27 Juli 2015

Friends - at Wallberg-Fliegerfest, Tegernsee

It was great to meet some of my really good friends yesterday at the Wallberg landing field, where the local club had a big party. Hang & paragliding schools, tandem pilots and legends like Atos world champion Tim Grabowski and top paraglider pilot Sebastian Huber who just got 2nd at the Red Bull XAlps were enjoying a good time, socializing with pilots who rarely meet in the same spot at the same time!
It´s always difficult during my main work time of the year (summer vacations in July and August) to make enough time for the major competitions. I am really relieved to have Regina´s support for glider and harness transport the the German Open, which means one day less for me to drive :) 

13 Juli 2015

Roundup of the Dolomiti Open

DHV report in German here!
Great video with Lukas Bader and Achim Vollmer at Dolomiti Open here!
Results here!

After having had a great comp in Canungra last year with the RX 3 Technora, I knew that this new little glider had a great potential. In May I tested it at our regional championships in Greifenburg, where we had marginal flying conditions, very weak lift, really tricky flying. The skill was just not to land and squeeze every centimeter of possible lift out of the overcast sky. I was the only pilot who made goal on all three days, winning two tasks out of three and earning the title of Hessenmeister in the overall scores!
I gave this glider a much bigger test at the Italian Nationals, racing with some of world´s best pilots in their home turf, the Dolomites. Here the flying was more like crossing between the highest rock faces of the alps, climbing in strong lift, fighting head wind and mastering unpleasant turbulence at times. Apart from world champion Christian Ciech and the whole world champion Italian national team, also four of the worlds top five women were competing. With Sasha Serebrennikova from Russia, who had just done a great Dolomites training with Gerolf, reigning women´s world champion Yoko Isomoto from Japan and Claudia Mejia from Colombia, I had very strong international competition!
The climb of my glider is sensational, and I must have annoyed the other pilots plenty by constantly climbing through them, as I could perfectly steer my little wing into the strongest core of the thermals. That way I always had really good start positions for the tasks and managed to stay with the top gaggle most of the days. I was flying only with one litre of water as ballast, so gliding, especially against head wind, was slower than the others. Still I was pleasantly surprised how I could keep up or catch up again in the next lift!
We encountered very strong turbulence on the way to Staller Sattel turn point in the 3rd task, as the northerly created a big lee side around some 3500m high cliff faces. Still my glider felt safe and I managed to stay with my team mates Roland and Gerd for most of the way. Only on final glides I have to improve and ask them for their tricks, as I always make too much safety height to really get there, arriving 400m above goal and losing 5 minutes on them ;)
I knew that I can perform well in the flatlands, but finishing 15th overall in this challenging high mountain race with a world class field of pilots really blew me away! I feel I only just started to discover the potential of the RX3 Technora - the next comp for me will be the German Nationals at Altes Lager (Berlin), a flatland comp. Thanks to Moyes for this awesome little wing, even after 650km and 24 hours in seven days of extreme Dolomite air, I´m already looking forward to the next flying adventures!

12 Juli 2015

What a day! 139km around 5 turnpoints

The day started strange. When my friend Evi helped me to take the glider to take off, she slipped and could not walk anymore. Luckily Florian took her piggy back, I got the tape on and ice, but it didn´t really get better. Konrad carried her back up to the cable car. It was a good idea, as it turned out that it wasn´t a ripped legament, but a fractured ankle! Yes, not flying can be dangerous!
Considering it was the last day and award ceremony tonight, the task seemed huge, as the thermals didn´t exactly turn on fast. I had a good start, but after the first turnpoint I hit a major headwind. Again. I tried a different course and could almost catch up with the front gaggle, but got badly stuck at Seiser Alm.
I tried all I could to at least get back out to goal directly, but it didn´t work, and the safest I could do was to land at St Kassian, Alex´ home.
Retrieve took a while. Only 5 in goal, all Italians. The top was shuffled again, with Christian Ciech winning the comp, Alex 2nd and Karl Reichegger 3rd.
I finished 15th overall, 3rd best German pilot and first woman, a really good result, considering that 4 of the 5 top female pilots of the world were here to compete!

11 Juli 2015

Task 4 Italian Open: 109km around 4 turnpoints

Task 4 was only 109km, but conditions were more difficult than the days before. Blue sky, weaker, broken lift only up to 3100m and a head wind of up to 25km/h right to the first turnpoint led to a lot of pilots bombing out right after take off.
It took a huge amount of patience to make the first turnpoint at Plose. While Alex, Christian and small group managed to glide directly, a lot of us had to take a detour around the Rodeneck ridge. I was happy to fly with Roland, Gerd and Achim most of the time. Jörg had a good start and was ahead with the leading group!
At the last turnpoint Rodeneck Jörg got stuck and was waiting for a thermal - that one arrived right in time for Roland, Gerd and me to join and finally go to goal :)
Christian Ciech won the day and has a huge lead now on Alex, proving that he is in world champion shape.
Looks like we will get another good last day of the Italian Open today!
Results here.

10 Juli 2015

Day 5: Too windy, cancelled

Day 5 of the Italian Championships was cancelled, as the clouds were racing past us, high winds at 4000m were predicted to be up to 40 knots, and more wind further east.
Some people flew, but landings did not look too elegant.

08 Juli 2015

Day 4: Rain- rest day after 3 tasks!

DHV report here. Finally the storms arrived in Italy, so I have time to give you an update! Even though the forecast was for late, weak lift and overdevelopment around 5pm, the cnonditions improved and a task of 140km into the high mountains at Staller Sattel, over to Ridnaun (past Sterzing, crossing the Brenner Autobahn) and back to Pfalzen was set.
We found strong lift, cloud base at 3800m, but also quite strong wind, so it got very bumpy around the first turnpoint.
I managed a good start and stayed with the top gaggle up to Staller Sattel. The first time I ever saw this place, beautiful and very impressive! The guys kept racing, and I managed to fly along with Gerd and Anton, almost catching up to the leading gaggle at the 2nd turnpoint.
The flight to goal was the reward for the hard work before. Finally some good tail wind! Alex won the day with an incredible 56 km/h average speed, I did my personal best on a closed triangle with 45km/h and was happily celebrating another superscenic flight to goal!
Yoko was happy to make goal for the first time in the comp yesterday - big congratulations to her! She asked me if I´m not scared to fly in these mountains. Well, I had some good training in Mexico I guess ;) It´s the first time to fly through the Dolomites for me, and with a cloud base of around 4000m, we can talk about it! Yoko landed at Seiser Alm the first day, 2000m high - actually there was a take off just around the corner...
Today is a great day to recharge the batteries, not just the ones of our instruments ;)
You find the results here, also more photos and news of the day, thanks to organizer Flavio Tebaldi and Mary!

07 Juli 2015

Dolomiti Open in Pfalzen

Two long tasks took us through the whole Dolomites yesterday and Sunday! Super scenic flying here in Pfalzen, top pilots from Italy, Austria, Germany, Brazil, Russia, Switzerland,... make this a high class competition. And it looks like we will be flying quite a few more days despite a forecast for overdevelopment!
Seppi Salvenmoster won the first day, and Christian Ciech won the 120km task yesterday. Women´s world champion Yoko Isomoto from Japan is here as well, and with Sasha Serebrennikova and Claudia Mejia, there is a small but really competitive group of girls in the comp as well.
You find the results here.

03 Juli 2015

Flying in Fjordland

 Flying in Voss was exciting. There is still a lot of snow melting, so I was glad that my goretex Terrex shoes kept my feet dry and warm in the wetlands!
Thermals were good, base between 1600 and 2000m, and every now and then it looked like a good landing  field too. The tasks were both 67km around 4 turnpoints to Gudvangen goal. You see the place on my aerial shot just in the background, in the gorge. Yes, landing between an awe inspiring 1000m cliffs! And the field was full of "tractor eggs", which made a landing even more interesting, but most guys landed happily in that place which has been flown to for the first time this year.
The retrieve was perfectly organized by the Norwegians, and we were back before dark. Haha, at that time of year, it doesn´t actually get dark - at 3am it is light enough to not need any lights!
The landscape of the Norwegian Fjords is just incredible, and I´m very thankful that Arne Hillestad let me fly my old glider, which was a lot of fun! The two days we spent flying in Voss were great weather, but just before and after it must have been quite the opposite, and people said that I got to fly the most epic weather that ever existed in Voss! Well worth the effort of driving up 5 hours from Oslo.