29 Januar 2012

How to survive 19 Timezones in 5 days...

... you just need the right sponsor! From Sydney (+10) through Frankfurt to Los Angeles (-9). Nice and sunny in California, the Santa Ana winds were quite impressive on our approach yesterday with a major wind shear at 1500m. Wish I could stay longer.

27 Januar 2012

WDR Dortmund

Yesterday I went to Dortmund for the TV show "Planet Wissen", which will be aired on Feb 9th at 15.00 on WDR, later that day on BR as well. One complete hour about hang gliding, lots of different stories, like the Aconcagua flight of Angelo d´Arrigo.
Dirk Soboll did a tandem flight with a presenter of the show, and they also interviewed Volkmar Kienöl who had tried to escape East Germany in a hang glider. His friend and him had set up the glider in Berlin on a high rise building close to the Berlin Wall. Take off was the problem, as they could not run properly to get off the rooftop. When the first pilot crashed, the second did not try but went to help his friend and wanted to try to go to Czechoslovakia, but they failed and were imprisoned for a year. Claus Gerhard wrote about this story in his book "Der begrenzte Himmel".
It was fun to talk a full hour about hang gliding - I hope a lot of people will enjoy this show. First time in German TV that they have such a detailed and well researched documentary about our sport!

26 Januar 2012


A lot of snow welcomed me home in Munich, but I didn´t have much time to think about it, as I went up north to Dortmund the next day for a TV show, then going to Frankfurt for work.
But I do remember those nice hot Forbes days full of flying lots of kilometers, and after that some fun flights in the dunes, at Newcastle and Stanwell. It was a great holiday with nearly 40 hours of air time and I want to thank all my friends for their help and the great time we shared! I hope our European spring is not too far away, and maybe I will see a few of my Aussie friends up here for the Euro season this year!

23 Januar 2012

Stanwell is on!

Stanwell was on and I went flying with Kathryn yesterday, swapping our RX3´s. My last flight for a while, because i go back to work and winter, so I made sure I had a bit of time in the air. It was blowing in quite strong, I measured up to a 38 km/h wind. Seeing how easy Kathryn took off made me confident too. She is quite experienced in the dune flying which helps a lot in strong wind conditions. But also our small, light glider and the easy ground handling of the new a-frame helped me a lot to feel safe on take off. In the air, apart from a whole lot of tandem gliders, there were maybe 4 or 5 other people flying.
I avoided some big rain showers and went up to Bulli to wait there in the sun until the showers had passed. It was a lot of fun to race up and down the ridges, it reminded me of my record tandem flight with Tomas Suchanek some years ago! So easy to fly fast and straight in those great little gliders, I can´t wait to bring the RX 3 over to test it in the Alpine conditions.
It was funny - when we landed, I thought Kathryns glider is better because it had less bar pressure with VG full on and was really easy to fly fast and be in control of the glider, even in strong wind conditions with our little weight. Kathryn thought my glider is nicer, because the handling in slow flight is easier and even faster to roll. Anyway, a great flight with friends, followed by a great Sunday night dinner at Molly´s place with the whole big Moyes family!

20 Januar 2012

Back in Sydney

After a nice drive from Forbes to Newcastle with Hadewych, I stayed with Nikola, she had just come back from the Corryong Cup and told me that there were also 6 women competing! Good for the sport to see so many women doing well over here in Australia.
I had a great introduction into the dune flying from my friends Tish, Conrad and Cris. It was a lot of fun to fly around in the single surface gliders and goof around in the dunes, hanging out in the evenings together with Ashanta and Fredie and some other "left over" pilots from Forbes. Holidays, finally!
Next day I had a tandem flight with Tony Barton who I always admired for his smooth top landings, so I asked him for a lesson on how to topland at Scenic. He in return asked me for some cross country tricks and let me fly the glider in the air, but we didnt cover too much ground on that day;) The top landing was a lot of fun and it was difficult not to touch the uprights but let Tony do all the work. I will post the video soon!
Yesterday I flew Conrads Moyes Malibu, taking off in Mereweather, going over to Dixon Park, floating around with Tish and Hadewych for a while, and then landing. A flight in wonderful smooth air, it was a lot of fun to fly that easy beginners glider. Later also Francoise Dieuzede had a go in it and really enjoyed boating around close to the beach.
Boris from Tasmania took me back to Sydney where we were invited to join Vickis post Forbes party - Noma was the chef and prepared great Sushi for us! We had a lot of fun and shared some fun stories.
Today I went to the Moyes factory with Vicky and met Francoise again, she will leave on Saturday. Maybe we go for a flight at Stanwell later. Her 5th place on one of the race days of Forbes was very impressive, she will definitely be one of the possible world champions if we have the next women´s worlds out in Forbes next January - Flip said it will be a team of 6 + 2 pilots, so there can be another title.
Also I just uploaded Jim Prahls video of my first test flight at Stanwell with the RX3 here.

17 Januar 2012

Awards in Forbes

Thanks to Ashanta for this picture of the awards late at night. I had a great trip to Newcastle with Hadewych on the next day and went to the dunes with the dune pros, Conrad, Tish and Cris, and about 10 other pilots. Good training to handle the single surface gliders in the sea breeze. It feels nice to see the ocean and the open horizon after all that time in Forbes!

14 Januar 2012

169 km around 2 TP, goal Forbes

Well today I made a few mistakes and landed after the first turnpoint - that area was very swampy and difficult to get back up and tackle the head wind. Yet had I been well rested and well trained, it should not have been a problem. Just a lack of concentration. With my knee injuries, I had not been able to train my endurance as hard as I normally do, and I clearly see where I can improve for next year. Lenz will see me back training hard at Sportschule Puch as soon as Im back in Germany. Well, I now that I can run again, I will start with my jogging training on Monday!
Rohan just made goal and won the competition, Attila should be 2nd, but for 3rd I dont know yet. I will drop big time down into the 40ies, but I think I will still win the women´s ranking, unless Francoise makes more than 980 points today ;) well she is a great pilot, but today it was a task for the big heavy guys with a big headwind leg. Funny, who again was task committee? Gerolf was in first, I have to ask him how much ballast he uses on a day like today. And when my leg is strong and absolutely stable again, I will ballast up to 8 kg more like I did in Texas without problems.
Well the pre worlds are over, 8 tasks, a lot of outback adventures, really very nice encounters with farmers and their families, some good goals - and about 35 hours of airtime! That little RX3 is an amazing new glider and I can´t wait to bring it over to Germany and have light pilots testfly it! It really makes a big change in the comp for us light weights! I had the full work out here in Forbes, and I can move my arms and shoulders without problem. Even Curt noticed how relaxed I hang and climb in the big gaggles. But the most important thing - the towing is soooooo easy with it! Today it was superrough again, with many dusties ripping through the tow field already, that I got a bit anxious. In the air, it was rough, but I managed to hang on all the way up and had a big smile in my face. Finally a glider that is controllable and has the performance too! Thanks Steve (and Kim) Moyes, thanks Gerolf for thinking of our small minority of light pilots! I guess on a few days out here I could show the potential of the glider, even though I was always going very very cautious, always really high and slow, just to make sure I can pick the perfect spot for a perfect landing to help my knee!

Forbes Day 7: 185km around 2 Tp

High clouds were moving in and shading our area off again, in connection with a headwind it took us forever to get to the first turnpoint at Skulls. The run to Yeoval was faster, as we saw more sun, but again in the Yeoval valley it completely shaded and turned off the day. A lot of people landed just between Yeoval and the goal at Cumnock. I was about 10 km short, both my team mates were in the same area, we just had to pick up Kathryn. Stopping in Parkes for dinner, we got back after 11pm again, a long day with more than 5 hours of flying, so my report is a bit shorter today.
Last day today looks very promising, less wind and I hope just for once we get a closed task, coming back to Forbes!

12 Januar 2012

Day 6: 201 km - Friday 13th already?

Thanks to Jamie for the picture of me landing at goal two days ago - doesnt the RX3 look nice?
Just a brief report, as I still have to fix the zipper of my harness. It was another long task of 201km around one turnpoint called "Bumf" - as I learnt, the Canadians would have had the loudest laugh about this exact description of the area.
At briefing, we missed Vicki and Attila, instead we had some VIPs - Elvis and Priscilla visited us and brought us the task! Another 201 km day, flying in the blue. But first, some other problems had to be solved...
I had not completely set up yet when a dust devil ripped through our gliders. It pulled up the glider behind me and threw it down on mine. The other glider was fine, but one of my battens had been crushed, the carbon fibre splintered. I got nervous. Luckily, Scott Barrett, who had set up next to me and saw my shocked face, helped me. He went away to his car, put a piece of stainless stell into the batten, rapped a whole lot of tape around it, and it could be used again!
When I got ready to launch, the next misfit happened - the slider of my harness zipper broke in two! Now I got really nervous, as the starting procedure had already begun. A race against the time! And it was Scott again who came up with a solution. He pulled out a selection of differently sized zipper sliders, amongst them the right size for mine! Then he showed me how to take the bottom one off and how to put the new one in. And it worked until goal! Just now I need to stitch the bottom up to fix it.
When I was about to go, my radio had unlocked and I was on the wrong frequency... how much can go wrong on one day? With UHF channels, I had to find the frequency number again to get in touch with my team.
After all of the above, I was really glad when Jamie and Dave came over, calmed me down and stayed with me when I was in the launch line. It took me a while into the flight before I could shake off the pre launch stress. It felt like it was Friday the 13th already yesterday...
I got back really late, and today will be another big day, so I better start fixing my harness!
Attila won the day yesterday, with Curt Warren 2nd and Jonas Lobitz 3rd and Julia Kucherenko in smoking 4th place (she was first across the goal line!). Overall, it is Rohan ahead of Attila and Adam Stevens.

11 Januar 2012

Moyes RX 3

In the photo, Steve Moyes, Gerolf and I sit under a new Moyes glider called RX 3. It is a topless competition glider with a small surface and a smaller a-frame. Compared to my Litespeed 3,5 s that I have been flying so far, it truely is a toy! When I testflew it at Stanwell for the first time in quite bumpy air, I smiled, because the handling makes me very confident. The first glider I can steer with full VG on! And also - it does not yaw at all but flies peacefully straight line if you pull the bar in. Up to 115 km/h without ballast. But before I talk about it, I first wanted to fly a comparison with the other guys out here in Forbes. Now that I had 28 hours on the glider, I think I can give you some details about this new wing.
I had been a bit anxious about the rough towing conditions in the pre worlds out here in Forbes, dust devils and all, but it was piece of cake. The first day, I realized that I had more bar pressure on tow than on the flight at Stanwell. Right, I did not see that the VG rope had opened and I had been towing all the way up completely without VG!!! The only glider ever I could do that without my arms falling off afterwards.
Then of course the flying in thermals is even better than with my Litespeed. I feel the air, it is like my fingers turn into feathers, and I can finetune the wing into the strongest climb, quickly moving it around the corner. On the second day, the German pilots came up to me and said they were impressed that I was leading out and finding the lift for them - on some days it just works right! I like very responsive gliders that are easy and fast to roll. If I want to squeeze the last centimeters out of the thermal, I might highside the glider a little bit, but normally it sits effortless and stable in the turn.
Yesterday was a slow gaggle day and it was important to get high fast and stay on top of the other pilots. Even Gerolf could not outclimb me in our last thermal. Well, he outglided me into goal after that ;) The glide is good, but I can see that Jörg and the boys clearly pull away from me. Gerolf recommended more ballast, and so far I did not try more than 3 kg of water/ Red Bull as a ballast. I will try and see, now that Im very confident with the landings as well. Groundhandling gets a lot easier with the shorter base bar.
I am very impressed that don´t get tired of being in the air, but I can fly more than 5 hours every day, always looking forward to the next flight. The sail looks very much like a bird wing to me, a very clean and promising 3D cut.
I hope I will be able to bring one of these new gliders to Germany so all the light pilots can testfly it and enter a new dimension of high performance flying. I have the full carbon version here in Forbes, and also Francoise, Zhenya, Monique Pavy (FR), Virpi and Kathryn are on this glider. We all agree that towing has never been easier on a high performance wing before. Francoise came 5th in the overall ranking two days ago with her RX3, and I got 23rd yesterday after a long, difficult flight, quite promising results.
Have a look at Zhenya´s and Jamie´s blogs for their personal impressions, as they are flying the little beauty as well.
Yesterday we had a high profile visitor wishing us good luck for the task - Bob Baier had participated in the Sailing Worlds at Lake McQuarie and come out to Forbes afterwards! His presence definitely motivated me to do my best and get to goal!

Forbes Day 6: Restday, too windy

Today it is howling, gusts of 40 km/h and more on the ground, and in the air a dragonfly could barely move forwards this morning. Attila set a joke task to Manilla (380 km) and then cancelled the day for safety reasons. Nice cloud streets though!
I won a voucher for a massage today which I will use this afternoon. It is great to win a prize if you won a day!
Meanwhile the women of the comp met and discussed possibilities for the next women´s world title. Even though Im normally against mixing the men´s with the women´s worlds, this will be our only chance next year to have a title before 2014, since there were no bids for the women´s worlds. So it looks like we will have a team of 6 plus 2 additional women for Forbes next year. 17 flying women were attending this meeting, and all of them are very enthusiastic about flying their own competition, discussing a world cup as an example. But spending 4 weeks out here in Forbes does not sound very appealing to me ;)
For any possible organizers though, yes, there are plenty of women who are interested to fly a world cup if the costs are affordable - for example somewhere in Europe (most competitors could come with their cars and help out the other women from overseas).
The "Women with Wings" flyin in Bright was a great success too, and I certainly support any encouragement to get more women into our beautiful sport. Hopefully I can attend that meeting next time!
And now I will write a report about the new little glider Im flying in this comp. Also some more pictures of our wonderful goal yesterday!

10 Januar 2012

Forbes Day 5: 217 km to Dunedoo

Is it possible to fly 217 km in the shade? It is, if you stay with the gaggle (I learnt that on my last two silly tries to fly on my own which did not work too well), and if you have a bunch of really top pilots. It was amazing how many thermals we found even though the first 100 km were shaded by high level clouds!
Only after our turnpoint we had more sun and more fun. But it was getting late, thermals weakened, so we had to grovel and take what we could find. I flew with Primoz for most of my flight and was happy to have such a good pilot with me. When I got to goal, I was amazed to see so many pilots already there. 27 pilots made goal! Big smiles there, happy faces. And the landing field was the nicest and biggest Ive seen in a competition so far. It was a lot of fun to end the big flight in style with a smooth landing.
I also flew with Christa for a while, and she is racing, it was great to see how determined she is to fly fast and get going! She is at her absolute best and finished 2nd in the womens score yesterday, which moved her up into 2nd place overall! Since I was the only woman at goal, I went back to 1st in the women´s ranking.
Roland, Hans and Jörg also made it to goal, showing a really strong and consistent performance here in Forbes. Only Lukas was unlucky and landed early, which moved him down from 2nd to 13th overall, now Hans is the top ranked German on 7th place.
We got back after midnight, at 0.30 in the morning, but as the forecast is for a really strong wind today, we might have another rest day before flying 3 more days. With 28 hours of airtime here in Australia so far, I already flew more hours than during my whole European season last year.

09 Januar 2012

Day 5: 144km to Wellington (Oz)

On the rest day, I prepared some porcini risotto and had a lot of friends around - Tish, Cris, Conrad, Tali, Marty, Oli, Jörg, Trent and Andrew! It was a fun evening, and I woke up very rested the next day.
It was a 144km task with 1 TP in really strong wind which made the towing quite unpleasant. Gusts and dust devils ripped through the tow field. I was happy to have had a great pilot - Blano dropped me right into a good thermal so I could go up straight away.
I flew a lot with Jörg, and it was fun to team work with him. Just after the range I must have taken a wrong turn off and found myself on the ground too soon close to Yeoval. Many people made goal, Wolfi Siess won the day, and Francoise came in 5th, Christa in 11th! Christa was fastest German pilot yesterday, well done, great work!!! Overall, Rohan is still ahead of Lukas. Francoise is 100 points ahead of me know, Christa moved up to 3rd in the women´s ranking.
Today is looks slightly less windy, but we might have a similar task like yesterday, as it is still too much wind to punch the headwind.

08 Januar 2012

Day 4: Rest Day

Because of rain, storms and strong wind we had a rest day today. Time to look at other blogs. For more nice photos have a look at Ashanta´s nice pictures. The Germans are writing on the DHV homepage.
Also Jamie and my team mate Kathryn are writing about the Forbes comp. You will find some really fun interviews and films made by Dave May here! He can´t fly unfortunately but he is doing a great job as a reporter and master twitterer of the pre worlds!
Then of course Davis is keeping you up to date on his oz report about the actual results and gossip and all.
Looks like a big day tomorrow, so I better get some sleep.

Forbes Day 3: 185km around 2 TP, goal Bookah

Stong northerly winds up to 30 km/h made us fly to the south nearly to Canberra. Attila set the task and seemed to be happy with it, as he won the day. Jonny got back in time from hospital after an oxygen and fluid treatment and came 2nd of the day.
But my real hero of yesterdays flight is Christa. She took the last start clock at 3pm and zoomed into goal with the 3rd best time of all participating German pilots, beating Jörg, Roland, Konrad and me into goal. Well done, great flight Christa!
It helped to stay with gaggles yesterday as all the other days, but for some reason I ended up on my own, very rarely seeing anybody on course. I met Jörg for about 20 km, and that was it. It was fun to just fly a lonely cross country, but of course it is much faster to stay with several people to find the next lift faster. Guess I will try that tomorrow, as today it looks like a rest day. Grey sky and the prediction for rain and storms.

06 Januar 2012

Forbes Day 2: 133km around 3 TP

After having ranked 48 yesterday, I had a bit more time to prepare my gear before launch with a very nice setup number of 34 - thankfully we are starting with an ordered launch out here which makes the whole comp really civilized. Turned out to be the perfect launch time to get up and ready in time for the 14.30 startwindow. I had a great tow behind a very talented tug pilot called Steve around 14.10 - he dropped me right into a nice thermal.
I was so happy about that little glider Moyes gave me to fly here that I just kept bouncing from thermal to thermal with a big smile today. More about the new glider in detail tomorrow, tonight Im too tired. Even though Blenky and I made it around all 3 turnpoints and into goal after 133 km, we were still only back at HQ around 21.00 to download the tracklogs. Our team mate Tony landed 2 km short of goal, and Kathryn landed around 20 km short - a great flight considering that she had broken her arm just recently! I think she ranked 3rd best woman of the day, after Carol and me.
Looks like around 34 pilots got to goal, and I was probably the only woman, with Carole being not far away from goal. Many big names were missed in goal today - Jonny was sick all day and couldnt quite get there, Attila and Primoz landed late, Curt didnt make it in. Today´s results will ruffle the complete rankings around. New day, new game.
Team Germany was quite successful, with Lukas as the fastest probably in 10th overall, also Roland, Jörg and Hans arrived in goal. Only Christa and Konrad were missing.
Scott Barrett won the day, followed by Swiss Nic. Overall Rohan is in the lead now with Scott in 2nd and Edoardo in 3rd. Lukas is 5th overall and top German pilot! I rank 28th now and better get ready soon, since the top 30 will start in reversed order, I will be off 3rd again today ;)

05 Januar 2012

Forbes Day 1: 132km around 2 TP

It got a bit hectic for me on launch as I was 3rd off in the launch order today. I like to go early, but we were not allowed to set up the gliders before the launch number lines were fixed, so it wasnt exactly relaxed. Well better than waiting around in the 38 Celsius hot field I guess.
The task took us south to Piney, then up to Eugowra and down to Gooloogong goal, 132km. It was a tough cross wind of 25km/h that I tried to fight, and after only 30 km I had to land, like many other pilots too. The first leg was the hardest one, as the second one would have been with a nice tailwind. At 5.50, the task was cancelled due to storm development on course. Italian Eduardo won the day, with Curt in 2nd and Jonny in 3rd. Carole was the top woman ranked 46th, I ended up 48th out of 95 competitors today. Lukas was the top ranking German pilot in 7th place today. But the winner only scored a bit more than 600 points, because many pilots landed before the 1st turnpoint already, so everything is open.
Tomorrow looks like a better day with less wind and hopefully no storms in our way. Results here.

04 Januar 2012

Practice Day Forbes

Today we had the initial briefing for the pre world championships in the Forbes recreation center before going out to the tow paddock. Forecast was for some showers and od later in the day, but it stayed dry, yet we saw more clouds than the days before. The training task was set around 3 turnpoints to the east and northeast, but not everybody got into the air before the wind picked up and clouds started looking like mammatus.
I already had decided not to fly but to film and take some photos instead, getting home early, having a healthy dinner at home and having a good rest for the next 12 days of flying long distances and having late retrieves.
On the picture you see Grace and Matt managing one of the tow lines and the scorer, Wes Hill.

03 Januar 2012

100 km out and return

Another hot day at Forbes. The launch cue was long and I waited more than one hour to get into the air. Then I was pleased to find my friends Tascha and Conrad in my vicinity. We climbed out together and started going cross country. It had been my dream for a long time to fly with my best friend Tish from New Zealand. She had stopped flying for a while after she had a child, but she certainly didnt forget how it works!
We were spreading out to find the next lift, working really well together. After about 50 km past a big lake, we turned around and headed back, as it was getting late. I made it back to the Forbes airfield and landed after nearly 5 hours in the air at around 8 at night.
Roland and Oli helped me pack up my glider and the German car took me over to Forbes and dropped me off at the place where Im staying.
At the moment we are all registering for the pre worlds. It is all very well organized, just for the gps download we have to wait a little.
It is really amazing to find this place so green. Yesterday we saw a lot of wet fields glistening in the sun, which is unusual for the area at

02 Januar 2012

Towing at Forbes

I don´t have an internet connection with my computer where I am staying in Forbes, so it is a little difficult to update my blog at the moment... I went for a nice little flight two days ago, and the tow was fun, and so was the flight. Very pleasant temperature at 2000m, much better than in the tow field without shade.
Today I will go out for another flight around the area, because tomorrow there won´t be any towing the organizer said. They want to have a training day on the 4th and start the comp on the 5th.
I will take some pictures today and post them later.