26 August 2021

Back to work

I wish I could have gone to the next competition in Italy too. Marco Laurenzi´s home turf is San Donato di Val comino, about a three hour drive south of Monte Cucco. Higher mountains, beautiful national parks. 

Instead I had to drive home, which took 14 hours, due to traffic jams, school holiday times, roadworks and accidents on very crowded highway through Italy, Austria and Germany, also it didn´t help traffic that the German train drivers went on strike for some days. 

My next work schedule is coming up soon, and I´m thankful that I get the chance to fly away every now and then, meeting friends that I couldn´t visit otherwise. 

But I´m already dreaming of the next hang gliding adventures!

23 August 2021

Cucco last task: 150km around 3 trunpoints to Spoleto, and Awards!

Results task 4 Results overall

Saturday was the last comp day, and we were promised even better weather than the day before. The organizers set an ambitious 150km task - telling us to speed up to be back for the award ceremony in time ;) 

I was really happy to see such a big number on the taskboard, cause I like long flights very much! It´s been many years since I´ve seen Spoleto from the air.

I took off early again, but the promised 3000m turned into a not quite 2000m boundary layer, with a wind stronger than the day before. The first 30km of the flight were the toughest, going through really bad lee side turbulence, in the blue, trying to grab every little bit of lift I could. Half way down to Gualdo Tadino, finally the clouds formed, and we could get a decent height. 

The furthest southern turnpoint at Spoleto was a long glide out and back to the ridge, so it took a bit of rodeo again to get up and face a bloody headwind, as usual, going up north.  And as expected, I ended up on my own again for about 80 km. It didn´t matter, I was happy to fly high along the clouds and didn´t care too much about my time - it was my last flight in the area for  a while, and I wanted to celebrate every minute of it! I was rewarded with the best views ever - the air was so clear that I could see both sides of the coast of Italy when I was at 3000m! No, I´m sure it wasn´t hypoxia ;)

In goal, I basically collapsed, cause the zipper of my harness didn´t want to close properly and only went up to my knees, so the whole 5 hours of flying were a bit uncomfortable. But who cares. 

Many happy faces at the awards. Our top German pilot Roland Wöhrle finished 5th, then I explained to Mario Alonzi in 4th place why Tomas Suchanek called it "Potato medal", Christian Ciech in 3rd did a great jump up with his amazing, fast task win on the last day. Filippo finished second, and a superhappy Marco Laurenzi was celebrated by his fan club like a rockstar!

Andrea Fusi won the sports class award, Konrad Baumgartner won rigid class. 

I finished 16th overall, had a great time and am looking forward to the Europeans at Cucco next year! Flavio and his large support group did an excellent job to offer us pilots a safe and fun competition. It felt great to race the sky again with my friends from all over the world!

Special thanks to my friend Rebi - without her dedication, I would have probably not dared to go. She was not just a committed driver, but helped me on take off and after landing. Driving back on Sunday in the main holiday season meant a painful 14 hour drive for me, and about 18 hours for her, despite having started at 3am in Sigillo already. 

And, last but not least, thanks to Moyes for that sweet little RX3 pro that just keeps climbing like a rocket! So much fun to fly that beautiful wing!


Cucco task 3: 120km around 4 turnpoints


On task 3, we saw the best flying conditions of the week, because the wind was weakest. Again we started at Cucco North take off, going quite far to the southeast, then back up into the Gubbio valley, south again, and then, against quite a headwind, to goal in Costacciaro. 

When I took off, the sky was still blue. I didn´t mind flying an extra hour waiting for the startgate to open, cause I didn´t have much flight time this year, and I enjoy boating around the Cucco peaks a lot! It was a race start again, as we were only 29 pilots, and the forecast was for some overdevelopment to our south. 

Once we crossed to the Fossato di Vico ridge, we could fly dolphin style, just gliding along under the clouds! 

Going back up northwest into the Gubbio Valley, I got dropped at the second last turnpoint by Roland. The valley was in total shade when I turned around, and as I knew I would face quite a headwind into goal again, I made sure I had enough height even if the glide was bad. 

The winner of the day, Filippo again, flew an amazing average speed of 59,4 km/h! On 13th place, I was still very happy about my 46,6km/h speed :) Amazing also that the top 9 pilots, with Roland Wöhrle amongst them again, all finished in goal within 5 minutes! A great training day for the European Championships that hopefully take place at Monte Cucco next year!

Results of task 3 here!

Cucco Task 2: 73km around 4 turnpoints

On day three, we went to the Cucco North take off again. The wind had slightly dropped, so a task of 73km to the southeast was set. 

Again I was stoked to fly to the furthest point with the lead gaggle, but turning around and going back headwind, they shook me off in no time. I tried to fly the clouds in the flatlands and eventually got some good lift to cloudbase, but while the height was enough for Fabien to go around the last turnpoint and into goal, I had to find another thermal, cause the headwind just killed my glide. Those are the moments when I wish there was a "light weight and small glider bonus" - Sasha can probably write a book about it by now. 

Anyway, I finished 15th of the day and was so happy that Flavio took this great photo of my landing at goal. Also, our whole German team made goal that day, with Roland of course being the top pilot and scoring an amazing 3rd of the day, then me, Jörg and Jürgen. Filippo won, with Marco second.

Results of task 2 here!


20 August 2021

Day 2 cancelled - strong wind

On the second day, we drove to a different take off. Clouds looked great, but the wind direction for our launches was anything but ideal, also the wind speed was picking up in the valley already. Forecast was for a gusty 40km/h, in the afternoon we experienced even more. I was happy that the safety committee and organizers decided to cancel the day. We enjoyed the scenic trip and beautiful views anyway!

Monte Cucco competition - training for the Europeans!

Comp page and results here! 

Since Tuesday Flavio Tebaldi and his great team organize the Piero Alberini international competition at Monte Cucco in Umbria, Italy. 

I decided to go, because my great friend Rebi agreed to come with me to drive and help. Having my own driver is a luxury I usually don´t have, but in covid times is for me the only way to feel safe, cause I need to go home and keep taking care of my parents after this week off duties. 

The first day we experienced really stong northerly winds, so we went to the Cucco North take off. In the air I was with the leading group until the furthest turnpoint, then facing a lot of headwind turning around towards goal. The guys punched the headwind and went along the valley, I desperately tried on the ridge and eventually landed after about 3/4 of the course. Would have been nice to make goal, but I had a great flight and excellent landing, and even the shade of trees for packing up, and I barely finished when Rebi turned up. 

We rewarded ourself with great pizzas and a swim in the pool. Lifesavers! While it´s pouring rain at home in Germany, it´s stinking hot in central Italy!

Marco Laurenzi won the day, and Roland Wöhrle finished on a fast 7th place as top German pilot.