner told me I have to meet his friend Bashar when I go to Kuwait, so he made the contact and we met yesterday. It is unique to meet a professional skier who is absolutely passionate about snow in the country of deserts and sand storms... Bashar had even participated in skiing world championships! He critcized that the qualification rules had been changed for olympic games, so he can´t go anymore. He said it is not just about the peak performance, but also about meeting different people from different cultures in order to promote friendship and fairness amongst all the people in the world that´s the olympic spirit!

I very much agree with Bashar on this one and I was very disappointed when the CIVL changed our qualification rules for the major hang gliding events too, which means that for example most Turkish pilots and other nations that are not as „big“ in our sport (and are not supported by sponsors, government or nacs) can´t compete at the European championships anymore, let alone the worlds. I have always enjoyed meeting pilots from countries that are not immediately connected hang gliding, like many central and south american countries. It is about loosing prejudices and enhancing tolerance and knowledge about the other cultures on a much more intense level than you ever could as a „tourist“. Bashar is so right when he says that in his opinion, it is now more important than ever to let Arabian athletes from muslim countries participate in international sports events to show that values like fairness and tolerance exist everywhere and the extremists and fundamentalists are a minority that will never rule the world.

Most of the time, I am a „foreigner“ whenever I touch the ground after a flight, but I have always been treated with great hospitality, respect and friendship. So to me the concept of racism is very alien. Let me see – some of my best friends are from New Zealand, Australia, Slovenia, Mexico, Russia, Argentina, the U.S., Japan, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Norway,.... – oh yes, a few from Germany as well! Many people are not as privileged as me and can´t travel as much and freely around the globe, can´t meet people as easily like me through the sport and my jobs. So it is even more important to admit everybody from every nation to the big competitions, to make these meetings possible! To show that people who share for example the great passion of flying have a lot in common and different political, ideological or religious beliefs can´t tear them apart.

I hope the new qualification rules will be reviewed and changed soon – hey Bashar, it´s about time for the first hang glider pilot from Kuwait in history participating in the world championships, call me if your daughter needs an instructor and coach!

10 Juni 2011

Italian Nationals cancelled!

Sounds like Davis "Mr OzReport" is unlucky on his Euro trip with the weather - the Alpen Open already ended with only a mere 56-point-task (congrats to Roland and Suan anyway for winning that one), and now the Italian Nationals in Feltre have been completely cancelled as they had rain and storms every single day!
I had to grab this cool pic with Jörg, Stefan and Konrad trying to send the bad weather away and to warn pilots not to come there... at least the humour did not drown ;) I had planned on going there too, but instead my work schedule didn´t allow me to. I can´t wait to get to Australian temperatures of 45 celsius which is the prediction for my work flight to Kuwait. I will meet Bashar Huneidi, and he can explain to me how he got the crazy idea to become the national skiing champion of Kuwait and to participate in the Olympics...

09 Juni 2011

Everybody is someone´s Angel

This is one of photographer Nomi Baumgartl´s charity projects. I met her yesterday together with Florian Wagner, the photographer who took the great pics of Alex and me flying in the dolomites last year.
Nomi said, "It all began with a message from heaven, a single wing fell down in front of my feet in the snow, exempted, perfect. I exposed this wing in a magical winter sidelight that reminds of the great romanticists."
The wing was mirrored in the lab and turned into a pair of wings, an imaginary angel turned into a piece of a beautiful charity project:
"Everybody is someone´s Angel"
Everyone of us sometimes needs an angel, and also angels need angels, Nomi thinks, and I agree completely with her philosophy.
Talking with Florian and Nomi, our ideas went soaring and there will be some interesting projects on the way soon. It is very inspiring to meet such creative, sensitive and driven people who are so talented and love what they are doing!

What a man!

This is really a great title for German actor Matthias Schweighöfer. And of course his movie too - "What a man!" I had been invited to a preview of his first œvre as director, screen writer, producer and actor - and he was still able to keep his eyes open and crack jokes in his characteristic Berlin accent - I love it! It was obvious how much fun the guys had when they produced the film, and the mood was contagious, the cinema was shaking with laughter. When Matthias told us that many aspects were autobiographic, or taken from other true stories, you could observe quite a few question marks in our faces. Check out the youtube What a man!-Diary of the film - it should get to cinemas in mid August.
I enjoyed the film a lot and I will watch it again for sure when the final version is out in the cinemas - well done, Matthias, great piece of entertainment! What a privilege to meet you and be able to chat with you. My favourite scene is in the end of the movie, and I know that most of my friends will relate to that very much ;) well Im not giving it away here, just go and watch it!
Matthias said he will be on the way to Salzburg to work against his fear of flying - I hope Guido is around at Hangar 7, with his enthusiasm and fun he might be able to show Matthias the magic of wings!
Also at the cinema I met Viktoria Rebensburg, charming olympic gold medalist in giant slalom, one of Germany´s very young and upcoming athletes. It amazes me that some people can fly extremely fast even without wings ;) she is skiing in the same mountains where I am flying, just at opposite seasons. She likes New Zealand in August, I prefer to be there in March... great that on some rare days we are on the same continent. I always enjoy meeting other athletes, because compared to them, our little sport sometimes looks semi-professional and I can learn a lot about training, tactics, marketing - but most of all I like this enthusiastic attitude and passion about the sport we love!
The day had started with a remarkable meeting with Nomi Baumgartl and Florian Wagner, two top photographers from Munich, but that´s a longer story and will be told tomorrow.

03 Juni 2011

Hessische Awards tonight at 7pm

In a few hours we will celebrate the awards at Fliegercamp Greifenburg - new champion of Hessenmeisterschaft is Dieter Müglich, I won the women´s award. Today we didn´t fly, as there was a lot of rain and storms in the forecast, rain in the morning already, and it started pouring down about an hour ago and developed quickly into quite an impressive storm. There were a few reserve openings of paraglider pilots. I only saw one and raced to find the guy - luckily he had found the softest ground next to the church of Greifenburg and was quite happy to have me as a retrieve driver in the pouring rain. He was not hurt! I hope also the other guys who got into trouble managed to land safely...
Good safety decision of the comp director Manfred Vaupel. It is always difficult if you have these iffy days where it might or might not rain, overdevelop or get turbulent with high wind speeds. Manfred and Klaus Staubach (responsible for the paragliding part of the comp) managed 3 safe and good tasks, amongst them the record task of 175 km on the second day, with no injuries during the comp at all. I felt safe all the time and had fun flying with my friends, and I really hope we will see more pilots again next year!
I will post the photos from the award ceremony later tonight.

02 Juni 2011

Hessenmeisterschaft Day 4&5 cancelled

No task yesterday and today due to overdevelopment and a high risk of rain and thunderstorms. At the moment the sky above Emberger Alm is dark and it looks like the rain is not far away.
Time for me to pull out the photo of the vulture from a few days ago. I wasn´t quite sure if it was a really big eagle or a goose vulture, but the depth of the wing and the colours of the feathers reminded me of the big guys in Spain ;)