19 August 2017

Task 9: Esplanada and BRONZE TEAM MEDAL!!!!

Results here! 95km task to Esplanada and a way better weather forecast left us trying at the start gate and wondering. We didn´t get more than 1200m above the plateau, and at first I hesitated when Jörg called me to go with him on the first start time. I wanted to stay and make more height.
Then I changed my mind, cause for the team it would be much better if Jörg and I charge out ahead and call the other, faster pilots with the second start gate over along behind us. I had no idea then that Lukas, Gerd and Primoz would even get stuck even after the 3rd start gate...
I had a good run, found lift, was with Mario Alonzi and other top pilots. We were racing along the course and only stopping for strong climbs. It had turned on, and thermals got us up to 3400m!
Until the last turnpoint, I was ahead with just a few pilots. But what should have been the last glide into Esplanada, like the other days, just killed us! I immediately radioed to Roland and Jörg to take good care and choose a different line, as I was sinking like a led hammer!
When we finally found some lift about 10km from goal, it was slow and the others caught up - luckily Roland as well! He would have a really good time with the 2nd start gate! Because of the massive sink, I made sure I had plenty of safety height in case I hit sink on the flight over the city. Turned out that I lost 5 minutes on the guys who were with me and easily made it, but I also heard one other guy who started the glide on 9:1 and barely made it in!
My landing was very average, as about 8 gliders came in at the same time, and it felt like someone left a bit of wake for me ;)
Tension to the very end - did we keep 3rd place, or did the US team overtake us? They had no really fast guy, but 3 pilots were ranking between Roland on a great 4th place, and me in 30 and Jörg on 34th. We could not believe it when we saw the results - we made the Bronze Medal by 6 points!!! The first medal at a Hang Gliding World Championship for the German Team after 18 years, after Guido and the team had won in Forbes long time ago!!! PARTY!!! Awards start in two hours.
Oh yes - I won the women´s ranking by about 1500 points to the second place - unfortunately there won´t be an official Women´s World Champion title, as we did not get an exemption from CIVL to have the title with only 6 girls from 4 nations :( Would have been great to promote our sport in public and media with a new title. 

18 August 2017

Day 7 & 8: inverted

Results here! Two difficult days with slower lift, lower base and a strong inversion turn 130 pilots at take off into the gaggle of death! Two days ago, I had fallen back and didn´t quite make goal in the end, and yesterday nobody even made goal, because we were moving too slow in the difficult conditions.
Primoz was a little ahead of our team and gave us good informations. I flew a bit with Petr Benes yesterday, the Czech pilot who ranks 2nd at the moment. We had a good time finding some strong lift above the big forest towards the third turnpoint.
Just before the fourth turnpoint, it was getting really late and Roland and I found ourselves in a big gaggle again, trying to work our way up in 3cm/s... While Gerd had landed just before the 4th tp, Roland and I managed to scratch the radius and head on towards the fourth. As the ground was rising again towards that direction, we could not glider all the way to the circle, but got as close as possible and then landed.
Later people told me that I was the last pilot landing on that day! Primoz got furthes and won the day, Roland was 5th and I was 6th of the day. My best day result in an open world championship ever! It put our team up from 4th into 3rd place.
Today is the last day, and it will be very tight between 3rd, 4th and 5th in the team rankings. Get some popcorn and watch us live tonight at about 4 pm UTC, 18.00 German time - here´s the link to the live tracking!
German reports and more photos on the DHV-Homepage!

16 August 2017

Day 5 & 6: Almost Esplanada and nowhere really


Results here! Big relief for our team that Gerd is allowed to fly with us again - and sure enough, he scored great! Thanks again to Wolfram Huhn from the German embassy who helped us get Gerd out very quickly - other pilots spent a few days in jail for the same infringement...
On the day after the stressful event, I was too slow to make it to the Esplanada goal. In the last thermal I could see the ground getting dark, and i didn´t want to dare flying low over the lake, like a few other daredevils.
I was just happy to have had a good flight, one REALLY strong and turbulent dust devil meets fire like rocket up, and great company for my landing about 10km short of the 132km goal. It was nice to have my team mate Jörg there!
Then yesterday only one pilot made goal - Genki Tanaka from Japan! Primoz and Roland got very close, while the rest of us barely made half the course. Strong inversions, blue sky and thick smoke from fires made it difficult to get anywhere. I landed in a field full of stinging prickles,very annoying stuff!
So nice to have had a rest day today, stocking up again on coconuts, fruits and veggies, hydrating, relaxing - and having a shower now, before the city turns the water off again tomorrow! The water reserves are so empty here at the moment, that half the city doesn´t have water for one full day of the week. Coming back from a day in the dust and heat, it is not so pleasant.
Three more days to go, keep your fingers crossed for us!





13 August 2017

Day 3 and 4

135 km and 125 km were the long tasks of the last two days. It took us a long time to get to goal yesterday, but after all that crazy gaggle flying, I really enjoyed just cruising around with Primoz. Jörg was the first of our team in goal, and we all had exciting final glides into the city of Brasilia.
I landed late and barely started packing my glider when Betinho came with bad news - Gerd had done an emergency landing at the presidential palace Alvorada - landing conditions were rough, so we were glad that he didn´t get hurt. The organizer was already there, and I called the German embassy for help.
My team packed my gear, as I had been picked up by the "emergency guy" from the embassy and went straight to the police station they had taken Gerd to. Lukas and Murilo had been allowed to pack and take Gerd´s glider, so we "just" needed to wait for the decision of the police.
We were all transfered to the federal police station on the other side of the city, where the friendly boss on duty took the report really fast - we were very happy that Gerd did not have to stay in jail!
Sure he scored a 0 for the day for the infringement. It was a short night without much sleep for me, and I was sad to get to know at briefing today that the organizer and Mitch, the CIVL steward, had decided to not let Gerd fly today, maybe even disqualify him from the whole competition.
Attila stood up at the team leaders´ briefing stating that there were no written rules in the local regulations that pointed out a disqualification. At the pilots´ meeting, Zac Majors said that he thinks a zero for the day is punishment enough and a disqualification too harsh.
After all these discussions, we encountered a blue day with stronger wind and slower thermals today. It was really difficult to find the lift around the turnpoints and make it back to Esplanada. Jonny won the day, from our team Roland, Primoz and I got back.
I really hope that from tomorrow on, they will let Gerd fly again. He is totally aware of the mistakes he made, but he got himself into a bad place with the choice of drowning in the lake or smashing into a small field with a lot of tailwind - so he chose the only safe option left, knowing that he would be punished and get into trouble.

11 August 2017

Day 1 & 2

Our live tracking is here! More pictures! Results! Sorry for the delay, but the days here are long. Yesterday I didn´t make goal by about 13 kms, and the drive back took a while too, as we didn´t go to Esplanada for goal.
Right in the beginning of our task, I saw a glider coming down on the reserve. I waited to see where he landed and if he moved. Looking for fields to land close to him, I suddenly saw that he moved his glider and radioed that back to my ground crew. I was relieved when they told me that Betinho has already organized a rescue for the pilot, and that he is ok, and I can keep flying.
That is easier said than done - of course I was a little shaken and it took me a while and a really low save to switch back to competition mode.
The others had long gone, so no chance to catch up.
Over 100 pilots made goal, so I voted to go in the early bird take off today. Wolfi Siess had taken off first - and bombed out! The wind direction suddenly switched to a total cross or even tail wind, so launch was closed. Didn´t look promising as one of the first pilot´s off the hill... when the wind turned around, I told the safety marshall that I´m ready to go - I was just happy to get off the hill, hoping I could at least maintain.
I went down and up a little for a while, around the corner - and found some light lift. About 20 minutes fighting, and then the inversion seems to have broken, we finally went up and on course of the 120km task.
Until about 15 km before our Esplanada goal, I managed to stay with the huge gaggle of about 50 pilots, but then they started speeding. I can climb well, but not speed so well, but I was superhappy anyway to have made it to Esplanada.
Another dream came true - Yoko landed in goal! Only a year ago, she didn´t even know if she was going to fly again, and here we are, at goal, overwhelmed by emotions! She is a fighter, and she is back, right up there!
The Italian "twins" Alex Ploner and Christian Ciech take turns in winning the days, but our Primoz came 3 of the day today, our team currently ranking 5th.
A lot more days of flying are ahead of us!



09 August 2017

Last preparations

Team Germany is getting ready for the worlds! Today I took time to repair my spare vario, the spare radio, charge all varios, get the right air spaces downloaded, pack trackers, team meeting at Claudinha´s house, kinesio-tape quite a few people, try to get money from the bank machine (but didn´t quite succeed)... this is how a "rest day" looks like!
It´s exciting to start into this huge competition tomorrow. I was going to be 72nd off, so I decided to apply for early bird. Maybe Im lucky and get chosen. Only 12 pilots will have that chance every day.
What a journey so far! It is certainly an honor to be part of this excellent team with the top pilots of Germany! We get along well and try to solve problems together. Days will be very long and tiring over the next two weeks, but I will try to post updates as often as possible for you!






08 August 2017

Opening Ceremony World Championship Brasilia 2017


More pictures on DHV website! For the opening ceremony of the 2017 Hang Gliding World Championships, we were allowed a special honour: All the teams were lined up inside the National Museum of Brasilia to walk down the saturn ring bridge around the outside. Usually nobody has access to this place!
We were accompanied by the hot samba rhythms of about 50 women of the Batala percussion group. Afterwards, all 132 participating pilots, team leaders and assistants socialized at an opening cocktail party next to the museum.
It´s great to meet and fly with friends from all over the world again in this venue!







06 August 2017

Memories

Thanks to this guy that I met in Brasilia last year, I had some of the most intense lessons in my life over the past twelve months.
He smashed his leg trying to land my glider in Greifenburg, and it was quite a trip to get the right repair work for his bones. Thanks to the insurance I got for him, to our team doctor Ecki, his friend Christian Wimmer and especially Professor Christian Jeske, he will be able to walk and fly again, if he decides to.
Big thanks also to my awesome colleagues of the Lufthansa 506 who took great care of him on the long journey back to Brazil when he was still not quite able to walk without sticks.

Arriving in Brasilia


Today registration starts, and the opening ceremony will happen at 4pm - not enough time for a flight, so I can update this blog.
After a lot of help from my friend Rebi, I finished packing my glider. Jörg picked me up in Belecke, we took a short stop to visit Manfred Vaupel who had a spare instrument for Jörg, then we drove straight to Frankfurt airport for check-in.
It took us a while to get all our luggage checked-in. It was a full flight, so I had already used the online check-in for our whole team the day before- a good idea, as the Italian team didn´t do that and except for Christian, the rest of their team was only on the waiting list for the overbooked flight to Rio and didn´t know if they were getting on or not. Luckily the guys at the gate found enough volunteers to fly later, offering some compensation, so the whole Italian team got on!
In Rio, we met Jo, a very helpful friend who took Roland and me to the rental car place where we took our time to fix a solid roof rack for the long journey to Brasilia.
While Primoz had already arrived a week ago, Roland, Jörg, Gerd and Lukas shared the drive to Brasilia. I flew over and was picked up by Claudinha, our team driver and coordinator. Together with her, I bought and registered all the phone cards for the team and prepared the team house.
A bit later, we also met our second team driver, Murilo. When the team arrived, we set up all gliders in Claudinha´s garden. It was great to see that there was not a single scratch on any of them, so we could go for a first testflight the next day.
As we were running late, we didn´t quite make it to Esplanada, but had a nice little flight anyway. Lukas said he remembered a lot of places from having flown the worlds in 2003. Hopefully that will help our team to do well this year!
More about our flight to Esplanada later!








04 August 2017

German Open Awards

Lots of preparation work, organization and travelling, so Im a little behind with the reports. After I won the last task of the German Open, I finished first overall and won the internation German Open for the first time! It was great to see how much the other pilots respected my flying.
The guys in Berlin have a special humor, so they quickly stuck a "1st Man" sign on the trophy for the 1st woman and gave it to Hans Kiefinger! Everybody had a good laugh ;)
My special thanks goes to my parents, to Regina, Rebi and Ecki, who always supported me and helped me through some tough months this year!
Thanks as well to Moyes for this great little racing glider that I really enjoy to fly a lot! With the Moyes RX3, I even enjoy the towing on most days!
Also big thanks to the organizers - you guys are so professional now that you can easily run a world championship in Altes Lager as well!
And most of all - thanks a lot to all the voluntary helpers!!! Without you guys, we would be nowhere!
Naoki from Japan won rigid class. He was lucky that Tim could not compete this year ;)




30 Juli 2017

German Open 2nd task: 116 km to Wellmitz

Results task 2 here! After three days of no taskable air, we finally celebrated blue skies again on Friday with a direct flight to Wellmitz. Getting ready early as I was 6th off in the start row, I had to get out of the harness again, because a cloud cover with some drops of rain pushed through before we could get airborne.
After a pause of one hour, we finally started at around noon to tow. In a wind gusting up to 35 km/h from the west (at least straight along the tow direction), I had a good take off, but a very difficult tow. I was glad when I pinned off and found a little bit of lift. I just wanted to stay in the air as long as possible and not land and tow again!
The other pilots from the top ten joined me soon in a little gaggle, drifting towards the northeast. Roland, Hans, Carolin, Bernd, Yeti, all with me. When we reached cloud base at around 1200m, I decided it´s time to go on course, because I could already see a next cloud cover sqall line moving in from the west. I´m not that fast, and I wanted to stay ahead of that.
When I left on course line, I was surprised to not see anybody coming with me. I turned around a few times but no. We had an elapsed time start, and the guys went back to get a better time.
So I flew on my own, drifting in the strong wind, trying to pick the best cloud line. It worked well until Golssen, about 80km out, where the clouds started to dissipate and a cover moved in. I crossed Schwielochsee and got really low, in front of some major forests. Spreewald, a huge rain forest, is famous for nice tours by boat, and for the Spreewald cucumbers, but not exactly for good thermals...
Just at the edge of a major forest area, I found a light lift at about 200m above ground. Of course, I drifted over the forest quite low. At least still in a light climb! Still I was relieved when I saw that I could make it to another landable field.
At about 25km before goal, two rigids caught up with me. One of them, much higher, flew towards goal. The other one, Carlos Puñet, only stayed slightly above me and was happy that I managed to find quite good lift for us that finally really took us to goal, where Dirk Ripkens was already waiting for us.
My friend Rebi had taken my parents on the long and complicated drive out to goal, always providing actual information from the live tracking of my height and position. I was superhappy to see them arriving only 15 minutes after me at goal!
I had expected the leading gaggle to overtake me and to find a faster, better line, but I guess they had been caught in the shady air behind me. Only one other flex wing pilot, Jonas Willemeit from Berlin, and four rigid pilots made it to goal. Ah yes, Japanese pilot Naoki Itagaki drifted past goal to the south. When he landed, he was very surprised that he found himself in Poland, not in Germany anymore! The friendly Polish people were even more surprised to find a man from Japan landing in their backyard, and they brought him sausage and drinks and celebrated his unexpected visit!
What a great surprise when I found out on the next day that most pilots had made half of the nominal distance, and I got my highest score in a mixed comp ever - 954 points, as the day winner! It also took me up to first place overall!!!









26 Juli 2017

First task: 80km out and return

Results here. After the first day of the German Open was cancelled as the wind gusted up to 45km/h, we managed to use the short window on the second day for an 80km/h out and return to Golssen and back to the airfield.
Flex wings were off first, and when I got into the air as 8th pilot of the field, luckily my favourite tug pilot Harm found me the one thermal that was just strong enough to climb to 800m and stay. With elapsed time as a start, it was possible to wait around.
Half an hour later, some clouds started to form and the thermals got higher and better. As the day was supposed to stop at 4pm already, I decided to start on course. Together with Roland Wöhrle, Lukas Bader, Kajo Clauss, Hans Kiefinger and Detlef Maier as well as Dutch pilots Araldo and Martin I was in good company.
Against a cross headwind with low base and not exactly strong climbs, we were not fast, but at least we were flying. I really enjoyed just being in the air, and I was happy to be able to stay with the guys.
Just before the turnpoint, it looked pretty dark. I saw Lukas and the Dutch guys heading off, but it didn´t look promising. to my left, Roland and Cajo did much better, so I decided to fly a detour. Well worth it - the best climb of the day took me up to 1700m, plenty to go around the turnpoint.
Heading back was much faster. Tailwind and a nice line of clouds looked promising. 45 minutes back, while it took us almost 2 hours to get out to the turnpoint...
At this time, the rigid guys who took off after us had caught up and started overtaking us on final.
Cajo won the day ahead of Hans and "Yeti" Detlef, Roland 4th and I was 5th.
Japanese pilot Shogo Ota won the rigid race.
Two days of solid rain followed, with lots of floods all over central Germany. We went to Lutherstadt Wittenberg and had a look at the church in which Martin Luther was buried. I like the Barlach sculpture, the floating angel, in the church.
Luckily the rain stopped just now, and we might get a really early and short task tomorrow, maybe even on Friday.