30 Oktober 2017

Another day in Tacima

More photos and my report in German on the DHV homepage!

The sky looked great today! I took off first, at 7.55am. Found some lift, but couldn´t get to base. Then I headed for another cloud. It didn´t work. Soon I got low - and landed. At 8.20am!!! What a desaster. Well, I had a great take off, and a really good landing. And a tree for shade for packing up. And an accessible field, so my driver found me. Guess it could have been worse. Alas, it is painful to watch Konrad on his way crossing the 200km line... at least I found the best Red Bull ever - the Brazilian Summer Edition is with Açai flavour! I had one to regain some energy and keep going. How do I get a few cases of that to Germany???

I´m grateful for having landed in the community of strong women yesterday! They seemed to be in charge, running their village, and I guess that´s what this country dearly needs - more heart, more chances, more education - and definitely more responsible thinking about how this place should look like tomorrow. The TV news are just the same every day here. People getting shot in the big cities, and banks getting robbed daily, always the same pattern, either crashing a car into the building, or detonating it. The banking machines here in tiny Araruna don´t carry money anymore, so the bank doesn´t get blown up! I get my cash by paying fuel with credit card and Konrad sharing with cash.
I was crushed by the feeling that I can´t fly here like I normally do, getting up really well in light lift. I need a reset. Luckily Marcelinho, Alipio, Macae and Guto are on their way here, so I will be able to enjoy flying with friends and hopefully have fun again.
This green spider I bravely took a photo of really liked my glider bag. Scary thing, it looked a bit like a huntsman, just bright green. Nobody could tell me if it is poisonous, but I didn´t want to try it. For sure the bite would hurt...

29 Oktober 2017

And - another piece of humble pie!

The last two days were not flyable in Tacima. Low clouds and rain made it look very average, so we went to the coast instead. Our driver David took me for a tandem, and Konrad flew his RX pro down the coast for a bit.
Today looked great. Just when I got into my harness and David kept cutting on a wooden stick, I got a bit irritated. He said he had forgotten one of my battens (no 9) at my last landing place. Guess I should never totally trust someone to look after the glider set up and pack up... he fit the wooden batten into my sail and said it would be fine. Oh well. I worried a bit, then I thought, maybe I´m just too German? So I took off. The glider flew well and only had a very slight turn to the right where he had replaced the real batten...
Early start at 8am, getting up to base straight away! 1100m isn´t really high above the plateau canyons, but I committed to crossing with Konrad. We went quite well, but after the plateau, Konrad hit some sink and landed. I stayed in lift longer, went up to base again, and was looking for the best line. First cloud didn´t work. Second one neither. Now I was already in ground mode, searching for some vultures or thermal triggers. Found nothing - and landed. At 9.05am!!!???? Painful to look at the sky, wondering why we both couldn´t get it, while the Gavin the paraglider is on his way to Quixada. Good on him!
I was greeted by a beautiful welcoming committee on the field where I landed. I asked around if anyone would like to try to pick up my glider - and it was only the girls and women who were really keen and interested, so I happitly taught them a bit about our sport! So cool to see how proud they were and how much they enjoyed it!
When they carried my glider to the road, I was invited to their verandah to wait for my retrieve car. They set up a hammock to make it really comfortable for me, and kept asking lots of questions. Even if I felt pain to loose a day like today, it was still really valuable to meet these wonderful people I would have never met otherwise! It´s a cool sport, even if you fail, you kind of get rewarded with interest, hospitality and friendship! Amazing country, this Brazil!
Sure we went back to my landing field from two days ago, where we really found the batten! Luckily!!! Compay Segundo was really happy to see me again, trying to talk me into staying with him, he really needs some company and would look after me well. I have a project and need to fly some more years, I told him.
We left and hopefully have a week of great days ahead of us!

26 Oktober 2017

When it is just not your day...

When you have a few consecutive days of low base, rain and no flying conditions, pilots get impatient. So yesterday there was a lot of talk if we could fly today, or better should go to Matureia straight away. A bit further inland, to avoid the morning overcast and rain from the coast.
We packed all our gear, but as a friend had told me that conditions today would be great for a big flight in Tacima, I convinced Konrad to stay here for today. It looked like a great day, but on take off, I already saw that I wasn´t as focused as the last days. I forgot my gopro cameras and spare batteries and spare vario and radio in my room, as I had packed it into the suitcase in case of travel. One of my spare phones wasn´t charged.
Davizinho helped me a lot with setting up my glider, while I was getting my harness ready. Trackers, radio, varios, water, all good. The wind was quite strong, so I didn´t want to wait and got into the air first today. With Konrad I went up well, but it took a while. Base was at 1200m. Konrad headed straight over the plateau, but when I saw Patrick Colin coming back low, it totally psyched me out. He is like a local and knows how to fly here. Windspeeds were up to 40km/h, with quite some turbulence in it, and it didn´t look inviting to me. Meanwhile the clouds spread again and shade covered the land.
Konrad killed me by saying how good it was behind the plateau, he was getting up to 1600m already. Not my day, so I decided to land in the big field where I had landed on the first day. Wind on the ground 20-30km/, gusting a bit. The approach was smoother than on the other days, but just when I thought I would touch down, a gust was crossing in and threw me to the side. I didn´t touch the ground hard, but in a bad angle, so my tip wand broke. And nope, I didn´t bring a spare one. What a day!
So glad my driver was there in an instant and helped me pack the glider and tried to cheer me up.
We went to pick up Konrad next who had landed in Campo Redondo. And the field next to his really cheered me up - it was full of stones, and in this case, a lot of rose quartz crystals! I never found them before, and I was happily jumping around to pick out the nicest ones. No idea how I will get those large rocks home, but I will find a way!
Arriving back, Konrad pulled out some spare tip wands and cut one for me so I can fly again tomorrow! Lucky girl. I just have to find back to the "flow" and relax a bit.

23 Oktober 2017

We were prepared, but...

... the weather didn´t behave according to the forecast. The first paraglider pilots launched before 6am already, and we arrived well before 8am on take off, excited to go a long way. Well. Then the clouds arrived. High cirrus, and the good looking type below them started spreading and shading the whole area.
I deceded to take off around 8am and wait in the air to see if it gets any better. Not getting higher than 900m asl means crossing the plateau at barely 400m above it. Not appealing, specially as the lift was really unreliable.
So just some fun flying with friends and vultures, until some rain moved in from the coast.
Back to patience mode I guess. It´s normal that the big days don´t happen so often. Ok, I have a bit of time left. And there are some interesting characters here chasing the big flights. Fun to listen to their stories!
Stay tuned.

22 Oktober 2017

Hang waiting - preparing for a good day!

Thanks to Chico Santos and Konrad, I received our Bronze Team leader medal - very much sought after by my team mate Jörg ;)
Meanwhile I had a couple of interesting flights in this area and learnt that a really long flight is not a give away. Getting up at five to prepare everything and have breakfast at 6am, going to Tacima take off and starting around 8am (in windspeeds of about 40km/h), then getting up to cloud base and squeezing the buttocks cause first of all, you have to cross 20km of a high plateau with not a lot of height above the ground.
Even after that, it´s not just happy landing area like Forbes for example. I was well on my way, but at around 10am, the clouds decided to spread out and I was surrounded by probably 100km of shade and decided to land in a safe spot. Well. The "hedges" here are made from cactuses, and they are really good wind breakers. Or rotor triggers ;)
When I landed, the farmers laughed and laughed, cause they thought it was really extraordinary to see a "senhora" who flies and "fell down" in their field! I explained to them that I "landed" and just ate some dust in the end cause I hit a bit of turbulent air. I was very honoured when they laughed again and understood my joke, because my Portuguese is more like Portuñol...
They insisted on taking my glider and harness to the road for me and invited me into their home. A very simple shack, but hey, it was definitely cleaner than my own flat!!! These guys in the Brasilian outback have really big hearts and offer me the best they have - a very humbling experience, and a big contrast to those reports of severe assaults and crime in other places. Btw, four guys had been stabbed yesterday - actually in Munich, at "my" train station that I use every other day, and I was glad that I was safe and far away in Brasil!!!
A local called Pata gave me a great introduction into the local flora and fauna, as we had two days that were very average, with rain and howling winds. I learnt that you better don´t touch the "Hortiga", which is like a nettle, just nastier. Falko got a blown up arm by his allergic reaction to it. When I took the photo of the cute colibri nest, the Hortiga accidentally stung me as well, and my arm hurt a bit, like after a yellow fever injection. Luckily it didn´t swell up, and the pain was gone in the evening.
A guy called Edvaldo seems to run this whole village of Araruna. He is my host at the local Hotel Pousada Araruna, but he also runs a restaurant with the best pizza in the area, he is the head of the tourist council, he knows basically everyone, he is the one who gets up at 5 so these crazy pilots can have their breakfast at 6am, and - he is a great supporter of hang gliding and paragliding. He put on this weeks event for us, and I think I even won some money with my flights!!! Incredible effort!
Plus - he made sure that this strange vegetarian German girl may cook her own food in the kitchen of the restaurant, cause I just can´t survive on meat diets they have over here and brought lots of organic goodies from home.
Yesterday I also met Sulamita Fernandes, a world class mountain biker, because this is not just a flying, but an outdoor event. They even have a university in this remote place about 1,5 hours from Natal!!!
Still in general, nobody speaks English, and I am very thankful that my Brasilian family, especially Claudinha´s mother, has tought me some language skills that com to a very good use here! Just in an interview with the local pr guy I got confused yesterday when he asked me why this place is like the "Avay" for hang gliding. The what??? Oh - after the interview I found out that it was "Hawaii", meaning like the Mekka of hang gliding ;)
Ok, Konrad is calling for our daily Açai dose. I´m totaly addicted to coconut water, Açai and Cupuaçu. This country is amazing!
Let´s hope for a good flying day tomorrow!
You can follow my flight live here:
here the link to my live tracking: search pilot: corinnaflies
follow! I will start about 12.00 UTC!

19 Oktober 2017

Arriving in Tacima

Finally I arrived in the area of Brazil where records are set. It rained on take off today, but with a lot of patience, we got into the air. I only wanted to check my gear is working, all the varios, trackers, radios, headsets correctly connected, and yes, all good!
After landing early in about 30Km/h wind, I went back to Araruna, the village where everybody´s staying. Can´t believe I was cold this morning and last night. Even less that it rained hard on take off?!?
The guys took me under their wings and explained how to fly in this area. A bunch of international and even more Brasilian pilots are here. Everyone who stayed long enough was rewarded with a "voozinho", a little flight. Well, Dudu from Brasilia even hit the 325km mark!!!
This place totally reminds me of Beechmont in Queensland, Jonny´s home. Guess it´s not the only reason why he likes this country so much ;)
More flying today, the rest of the week actually looks pretty good!

14 Oktober 2017

My first flight in Bahia - on a single surface glider!

Not so easy to be in an area with bad phone reception an fractured internet connection, but I try to keep you updated anyway.

My first flight on this adventure trip happened thanks to Betinho Schmitz and his school SuperAr. He is here with an xc clinic and let me fly a single surface glider and his harness. Together we try to help the others to improve their cross country flying skills. Carla, one of his students, helped me set up the glider, while I prepared the harness (not a lot of storage space in that one…), the radio frequency and the turn points.

And yes, I did fly with big wheels on my base bar, cause I wanted to show the pilots that it is absolutely cool to fly with the best protection possible, specially when you are in a new area and do your first xc flights. Landing fields can have unexpected slopes, obstacles like fences or powerlines or trees. With wheels, you might be calmer and make a better choice.

Our goal was Iaçu, about 75km from take off. We got up to base and went over the back of Buquerao take off. After Kate landed quite early into the course, Betinho said I could go ahead following the train tracks. For a while it worked fine, but when the good lines are upwind or downwind, possibly over not accessible, not landable terrain, it´s not so easy on a single surface glider. You have to be much more careful about good timing with clouds! About 25km from goal, I decided to land with a paraglider pilot in a field that looked like a great choice. The wind in the air and on the ground were up to 20km/h, so the landing was smooth and easy. Luckily I decided to not cross the forest and go for dodgy fields, because the „trees“ turned out to be cactuses with huge thorns! Impressive! While it was the big, blue hole when we landed, of course half an hour later we had beautiful clouds over our heads...

As I had no radio contact with a driver and no phone reception, Kiko the paraglider pilot and his family just put my glider across their car and took me with them to the next houses, 5km down the road. The lovely lady who runs the local bar let me use here phone, so I could tell Claudinha where I was, and she relayed it to Betinho. A while later, we were on our way back to Santa Teresinha.

The internet here is really slow and broken, almost impossible to post pictures!

12 Oktober 2017

Next adventure: Brazil again!

After I came back from the World Championships in Brasilia, my work started full throttle. Five flights to the US and back, and some ground trainings in Frankfurt inbetween, sometimes minimum rest, all within four weeks - barely time to wash my clothes. But I needed to work this hard to make enough time for my next, big adventure. Brazil again!

My friend Marcelinho from Natal took my glider and harness to the northeast of Brazil with him when he left Brasilia. That way, I just had to fly back and find my way up. He will be home on Monday, and until then I have time to visit my friend Claudinha on her farm in Bahia. After I spent one night in Sao Paulo, I took a flight to Salvador and was very lucky that Amerino, a hang glider pilot, picked me up on his way to Santa Teresinha.

After about a four hour drive, we arrived in this small, rural city. Great, big granite rocks are spread all over, flatlands inbetween, and the sky looks promising. We went up to take off today, but as I didn´t have a glider here, I just helped the other guys to get safely into the air in the strong, gusty wind. The temperature is very pleasant, not as hot as I expected.

Betinho just arrived now with an xc clinic. Quite a few girls in his group, so it will be fun to hopefully fly with them all tomorrow! He said he has a single surface glider for me to fly, which will be just great! Claudinha already got her paraglider ready as wel