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!

17 August 2015


First time in Kuala Lumpur, of course my first thought when I saw those amazing Petronas Towers was - FELIX! Quite a while ago, my friend Felix Baumgartner base jumped off from the top of one of them, after he had dressed up like a business man (or James Bond), just went up the elevator, found stairs to go higher and out on a rig that was used for cleaning the windows... amazing Red Bull action!
In the city, I found a mix of a lot of Chinese and Indian influence, also some Indonesian, Korean and Japanese. I would need a tour guide to pick the original Malay :)

08 August 2015

German Open last day: cancelled due to strong northerly wind

The weather forecasts for today were as difficult and contradicting as the ones we had yesterday. Strong northerly winds, a shear at 1000m, low base and blue with a storm front somewhere to our northwest moving slowly closer. My idea was to go straight to Cottbus goal to the southeast, almost at the border to Poland, but they set an out and return instead.
Wind speed picked up, and unlike Forbes, we can´t tow into any direction with a field of 80 pilots. The northerly rolls in over a forest and creates quite rough air close to the ground, so people got quite nervous about towing today. Most pilots voted for not flying, so at 13.30 Olli canceled the day. Now at 15.40 we can see the squall line approaching and it would not have been nice to fly back from the turnpoint into some doubtful clouds.
Christian Ciech is winner of the German Open after four tasks, Miroslav Cap in 2nd place and Hans Kiefinger 3rd.
I finished 14th overall and 1st woman, with Caroline Greiser in 20th place not far behind me.
Tim won rigid class ahead of Ralf Miederhoff and Jochen Zeyher. The awards will be tonight at the party!
Thanks to our Dutch, Czech and Norwegian friends for flying with us in the German flatlands! It was a fun and safe competition.

Task 4 GO: 83km, nobody made goal

The hottest day of the comp affected quite a few pilots that did not feel like flying anymore, which dragged the process of task making and starting along a bit. I got off quite late and it was difficult to find good lift, as warm air from the south seemed to kill most of the good thermals. After 1,5 hours of searching, I finally managed to get up to 1800m and decided to leave, even though it was blue ahead of me.
I tried to go over villages, edges of forests and fields, ploughing tractors, powerlines - nothing worked, and also the wind turned against me, so I landed after only about 16km into the task. Christian got 9 km further, and when we picked him up, we stopped in Wittenberg to show him the old city where Martin Luther used to live and preach.
Christian is now 450 points in the lead, he almost doesn´t have to fly another task to win this comp, proving again that he is a very valid world champion ;)

07 August 2015

GO day 4: 85km out and return

Another hot day in German flatland paradise! The forecast was for blue sky, late start and weak lift, so the out-and-return task was comparably small with 85km.
After towing, we waited around for about an hour not getting higher than 1000m, but the wind was significantly stronger than in the prediction, up to 28km/h on my indicator even at those smaller heights. It would be a tough day!
In time for the opening of the window, we saw the first cloud and the inversion breaking, which was a relief. I was heading out with a bunch of pilots, but getting low was easy on this day. After I made the turnpoint, some rigid wing guys caught up to me and showed me how to punch against the headwind to goal! So hard to see the airfield in reach, but knowing that it will be a tough final glide over forest and wind mills!
I was happy to finally make it there, quite a lot of guys were already there! Christian was 3rd of the day and defended his overall lead, Roland probably won the day ahead of Hans (I haven´t seen results yet).
Looks like we will get another two good tasks! Pilots really like this "North-east Forbes" country, it´s beautiful for flying and not quite as hot as the famous Australian outback. More wind mills, less kangaroos!

05 August 2015

GO day 3: 108km around 3 tp

After the front went through yesterday, clouds were rising really fast and base went up to 1500-1800m, with nice cumulus forming. Tim had a camera for TV on his glider today, and still won the day :) the ZDF-guys were happy that he got back so fast after their 165km task.
In flex class, we only had to fly 108km, but I was off first in the launch order today, so I spent 1,5 hours in the air before I could finally start into the task.
Half of our way the thermals were beautifully marked with clouds, the other half it got blue. I had the ablosulte honour today to be on a radio with world champion Christian Ciech. He called out thermals and gave positions, but he is going so fast that I just saw his back lights and was really sad that I could not help him a single time during our flight. I was a bit embarrassed that it was easier for me to understand his clear Italian voice and very precise calls than some of the national dialects of my own team mates ;)
Before the 2nd turnpoint close to Wittenberg I got really low and thought I have to land soon, but Jörg joined in and got even lower - he was the master of low saves today! I was superhappy that he found a great dust devil thermal and we finally climbed out again! We flew the whole second half of the flight together, which was really fun! So cool that you get to race in this sport with your friends, that superb pilots don´t hesitate a moment to help others with information, that we all just have a good time! Thanks for another great task setting, it worked pretty well - Olli is doing a great job. Also big thanks to all the volunteers who don´t get tired to run around and help us get into the air - huge effort, you guys are just amazing. There were only two re-flights today, which shows that the tug pilots here really know what they have to do to keep us up and happy! Tomorrow will be a blue day, so probably a bit more difficult even to get back.
No results up yet, but I heard that Christian got 3rd today after two of our Czech pilots, those heroes must have had a superfast day! Roland landed just after Christian, also Øyvind, Gijs, Bernd, Kajo and Hans were already there when Jörg, Yeti and I landed at goal. Also Caroline made it to goal, she flies really strong - I am superhappy to have a new, talented team mate for the next women´s worlds!

04 August 2015

GO day 2: cancelled due to strong pre-frontal wind

When Lukas Bader presented today´s forecast, he mentioned an increasing southerly wind plus a cold front moving in towards us, reaching our only possible goal northwest of Berlin this afternoon. In a windspeed of 45 km/h at top of lift and with gusts predicted to be up to 60km/h later this afternoon, some of the local pilots said that in a southerly, we get the rotor over the hangars and towing can be challenging.
The discussion was between going out, setting up and trying, trying just with one group, or cancelling. My safety advice was to cancel at briefing, as the probability of trouble while we are already starting the comp. With the prospect of 4 more really good days to come, I also heard quite a few concerned pilots who don´t want to take risks.
So today was cancelled at briefing, and the winners of yesterday´s task got a nice little award, a very useful map of the alps with most take offs and landings in it, also a healthy muesli bar sponsored by Innosnack, an Ispo award winner.
Carolin got to goal yesterday after a long time in the air, so she got a big applause for persistence, and also some Innosnack-bars!
Most pilots packed their gliders or put them into the shelters, as the weather will get gnarly tonight, thunderstorms and all :)

We are looking forward to a really good flight tomorrow!

GO day 1: 120 km around 3 tp

Results and DHV report here! 
With about 40 flex and 40 rigid wing pilots, we started into the first task of the international German Open south of Berlin.
The 120km felt big to me, as we had quite a significant head wind on some of the legs of the triangle. I was glad I managed to get to goal on that day after almost 5 hours of flying!
Christian Ciech won the day ahead of Roland, Lukas and Øyvind, I was 10th and first woman, also Caroline Greiser got to goal.
Today the wind will be even stronger from the south, will be interesting to avoid Berlin air space today ;)
Olli did a great job as meet director, his first big international competition, and it all went quite smooth and without worries, Aussie style!

03 August 2015

German Open at Altes Lager, Berlin

Today the German Open starts in Altes Lager, about 1 hour south of Berlin. 80 pilots are here to compete, lots of rigid wing pilots as well. World champions Christian Ciech and Tim Grabowski will compete, along with Dutch, Norwegian, Austrian, Czech, Ukrainian, Spanish and also a few German pilots ;) weather looks great this week! Stay tuned!