18 September 2016

Meeting Andy and Uli in Frankfurt

I just saw this wonderful tribute to Hannes Arch, so I set the link for you!
The last few days were really amazing. By chance I happened to be in Frankfurt when my friend Andy Hediger flew in from Buenos Aires. We spent his waiting time for the connecting flight together, remembering what friendship, life and flying means to us. Despite being individually very active in our different air sports and being spread out around the world, there is a really strong bond to our friends and fellow athletes, where ever they are.
Today, waiting at the luggage belt for my suitcase in Frankfurt, suddenly Uli Grill came up and said hi. The flights from Bremen and Salzburg arriving at the same time, meeting at the same luggage belt - Frankfurt isn´t really that small... Uli and Andy are part of the Red Bull Acro team from the beginning, like Hannes and Ueli. Meeting Uli today really got me thinking, cause it felt like more than coincidence.
We have all suffered big losses way too early in our lives. It never seems to make sense, feels unfair and cruel for the ones who stayed behind. But today, it was as if Hannes wanted to point something out - as I´ve met two of the most passionate people ever within just one week, who love the world of flying, filming, photography, sharing this wonderful passion and making it accessible for the rest of the world.
We should make an effort to get together more often, celebrating life with our friends! Be prepared to go out of your comfort zone to help your friends if they are in need - as other people would for me if I needed help, cause making other people´s life a bit easier, nicer and happier is a memory that will always make you smile. If we have a project idea,  let´s start on it right now, and don´t postpone it. Live your dreams and follow your passions, because that´s the only real drive to create extraordinay things and that will make you content and happy in the long run, even if there are numerous obstacles to master along the way. Be humble, open and thankful for the life we may lead, and find beauty and humour even in the most absurd situations, just to celebrate that moment. Mistakes are part of human nature, but that´s our chance to learn and grow. We just need the strength to admit that we made them.

09 September 2016

Hannes Arch

Oh Hannes - dear friend, my flying hero for half of my life - I can´t believe it! The day in the alps was so beautiful, so peaceful yesterday - I thought of you when a helicopter passed me low at Loferer Steinberge in the afternoon, while I was dancing up to the cloud. My heart is broken :( so many crazy action flying adventures. So full of life and love for flying, every day in the air! How could you dare leaving so early? The sky will miss your wings!

04 September 2016

Day 7: 67km/h of wind, day cancelled and Awards!

I just finished my German report for the DHV homepage here!
Final results are here!
When we arrived on take off for the last day of the preworlds, the wind was howling with up to 67km/h an hour, almost blowing anybody off the ground who tried to open a wing. After two briefings and a few hours of waiting and hoping for the storm to drop, the day was cancelled. Because of a military air show, we would have had to land at Esplanada before 4pm, but the conditions were not safe to have a comp day anyway.
Instead we just headed back to the city and prepared for the awards ceremony at sunset on Esplanada headquarter. The Italian team proved itself again unbeatable, even though their top guys Alex and Chris were not here to compete! The Brasilians tried hard to beat the Italians, but Flavios team showed once more an incredibly perfect team flying and working together in the air and on the ground.
The Australians finished 3rd in the team ranking, with a very happy overall champion Jonny Durand who said that this was his biggest comp success in his hang gliding career so far! Brasilian pilot Carlinhos Niemeyer finished in 2nd place, and Italian Davide Guiducci in 3rd was just the first out of 3 Italians ranking in the top 10 of the comp!
Françoise Dieuzede won the women´s competition, for me it was just a 4th place this time. Just like my team mate Primoz - this is what Tomas Suchanek always called the "potato medal" with a wink in his eyes. Chico Santos, head of the Brazilian hang gliding and paragliding association ABVL, came up from Rio to Brasilia just to host the awards ceremony, and he is great at entertaining the pilots and showing appreciation to every single competitor!
We had great flights anyway, and fantastic training for the "real one" next year!
Thanks a lot to the organizers Betinho and Cid, to Nani and her huge crew of incredibly friendly helpers during this whole week! Thanks to all the drivers for their enthusiasm to get us out even from the most difficult places with locked gates and all! It was a fun event, and I´m looking forward to coming back next year!

03 September 2016

Task 5: 80km around 2 tp

The wind was howling with up to 50km/h on take off when we arrived today, yet an optimistic 109km task was set, again with goal Esplanada. I was almost ready to quit and just go there directly, when they decided to postpone the take off for safety reasons and cut the task down to 80km.
I didn´t realize that the first leg included about a 30km/h headwind and kept fighting hard, together with Françoise a lot of the time. Such a relief when we finally got the turnpoint and could turn towards Brasilia. I was slow again, but the clouds looked promising. I´ve never done the final glide so low, because we are not allowed to climb higher than 2745m sharp! The last 12 km you basically just find lake, buildings and highways, with one decent bombout field that Billy and Josh tried yesterday.
First my numbers looked a bit iffy, but with two crazy guys way below me just above the water, I thought I will be fine.
Esplanada at it´s best - landing here is just a party! So exciting to make your approach around highrise buildings and highways, with traffic buzzing around the goal field. Many happy faces in goal today, and finally I made my first goal in this competition as well!
Big congrats to Andre Wolf (BRA). At briefing he said that his arm hurts a lot, and he heard that I had taped Glauco´s arm already, so I pulled out the tricks - and his pain was gone ;) also I wished him all the best, hopefully to win the day. When I landed at goal, he smiled and said that he did - best day of the comp for him!
Also Primoz had the flight of his life - he made a 30km final glide, going along with 80-90km/h under a cloud street! He keeps climbing up at the rankings, currently he is placed 4th overall!

Task 4: not worth talking about

The highlight of flying in Brasilia, landing at Esplanada in the centre of the city, had been closed for us until today, because of demonstrations and actions of the impeachment process of (ex-)president Dilma Roussef. She lost, left and now we can finally go for the exciting final glide through the ministery buildings. Well - if we make it that far, that is.
I wasn´t fast, but found myself with an excellent gaggle - Andre Wolf, Nene Rotor, Pippo, Glauco, Marcelo, lots of big names of the top guys. So I kept flying with them, gliding into - the deck! Bad timing again, just another day of hitting the bloody ground not even half way around the course. Could not believe that the guys didn´t come up with a plan B?
We flew through rain and were rained on after we landed, also some thunder and lightening happening out there. Half an hour later, it opened up again.
My team´s retrieve car was packed to the roof with pilots and six gliders when they arrived at my field just before sunset. Luckily Glauco came along and had offered to help - and he also had another surprise for me. His landing was anything but elegant, ploughing in with tailwind he finished upside down. But he landed in some farm fields and made me smile when I found the freshest, tastiest Broccoli possible in a bag, harvested with his base bar ;)
Glauco had been ranking 2nd with good chances of winning until we bombed out today, but he didn´t winge or display a bad mood at all. I was impressed, the Brazilians have an amazing, great national team!

01 September 2016

Day 4 preworlds: cancelled due to strong side wind on take off

I was pretty nervous as the second early bird pilot in my lane on take off today. The wind kept crossing with 90 degrees and quite hard, barely 30 seconds from the front within 20 minutes of grueling waiting. What a relief when the safety committee and organizers finally agreed to cancel the day!
Off to the waterfall, the "cachoeira"! It was fun to watch crazy Wolfi jump from the top of the rock, and the others a bit lower through the waterfall. Such a nice place - hard to imagine that the air just on the field behind that place had been throwing me around in very turbulent air like in a washing machine! Not quite a full rest day, but a peaceful break to get new energy for the last two days. As the impeachment is over and president Dilma Roussef had to pack her suitcase yesterday, now the Esplanada, the main aisle of Brasilia, is open again for the cool stuff - we can land there the next three days! Will be challenging because the ceiling is lower than ever before, but I hope to arrive there with a big smile on my face one of these next three days! Report in German on the DHV page.