31 Dezember 2012

Happy New Year!

Sydney was on fire two times tonight - for the kids they had a small fireworks display at 9pm, then the big one at midnight! Watching it from the Botanical Garden allowed the view on both Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Worth staying in the city! There won´t be too many fireworks in the outback, as the fire danger is way too high with temperatures close to 40 out there ;) What a way to start the new year!
All the best to you for 2013, health, love, great adventures, travelling, flying, and most of all - always happy landings!

30 Dezember 2012

Testflying at Stanwell

Yesterday morning I met my team at the Moyes factory - Jörg, Christian, Roland, Gerd, Regina, Oli, Tobi and Yves. While I stayed with Kathryn in the south of Sydney, the others stayed with Ian Duncan north of Sydney.
We packed our luxurious Mercedes team busses and optimistically left for a test flight at Stanwell. We met the Austrians, inlcuding ex-world champion Manfred Ruhmer there, Curt and his tandem Crew Wolfi and Jonas, also the British and a few Canadian and American pilots were there.
We set our gear up, but the wind direction was way too north to get into the air, so we packed and went for lunch and some had a swim at the beach. Suddenly Oli said the wind looks better, so we went up again. Set up the gliders again, and had a wonderful evening flight. I enjoyed it a lot racing the cliffs with my team mates, playing with the new glider, testing every speed and angle, turns and stalls and all ;) It is an all carbon racing machine, my Moyes RX 3! Fantastic handling, an absolute pleasure to fly fast, looks like it has extremely good performance when I was wing flirting with Jörg...
Most of the girls at the Worlds will fly this new model, and it seems like they are all as enthusiastic about the glider as I am. Almost all competing on the same glider will make it an interesting event, starting on Jan. 5th in Forbes, Australia.
This photo was taken out of the movie of the new GoPro Hero 3 black edition - very nice resolution, wide angle and good colours despite the lack of light at 7pm and a cloud cover!

28 Dezember 2012

This is not where I parked my car...

Today I visited the Australian Red Bull HQ in Sydney for the first time and had a tour through the office building - very impressive, inspiring, inviting, creative! I just arrived in Oz, so I was happy to stock up on some trays of Red Bull for the next days to get over jet lag faster.
Back at the factory, I set up my new race glider for the worlds - the Moyes RX3 is incredible! Too windy today at Stanwell, but Im sure to get a test flight tomorrow. The rest of my team will arrive tonight, so we will all meet for some tweaking and pre-world-preparations at the great coastal flying site south of Sydney tomorrow.

26 Dezember 2012

The moon...

... over Turkey on the boarder to the Iraq, great looking landscape. Looks colder than at home ;)

25 Dezember 2012

Let´s migrate, part 2!

Some more photos of this year´s adventures with my friends.
Special thanks to Adem Hasgül and his fantastic team for having organized the European Championships in Kayseri this year!

24 Dezember 2012

Let´s migrate!

For days I haven´t seen the sun, or even proper light, up here in Bremen. Winter is dark in the north of Germany and the geese in Detroit suggested flying south a while ago. Guess I will finally listen to them and migrate to down under. Stinking hot red outback hell in Forbes is waiting with the next adventure - the Hang Gliding World Championships from Jan 5th to Jan 18th!
Before Im gone trying to standby myself to Oz, just a few pictures of this years people, places and adventures for you. Part 1 I guess ;)

20 Dezember 2012

Race of Champions, Bangkok, Timezone GMT +7

After having worked on the long, booked out flight to Bangkok, I had a short rest and then went to the "Race of Champions". The best drivers of all different categories of motorsport came together and had a match race on all different kind of cars.
Two drivers were racing each other and the winner got to the next round. This race is so interesting because each driver is in a different car for each round!
The day before, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel had won the team competition. On the last day, they both dropped out at the semi-finals, and French driver Romain Grosjean won the race.
No need to tell you that the after-party was legendary and that they had invited the prettiest girls of Thailand to join ;)
I enjoyed meeting the KTM racing team guys and looked after them on my work flight back home two days later.
A special highlight was the incredible show of Chris Pfeiffer on his motorbike!

09 Dezember 2012

Packing... not for Christmas

 - but for the big adventure in Australia. Looks like I will carry all the stickers for most Red Bull pilots competing at the world championship in Forbes ;) I managed to sort it into one very heavy roll, so if anybody else needs stickers transported to Forbes - sorry, too late!
Seppi, Matjaz and I are looking forward to our new Moyes RX racing machines, it will be like Christmas for all of us. I dream of the sun,  heat and beaches of Sydney, of the air at Stanwell Park every day now that we have snow and minus 14 C in large parts of Germany.

08 Dezember 2012

Valle de Bravo Bid for next Worlds 2015

Miguel Gutierrez from Valle de Bravo put in a bid for the Hang Gliding World Championships after Forbes. It would be great to fly in Mexico again, I love that place with all the vulcanos, high cloud bases, nice food, helpful people, and millions of Monarch butterflies to lighten up our thermals!

Meanwhile Katharina Dressel and Thomas Schreck are in Lanzarote to compete at the 16th "Open de Canarias". Read her report and see more photos here! She and her friend from Berlin, Caroline Greiser, are very likely join our team for the next Women´s Worlds, probably in France in 2014.

07 Dezember 2012

04 Dezember 2012

Who has the nicest Christmas tree?

While I already saw Christmas trees and Christmas decorations in Bogota in October (!?), other countries only just started with the annual shopping hype. Most Christmas markets in Germany opened last weekend, but I didn´t have time to stop by so far. Work is calling, so I enjoy the different pre-Christmas atmospheres and temperatures everywhere in the world. And on the plane. Even the Lufthansa planes have a Christmas decoration stuck on the walls right now, and goose and Christmas cookies on the menu.
For me, I will pack a big parcel this week too - but only to be shipped to the worlds in Australia. Maybe the freight company would enjoy a little Christmas decoration on the glider box too ;) ?

27 November 2012

What a race!

How does it feel to fall back into last place right after the start? When Sebastian spun around on the tarmac that was slippery from the drizzle, my heart dropped a few beats. He had to drive into the wrong direction to be able to go back in line and kind of start all over again. It reminded me of my wise friend Bertrand Piccard who said that sometimes you have to embrace a detour to reach your goal in an unorthodox way (he had to avoid China when he drove around the world in a balloon because the Chinese didn´t allow him the passage, even though the prevailing winds had always suggested that route - in the end he succeeded with a totally different crossing of asia than initially expected).
Sebastian kept fighting his way back up, but when also Mark Webber spun a donut, I was shocked. Luckily it happened early in the race so the guys had time. Together they climbed up the rankings again, never giving up, even when Sebastian´s radio broke down and he had that very unusual and unexpected stop in the box. Mere horror stood in the faces of the guys in the box around me when they saw how long it took to change Sebastian´s tyres.
It kept raining. Dr Marko had asked me before the race about my expectations for the weather. Rain at half past two, I said (and knew he wouldnt like it). After the race he smiled at me and said, "Your prediction was late!" Well maybe next time I may have a look at the satellite image and have a chat with the meteorologists. Hey, I would love to do that job! But, just like in hang gliding, the poor meteo guy is always the bad one when he comes up with what we don´t want to hear...
I had an interface at hand with which I could watch Sebastians on board camera, which I kept on all the time during the race. Lots and lots of rain. A miracle to me how he could safely overtake soooo many other cars again. When Mark finished 4th and Sebastian 6th in the end, they prooved their class to everybody. What a performance, impressively demonstrating their driving skills and mental strength!
When I met Owen Wilson on the track, I asked him for a photo with me. I kind of found it rude to ask a favour and not offer anything in return, so I translated Massa´s emotional speach for him, as there were no English subtitles (well the audience was mainly Brasilian, and I think Massa made a few of his fans cry too ;))
Flying back home today, I was very pleased to find almost the complete Scuderia Torro Rosso in the compartment I worked in. Probably the only time they ever enjoyed a Red Bull athlete serving them dinner and drinks!

26 November 2012

Interlagos: Sebastian World Champion!

 Today I nearly died a few heart attacks at Interlagos - what a crazy race! Just after the start, Sebastian did a 360 on the slippery road - drizzle on the track turned it into soap! It happened just in front of me and I was so shocked that I dropped my phone and nearly killed it... luckily I got the photos out at least.
Then it was Mark with another 360, but also other drivers had trouble with the rain today.
With Button, Alonso and Massa on the podium, Sebastian still had enough points in the lead to become World Champion for the 3rd time! Felipe Massa held a very emotional speach in front of his home audience, it was a great finish of the season for many drivers.

I was very touched when Sebastian found the time to sign my helmet. Now I have the best lucky charm possible for my worlds in January in Australia - both Mark Webber´s and Sebastian Vettel´s autographs! 

Very, very impressive performance of Team Red Bull Racing today, congratulations to the whole team for their new success, you are legends! And thank you for letting us be a part of it!

25 November 2012

Sao Paulo, Timezone GMT - 2

After a long full work flight to Sao Paulo, I went to Interlagos for the F1 Qualifying. Exciting to watch the racing, the tactics, to hear the team communication, but most of all the noise of the engines.Meeting the team of Red Bull Brazil was a great "prazer".
It all looks really good for Sebastian tomorrow, even though it started raining tonight, a cold front will move in and there might be really heavy rain on the course tomorrow. The qualifying went well. After Hamilton and Button it was Mark Webber on 3rd and Sebastian in 4th position for the big finish tomorrow.
After the race, Mark came over to talk about the performance of the day in Sao Paulo. I used the chance to ask him for signing my helmet as a "lucky charm" for my worlds in January in Australia. He smiled when I said "Forbes", sure he knows that area, and of course I invited Mark over to come and fly with us ;)
I didn´t see Sebastian, he will just have a really good rest and I keep my fingers crossed big time for him tomorrow!