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


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 ;)