20 April 2017

How to travel to Rio with your glider

Some information for all European pilots who are joining the worlds in Brasilia and who will take their gliders from Frankfurt on Lufthansa LH 500 to Rio. This is how you do it:

1. When you get your ticket on LH500, you contact Lufthansa reservations and you let them know that you will have oversized sporting equipment, a hang glider, and you give them the number and dimensions of the glider packages.
The maximum weight per piece is 32kg, but the length when you check in in Frankfurt is NOT limited. 

2. You pay 200€ per oversize piece of luggage per way.
PS- if you get a ticket in Premium Economy class, you might get lucky and get an upgrade, because the Rio flights usually overbook in Economy, so they need to bump up the Premium Eco passengers! Also, in Premium Economy you have 2x23kg luggage allowance, in Eco it is only 1x23kg! But even with a Business Class ticket you need to pay extra for your oversized glider.

3. Get to the airport early, at least 4 hours before take off, so the gliders´ transport can be perfectly prepared. There will be several teams travelling between 31st of July and 4th of August. You can check your luggage in any time until 24hours before your take off time!

4. In Frankfurt, you go to Terminal 1, area B - you can park at departures 10 minutes for free, after that you have to pay.
Take your gliders to the Lufthansa oversize luggage counter in area B, counter #445.
For check-in you need:
- your passport
- a printout of the confirmation that you paid 200€ and that your glider has been listed/registered for your flights

5. When you arrive in Rio, your glider will be delivered next to the luggage belt of your flight.

6. RENT A CAR in Rio to drive to Brasilia! Our Lufthansa station manager of Rio urged me to tell all pilots that you can´t take your gliders on inland flights within Brazil anymore! No regional airlines will take oversized luggage!

Have a good trip!

01 April 2017

Aeros Winter Race Slovenia

Results here! I was very happy to start the first competition this European season in Slovenia, with great weather. Despite the name "Aeros Winter Race", it was unusually warm - well, except on 2500m where we unexpectedly got to on the first two days!
The European top pilots from Italy, Austria, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and a lot more countries were here to celebrate the start of the 2017 hang gliding season - and we were rewarded with four consecutive days of amazing flights! We were even two girls in the comp, my friend Julia Burlachenko drove a dedicated 1700km from Kiev to Vipava!
For an entry fee of just 110€, every pilots received a nice comp t-shirt, maps of the area, a free dinner and a lunch pack with a sandwich, an apple/orange and half a litre of water or an isotonic drink every day. For an additional 50 € your drive to take off and your retrieve was organized for the whole comp too! Thanks to the organization and all the volunteers who ran this comp with a lot of experience and motivation.
We used Lijak and Kovk take off in the area of Ajdovscina in the west of Slovenia, about an hour west of Ljubljana. My first flights in the area - I was impressed by the scenic views of the mediterranean sea! The air was unusually clear, and being a southern hemisphere softie, I was glad I brought my Thermo Pads hand warmers to let my fingers survive.
Most pilots have flown here many times and know the special tricks of this area - fly fast and don´t turn!!! I was glad that Matjaz, Jörg, Roland and Tom Weissenberger helped me to decipher this technical area. Still I was very careful, as I could see a lot of vinyards, forests and powerlines in some areas. Some of the headwind legs made me want to weigh more, but I only take ballast once I´ve figured out a place and the possible (safe) landing options, definitely not for the first time in a new area.
Day 1 most people made goal at Lijak after the 61km task - and we were rewarded with a great, vegan cafe at the landing! Best food I have ever found at a goal field - local, organic produce and all vegan, tasty and healthy, for a very reasonable price! Marco Laurenzi won the day with a 46Km/h average. Man, I only made a 33km/h average speed...
On the 2nd day, once I figured out that I can´t continue my flight in a safe way (I got left behind the first two groups, going too slow for their pace), I decided to turn around and land at Lijak as well. "Mischu" Franc Peternel, one of the top Slovenian pilots, won the 122km task.
Day 3, we went to Kovk take off (Jörg went up with us and helped me find it...;)), as the wind turned more west. In fact, it was a really strong west wind, and after heading towards the 2nd turnpoint, I flew against a rubber wall and was drilled down, couldn´t get around the corner like Jörg and the others of my group. Anyway, I tried my best and enjoyed 3 hours of flying and a nice landing anyhow! My dedicated driver David found me in no time, packed my glider and took me back to Pizzeria Anja Headquarter where I downloaded my tracklog. Tom Weissenberger won the 126km task with a respectable 40km/h average speed.
For the last day, the organizers decided to stay in the Vipava area to not make it too hard to get around the mountain against the headwind, which had forced more than half the field down on the third day. A 90 km task with two laps of the same turnpoints - great way to learn how to do it! My second lap was twice as fast as the first one I guess. Almost 40km/h average speed - but nothing compared to day winners Matjaz Klemencic´s 65 Km/h!!! What a way to finish the comp.
Tom started with the 26th place on the first day and won the comp in the end - with Balazs Ujhelyi in 2nd and Franc Peternel in 3rd, and my German team mates Roland Wöhrle on a respectable 4th, Jörg Bajewski on 13th, Kajo Clauss on 29th and Semmo on 30th. I finished 39th - not exactly a top score, but a great training and learning experience in a beautiful area! Yes Matjaz, I will be back in your home yard and play some more in the air!