31 Januar 2013

Surprise Party at Moyes!

 All my bags were packed, I was ready to go, when Jonny and Vicki exchanged some passwords and got me by surprise - all the people working at the Moyes factory in Botany came up to congratulate me for the new title! I was very moved to see them all, because they all helped me to get where I am, they helped to build the gliders that made it possible for me to win 5 world champion titles! It was so nice that I could thank them and share this moment with them.
Vicki had prepared a special chocolate cake, it was soooo yummy! The day had begun with a cappuccino with Bill at the Bogey Hole Cafe in Bronte, then Vicki came over and invited me for breakie before going to the factory.
Steve and Kim had come over and we all took some photos at Bronte Beach.
It was a great last day in Australia and I hope I can be back soon for my favourite competition in Canungra in October!

29 Januar 2013

Flying girls

It was great to see so many talented flying girls from New Zealand and Australia in Forbes, I hope they all and many more come over to Europe for the Women´s pre world championships in Annecy/France this July!

Almost leaving

 This morning Bronte pool was closed because the waves were too high! No swimming with Bill Moyes, maybe I have more luck tomorrow morning!
Vicki took me to the factory so I could shortpack my glider and organize my luggage for tomorrow. Jonny is here and Leonarda from Brazil as well, only Ollli went to Bright for a few days, so I won´t see him before I leave.
In Newcastle, Conrad stopped for me so I could take a photo of the big mango tree - I wish I had a tree like that one in my garden! I love those heavenly fruits and I should find a mango sponsor who keeps sending me cases of them to Germany... I wonder how many I can fit into my hand luggage tomorrow ;)

24 Januar 2013


Thanks to all the people who made Forbes possible for us! Big thanks to Vicki, Steve and Bill for having put in the bid to bring the worlds to Australia again. Thanks to all the numerous assistants everywhere, in the hot paddock and in the hot bowling club.
Thanks to the DHV for all their trust and support in our team and us individual pilots! We worked hard and tried our best - and my work has only just begun ;)
Thanks to Moyes for the RX 3, a glider I could fly 2000km and 60 hours in 14 days with and still happily jump into Bruce´s Malibu at Cronulla Beach the day after the awards, I didnt need to take Voltaren during the comp ;)
Thanks to Red Bull and adidas for their sponsorship, not just in Europe, but also in Australia - you guys make me feel home everywhere in the world! The Red Bull music truck and the sampling girls even came out to the hot paddock in Forbes with cool drinks and cool music! The adidas outdoor clothes made my flying much more comfortable and safe!
Thanks to Timezone for the great shirts and trousers!
Thanks to e-cooline for the life saving cooling vests!
Thanks to adidas eyewear and to ciba vision for the sharpest eyes I ever had in a competition!
Thanks to icebreaker for the best cooling UV protection of my skin, always fresh and soft!
Thanks to Bräuniger for an instrument that always worked reliably and gave me the best time!
Thanks to Icaro Helmets for the safe Icaro 4Fight full face helmet which is safe and also helps with good radio transmissions!
Thanks to Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber for their "good luck autographs" on my helmet - it really worked, guys!!!
Thanks to my team leaders, assistants, filmer and photographers, thanks to my team mates for a fair and supportive competition.
Big thanks to Tascha for great massages, looking after me and my glider, and for your mental support!
Thanks heaps to Kathryn O´Riordan and Dave May, the cutest couple in hang gliding, for all your support on our long trip - it is fantastic to feel welcome! Please come over to travel and fly with us again in Europe!
Thanks to all the other pilots for having shared the big Forbes air with me.
Thanks to Dena for having hosted us in her comfortable house in Forbes!
And thanks to all the farmers - you always were a great help to me and my team mates, always friendly and helping us with retrieve!
And last but not least, thanks to the wedge tailed eagles for just having ripped my sail apart but not attacking me!
It was a great adventure and through us you all participated in it!

18 Januar 2013

Last Day: 185 out and return

... with a strong cross/headwind. My day started with an unpleasant surprise - I started right into a dust devil. My tug pilot Jim Prahl said he just tried to get the dragonfly under control again, but the weak link broke. At 200m above the ground with some whirling dust underneath you and fierce turbulence in the air, not the best start into a task. Some pitch and load tests later, I found myself at a high cloud base. And knew the day would not be piece of cake.
I had to head into a strong crosswind leg. Even though base was at 3000m, sink was enormous between the thermals. The strongest lift that Jörg called me into was 9m/s integrated up! still I lost the guys and flew on my own. Half way to the first turnpoint, my camelbak broke and I lost my water. And my ballast. Not good if you are a very light pilot and it blows with up to 38km/h from the side...
I made it around the turnpoint and headed to Bogan Gate. It was getting blue, and I was happy about any lift I could find. Until I heard a loud screach! Something whacked my glider hard. A wedge tailed eagle, a huge guy with a wing span of about one and a half meters, was angy with me. I tried to fly away, but he followed and kept attacking me. I tried to fly fast, to wing over, I spoke friendly with him, and I cursed, and screached like he did. Nope, he wouldnt let me go. He called his mate instead, and then the attacked me together.
I landed 18km short of goal after 6.5 hours of flying, and I nearly cried when I saw my sail. Rips and holes in the leading edge and the wing tips. Both sides. It was a brand new glider, now I can order a new sail. Anyway, I won the day in the women´s score again, and I won the competition overall. Would have been nice to have an easier last day, but I guess I have to be happy that I got away with just some material damage.

Lukas from my team won the day, ahead of Jörg! They did a great job. Also Roland and Gerd got to goal, a great finish for the German team! Manfred got to goal ahead of Alex, so he will be the new World Champion and Alex 2nd. Antoine unfortunately didnt make goal and dropped back, so probably Filippo Opicci moved up to 3rd place. The Italian Team got the gold medal again, they are invincible! Congratulations. And thanks so much to all the poor guys who had to stay on the ground, the organizers, the crew, our team assistants and drivers - I felt sorry for them, because the only bearable temperatures were high in the air!

17 Januar 2013

When a dream comes true...

When I was in Sydney for New Year´s, I was dreaming of long flights out in Forbes, and maybe defending my title. I knew it would be hard work, and it was much harder than I thought. No rest day, flying almost 200km every day, 9 days in a row!
Today we will fly the last task, a 184km triangle, but Im already in the lead by such a huge margin that people come up and congratulate me on my new world champion title.
It will be nice to just enjoy one last flight with clouds and hopefully make one last goal here in Forbes. As Trent Brown always says, "How good is Forbes?!?"

15 Januar 2013

Long drive back from our 240km goal...

 The towing yesterday was a handful - it was the roughest Ive ever experienced out here in Australia! But my tug pilot Bruce Crerar did well to keep me on the line, and I was happy to be on the small Moyes RX3, because I could move and control it even in these turbulent conditions. While we set up, two dust devils ripped right through our line, but no glider was damaged. Everybody is aware and doing a really good job to stay safe and healthy.
The start gaggle gets a bit more aggressive every day, and I left with the first start yesterday to save my nerves and muscles for the long flight - with a tailwind of up to 30km/h from the south we went 240km up north. In the beginning I enjoyed flying with Chisato from Japan who is really good at finding thermals and scratching up from low. Also Francis Gafner flew with me, but both of them went different directions to my intention. Then I had Rohan Holtkamp with me and I was proud to find some good climbs for us. A few thermals later, the leading gaggle caught up to us, and I managed to stay with them for most of the way. Only 25km before goal I got low and had to slow down, as there was only shade. Drifting along in 0, I was superhappy when Wolfi Siess found the last strong lift that I needed to get to goal. 60 pilots got there, and many flew their personal best!
It took us more than 3 hours to drive home from goal, we got to HQ only after midnight, and I was very happy about our comfortable Mercedes bus! The meet director Davis decided not to have a rest day in this competition, so we will fly another 3 tasks. Today a 190km triangle is set.
Kathleen Rigg won the women´s score yesterday ahead of me and Tove, but also Françsoise arrived in goal. It was nice to see her team mate Antoine Boisselier talking to her on the radio, making sure she had a safe landing and helping her with the glider on the ground. The French are really good team workers!
At the moment, there are several protests going on because of the flying two days ago. Some pilots flew into or landed in a restricted area, but because the task had been stopped before, they had not been penalized. The scoring changed when they got a penalty, as some pilots protested who did not fly into the restricted area but had a disadvantage. Big controversy at the moment, but we have 3 more days to fly and to score and should concentrate on the flying and let our team leaders discuss those matters.

14 Januar 2013

Thanks to the tug pilots!

Big thanks to the tug pilots for getting us into the air (and into the first thermal) safely, the conditions this year are very tough. Strong wind, turbulent air, lots of dust devils.
Today we have a 240km task to the NNW. We might get back late after midnight from another long flight today. Let´s see if Davis will decide for a rest day or not. Endurance training. I voted for a rest day, to just recover and stay safe until the end of the comp. It is also a women´s worlds, and in these superstrong conditions a bit harder than for guys who weigh a good 30kg more than us on average. The last strong wind days were difficult and I believe everybody could have more fun on the last couple of days when having rested. But it is also a political decision, who is in the lead and who wants to make more points, so most of the pilots, even when tired, won´t vote for a rest day. Also a question of pride to admit or not that one needs a rest.

13 Januar 2013

Task 6: 240km dogleg to Gulgong over Tomingly

The wind picked up a lot yesterday, it was up to 60km/h at goal, with a strong cross and headwind on the last 50km of our task. Nobody made goal and the task was stopped at 5.45pm.
I was the furthest woman, closely followed by Linda Salamone (USA), it was a tough fight against the headwind for us girls.
No rest day today, as the strong wind already rushed through yesterday. Today we have our longest task so far: 240km to Gulgong over Tomingly. Let´s go! When it is 45 C on the ground, it is much better to be in the air! And I got up to 3900m yesterday, Roland even above 4000!
Special thanks to Stefan Boller for his fun Kangaroo pictures every day! It is important to keep laughing and keep the fun going! 

12 Januar 2013

Worlds Task 4: 185km dogleg

Another really hot day today, we had a 185km dogleg task yesterday. Christian was 3rd of the day, Gerd 4th and Roland 9th, a really good day for the team score! Also Jörg and I got to goal. We were already at 9.15pm back at HQ thanks to Olis help and driving! It is good to get a little rest before the next big day.
This morning we saw some dark clouds, but not more than 3 drops of rain reached all the way down to Forbes. Bit windier today, briefing starts now.
They set a 198 task around 3 turnpoints with goal at Peak Hill. It is still cloudy and the wind directions are changing. If the wind picks up, we will have a straight flight to Gulgong, 195km.
Results are here!

11 Januar 2013

Team Germany: All in!

We flew a 130 km triangle yesterday and all got to goal! It was a nice experience to land in Forbes in the end of the day. An early day for a change!
Today the wind is stronger again, let´s see where they send us!

10 Januar 2013

Forbes Day 4: 130km triangle

The wind calmed down, so we are trying to fly a triangle today and come back to Forbes after 130km.
Yesterday Zippy (US) won the day, followed by Manfred and Attila, I was the only girl who made goal. The last part was very difficult because cirrus was shading tha last 30 km into goal. Three of our team made it in and scored for Germany, the team scores are not up yet, but I think we went up the ranking a few places.
Another 7 days to fly ahead of us, and Im 2nd off today, so I better go out and set up my gear!

09 Januar 2013

Article in XC Magazine

Here you find an article about all the world champions who are currently out here in Forbes to fly the worlds, interviewed by Grace Cain for XC magazine!

Worlds Day 3: 167km dogleg to Trangy

Today we are flying north to a turnpoint in the middle of nowhere, then NNE to Trangy airstrip, 167km. Strong wind, broken lift, inversion at around 2000m - get high, stay high... I wonder where Tomas Suchanek is these days?
On the photo, legends and world champions Alex Ploner and Manfred Ruhmer.

Worlds Day 2: Wind too strong!

On a cancelled day there is always a lot to do. Gerd, Olli and Roland helped me to improve my harness, while Jörg checked his glider. Apparently Wolfi´s outboard leading edge of his Wills Wing had melted down in goal on the first day... luckily it is a lot cooler today, Temperatures will only go up to about 30C. The wind direction turned to south and is still strong, so we might do a task to the north today, towards Narrowmine or Dubbo I guess. Last years turnpoint at Bogan Gate will have to be avoided, there was a bush fire going on yesterday, they started in many places in New South Wales over the past very hot days. A total fire ban means no open fire at all, people are not even allowed to light their cigarettes outside.
Task later on Twitter and Facebook.

08 Januar 2013

Worlds 1st Day: 157km dogleg

Check out yesterdays results here! More photos on the DHV website!
A hot day with strong northerly winds, low base and no clouds led to a 157km dogleg task. The window opened at 2.15, most of us took the 2.30 window and we ended up in the gaggle of horror - everybody going into any kind of direction... just so glad that Im on a small glider that I can quickly turn around!
To go fast, you had to stay with the gaggle though, we only got up to about 1600m for most of the way (about 1300 above the ground), and with that strong wind the thermals were broken, it was easy to get low. I don´t know how many times I had a look at landing fields, but I was lucky and got up. Before goal, I slowed down and got really high, as I didn´t want to land in the strong headwind towards goal.
Christian Ciech won the day ahead of Alex Ploner, but Scott Barrett would have won it if he didnt have a flat gps, and his reserve had set his time back some seconds. When Christian got the day prize, he said that actuall Scott Barrett was the winner of the day.
Big congratulations to Chisato Nojiri from Japan - you see her on the photo in the row behind Francoise - she won the women´s score ahead of me by 3 minutes. Also Françoise and Kathleen made goal, so half the women got in. In these difficult conditions a really good start for the comp, as about half of the whole field got in.
Jörg from our team helped us a lot by calling out the lift, as he was always a few kms ahead of us. He, Christian and Gerd landed almost at the same time in goal, Lukas got there a bit later, then I made it. Roland landed 23km short and warned us of the strong headwind and the difficult, broken lift down low.
Today we have a rest day as it is blown out, it´s gusting up to 50km/h at the moment at the airfield, with even stronger wind up high. The trough should move through today, and we expect cooler air tomorrow, blue sky again, wind from the south. Looks like flyable weather for at least 5 consecutive days, so we have a rest today and catch up with the internet work. Sorry if Im late sometimes, but the access at headquarters seems limited, and only at the Mezzanine Cafe we have a faster wireless internet. Please check out my Twitters and Facebook for updates on tasks and results!

07 Januar 2013

Preparation day - tomorrow we start!

Today it was probably the hottest day I ever experienced in Forbes - the car temp showed 49 C in the shade! I decided to stay in the air conditioned house, have a rest and prepare my food for the next 11 days. A lot of wind is in the forecast for some days, which means we might go just one way really far and have long retrieves back to Forbes. Last year we were back after 1am on some days and had to start early again the next morning!
The food you find in the pubs in the villages on the way home are, well, not very nourishing for a pilot flying long hours. French fries, burgers or sandwiches. If you are lucky and they are still open... so I cooked loads of nice food, put it into daily porions and into the freezer, so I can just send my food to goal every day and eat it on the way back - another motivation to get to goal!
The opening ceremony last night was really nice, set in Forbes Park where Guido Gehrmann zoomed in when he won the World Championships here in 1998. Don´t know how he did it, the oval looked not too big, but he has always been a flying wizard - I so wish he could be here flying with us, and many of the other competing pilots told me they would have liked to see Guido here as well!
I was very touched when Joy Russell welcomed us pilots in the local Aboriginal language called Wiradjuri. I often landed in beautiful, remote places that made me wonder about the history of the country.
Tonight I invited the team over for a tasty, energizing dinner. It is great to be part of this crew of extraordinary pilots - Roland Wöhrle, Jörg Bajewski, Gerd Dönhuber, Christian Zehetmair and Lukas Bader. Olli Barthelmes and Regina Glas are doing a great job supporting us in every way possible. So is our volunteer Tobi Bauer - I already wondered if he regrets having spent his valuable vacation time for a trip to the hot hell of Forbes... it will be the toughest World Championships ever, strenuous, exhausting and challenging all our skills. Some of the best pilots of the world are out here to compete - stay tuned and we will report about the coming days!

05 Januar 2013

Hot and hotter...

41 C yesterday, 42 C today and 44 C forecast for tomorrow - and that is only if you find shade, in the sun it is much hotter... now I know what I did all the endurance training for, the jogging in Bangkok and sweating for two hours after that. How much water can one drink a day? Out here 5 litres easily!
It´s not going to cool down for the comp, and Im very happy that the airconditioning in our wonderful teamcars, some nice Mercedes buses, works really well! Out in the paddock where we set up and launch, we don´t have a shadow at all. Everybody is jealous about our e-cooline vests and caps!

04 Januar 2013

No place like cloud base

When I lined up for my first tow in Forbes this year yesterday, it was a nice surprise to see Lukas Bader rolling up in the red dragonfly. He had just come over from Gulgong with Bobby and the other dragonflies and smiled at me. Even though it was in the middle of the day and really hot, the take off was as smooth as anything. Lukas is an experienced instructor and knows how to help the guys in the air.
When we went up higher, it got more of a rodeo in the active air and that was a really good training for me for the days to come during the competition. Lukas dropped me right into a nice thermal and I flew with Jörg. Soon Manfred Ruhmer joined us for a while, but he left and flew back towards Forbes, while we were heading south to our first turn point, about 50km away. Roland, Christian and Gerd were about 10km ahead of us all the time. Gerd, Jörg and I landed quite close together on the second leg of the task, Christian and Roland made it all the way back to Forbes. With close to 40 C on the ground, you really want to be up at 2000m of height all the time, the temperatures are way more pleasant up there!
Tonight or tomorrow sprog measuring, official registration, Red Bull landing contest. Tonight maybe a tow in the evening light trying to get some nice air to air shots! The wind was really strong so far, quite gusty too, so I decided to concentrate on organizing internet and other stuff for the next days.

01 Januar 2013

Flight performance

Everybody was talking about the fireworks at the Harbour Bridge, but while we were waiting, we thought it would be a spectacular setting for the Red Bull Air Race, flying around the Opera House and under Harbour Bridge in Sydney. About half an hour later, two little fast planes showed off a great aerobatic performance, and I was almost sure one of them was Matt Hall who used to compete for Australia in the Red Bull Air Race. I love the sound of the machines, and I love to watch their moves, always imagining how great it would be to get into one of these planes and learn how to defy gravity. If I do well on Jan. 5th at the Red Bull spot landing competition in Forbes, I might win such a flight and another dream could come true!
Tomorrow it will be a hot drive out to Forbes, I share the ride with James Stinnet from the US team. In Forbes, I will meet up with my team mates who had been training in Gulgong the past few days, while I was waiting for the wind to get right at Stanwell.