16 Mai 2015

Last day: 50km around 3 turnpoints

Results here. As it was raining the whole day yesterday, I went to castle Landskron, visiting some vultures to get inspiration for the last day of the comp today. It was a slow day for sure, and only started clearing up around 3.30pm. With weak lift and a cloud base around 2000m, we set a small task to Weneberghütte, Gerlamoos, Irschen and goal.
When I saw that some paragliders could maintain their height, I decided it´s time to take off (around 3pm), as I expected the thermals to stop around 5pm already. I was flying with Dieter Müglich (rigid wing) some of the distance, but at some stage I fell back because I decided that I needed more height to make the next turnpoint. Only on my way to the last turnpoint, I met some other hang gliders in the air - they had taken off quite late, probably expecting better conditions later, like on the first two days.
Getting low a few times, I managed to dig myself out and make it to goal after about two hours. When I found out that I was the only pilot from all classes who had made goal on that day, it was a nice surprise. Too bad that many people just went to bomb out, so there were not enough points again to catch up to Kajo Clauss on first place.
Rüdiger Bien won rigid class, and Florian Hertwig the paragliding comp. I finished 2nd overall, with two day wins - not a bad start into the European season :) Despite a marginal weather forecast, we flew 3 days out of 4 and had lots of fun in wonderful Greifenburg. Big thanks to Fliegercamp Drautal (Franz Mandl &crew) and also to Wolfgang Sattlegger & take off crew for hosting the Hessenmeisterschaft again in their fantastic flying scenery - I hope we come back next year with even more pilots!

15 Mai 2015

Real shady

Today it´s been raining all day in Greifenburg - the first rest day after four consecutive days of flying for me, and after a long, exhausting task yesterday. You see the conditions on the photo - that was right after take off... not too promising, shade everywhere in the valley. But I was positive and just happy to spend some time in the air. It´s been a while since I won a task overall, and it was a nice reward for some hard work flying :)
Looks like tomorrow we might have a last task of our competition in Austria! Kajo Clauss is leading overall, I moved into 2nd place, and Konrad Lüders is 3rd.
Rüdiger Bien is 1st in rigid class, and Florian Hertwig is leading the paragliding competition after two tasks.

14 Mai 2015

Day 2: 60km around 3 turnpoints

Today´s results. Just briefly about yesterday - my friend Captain America (Leander Modersohn) came 2nd in the first task of Hessische, Konrad Lüders was 3rd (after having dug himself out from very low right after take off), and Kajo Clauss won the day.
Today it looked like another short run could be possible before od and rain, so we (I had been elected task setter for hg, Dieter Müglich for rigids) set a 60km task. Cloud base was low, they were spreading, and the forecast was for rain some time between 3 and 5pm.
At 11.30, the first paragliders launched and slowly climbed above launch. Even though the sky was grey, it seemed enough to maintain, so I got ready for a long day and took off. Almost bombed out once, just made it back up and had to return for the start cylinder an hour later (elapsed time luckily, no race start gate). I was in good company though - Konrad and Jan Woernle were my wingmen on the way to Irschen. Jan just got a new glider and climbed incredibly well in it, he came 2nd of the day today!
The whole valley was in shade, so we were happy about a ridge offering some zeros, waiting for the sunny window to approach. It finally did and turned the thermals back on.
When I got back over take off after the first turnpoint, I was on my own. Going to Gerlamoos, again the area looked dodgy, and I got low again. This time I dug myself out together with one of the top paraglider guys, Andreas Schubert. Even though the thermal was torn apart by the valley breeze, we managed to eventually find a strong core, get out and to the next turnpoint. For me, that was out in the valley.
Expecting a head wind on final, I climbed out once more, made the last turnpoint and flew to goal. I was really slow today, and it was a relief to read that the guys in Florida also needed 5 hours for 75km... I know how that feels!
It was a nice surprise that I won the day, because I was the only one in goal today.
The first rain reached us at 16.15, so the task was a good call. Tomorrow it will rain the whole day, but we might get another task in on Saturday!
Thanks to Rüdiger Bien for updating the blog with photos and news!

13 Mai 2015

First Day Hessenmeisterschaft: Short day

Scores here in a while! Lots of high clouds shaded our valley almost 100%, so no lift around for a while. The forecast was for storms in the late afternoon, that´s why the task was only 57km to Höfer Alm, then Radlberger Alm, Sender Egg and goal at Fliegercamp. Around 2pm we saw a blue line at Lienz moving towards us, so there was hope. I got ready and took off around 14.45 - and was lucky, as I found a nice little bubble to climb out straight away. The guys ahead of me were still not getting up, so it was a bit risky to already go. It paid off - I had a smooth and fast run all the way to goal.
Just before the last turnpoint I got too much height, as I thought I would encounter more headwind and lee side, as the forecast was for quite a strong southwesterly. Turned out it was good to be a bit higher and not land straight away, as the wind direction switched around a lot at the landing field. After a while, I could see darker clouds at Lienz and thought it´s time to land. Now the south wester had hit the valley pretty hard, it was very bumpy when I touched down. Around 6pm, just after the first storm had passed through, another gust front hit the Fliegercamp really hard, with hail and winds sweeping away the umbrellas on the terrace. Luckily by then everybody had already landed safely, as we had a call back deadline of 6pm anyway.
The forecast isn´t too promising for the weather of the next days, so we are glad that we had at least one nice first small task. And again - you never know, Greifenburg might allow us another flight, so stay tuned!

12 Mai 2015

Greifenburg - Hessenmeisterschaft

On the way to Greifenburg on Sunday, I experienced a howling 40-50km/h valley wind from the west just before the tunnel going into Drautal. Then it switched to a steady easterly in the next valley... I thought not a good day to fly (I was too late anyway), but apparently some guys don´t mind the wind shears ;)
Yesterday I had a first little flight in this beautiful place. Snow is gone on take off, and you see a lot of waterfalls in the mountains high up where the last snow is melting. Up to 3000m, thermals were smooth, and then a 30 km/h from the north hit us. On the ground, there was no wind at all, but until late in the evening, you could see lenticular clouds in many places.
It got quite cold, so today I will be smarter and put some warmers into my gloves and shoes - Thermopad is a great invention!
Tomorrow will be the first day of my favourite local championship, the Hessenmeisterschaft. Both hang gliding and paragliding, and lots of my friends are here. I started flying in Hessen on Wasserkuppe, that´s why I feel still very connected to this fun event. Ah yes - they stopped trying to organize it in Hessen because of unreliable weather up there and moved to Greifenburg about 20 years ago...

03 Mai 2015

Wings for Life World Run Munich

After some really good weather for training in Nagoya, Japan, where I cycled through the city for hours, now the rain doesn´t seem to stop at all today in Munich. Both the Darmstadt and the Munich Wings for Life World Run locations are sold out, there are almost 100.000 runners entered world wide this year - a great success for the Wings for Life Foundation :)
Follow the world wide run life on the Wings for Life World Run Web Page!http://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/de/de/