09 Mai 2017

Wings for Life World Run

If you missed out on this event, you can watch the video highlights here!
Two days after I participated in the Wings for Life World Run, my legs are still in pain. A sign of having been over motivated to run much more than my poor running capabilities could cope with - but it has been just so inspiring to see 10000 people running with me in Munich, some of them rolling along in their wheelchairs. Through constant rain, sometimes very muddy ground, up and down some slopes through the city!
I finished with 9,2km in just over an hour of running, Jonny made 9,6km in Melbourne, Matjaz 15km in Ljubljana. Not fast, and we pilots clearly seem to be no runners - well, except for the co-pilot of my last Lufthansa work flight, who is an ultra runner and covers 160km in one run... he asked me if I run cause he thought I look like a runner. I had to turn down this compliment, telling him that I need wings to go far and long ;)
It kind of feels humiliating to see thousands of runners sprinting past you, but it is the good cause, and the participation that counts, not the distance we ran!
In Munich, a lot of current and former Red Bull athletes were at the start, it was great to see such a huge participation despite everybody´s competition schedules!
The absolute best part of the run was to see Aron Anderson winning the race, having rolled 92,14km in his wheelchair in Dubai! Big congratulations!
And of course, we all hope that with the 6,8 million Euros support that had been raised with this years global run, the Wings for Life foundations finds individual solutions to help our friends who can not walk yet to get back up on their legs as soon as possible!
If you like to help us beat the number of 155.216 participants, you can now enter next year´s Wings for Life World run on May 6th, 2018!

20 April 2017

How to travel to Rio with your glider

Some information for all European pilots who are joining the worlds in Brasilia and who will take their gliders from Frankfurt on Lufthansa LH 500 to Rio. This is how you do it:

1. When you get your ticket on LH500, you contact Lufthansa reservations and you let them know that you will have oversized sporting equipment, a hang glider, and you give them the number and dimensions of the glider packages.
The maximum weight per piece is 32kg, but the length when you check in in Frankfurt is NOT limited. 

2. You pay 200€ per oversize piece of luggage per way.
PS- if you get a ticket in Premium Economy class, you might get lucky and get an upgrade, because the Rio flights usually overbook in Economy, so they need to bump up the Premium Eco passengers! Also, in Premium Economy you have 2x23kg luggage allowance, in Eco it is only 1x23kg! But even with a Business Class ticket you need to pay extra for your oversized glider.

3. Get to the airport early, at least 4 hours before take off, so the gliders´ transport can be perfectly prepared. There will be several teams travelling between 31st of July and 4th of August. You can check your luggage in any time until 24hours before your take off time!

4. In Frankfurt, you go to Terminal 1, area B - you can park at departures 10 minutes for free, after that you have to pay.
Take your gliders to the Lufthansa oversize luggage counter in area B, counter #445.
For check-in you need:
- your passport
- a printout of the confirmation that you paid 200€ and that your glider has been listed/registered for your flights

5. When you arrive in Rio, your glider will be delivered next to the luggage belt of your flight.

6. RENT A CAR in Rio to drive to Brasilia! Our Lufthansa station manager of Rio urged me to tell all pilots that you can´t take your gliders on inland flights within Brazil anymore! No regional airlines will take oversized luggage!

Have a good trip!

01 April 2017

Aeros Winter Race Slovenia

Results here! I was very happy to start the first competition this European season in Slovenia, with great weather. Despite the name "Aeros Winter Race", it was unusually warm - well, except on 2500m where we unexpectedly got to on the first two days!
The European top pilots from Italy, Austria, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and a lot more countries were here to celebrate the start of the 2017 hang gliding season - and we were rewarded with four consecutive days of amazing flights! We were even two girls in the comp, my friend Julia Burlachenko drove a dedicated 1700km from Kiev to Vipava!
For an entry fee of just 110€, every pilots received a nice comp t-shirt, maps of the area, a free dinner and a lunch pack with a sandwich, an apple/orange and half a litre of water or an isotonic drink every day. For an additional 50 € your drive to take off and your retrieve was organized for the whole comp too! Thanks to the organization and all the volunteers who ran this comp with a lot of experience and motivation.
We used Lijak and Kovk take off in the area of Ajdovscina in the west of Slovenia, about an hour west of Ljubljana. My first flights in the area - I was impressed by the scenic views of the mediterranean sea! The air was unusually clear, and being a southern hemisphere softie, I was glad I brought my Thermo Pads hand warmers to let my fingers survive.
Most pilots have flown here many times and know the special tricks of this area - fly fast and don´t turn!!! I was glad that Matjaz, Jörg, Roland and Tom Weissenberger helped me to decipher this technical area. Still I was very careful, as I could see a lot of vinyards, forests and powerlines in some areas. Some of the headwind legs made me want to weigh more, but I only take ballast once I´ve figured out a place and the possible (safe) landing options, definitely not for the first time in a new area.
Day 1 most people made goal at Lijak after the 61km task - and we were rewarded with a great, vegan cafe at the landing! Best food I have ever found at a goal field - local, organic produce and all vegan, tasty and healthy, for a very reasonable price! Marco Laurenzi won the day with a 46Km/h average. Man, I only made a 33km/h average speed...
On the 2nd day, once I figured out that I can´t continue my flight in a safe way (I got left behind the first two groups, going too slow for their pace), I decided to turn around and land at Lijak as well. "Mischu" Franc Peternel, one of the top Slovenian pilots, won the 122km task.
Day 3, we went to Kovk take off (Jörg went up with us and helped me find it...;)), as the wind turned more west. In fact, it was a really strong west wind, and after heading towards the 2nd turnpoint, I flew against a rubber wall and was drilled down, couldn´t get around the corner like Jörg and the others of my group. Anyway, I tried my best and enjoyed 3 hours of flying and a nice landing anyhow! My dedicated driver David found me in no time, packed my glider and took me back to Pizzeria Anja Headquarter where I downloaded my tracklog. Tom Weissenberger won the 126km task with a respectable 40km/h average speed.
For the last day, the organizers decided to stay in the Vipava area to not make it too hard to get around the mountain against the headwind, which had forced more than half the field down on the third day. A 90 km task with two laps of the same turnpoints - great way to learn how to do it! My second lap was twice as fast as the first one I guess. Almost 40km/h average speed - but nothing compared to day winners Matjaz Klemencic´s 65 Km/h!!! What a way to finish the comp.
Tom started with the 26th place on the first day and won the comp in the end - with Balazs Ujhelyi in 2nd and Franc Peternel in 3rd, and my German team mates Roland Wöhrle on a respectable 4th, Jörg Bajewski on 13th, Kajo Clauss on 29th and Semmo on 30th. I finished 39th - not exactly a top score, but a great training and learning experience in a beautiful area! Yes Matjaz, I will be back in your home yard and play some more in the air!

04 Februar 2017


In only one week on Lanzarote, I was lucky enough to fly almost all take offs. We started in Macher, and my first flight surprised me - I had expected just soaring, but it was thermalling all the time! And actually quite choppy too. Good training after a month on the ground!
Then I was introduced to Famara with a wonderful late afternoon flight. Also just thermals, no soaring, and landing on the beach. Primoz did a fun tandem flight on that day- a guy had bought his future wife a tandem flight as a surprise! She was very surprised, and thankfully seemed to really enjoy the flying in Famara!
My third flight was in Mala, where I also met quite a lot of flying friends from Germany who wanted to escape winter like me.
On my last day, Johnny Nilssen took me tandem. As an aerobatic and float landing specialist, he really knows how to land well in small spaces - I was impressed how well our landing worked out!
I could have flown a fifth day in Mala, but my glider had been rented out. Instead I was just as happy to help my friends on take off, catch them again at landing, help packing up, taking a car down and just cruising.

03 November 2016

Best friends forever!

Since we met in Canungra for the first time many years ago, Tascha and I have been closest friends. We are very different, but also very open and tolerant for each others´ worlds. Together we went flying in many beautiful places on several continents and enjoyed great travels - in Europe, my parents adopted her, while I felt very much adopted by her parents in New Zealand.  I could not imagine a more loyal friend than Tascha - we supported each other through one or the other dark time in our lives, even though we couldn´t possibly live further apart.
Whenever I see a chance on a trip to Australia, I try to stop over in Christchurch for a few days to see her and her beautiful family. This time we got extra lucky - after a long period of rain in New Zealand, we had been surprised with two magnificent flying days!
Tascha took me to the dunes of Brighton Beach and helped me with base barring the Sonic into the air, top landing like a seagull on the small sand hills, and taking off again. Concentration every second of the flight, as the wind was howling with about 40km/h - every mistake would get punished! But we did well, had fun and learnt a lot! Thanks to the Sydney northern beaches guys who had been training me for two years now, I was quite confident and did a long flight up to the pier and back, racing along the dunes close to the ground.
The next day, first I accompanied Tascha to Rangiora airfield where she takes flying lessons on a Jabiru to get her motorized license. After that she took me to Taylor´s take off, setting up the Sonic and her little Litespeed 3 between a cute flock of sheep, just to remind me where I was I guess :) I had not brought any of my flying equipment over, so Tascha happily gave me everything, her harness, helmet and glider to fly!
We met Jean, a paraglider pilot and the Taylor´s site instructor, on take off. The wind was too strong for him to fly, but he seemed delighted to see two girls setting up their hang gliders and getting off into the air in no time! So nice to have some help shifting the gliders around in windy conditions, big thanks to Jean! And this air was silky smooth compared to the rough, bumpy stuff on the dunes that we had been battling the day before.
I kept buzzing around Tish for a while, as the cute Litesport was faster and more movable than her Sonic. After a while we landed at Scarborough park beach, happy and full of joy that we are allowed to just enjoy flying and life together in a happy moment like this!

31 Oktober 2016

Canungra task 6: patience! And awards

Final results here! On the last day of the Canungra Classic, we set up on Tambo. Only Gecko Girl Niki got off the mountain, then the tail wind started. We decided to pack up around 12pm, go over to Beechmont and set up there again.
I was sweating when I was finally ready to start into the task, and didn´t quite make the first start gate at 14.15pm. Base was quite low and I had to drift-glide over the back of Beechmont, which is always a bit scary if your name is not Jonny.
Flying into the Kerry Valley, it was raining on my sail, so I tried to glide out to the foothills of Mt Mahomet. I saw many pilots down on the ground just there, but I found a tiny bit of lift. Couldn´t quite work it, and the wind picked up, so I landed in one paddock with Josh Woods showing me a beautiful wind sock - that way it was easy to pull off a perfect landing!
Back in Canungra, the HQ Hotel was already preparing for our event. A quick download, shower, getting my luggage ready, then over for the awards evening.

Jonny won the comp with Mic Jackson in second and Blenky in third. I won the women´s class with a 16th place overall, and Niki Longshore won sportsclass by a good margin.
Pilots, drivers and families had great dinner together at the Canungra Hotel. After that, Davo, Kenny and Tony G. started the awards ceremony, supported by beautiful Amy Rickertt. 
I left not too soon afterwards, as I was flying out early the next morning. Billy told me we were lucky, as the weather has turned horrible as soon as all the pilots left Canungra.
Can´t wait to get back next year, my favourite competition in the world!!!