21 Dezember 2015

Christmas markets and a lot of work flying

This time of year has been incredibly busy with work. Even over Christmas time I didn´t get time off, but I have to "wait" for a flight - I´m on standby, which means that I´m sitting in Frankfurt airport, ready to go where ever the company sends me to. Nothing has happened the last couple of days, I guess it will be right over Christmas.
Luckily I managed to squeeze in a few days in Bremen to say hi to family and friends. The Christmas market - and the Glühwein from Ratskeller, the old, traditional wine cellar under the old town hall of Bremen, is one of the best I know. And thanks to El Niño, it wasn´t even cold :) almost reminded me of Christmas in Sydney - weeellll, just missing the dune gooning, and some of the best friends one can have!
Even in Chicago a few days ago it wasn´t below zero, no snow in the city yet. But I still prefer the weather I found in Bangkok two weeks ago - a pleasant 30 C and a bit of sun here and there!
You can still bet where I have to go to over Christmas - very likely some strange place my colleagues are not too keen on, like Teheran or Lagos, Tashkent or Almaty? Anyway, I will take pictures and keep you posted! I wish I could have gone to the Forbes competition which starts on Dec 31st, but I needed all my holiday to make the German Open, the Euros and the pre worlds in summer. Good luck to all the pilots who go there this year, hope you get great weather and good flights!

16 November 2015

Sao Paulo, Grand Prix F1

I was happy when I was informed two days ago that my work schedule had changed, and instead of Bangkok, I ended up flying to Sao Paulo on very short notice.
Impossible to hide my big smile when my favourite Scotsman David Coulthard took his friend Daniela, her mother and me out to the pit lane before the start of the F1 race. Sure enough, I had a close look and almost climbed into the front wings of Daniil Kvyat´s car, trying to understand all those carbon profiled beautiful details! A guy came over and pulled me out, a bit puzzled about this girl getting too close to the car.
I confirmed that I wasn´t a spy, at least not for the motorized kind of racing, and explained my passion for aerodynamics and carbon fibre structures. Turned out he is a fellow pilot - and he then really started explaining some of the details that had been and still are a mystery to me. I so wish there had been more time!
The race itself went smooth, with poor safety car driver Bernd Mayländer getting deadly bored.
Big congrats to Nico Rosberg for winning the second race in a row ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

10 Oktober 2015

Day 7: 60km around 1 tp

Tony Armstrong won the day to Lake Moogerah, but even though Attila didn´t get to goal, he will still win the comp ahead of Jonny. I had a hard day in the strong wind and didn´t dare going into locked gate road too low, flying back to reach a decent landing area on a turf farm (short cut lawn). 

08 Oktober 2015

Canungra day 6: 50km/h wind, day cancelled

Finally I feel like I have arrived in the right timezone! We went up to the SE Beechmont take off, the Durands´ home site, but it was gusting up to 50 km/h with low clouds racing over our heads, so meet director Davo cancelled the day. Chances for tomorrow are better, and we might even fly a really long task. Also for our last day on Saturday the forecast looks great! Not quite the record of 8 tasks flown in 8 days like last year, but still a very good year in Canungra!
Last night we had the classic "Red Faces" night where everybody tries to embarrass themselves with a funny show act. Davo won big time with his "Vegemite show". He showed all the different things you can do with that brown yeasty stuff that Aussies love on their breakfast sandwich - an acquired taste in my opinion, I just can´t cope with the smell of it... Davo brushed his teeth brown with it, smeared it into his face, on and under his arms and on his hair - soon I had to hold my breath, as the stench was overwhelming! Suddenly Rangi jumped up with a slice of bread and brushed some vegemite off Davo´s shoulder - and started eating the bread. It was a funny show, and Davo won the Red Faces by a great margin! It´s great to have fun and time to socialize - Linda, Shirley, Judy and some others had prepared the third dinner of the week, really great food for all the pilots and their drivers. The flying here is great, because it´s very technical. You have to change tactics several times a day, going from hills to mountains to flatlands, from convergence into headwind sea breeze. But the main asset of this place are the people who make it all happen - my friends for half of my life! Thanks to you all for your efforts, for some world class flying, for a great time in the best place in the world - Canungra!

07 Oktober 2015

Task 4: 101km to Palen Ck, border gate and Maroon Dam

Results here!
At briefing this morning, I got advice on how to fly better from a cheeky Kookaburra, the funny laughing bird of Australia. One of my favourite animals - they are brave and fast enough to eat snakes and even the notorious funnel web spiders!
His advice was good, as I got to fly over the goal line as 3rd pilot today, just after Paris and Attila! I thought Paris would have won the day, having gone ahead of everybody else all day, but as there are no leading points in this scoring this year, Attila, Glen and Jonny got more points as they had a faster flight time with a later start gate. 
It was great to see my team mates Nils and Craig also happy in goal after a great, scenic flight. Good task setting!

06 Oktober 2015

Day 4: Tailwind on Beechmont and 60km to Rath

Results here!
Most of the time on Beechmont today, the wind was from the north - that means over the back. I´ve been waiting 1,5 hours in my harness to finally get some air I could lift off into. Poor Zupy waited in the boonies in front of launch to take great start photos. At least he was accompanied by a few snakes ;)
The first lift was quite rough and broken, but on the way to Palen Creek we found some smooth thermals up to 2000m, so our wait had been rewarded!
I flew with Adam Stevens, Guy Hubbard and Paris Williams most of the way, just in the end made a mistake and landed 3km short of goal. Craig was the best of our team today, he made goal as one of only 6 pilots and was 4th of the day, moving up into 13th overall, Im in 10th now and Nils is in 7th place!
Attila won the day and took the overall lead ahead of Blenky and Johny.

Day 3: tailwind on Tambo

 After the last difficult, slow day from Tambo, it looked a bit better yesterday. The alternate launch pilots got off and up, but when main launch was getting ready, the sea breeze kicked in and it wasn´t possible to take off anymore. We all packed up.
Nils, Craig and I headed for the coast and I had my first surfing lesson - luckily the waves were small and friendly, and I had two experienced guys looking after me.
The wild life here is always fun, in the evening we have possums visiting us, in the morning kangaroos hop around the garden ;) 

Hope today will be a good flying day from a site where we all can take off in time!

04 Oktober 2015

Day 2: 88km around 2 turnpoints

Today we launched of Mt Tamborine. Conditions were more stable, blue and light lift, with sea breeze moving in early afternoon. Not ideal, but flyable.
I got to fly a lot with Craig today. After lots of flight training in Europe, he has improved a lot and has beaten me today. It was great to see him climbing fast and making good decisions. Jonny won the day with the furthest distance, but nobody made goal.
Tomorrow might be another Tambo day. Scores here!

03 Oktober 2015

Canungra Classic 2015

Results here
A family of the cutest little wallabies welcomed me at my friends place in Canungra when I arrived after a long trip around the world. I didn´t sleep al that well due to a major jetlag, and I was really glad that Jonny Durand had testflown and approved my glider, so it was no worries to just go from the airport straight to take off - Craig Taylor arrived at the same time in Coolangatta as Attila and me. Turned out I had been really lucky, as the day before the customs guys had been on strike and immigrations from overseas took many hours...
At the opening barbecue, I was glad that Judy, Linda and Shirley also catered great food for vegetarians! So good to see many friends I didn´t expect to be here - Paris Williams came over from NZ, Len Paton is here, Adam Stevens, Flocky, Trent, Blenky, Glen, Barnsey, Lisa, Attila... where do I stop? Lots of legends, and lots of really good friends - so much fun to fly with you guys!
The first comp day started with a Beechmont flight of 70km around Boonah T (Coulson) to scenic lake Moogerah. Having bombed out at that site for the first time ever last year, I was a bit nervous - luckily it was much easier getting up, and the height was plenty to go over the back on course. Thermals were more organized than the day before, so it was a pleasant flight.
Half of the 52 participating pilots made goal, also Nils and Craig from my team got there, with Nils even beating me by 3 minutes! The Euro training worked for them I guess ;) Blenky won the day ahead of Attila, Glen and Paris, I got in as 10th just 5 minutes after the first pilot.
With Alan we have the best driver you can imagine - he flies paragliders, knows the area, and is extremely helpful for his team!
Looks like good weather for the whole week, organizer Davo is already dreaming of some record flights on the last 3 days... we will see!

30 September 2015

Canungra here we come!

After getting back from a great Rio work trip last night, I´m already packing the new suitcase to fly to Australia for the Canungra competition which starts this Saturday! Not much time as usual, that´s what I got cloned for in this infinity machine - now I can just leave a few Corinnas on every continent to cover all the projects I have in mind :)

15 September 2015


It was great catching up with Brett Hazlett and his family in Vancouver yesterday. And again I was lucky, the weather was great. A bit chilly, but sunny for two days of my stay (work flight of course). Brett is only flying paragliders these days, but it didn´t take much to ignite his interest in flying hang gliders again too :)
Walking along the water, I saw a skunk in the park for the first time - I made sure I kept a good distance to not get sprayed ;) The hair style of this black and white guy reminded me of Gerd Dönhuber somehow.
Colours in the sky were awesome in the evenings, a beautiful light show! So nice to have had the chance to come here on short notice, and after having missed Brett and Suja in Fiesch and Kuala Lumpur, I finally got to meet them in their home paradise!

31 August 2015

Rio de Janeiro

After having taken my Aussie tourist to Wieskirche to see the most famous church of Bavaria, I had to drop him off into the best care possible because I had to go back to work. Felix (A.I.R boss) took Craig up to testfly an Atos glider for the first time, and that way he got to fly around world famous Neuschwanstein Castle, while I was jumping into uniform and racing back to Munich.
My recommendation was to go on to fly in the suer scenic rocks of the Dolomites, and I was happy that Olli Barthelmes, Tony Lowry, Billy and Luke had the same idea. Of course the highlight is to meet THE best tour guide of Alta Badia valley, multiple world Champion Alex Ploner - I reached Alex just when he got back from the pre-Euros in Macedonia, and he helped to pick the best spots for flying. Looking at all the photos in his facebook posts, it seems like Craig enjoys his little flying tour through Europe :)
In the meantime, I arrived in Rio and met the few guys who didn´t go to the comp in Andradas. No thermals and no wind at Sao Conrado, but always nice to watch some monkeys in the trees on take off (and I don´t mean the paragliders here ;)). Down at the beach, I love to overdose on coconut water and açai at Carlinhos´ cabana, studying Mosquito´s heavy-passenger-tailwind-landing-technique, very impressive!
This morning I did what you do when you stay at Copacabana paradise - adore the sunrise, put the running shoes on and go jogging up and down the nicest race track in the world, with lots of other very fit and beautiful Cariocas!
Unfortunately this internet connection doesn´t let me upload my photos right now, I will try later!

25 August 2015

Greifenburg, Hangar 7, Vienna

After some wonderful flights in Greifenburg, I gave Craig the real Euro experience - traffic jam on the Autobahn! I just turned off and went to show him Hangar 7 with all it´s amazing Red Bull historical planes and vehicles. It was fun running into Felix and his girlfriend Micaela, as I had just thought of Felix when I went to Kuala Lumpur. It was great catching up with him and he promised to teach me how to fly a helicopter soon :)))
After a brief stop in Munich, we were off to Vienna for a day, enjoying the clear blue Föhn sky.
It will be hard to go back to work today after a week full of flying adventures, travelling and meeting great friends!

22 August 2015

Days of glaciers

After having visited Annecy, we went through Chamonix to see Mont Blanc on the way to Fiesch. Going up the cable car with our gliders was a new experience for Craig, also Lukas was going to fly in Fiesch for the first time.
It looked a bit difficult to get up, as the lower air seemed a bit stable, but once I was a few hundred meters above take off, it was easy to fly along the clouds and worship this great scenery of Aletsch glacier and Fiesch glacier.
On the way to Austria, we stopped at Rhoneglacier - I was surprised to see how much has melted away! It was really cool to go inside an ice cave of the glacier and have a look at the bright blue structure!