18 Dezember 2008

It is your choice...

Im very proud that my home city Bremen suggested me for the "Athlete of the year" awards. We are five different girls from different sports who you can give your vote to here: http://www.nordcom.net/balldessports/
if you click on the small arrow in the lower right corner.
One vote will be made by all the online choices, two votes will be made on March 7th in Bremen at the "Ball of sports" where we will be presented to a jury and to the audience. On Jan. 16th, a pre-result will be published.
I think it is a great opportunity to present our small sport to the media and to the public, trying to find more hanggliding and paragliding enthusiasts for our beautiful, amazing sport! This article was published in the Bremen newspapers "Weser Kurier" and "Bremer Nachrichten" on Dec. 11th.

11 Dezember 2008

Hyderabad, India - Timezone UTC +5,5

So I really went to India yesterday and enjoyed the hazy sun and 30 degrees in Hyderabad today. Walking around Banjara Hills, I had to visit the adidas store and saw the new collection of Sania Mirza, and Indian Tennis Star. Great new things, I wonder if they will be sold in Herzogenaurach as well ;)

Also I shopped for spices and had to smile when I walked past this Red Bull shelf.

On the road, usually women do the hard physical work and men "supervise". Hm.

The scaffolding picture is for my father. Interesting structure.

Life seems to be completely back to normal here, it is as busy and noisy as usual. I really hope the bombings in Mumbai were the last ones. In May, two places here in Hyderabad were hit, so I hope this place is not a target at this moment. Certainly the safety measures everywhere are a lot stricter right now. Whenever going into the hotel, or a mall, or just a supermarket, bags are controlled and I was scanned several times with a metal detector.

The quarry behind the hotel
When we arrived this morning at 3.30 am, I heard noise outside like from a huge building place. It stopped around 8 am and just started again a few hours ago. A marble quarry behind the hotel? I doubt they work during the night in Carrara. Our hotel staff could not provide any information, so I sneaked outside and had a look myself.
Huge trucks are driving up and down right next to the pool area, everything is lit up, large blocks of stone are loaded and transported away. Stones the size of a mountain for a person from Bremen like me ;) big enough to take off from. Next question: how long? About 6 or 7 months was the vague answer... at least now I know it is not explosions on Christmas eve, but the guys pushing stones in the crater next door. Yes, I will have to be here on work on Christmas eve too, and I will have heavy duty ear plugs with me!

09 Dezember 2008

The day I nearly flew in Israel - Tel Aviv, Timezone UTC +2

My standby line had another surprise for me - a layover in Tel Aviv! As soon as they told me, I sent a text message to Ilan. When I was in Tel Aviv last time, about 7 years ago, I didnt know any pilot in the city.
Ilan answered immediately, aksing if I could bring my harness. Not possible, as I was already in Frankfurt airport, waiting for a flight to work on. With a nice crew we flew to Israel and got to the hotel around 5 am. After a few hours of sleep, Ilan picked me up at the hotel and we went two hours north to Mt Tavor. He got his friends harness for me, but it did not fit, so he gave me his own Moyes harness and his new Litespeed 3,5 s, the same model that I fly.
The country looks beautiful, big dark fields to the southwest, the Golan heights and the sea of Galilea to our east. Take off was as flat as Monte Cucco, and the wind was not really there, just some smoke on the ground indicated not exactly a perfect direction. Ilan took off anyway, I was impressed with his power run.
I hoped the sun would create a thermal and some good launch conditions for me, but instead the wind crossed and finally came in from the back, unfortunately quite strong. I started packing up, much to the disappointment of the two young arabian boys behind me who had expected to record a cool film on their mobile phone... I communicated with hand and feet (I dont speak arabic) and got them to pick up the glider - I just wanted to show them how heavy it is so they could understand what was going on. When the first one lifted it, his eyes nearly popped out his head and the other one laughed. Well ok, we had a nice tail wind on the sail ;) then the other one tried, and they both said goodbye and left on their scooter.
Ilan was braught back up by his friend Miki and we had a short chat in German. On the way back to Tel Aviv, we had a falafel stop at the greatest falafel entertainer of Israel - the falafels were flying through the air! Then a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, and I decided I wont wait another 7 years before coming back to this beautiful country.
Our crew left at 3 am to fly back, I arrived in the afternoon in Munich and now Im about to leave for my next trip tomorrow - probably Hyderabad in India!

30 November 2008

The sun rarely shines in Vancouver...

Since we arrived here in Vancouver, it kept raining and drizzling. Lucky that the hotel provides an umbrella for us! 3 pm feels as dark as late evening, it is difficult to stay up late here, specially with 9 hrs time difference in the back.
It is a bit warmer than at home, around 8 c above 0, so I kept walking around outside, because I like this city very much. Even when you dont exactly see that there is a waterfront or Grouse Mountain on the other side, because cloudbase is at sea level ;)
Every time there are more poor people in the streets, and yesterday I experienced a new sad record. I was asked for money by people living in the streets 26 times (in about 4 hours of walking around...) - that is more than in any other city I have been to.
But there are good news too - all our crew members who were in Mumbai returned home safely and are well looked after right now!

27 November 2008


Way into December, I have to work a standby line at Lufthansa which means I dont know when or where I will end up. Today I called and offered to work a day early - with the latest news from Mumbai I can imagine that some people are scared to fly there, so I offered help.
A few hours later, I was called and got a flight for tomorrow - going to Vancouver. A relief on one hand, even though I would have been ready to go to India to help, get colleagues and other people safely out of the country. My thoughts are with the people who live in Mumbai as well as with all visitors - quite a few times I had the opportunity to enjoy the vibrant city for a day, to taste the best food in the world, to haggle on the markets for silk and mangoes.
Three times over the past 12 months I met extraordinarily strong Indian women sitting next to me on private flights to Australia or the US, hard working and successful women, medical doctors or professors most of the times. I admired them for their amazing stories, for their braveness and for their vision that India is on the rise and they can support their country´s reputation abroad.

23 November 2008

Sportlertag DHV 2008

Today we are still in Bruchsal at the "day of the sport pilots" - we are listening to different presentations about hanggliding and paragliding. Torsten Hahne (on the photo) just showed us the most amazing photos of his cross country flights around the greatest peaks of the European Alps and glaciers. And by the way, he is 3rd in this years DHV xc contest in sport class.
Now Peter Achmueller is teaching us about how to improve performance in cross country flying, and how to work in the hanggliding and paragliding clubs - how to raise motivation. We are laughing a lot, Peter is a real comedy talent!
Soon after lunch, we will also get the awards for this years cross country contest, also for German leagues and German Cup. Soon more.

22 November 2008

DHV annual meeting: Honourings

Today we met in Bruchsal, close to Heidelberg, for the annual meeting of our hanggliding organisation DHV. First they started with honouring the pilots who won medals in European and World Championships. Rebekka Speckenheuer started with her song and video "Hammer" that she wrote for our women´s team - I dont know who was more nervous, me or her!
Then Monique, Regina, Ute, Christa and me were called to the stage and got a big applause from the about 150 delegates of all hanggliding and paragliding clubs in Germany. We got a great present - as a memory we got a real book filled with photos from the worlds at Monte Cucco.
After that, Ewa was honoured for her European paragliding champion medal - here we are sisters, I also won the gold medal at the hanggliding Europeans at Greifenburg, where the men´s team won the bronze team medal, so Andre, Lukas, Hans, Jörg, Gerald and Roland were called to the stage as well.
Now the political part of the meeting is starting, and tonight we will have a party for all the pilots. Tomorrow we will have the awards for the DHV XC flying contest with interesting presentations of some of the best cross country pilots.

16 November 2008

"Hamma" (Hammer)

After a couple of work trips last week (Orlando and Portland), I finally arrived back home, picked up my parents in the airport and we started preparing the big "gold party" that Regina and I celebrated with the German women´s national hanggliding team at Reginas place in Riedern last night.
But not only our team and people who helped us win this summer at Monte Cucco were there, also our families and friends, lots of pilots of different kinds. Regina and I loved to prepare the best food in the world for our loved ones, all tasty, healthy and vegetarian. And I heard quite a few people raving about the Indian and Thai curries, the pumpkin soup or the veggie chilli ;)
Unfortunately, a lot of our friends from further away could not make it this time - we hope they are all well and that we see them sometime soon anyway. Music, food, lots of flying action projectored to the wall and even a dance floor!
But the best surprise was our young friend Rebekka - she and her friend Sandra have created a video for us about the worlds, they dubbed a song and cut a whole film. Incredible job! We love "Hamma" - have a look at it here: Hamma you will see quite a lot from the women´s worlds and I wish all of you could understand their German lines of the song. Those two girls are great, incredible, and that is what "Hamma", actually "hammer" means in colloquial German. Thanks a lot for the song and the film, and we hope they will be successful on MTV ;)

31 Oktober 2008

My Australian Hero

I had intended to write a bit more about Jeddah and also about Ewas movie, when I read about great news from down under where the Aussies already had 6 rounds in the Canungra Classic comp and they fly the final round tomorrow/in a few hours.
Local boy and top Australian pilot Jonny Durand bombed out the first day because he was very sick, and is now in first place!!! Believe it or not, it really sounds incredible! World Champion Attila Bertok is close behind him, so it will be a very nerve-wrecking last round!
Unfortunately I couldnt make it there this year, but every morning when I have a cuppa and look at Big Jon´s great Canungra mug, I think of my friends down under and hope that they get great thermals and a safe flight. And I keep my fingers crossed for Jonny the legend - he deserves to win after that incredible week.
By the way, to get one of those great mugs, you have to be in the top 10 of the Canungra Classic comp, which is quite difficult with all those Australian guns racing there. Results and pictures here: Canungra Classic 2008
By the way - all you paragliding guys should consider trying hanggliding as well! Australian pg pilot Enda Murphy is currently ranked 5th in the comp in his second year of hanggliding. I bet he has a lot of fun!
Also amazing - young German talent Jonas Blecher won one round in this years Classic! I took me years to get there once... great on him, I hope he enjoys the great company and the parties just as well.

25 Oktober 2008

Ewas paragliding movie in the cinema!

I just returned from the premiere of the first paragliding movie in cinemas ever: "Reise zum Horizont" (Journey to the Horizon), featuring Ewa and her 69 years old pg student Dörthe.
The applause for producer/editor Thomas Latzel and for Ewa and Dörthe was neverending, about 200 spectators were deeply touched by their amazing story and incredible aerial pictures in different parts of the world. More tomorrow.

15 Oktober 2008

Jeddah - Timezone GMT+3

My last adventure took me to Saudi Arabia. The only way to enter the country is by work or with an invitation from a company or the Royal family, so I was excited to see a country that I usually cant travel to. We flew Frankfurt-Jeddah-Asmara (Eritrea)-Jeddah and arrived just after midnight.
Jeddah airport is quite small, with a large area outside for the muslim pilgrims who do the hadj and go to Mekka or Medina. No chance to get to those places unless it says "muslim" in your passport. Anyway, I could not have rented a car anyway, because women are not allowed to drive a car in Saudi Arabia. Really, no kidding! Also, women dont work, not on the market, not in restaurants, not in hotels... so there are a lot of Indians, Pakistani, Africans - people from other countries who do the work.

26 September 2008

Back in Munich

Back in cold rainy Munich, I am still dreaming of Mexico. Just to give you a picture when you haven´t been there for a while - last year for the pg pre worlds, the take off at el Penon quadripled in size. Still sandy then, it is now beautiful green, grass everywhere.
Also amazing: The landing field at the lake looks really big enough now for a hangglider as well. I only landed there once years ago and just made it with dry feet... now it looks much nicer.
Tomorrow I will meet Alex Ploner, Regina, Andy, Jörg and Tim in the Dolomites. The weather forecast is great and team Timezone is going to take some photos and films in the spectacular scenery.

23 September 2008

Valle de Bravo - Timezone GMT-5

Today Miguel Gutierrez picked me up in Mexico City and took me out to Valle de Bravo. It didnt look very flyable, so we just cruised around and he showed me what he and Oscar are doing at the moment to prepare for the perfect paragliding world championships that will be held here in January 2009. I had flown a competition in the beautiful area two times and I was overwhelmed by the work they have put into take off and landing areas!
I will post more pictures as soon as I am at home - seeing how much work they all put into the event makes me want to be on the pg national team! Ewa knows this area very well and loves to fly in Valle, she will have the best chance to compete successfully in a really great event. With Nextel Miguel and Oscar have a really strong sponsor, and apart from amazing flying around the vulcanos of Valle, be prepared for some incredible events - these guys are really creative!
...by the way, the Monarca competition first week of January already has 91 entries, so if you want to go, you should consider entering now ;)

20 September 2008

Screaming Mimi

Not exactly as pink as in the TV series "Riptide", but at least as screaming - when I joined a business event for Cisco a week ago, I was the only one allowed to sit in the cockpit during the flight in this great old Sikorsky helicopter. It had been painted in army green because it played a roll in the movie "the storm flood" some years ago. No digital screens in the cockpit, quite a different sight to the jet cockpits I usually see, only beautiful old instruments. The pilot was experienced and despite quite a strong sw wind, we had a really smooth flight.

Dieser Heli ist zwar nicht schreiend rosa wie die Sikorsky in der Serie "Trio mit vier Fäusten", aber mindestens genauso laut - als ich vor einer Woche einen Vortrag für Cisco halten durfte, wurde ich zu einem Rundflug eingeladen und war die einzige, die beim Flug im Cockpit sitzen durfte. Dieser Heli wurde in bundeswehr-grün angestrichen für den Fernsehfilm "Die Sturmflut", der vor etwa 2 Jahren im Fernsehen lief. Im Cockpit ein herrlicher Uhrenkasten, nicht ein einziges digitales Instrument! Der erfahrene Pilot flog uns sanft durch die Hügel von Heilbronn, trotz starken Windes kaum ein Wackler. Sah total einfach aus, vielleicht muß ich Guido anhauen, daß er mir auch mal Helifliegen beibringt...

14 September 2008

Back to winter

It was superhot when we were setting up the glider at satellite beach in Florida. Had there been a dune like in Christchurch, we could have flown here all day with the pelicans.
Now back in Munich Im missing the heat - temperatures were down to 6 degrees celcius this morning, and the prediction is for snow in the mountains down to 1500m today! Winter cant be far away... lucky that there might be some flights to Mexico, Argentina and Brazil on my schedule soon!

11 September 2008

Escaping the hurricanes

Long hours of work - I flew to Orlando with Jamie and Rolf Wenzel who is producing a film for the Lufthansa Magazine on Air. We filmed on board while I was working and Jamie was our very patient passenger. I had hoped to be able to fly and film at Quest, but we arrived one day too late- it was too windy on Monday and Tuesday with hurricane "Ike" passing along south of Florida.
At least Rolf could film my usual layover training - swimming, running, working out in the gym. In the evening we cooked porcini risotto and had a beautiful dinner on Jamie´s veranda 20 m away from the waves.
Thanks for your invitation, Rae-Ann, I only saw it when we were on our way back already. I would love to see you when Im around next time.
At the moment Im preparing a presentation about hanggliding and being successful in competition for some Cisco sales people - "The view from above". Tomorrow in Heilbronn I will present it and get to fly in a big helicopter with the guys, i hope the weather stays this nice ;)
More pictures soon.

05 September 2008

Real people in every Timezone!

Walking through Manhattan, we had a lot of fun - but why keep people asking me for the way? Happened three times on this trip ;) do I look like a local?
Here on broadway a young guy walked past me and asked "Corinna? Bist Du Corinna Schwiegershausen?" I was stunned - out of all the 20 odd million people in Manhattan, I met a German pilot who said he knows me from the magazines and his friend who flies the competitions. Sometimes the world is small.
Now we are off to Frankfurt, then to Orlando to film on board and also hopefully at Quest if Hanna is fast and Ike is slow... Im not too keen on thermalling in the torandos of a hurricane!

30 August 2008

Skyline Moyes Party in Marquartstein

I just returned from the great Skyline Moyes party at Weßner Hof, organized by "Mr Skyline" Wolfgang Genghammer and his team. About 60 pilots were flying from Hochplatte take off, or were aerotowed, came in from Kössen or Hochfelln or other mountains, it was a great fly-in! Star of the tug pilots was Dragonfly inventor Bobby Bailey who barely touched the ground today. He had fun taking passengers into the air, showing them the beautiful castles and mountains of Chiemgau from the air, or towing up happy hangglider and rigid wing pilots.
I saw some Slovenian national team pilots, some Italians, Hungarians, Austrians of course - it was a big international event, and I had the honour (and power) to present our sport to the audience, interviewing pilots and telling people what it is all about. Nice to see the big smiles in peoples faces who went up for the first time!
Now I will be off to Frankfurt and tomorrow to Newark. My sponsor Timezone had a large shop at the party with great trousers, so I will sport my new great pair tomorrow in Manhattan - maybe those hip and trendy New Yorkers will appreciate them ;) I was happy that my friend and team mate Jamie wasnt at the party today, she already has plenty of access luggage kilos when she flies back next week and Im sure would have ended up with a lot more today, as the collection was excellent!
A last time to meet Oli for a while, he will be off to Australia to stay with his family and escape winter. Of course Gerolf was at the party, presenting the beautiful new Moyes "Malibu" a mix of beginners and intermediate glider. Tonight they will have Tom Weißenberger talking about his "Island jump" and about the biggest triangle started in Germany this year, in May he flew a 320 km FAI triangle from Hochfelln!
With Primoz, Regina, Jörg, Andi and me we had a great bunch of Team Timezone pilots at the meet, and people loved to have their photo taken in front of our sails with the Timezone wings. For tonight or tomorrow, they also expect Alex Ploner to drive or fly over from Italy, the new rigid wing World Champion.
I wish I could party with all of them tonight, sitting at the bonfire, watching the best of hanggliding. These Skyline parties have a great reputation throughout the area.

28 August 2008

Antenne Bayern, Anastacia and GO on TV!

I just came back from a radio interview with one of the biggest private radio networks in Germany, Antenne Bayern. They have an impressive studio at Ismaning, a few kms north of Munich.
When I arrived, there was excitement in the air - they told me that Anastacia was there, right now next door. And she outed herself and admitted for the first time that she turned 40, not 35! Great on her. I love her music, her incredible voice, her passion - and she patiently gave lots of autographs and had photos taken with fans, she seems to be a great person too! (no, I didnt dare to ask her for a photo or autograph, I just admired her from a few meters away and thought what a great job she does with her inspiring music).

For the very positive side of the German Open, I forgot to mention Henry Maek who put a lot of effort into the comp. He managed to get two TV stations out and they some great shows about the comp, one of the shows was even broadcasted life!!! Have a look at the impressions here: http://www.dhv.de/typo/German_Open.
There were also big articles in two local newspapers, which is a great advertisement for our sport.Thanks, Henry, I know how much effort it takes to convince those guys that it is worth coming over and filming a story! When I waited for the copy of the show, I heard that the RBB guys were really pleased, they all agreed it had been the nicest story they had done all week!

24 August 2008

German Open – some Highlights

The nicest moment of this years German Open was when Sarah, the cute little daughter of Henry Maek (he is one of the organizers), gave a great bunch of flowers to me for having won the German Champion title. Konrad Lüders played a song for the rigid wings on his violin, but I only knew the „Hungarian Dances“ that he played for the hanggliding pilots. Very fast run up and down the keys, very inviting to dance (at least for Regina and me), good job, Konrad!
Also special thanks to Wulf, one of the hardest working volunteers Ive ever seen in a comp. And my flying highlight was Harm the Dutch Dragonfly pilot when he dropped me off directly into a thermal yesterday – not an easy task up here in the north!
Uli Eysel was lucky and he is fine after the towing incident on the first day, but he has to have a gum surgery on Monday.
Im extremely happy that my Slovenian friend Primoz (Reginas boyfriend) is now German Champion in Class 5.
And now some of the controversies of the comp for dear Davis.
Concerning the competition, Im still not sure who really deserves the title.
On that first day, I didnt even get a chance to leave the airfield. I had two tows of horror with huge lockouts and decided it is not safe for me to try and tow in a 90 degrees crosswind of up to 30 km/h in gusts. Call me chicken – anyway, I was still disappointed that I didnt even get a fair chance on that day, because I didnt get higher than 50m off the deck.
Elio and Lukas looked at the towing conditions, also at the strong southerly and just shook their heads and also did not get on course. When even the towing pilots call it Russion Roulette and have doubts to tow in those conditions...
Second day that we flew, the pitch measurement discussion started. We had to change towing directions and move our glider about 800m along the field – when Lukas moved the other way. I asked what happens, and he said they want to measure his glider´s pitch in the shelter now... in the beginning of the competition task? Lukas is very strong, but after carrying his glider over and back, take off had already started and he was exhausted. They did the same thing with Andre Djamarani, the top ranked German pilot of the Europeans. Lukas and Andre could only start really late into the task on that day and I suppose both of them were physically and mentally quite exhausted, so they did not get a fair chance to compete in their own national championships.
On the other hand, winner Roland Wöhrles glider was not measured once. It seems like similar problems as last year – lack of concept, thus more disturbing than helping or working together. I had my glider measured in the goal, in the morning of the last task and in goal again, and was able to find agreeable settings, I could move my glider over in time, so I was lucky. Andre and Lukas have been the best German pilots this year, always highest ranked in the competitions they flew, but even the best guys can´t perform properly when they are forced to cross the line of their stress level.
We had a lot of discussions about how to do the measurements and how to deal with them at the Europeans, and there it seemed quite constructive and positive. Over here, that system was not adapted. Numbers and names were published so everybody knew who were the „bad guys“.
Out of the seven comps I have flown this year so far, this was definitely the most disturbing one.

23 August 2008

German Open finish

Yesterday Lukas and my glider were measured before the task and after we landed at goal. My glider was found ok, but they zeroed Lukas for the day because they measured lower settings than they allowed (just to explain the results).
Overall Oli Barthelmes came second, Hans Kiefinger 3rd, Jörg fourth and I ended up 5th and as I was the top ranked woman, I was also able to defend the title as German Champion.
In rigid class, Primoz Gricar became German Champion, Toni Raumauf placed 2nd in the German Open and Dirk Ripkens 3rd.
Elio Cataldi had a problem with his gps yesterday and landed at the airfield, so he lost his 3rd place.
Japanese pilot Akira Mutazono finished 11th.
My gear is packed, early tomorrow morning I have to work on the flight to Vancouver.
Next weekend I will be back to go to the Skyline Moyes party at Marquartstein and I hope to see a lot of pilots and friends there.

22 August 2008

German Open Day 5, 80 km out and return

Again a significant southwester, also some high cirrus moving through and shading off some areas. Still the task committee set an 80 km out and return to Golssen and back to the airfield Altes Lager.
Today I only needed one tow, Harm dropped me right into a thermal with his Dragonfly today! Lucky, because the tow was quite turbulent, the air was really rough.
I got high and decided to start out on course because it didnt look like conditions would get better. I was on my own, just a rigid wing in sight every now and then. It wasnt easy to get to the turnpoint even thoug we were flying with a tailwind, because the ground was shaded sometimes. I guess I rounded the turnpoint first, and only flying back Oli and Hans nearly caught up to me, but I made it in first, followed by Oli and Hans. Maybe 8 flex pilots made goal, and quite a few rigids, Toni Raumauff won the rigid day ahead of Primoz and Tim.
Looks like quite a lot of rain moving in tonight, we might not be able to fly tomorrow.
Thanks to Willi for the great picture of my father!

21 August 2008

German Open Day 4, 120 km to goal

Today the wind calmed down, cloudbase was at about 1500 m and a task of 120 km to the Polish border was set. I needed two tows to find some lift that took me up - the others had already left, so I was on my own most of the day.
Primoz passed me and for some few kilometers we flew together, but I couldnt keep pace with his Phantom. Anyway, I made goal, about 8 people were there already.
I just got back, results are not out yet, but it looks like Hans won the day, followed by Oli
Thanks to Christiane Kappes for the photo.

20 August 2008

German Open Day 3

Today the wind is really strong again, so the day was cancelled for the flex wings, for the rigids they are still waiting for a decision.
Yesterdays task was apparently valid, as the protest did not get through. Again not exactly a decision for safety and fairness, just a decision to keep enough tasks for a maybe valid German Open, if the weather turns flyable again this week. Disappointing.
On the photo another impression from the Orangerie at the castle in Postdam.

German Open Day 2

We tried to fly a 53 km task on Monday, but it was extremely difficult to get into the air and stay there. The wind was blowing hard from the south, we were starting with a crosswind into a lee side situation, thermals were light and broken, drifting was not possible because it drifted you into tiger country.
Oli landed again and got up very late, then Lukas, Hans and Elio came back even later. Hans was the only one who had a reflight at about 5pm, and he was the only one who made goal. About half of the field signed a complaint that was turned into a protest because the flying was not safe and also the ordered launch did not properly work, it was more than one and a half hours to get 23 pilots into the air because we had many lock outs and weak links broken. The chances for the pilots were not fair, depending on when they got into the air they ended up on course. After the protest, the day was neutralized.
Today the wind was even stronger than yesterday and was cancelled straight away, with the prediction of gusts up to 60 km/h on ground level. I had seen a huge line of cloud cover on the satellite, moving at about 200km/h, it arrived here just after midday.
My Mum always wanted to see castle „Sans Souci“ at Potsdam, a 45 km drive from here, so today we went there and had a look at the grand gallery of portraits. The most famous one, a Rubens, had been taken to Russia after the war and is currently in St Petersburg at the Eremitage. The castle and the beautiful gardens and fountains reminded me of Versailles close to Paris. Definitely worth a visit!
Tomorrow the frontal system is expected to be through, and I hope the wind will ease off as well. There is plenty of space for towing at Altes Lager, the runway is big enough for a 747 to land there, but it is only straight east-west, and the grassy areas around it are not prepared for towing, which makes it difficult to take off with a strong ssw wind.

18 August 2008

German Open Day 1

Here at Altes Lager, 60 km south of Berlin, we have covered skies and not a great forecast. So far we postponed the briefing to 13.00 hrs because the sky was covered, every now and then a shower. Maybe it will improve a little, maybe not. I would not mind a rest day today, because I have to fly with somebody elses harness and helmet, because Oli forgot my equipment at Skyline ;) at least he brought my glider! And Wolfi sent the harness up today, hopefully it will be here tomorrow.
We have Elio Cataldi (European Champion) and his family here, also a Japanese and a few Hungarian pilots. We are about 55 pilots, I dont know how many trikes, and one Dragonfly. As soon as there is another decision, I will let you know.

17 August 2008

Meeting a friend in Munich...

Last night Ewa was on her way to Greifenburg where she is helping to organize the Junior&Ladies-Challenge, when she stopped by my place and we had dinner. Great to catch up with the paragliding world as well. On the picture you see two happy European Champions, two girls who love the sky! This year the flying women of Germany were very successful. Ewa finished the Europeans on 18th place overall as second best German pilot!!!
Today Im leaving for Jüterbog, 1 hr south of Berlin, to fly the German Open. And I keep my fingers crossed for Ewa at the Worlds in January in Mexico. It is her favourite place to fly, so I hope she will have a lot of fun, success, and - most of all - a really safe meet!

14 August 2008

More photos!

Today I went up Rauschberg with Chrissy and Stephan to take some aerial shots from my glider. It was the only possible flying day with a bit of sun this week and we were lucky to catch it. At the moment there is already thunder and lightening outside, another huge front will roll through tonight. I really hope they dont get too much rain in Wuppertal, as they will launch the Red Bull X-Fighters event on Saturday. Motocross drivers won´t mind the mud, but the spectators I guess...
Later I will go and pick up the photos from Chrissy and then post one or the other for you, so you can have a look at the beautiful Ruhpolding, the place where we had our German Open last year.

11 August 2008

Slovenian Open and British Open

Congratulations to European Champion Elio Cataldi (ITA) - yesterday he won the Slovenian Open in Tolmin, ahead of my favourite Slovenian Pilot Primoz Gricar. Also great performance: Stefan Boller in 8th place (best German pilot) and my Timezone team mate Jörg Bajewski in 16th place! Have a look at Jörgs Blog here: http://joergbajewski.blogspot.com/

After four rounds at the British Open in Laragne, the winner is Moyes Litespeed designer Gerolf Heinrichs from Austria. With Walter Mayer the Austrians also won the team score way ahead of any British team.

Next Monday, the German Open will start in Berlin, I also hope to see Elio Cataldi there. After the German Open, see you at the Moyes-Skyline-Party at Weßner Hof on the 29th and 30th!

10 August 2008

NDR 22.45 tonight

Tonight I will drive to Hamburg with my parents and some friends from my hanggliding club here in Bremen, because I was invited to a sports program of the North German television NDR and Radio Bremen. They will show a film about the worlds in Italy and interview me. Helmut Wilms set up his glider in the studio! They sound very interested - they insisted on me bringing my vario and explaining it, Im very happy to have a chance to show more people what our sport is about.
The show starts at 22.45 until 23.45, very late.
I only just arrived back from Hyderabad/India yesterday, so tonight I will bring plenty of Red Bull to the studio to stay awake ;)
Heute Abend werde ich mit meinen Eltern und ein paar Freunden von unserem Bremer Drachenflugverein DFC Weser nach Hamburg in Fernsehstudio vom NDR fahren. Ich wurde zur Sportschau eingeladen, um etwas über unsere WM zu erzählen. Außerdem hat Helmut Wilms seinen Drachen im Studio aufgehängt, darin soll ich mit anmoderieren. Es wird sicher ein Spaß werden - obwohl ich gestern erst aus Hyderabad/Indien von einer Arbeitstour zurückkam... zum Glück hab ich für diese Fälle den richtigen Sponsor und werde einfach das ganze Fernsehstudio mit Red Bull versorgen, dann schlafe auch ich nicht ein. Die Sendung fängt nämlich erst um 22.45 an und geht bis 23.45 Uhr.
Die Redakteurin scheint sehr interessiert, ich sollte auf jeden Fall mein Compeo (Vario/GPS) mitbringen und erklären. Wie schön, daß ich unseren tollen Sport der Öffentlichkeit vorstellen darf!


05 August 2008

tonight on TV

Tonight between 18.00 and 18.45 on Bayern 3 there will be a report about the hanggliding world championships on television.

On Sunday, August 10th, I will be in Hamburg life at NDR between 22.45 and 23.45, they will show footage of the Worlds and interview me.

04 August 2008

Meeting Steve Morse again

Sorry that there was nothing on TV last night, they must have changed their programs last minute - but we will go on trying and I will let you know if anything is on.
As a little excuse, I have this exclusive picture for you from the Deep Purple concert in the cloister of Benediktbeuern last night.
Some of you might remember that I landed in an airfield at the world Championships two years ago that is owned by Steve Morse. He is not only one of the best guitarrists in the world, but he is also a keen pilot and interested in anything that flies. When I landed in his front yard in Florida, he smiled at me and asked if he could help me pack up the glider and wanted to know everything about my instruments. Charlie who made the film about the worlds told me who Steve is - difficult for me to imagine that this modest, friendly guy is a show biz mega star.
Steve invited me to the concert last night and even though the schedule was supertight, we managed to briefly meet yesterday before the concert started.
I was blown away, Steve was so friendly, happy to see me, congratulated me for the new title and told all the other guys as well about his encounter with that hanggliding girl. Then he took his guitar and we followed the band on stage, staying right next to the guy who was looking after Steve´s guitars.
Peter Achmueller was with me, and we both could not believe that we were standing next to the great band Deep Purple, rocking away on stage. Amazing music, and an incredible flair under the clear bright milky way. A warm, perfect evening for that open air concert, and a location to give you goosebumps. For the first time I heard and saw Steve playing life, performing with great virtuosity. How adorable when a genius is so down to earth - or should I say, up in the sky ;) ?
I just wish Steve had had a bit more time, I would have loved to take him and his family flying into the alps - it was a perfect sky with beautiful clouds yesterday... maybe next time!

03 August 2008

Fernsehen heute / on TV today

Wenn ihr deutsches Fernsehen bekommt, heute im ZDF um 17.55 Uhr läuft ein Beitrag über unsere WM im Sportblitz, später gibt es auf RTL 2 um 20.00 Uhr einen Film in den News.

If you can receive German programs, today there will be a film on ZDF at 17.55 in the sport, then later on RTL 2 at 20.00 a film about our worlds in the news! I hope I manage to record it.

02 August 2008


We just finished a very beautiful and emotional closing ceremony of the World Championships. I cant post photos right now, will do that tonight when we arrive in Munich (if we ever arrive...). Manfred and me were called "Mega-Campione", because we both won the Worlds in our class for the 4th time!
What a great event! Thanks to Flavio and all his helpers who made a dream come true - we had a safe competition, a lot of fun, great tasks - 8 days of flying with 6 interesting tasks! - and, most of all, everybody enjoyed themselves and wants to come back next time!
Thanks to all the people who believe in us and helped us so much - the DHV, Rudl, Ecki, my parents, Rebi and Klaus, Luise, Charly and Rafael, all the people who kept their fingers crossed for us and enjoyed reading the news. It is very encouraging for new pilots to try competitions, because we obviously learnt a lot and also had fun.
And - by the way - Jamie, Monique, Ute, Regina, Christa and me did not need a single upright over these two weeks of flying!

Now we will head back to Munich, tomorrow night Im invited to the Deep Purple concert in Benediktbeuren by Steve Morse - so more interesting news later.
And thanks to Jamie, I already can show you a photo of our gold medal team on the podium today!

01 August 2008

World Champion/s !!!

It`s pouring with rain outside, thunder and lightening and all. Today we went up Cucco South, a 92 km task was set. It got really dark when we started on course, and the storm development over our 2nd turnpoint Scheggia was already inevitable. About 15 minutes into the task, the day was cancelled. I put my legs out of my harness to let everybody know who doesnt have radio contact, and then went back to land in Sigillo.
This was the last day of the comp, and that means Team Germany is World Champion again, and I am World Champion for the 4th time! And it was bloody hard work too, a lot of fun to race with Kathleen, Francoise, Carole, Natalia and the others! The Russian team is vice Champion, Team Japan is on a great third place - this time, next time the Japanese want to win, they said! With Aki and Akari they have two great young pilots on the team who will be very strong soon.
On the photo you see Alex Ploner, he is now FAI Class 5 World Champion for the 2nd time! And the Italian team won the gold medal as well, Germany came 4th.
Manfred Ruhmer is old and new World Champion in Swift class.
Now we will party and party and party... it has been a pleasure to fly here, to be on a new team who is fresh and motivated - and they all did better than ever before! I guess RED BULL gave everybody wings, not just me ;) So did Adidas as our team sponsor - watch out for more pictures tomorrow after the award ceremony!
Thanks to Moyes for a great glider, Woody Valley for a supersleek and comfy harness, Brauniger for the most reliable GPS and Vario, also to Timezone for the great leisure wear. Now I cant wait to see Charlies film footage out on dhv.de, you find it soon on dhv tv. l

31 Juli 2008

6th task: 75 km

Today I got good news: I had enough points on Kathleen yesterday to move up to 1st place overall! Just by a few points, but it feels nice to be a little bit ahead. The Russians got closer with Natalia having won the day, so we had to work harder today.
We set a 75 km task, because the prediction was for overdevelopment. Also we flew into the Fabriano valley, along Tre Pizzi for the first time in this comp. After a great start together with Francoise (she had moved up to 3rd yesterday), I lost it a bit at Tre Pizzi. Just couldnt get the fast lift and got stuck. Suddenly Regina was 10 km ahead. But she reported shadow and sink from around the second turnpoint, so I slowed down, went all the way up to base and flew carefully. At the turnpoint, I caught up with Natalia, Yulia and - Christa! Flying out to the turnpoint, I was lucky and found us a nice thermal back to base. Regina had landed, so did Jamie and Monique. Together with Christa we were moving at a good pace and were able to beat the Russian girls into goal.
Argentinian Laura Bazan won the day by 20 minutes, but only 6 pilots made it in, so it wont mix things up too much. Yulia tried so hard to catch up that she landed in a tree (no worries, she is alright), and apparently on the tree the gps rang and she was in the goal radius;)
Kathleen landed at the first turnpoint I heard, and I havent seen Carol so far. It might be me in first, Francoise 2nd and Natalia 3rd after today.
Christian Ciech won the rigid day, about 20 minutes ahead of Alex. Steve Cox won the swift class again today.

30 Juli 2008

5th task: Team Germany in Goal!

Today we flew another short 62 km task because the organizer Francesco wanted to see many women in goal. As the cloudbase went up to 3000m towards Gubbio, it was a fun race. Natalia won the day with Francoise shortly after, then I arrived as third, Carole 4th, Regina 5th, then Julia from Russia, also Jamie, Christa, Ute and Monique made it to goal in the top half. A good day for team Germany, so we deserve now to cool down after a hot day!
Kathleen didnt quite get into the goal radius, she only finished the 2km radius, I dont know exactly what that means in points. Maybe I just managed to catch up today, maybe I still have to work on that one the next couple of tasks ;)
A Japanese pilot won the rigid wing task today, with Primoz Gricar in second.
And big news from the Swift class: The first time that Steve Cox (CH), former paragliding world champion, won ahead of Manfred Ruhmer!

29 Juli 2008

4. Task: 82 km

Today was a more difficult day than we thought. At taskbriefing, no clouds, so we set 80km. Then we had higher clouds later on and wanted a longer task, possible overdevelopment let us go back to 82km though. When we started, the wind picked up and killed a lot of thermals for our startgate, I tried my best and nearly landed. I was so close to the ground, zipper of my harness open... but the field looked good, red rocky ground, and I was lucky once more - a very rough, dust devil type thermal was good enough to give me a few more meters, and step by step I moved a little higher.
How to get back to the 11km start radius though... I had to go back against headwind and was flushed again :( ok, then I remembered a grand friend of mine, Bertrand Piccard (who flew around the world in a balloon) - if you can´t go against the wind, go with it! So I did and headed out opposite direction to the start radius, completely off course, and it worked! Eventually I made the first point and took a big detour again to the second, detour for the third as well. After the third, I got low and had to land. I made about 56 km today on the task and probably flew 120 km to get there - but not many people got away at all today, so I am happy to have made a few more points on Kathleen. Won´t be many, because not many people even made the first turnpoint.
After my landing, when my parents had already found me, we enjoyed a fantastic aerobatics show - a guy with a high powered little plane came over and decided to make us all happy with some loopings, barrel rolls and low overpasses. We nearly jumped high enough to touch him. Whoever it was, thank you very much, you made our day!
From our team, nobody did the first turnpoint. I hope we did not loose too many points today in the team score.
We really need some nice flying conditions, so far it has been a very difficult meet. I so hope that we can fly a big task tomorrow - and I now some nice turnpoints out in the valleys I saw today ;)
On the photo (thanks to our team-doc Ecki!) Primoz Gricar from Slovenia, one of my best friends - he is 3rd in the rigid wing ranking at the moment and also a member of our Timezone team!

28 Juli 2008

5th day: Task stopped, storm development

Today the wind was less strong than yesterday, so we happily set up at Monte Cucco North take off. We set a 69 km task, because the prediction was for possible storms in the afternoon, cloudbase at only 1800m, and a bit of wind.
When we took off, we could already watch a cell developing northeast of the first turnpoint, and before the startgate opened, it started raining on course. Also the second turnpoint in Gubbio was under a squall line of of a huge cu nimb, so the task was stopped in the air and we landed at Sigillo goal. The wind was very gusty and strong when we landed, and we were happy to be safely on the ground.
And on the photo you see why the Italians have such strong pilots - they start training very early! I invited the two girls for the Women´s World Championships in 2022 ;)

27 Juli 2008

Day 5 cancelled, too much wind, low cloudbase

Today we could not fly, the rigid wing guys didnt even set up at Cucco north take off. The wind was howling, the clouds were exploding, and base was merely above us. They made us wait till 3 pm until we finally decided to pack up our gliders, because the wind still picked up. Must have been up to 60 km/h when we left.
Another day to revive and prepare for tomorrow. Maybe the following days are nicer.
And to my friend Patrick: If you get to the base in Frankfurt, could you pick up some Lufthanseat copies for me please? Apparently a photo of me flying above Greifenburg is on the front page of the current edition of our internal Lufthansa newspaper, with a long article inside. Cant wait to see that! It was a lot of fun to talk to the young, enthusiastic journalist who wrote it.
I just saw the team scores, we are in the lead with 500 points now, a great success so far! We will do our best to keep it - looks like we will have a lot more taskable days ahead of us.

26 Juli 2008

3. Task: 59 km race!

Today the conditions improved by the minute. A low base of 1700m was the forecast, with cirrus moving in later. Turned out that the day was highly underestimated, I flew 59 km in 1 hour 12 minutes, so it wont be worth much. Im still happy that I won the day, with about 4 minutes on the second, Kathleen again!
Team Japan had 5 of their 6 pilots in goal, with Aki (to my right on the photo) the first Japanese in! Also our team did well today, five pilots in, only Jamie couldnt quite make it. Regina crossed the line only 10 minutes after me and just after Carole and Francoise! Regina was racing with me, always staying a little higher and watching me from above. Still she managed to increase our points on the Russian girls with her great performance today.
Monique landed as 3rd German girl in goal, still in the top 10 I think. Her zipper broke even before the startgate opened, so she had to fly with an open, upright harness, and she still did so well! She collapsed in goal, absolutely exhausted, and she will receive a relaxing massage tonight. Maybe she can try my harness or Tim`s.
After Monique, Christa raced over goal, then Ute followed.
The rigid wing pilots also had a short task, about 116 km. Christian or Alex were first in again, with Tim in 3rd! Tim and Andy are the youngest pilots on our rigid wing team, 21 and 20 years old, yet great pilots already! It´s a lot of fun to stay with these very positive young guys in our team residence. The German rigid team moved up to 3rd place yesterday, and today they have done well again! The Italians are unbeatable here though.
Sorry for just writing English today, but we have to look after getting Monique the best equipment for tomorrow. Looks like it might od tomorrow, so maybe another short task, maybe another day for travelling and touristing in this great corner of Italy!

25 Juli 2008

Day 3 cancelled, too windy

Today a task of 72 km was set for the women, but the windspeed at takeoff increased to 45km/h and the local rules only allow a speed up to 40 km/h for a safe task. Base was at 1700m and apparently really turbulent, as Primoz just told me. I decided to pack up. The task for the rigid wing pilots was cancelled as well because they had a non-landable area ahead of them and could not go anywhere further on course. So we hope for nicer conditions tomorrow.
Jonny Carr had fractured his foot yesterday at take off and cant continue, also Ecki had to replace Arnold Nadlingers shoulder again after landing... all the women were fine and had a great flight yesterday, with 17 in goal, lots of them for the first time. Our team took first place in the overall ranking now, followed by the Russians and the Japanese in third. The Japanese have two new young pilots on their team, they are doing really well!

Heute wurde die Aufgabe wegen zu starken Windes am Start abgesagt. Die Local Regulations sehen vor, daß es ab 40 km/h unsicher wird für Start und Aufgabe. Primoz hat von der Strecke berichtet, daß es nur bis auf 1700m hinaufging und sehr turbulent war, teilweise kam man in starkem Sinken kaum vorwärts. Die Aufgabe der Starrflügelpiloten wurde abgesagt, als diese vor einem nichtlandbaren Gebiet einbremsten und keine Chance sahen, die Aufgabe weiterzufliegen.
Ich habe am Start abgebaut, ebenso unsere anderen Teampilotinnen. Wir hoffen, daß das Wetter morgen oder spätestens am Sonntag wieder eine größere, sichere Aufgabe zuläßt.
Ach ja, die beste Nachricht zum Schluß: Wir haben im Team gestern den ersten Platz übernommen, 300 Punkte vor den Russinnen sind ein schönes Zwischenergebnis.

24 Juli 2008

First goal, and first in goal! Erstes Ziel, und erste im Ziel!

Today looked even better than yesterday, higher clouds and less windy. Still we only set a 70 km task to get more women to goal, and it worked! We got girls from most nationalities to goal, Russians, Japanese (Mitsuko, Akari and Akiko), Swiss, British, French, Argentinian, Dutch, and many more.
Again, in the air Kathleen (GB) and I ended up together with Carole Tobler (CH), and we raced into goal together, with a few seconds between us. Maybe I even have a few seconds on Kathleen today... she is flying great, as if she never had a break of 9 years of comp flying! Of course, I had a comment from Gordon straight away - amazing that so many people read my blog! Thanks, and yes, Kathleen`s and Gordon`s Litespeed 4 is a great glider, it is already 3 years old but in phantastic shape. Yet, the pilot is also great, so it makes the perfect combination. By the way, Kathleen won every task but one at the worlds 98 in Hungary, I only won one task but then the whole meet - is it going to be the other way around here now?
But the girl who impressed me most of all today was my team mate Christa. Yesterday she bombed out because she had trouble with her borrowed vario, the radio didnt work and was only fixed last minute - today everything worked fine, and she was the second German lady at goal, right in the top ten! Amazing mental strength, to just tick off yesterday and do so well today! Shortly after, also Ute and Jamie got to goal, what a great team result today.
The rigids had three Italians in the top three today, Alex, Franco Laverdino and Christian Ciech. In Swift class, Manfred was first again and landed even before me at goal, even though their task was 160 km... took him about two hours!
The weather forecast is promising for many more tasks, so keep thinking of us, it helps a lot!
For more infos and pictures, also have a look at my friend Rebi`s Blog: http://rebiintheairneu.blogspot.com/

Der Tag heute sah noch viel besser aus als gestern, höhere Wolkenbasis und weniger Wind. Trotzdem haben wir eine kleine Aufgabe von 69 km gestellt, um einfach mehr glückliche Pilotinnen im Ziel zu sehen. Und es hat funktioniert, etwa die Hälfte des Feldes stand heute grinsend im Goal!
In der Luft bin ich wieder mit Kathleen und Carole unterwegs gewesen, vielleicht habe ich sogar um wenige Sekunden den Tag gewonnen. Kathleen fliegt einfach gigantisch gut, als hätte sie nie 9 Jahre Wettbewerbspause gemacht!
Am meisten hat mich heute allerdings meine Teamkollegin Christa beeindruckt. Gestern hatte sie einen schlechten Start, denn sie mußte mit geliehenem Vario und Funk fliegen, nichts funktionierte richtig. Heute dagegen war alles perfekt repariert, sie kam als zweitbeste Deutsche in den Top Ten ins Ziel! Was für eine mentale Stärke, nach einem so schlechten Tag wieder so gut dabeizusein! Ute und Jamie kamen auch kurz darauf ins Ziel, also ein erfolgreicher Tag für Team Germany. Charlie hat sich gefreut, daß er im Ziel soviele schöne oder interessante Landungen filmen konnte.
Die Starren mußten heute 160 km fliegen, es haben drei Italiener gewonnen, Alex Ploner, Franco Laverdino und Christian Ciech. Als erster Swift stand natürlich wieder Manfred im Ziel, mit einem 80 km/h-Schnitt... tja, geniales Fluggerät und genialer Pilot ergibt erstaunliche Leistungen.
Das Wetter sieht sehr gut aus für die nächsten Tage, also haltet uns bitte weiterhin fleißig die Daumen, es nützt!

23 Juli 2008

First Task: 82 km

Today we had a tough day, flying nearly half of the task against a 20 km/h headwind. We took off from the Cucco North launch and flew down to Gualdo Tadino and Nocera Umbra, after that the strong northerly kicked us around. I flew a lot with Kathleen Rigg- at launch she waited a very long time for the wind to be right (usually that is my speciality, but she beats me, and not only there...). In the air, I knew why! She flies her husband Gordon´s Litespeed, but her glide is better than his... i can only dream of a wingloading like that, I already took led ballast today, but I cant make up for 20 more kilos ;)
Kathleen was the only one who made it to goal. I havent seen results yet, but Regina and Monique landed with me just short of the 2nd turnpoint, Jamie and Ute a little further behind. I also saw a Japanese girl in Moniques field, she did really well too. The rigid team had two German pilots in the top ten (Andy and probably Ralf) with Tim just behind then, Alex won the day, and Manfred won in Swift class.
I guess I will be about 4th or 5th of the day - not the best start, but we will hopefully have plenty of days to make up for it. Just keep your fingers crossed!
It was a safe task with great landable fields, so I hope every pilot had a good time today!