31 Dezember 2013

Preparations for tonight

 Thanks to my wonderful friends from Red Bull Brazil, I am well prepared for the party in Rio tonight - they gave me wiiiiiings! Aaaaaasas!
Also I brought my long white Timezone dress, as it is a customn to dress up in white for new year´s, go into the sea and put some flowers into the sea. I will try to do that, but with an expected 2 million people on the Copacabana beach tonight, it might get a little difficult ;)
Happy New Year to you all, may your wishes for 2014 all come true, may you live your dreams in health, freedom and happiness!

30 Dezember 2013

Rio de Janeiro, Timezone GMT -2

Quite a rough northerly breeze and no gliders in sight today, but with lenticular shaped clouds, the sky above Rio looks amazing! Time to rest and shape up for the big night tomorrow!

29 Dezember 2013

Back to work

After a wonderful Christmas time in Bremen and Hannover, I go back to work to Frankfurt today. But it couldn´t be any better - I may fly to Rio again! Soon I will meet Guga, Konrad, Fabio and the other Cariocas again, maybe even get to fly with them.
New year´s eve seems to be a really big party at Copacabana, everybody will dress up in white to greet the new year. Hope it won´t rain.

23 Dezember 2013

Aida last night of the Proms Bremen

Yesterday I had a great time taking my God daughter out for her first concert to the biggest concert hall in Bremen for "Aida night of the Proms". It was the last concert of the tour this year, so it was even funnier than usual.
The audience in Bremen was a little hard to motivate to jump up and dance, I think the "Baseballs" and Amy McDonald were disappointed, but we worked hard to make up for it, even though we were a few rows back. We had a blast jumping and dancing and singing the songs, celebrating the artists!
John Miles ("music was my first love") was impressive, Mark King the base slap master as ever (Level 42 "Lessons in Love"), but sure my all time favourite is Morten Harket with his mesmerizing, crystal clear voice, presenting a couple of beautiful, dark new solo songs.
Markus Othmer, the presenter of the concert in southern Germany, had to go to Morocco for the game Bavaria Munich won the club World Championships with (poor guy, hard to cope with so much sun...). He handed over to Uwe Bahn who usually works for the radio and TV up here in the north.

21 Dezember 2013

Flying into the light

In 2010 we had an exemption that allowed us to buzz through Neuschwanstein Castle, inbetween the towers. Beni towed Guido up, while I launched at Tegelberg take off. The valley breeze stayed on all day so we could soar the castle walls and almost steal the tourists hats (well I´m not quite as talented as John Smith, but Guido could have done that easily). Playing around in the air like two crazy daws was great fun and a special treat.

18 Dezember 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! NYC, Timezone GMT -5

Quite a bit of snow today in Manhattan, and even more in Brooklyn. Nice for a brief tour through New York city, despite the Christmas shopping rush.

08 Dezember 2013

Rome and Prag

After a short trip to Bangalore, I "won" a tour through Europe. Five days through quite rough weather, with lots of delays and very stressed passengers.
I was happy when I caught a few rays of sunshine yesterday in the morning and went for an Italian breakfast: just a cappuccino. One cappuccino at the bar in a cute little bakery in Rome costs - 1€. Perfect start for the day.
Next stop was in Prague, home of Tomas Suchanek, one of the top hang glider pilots ever. Sure I texted him and hoped he is here, but he said he only returns next week from the Oman. He works as a pilot.
So I went downtown on my own, admiring the grand old buildings of this well preserved city. Karlsbridge is famous, and even in this cold, dark weather frequented by many tourists.

Time to go back to work now, my next stop will be Vienna, where I hope to visit some good old friends for breakfast tomorrow morning.

24 November 2013

German XC-Cup

Today at the awards for having won the German XC Championships 2013 in women´s class. Markus Ebenfeld won flex class overall ahead of Wolfgang Aumer and Peter Waldmann. Newcomer Patrick Ruber won rigid class in his 2nd year after having changed from paraglider to rigid wing, big congrats to him! Lots of interesting lectures about weather with Volker Schwaniz, German flatlands xc flying with Armin Harich and more in the afternoon with Stefan Bocks about flying in Kirgistan.
The best German hang gliding, rigid wing and paragliding xc pilots are here today, also great to see them on the ground, usually we meet in the air ;)
Also congratulations to Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Team Red Bull Racing for having finished in grand style today in Sao Paulo, 1st and 2nd! What an epic season!

23 November 2013

Annual DHV meeting Furth im Wald

I was just honoured at the annual DHV meeting in Furth im Wald for the new World Champion title, as an opening for the whole meeting. This place at the border to the Czech Republic is known for "killing the Dragon" once a year, as a traditional ceremony to fight against war and evil. Another German word for "hang glider" is "Dragon", as "Drachen", so I put in my plea to "tame" the Dragon and fly with it rather than killing it...The Knight and the Knightress like that idea!

Now it will be some long hours with the head of the DHV and about 120 members who had been voted from every region to decide about the way this biggest hang- and paragliding association of the world, 37000 members, is going to go.

15 November 2013

God is Brazilian!

I arrived early in the morning in Rio after a work flight and thought that I have a rest, but then Fabio Thomaz texted me that he just saw a glider at Cristo. I looked out of my window and saw even paragliders!!! I was fully awake and in a rush to get to Sao Conrado now, because i knew it would be an epic day! Fabio picked me up, then we met Cezar with Konrad Heilmann´s RX 3,5 at the beach and went up to launch.
No doubt, it was on, and it was perfect. Smooth and clear with a nice cloud base and beautiful little clouds popping up along the way.
It is just a short flight to Cristo, but with no or doubtful landing options and after no sleep for quite a while, it was pucker factor 10 to go across the huge "Cidade Maravilhosa" of Rio de Janeiro! I enjoyed every thermal in this soft ocean air
Fabio went along with me and buzzed Cristo, while I just relaxed and enjoyed the szenery, happy about this chance of a lifetime!
Guga took me back home to the hotel, and we had to avoid a huge traffic jam. Thanks to an accident with a stolen car on one of the main roads out of the city, it was absolutely chaotic. Guga knew the beautiful back road through the Tijuca national park, and we stopped at "Ponto Chinese", a look out that I had already seen from the air today.

08 November 2013

New Out-and-Return-Records in Chile

Big congratulations to Tom Weissenberger - he set some new world records with his 353km Out-and-Return flight a week ago in Chile. He had been preparing this for about four years and had been faced with difficult flying, landing and weather conditions on the coast of Chile. This year he was successful!
Have a look at the film he brought back from the exhibition last year.

These are the record claims:
Type of record : Out-and-return distance
Course/location : Cerro Ballena - Caleta Paquica - Cerro Ballena (Chile)
Performance : 353 km
Pilot : Thomas Weissenberger (Austria)
Hang Glider : Litespeed RS 3.5 / Moyes Delta Gliders
Date : 03.11.2013
Current record : 332.5 km (05.07.2007 - George Stebbins, USA)

Type of record : Free out-and-return distance
Course/location : Cerro Ballena - Caleta Paquica - Cerro Ballena (Chile)
Performance : 353 km
Pilot : Thomas Weissenberger (Austria)
Hang Glider : Litespeed RS 3.5 / Moyes Delta Gliders
Date : 03.11.2013
Current record : 339.5 km (27.10.2013 - Thomas Weissenberger, Austria)

03 November 2013

Abu Dhabi - the race is on!

Carpe diem - a real day of bohemian jet set. With the help of my Red Bull family I had the incredible chance to watch the F1 race in Abu Dhabi today. Right where the action was, thunder and earthquake and all!
I went on my own, but soon I caught up with good old friends from all over the world. Always special to meet Hannes Kinigadner and his family, we had a lot of fun on the circuit. The whole team of Red Bull Racing was as welcoming as ever, truely embracing us all.
It was a remarkable race of Sebastian, Mark and Nico, with Seb saying that it almost felt like his car was "flying" ;) Definitely some of his car´s profiles looked very flyable... I admired Adrian Newey for his new superb designs from the distance. I didn´t dare talking to him, I just smiled at him, thinking that this genius could surely defeat the  Reynold´s number on my little glider if I could just hang around for a while in the teams´ wind tunnel ;)
Big congratulations to Sebastian, Mark and Team Red Bull Racing for another Worlds title and winning the race with style today - you all deserve that and I wish you guys all the best for Texas and Sao Paulo!

01 November 2013

The King´s Speech

Last night I had the privilege to see my friends Steffen Wink and his gorgeous wife Vevi on stage in "The King´s Speech" at Komödie im Bayerischen Hof. It was great acting, specially by Götz Otto (my hero since "007 - Tomorrow never dies") who gave an amazingly natural impression of the stuttering "Bertie" and Steffen as his logopedic trainer.
Also stunning Herbert Schäfer as Bertie´s wild brother and Helmut Markwort (well known in Germany as the publisher of the magazine "Focus") as King George and also as Churchill.
Very funny scene where "Elizabeth" kisses "Bertie" and Steffen lies just behind a box on the floor behind them, invisible for the audience. He said it is always very tempting to interfere and make that scene even a bit harder for the guys in the spotlight ;)

The next show will be tonight at 6pm, and tomorrow will be the last one of this season!

It was exciting to be able to join the after-show party where the ensemble celebrated with  head of the theatre organisation, Margrit Kempf, their brand new award "Inthega-Neuberin", kind of the German Oscar for stage plays!

Thanks to all the guys on stage and behind the scenes, you did a wonderful job!

30 Oktober 2013

Ischa Freimaak!

The "Bremer Freimarkt", a yearly fun fair in Bremen, is still running until Nov. 3rd. It was great to visit it with my family and also accidentally meeting my best friend Esther and her family. Sure I took her kids into "Wilde Maus"!
I always enjoyed the wildest carrussels, but I didn´t realize how privileged I am with my sport. In hang gliding, the fun runs for way more than just two minutes! And considering that a two minute ride at the fun fair costs about 7 € now, I guess my hobby isn´t even that expensive ;)

28 Oktober 2013

Tallinn, Estonia, Timezone GMT +2

Today I went for a walk through the old town of Tallinn, the former Reval, in Estonia. We are about 80km south of Helsinki, just on the other side of the Baltic Sea. Like Bremen, Tallinn used to be a city of the Hanse, trading goods by sea.
Lots of different types of churches co-exist next to each other in the old centre of the city. Most roads are still covered with natural stones, and horses and carriages would fit in much better than cars.
The place seems to live from tourists these days, and prices in restaurants and souvenir shops are about the same as in Munich, if not higher.
People are serious and kind of reserved, but almost everybody speaks English and is helpful when asked. As usual, I had been mistaken for a local and I think I had been asked (in Estonian) for the way today - people look and sound Scandinavian, tall people with light blond hair, so I guess I fit in.