27 August 2016

Preparation days for the Pre-Worlds 2016!


There´s a lot to do if you have a few days between two major competitions: Looking after all the instruments, cameras, trackers and back-ups, washing clothes, register for the new competition, get the new waypoints on your vario, log the new retrieve driver and team, try to help the newly arrived pilots to settle in, go shopping, cook some healthy food for a great night with friends, ... in short, it was not boring!
Also I had been invited to the media conference for the Pre-Worlds, together with Brazilian Champion Nene Rotor and winner of the Open Brazilian Nationals, Jonny Durand. We thought we would speak English during the interviews, but shortly before we were both told that it would be much nicer for the whole audience if we speak Portuguese. Jonny and I smirking at each other - right! That makes it a bit more challenging, with Jonny´s vocabulary mainly to chat with cute Brazilian girls, and my vocabulary mainly to sweet-talk some guys to help me shift my glider around ;) Luckily the organizer Beto Schmitz was sitting in the middle between us and helped out with words and understanding of the questions, so in the end the journalists seemed to take it as a given that these Australian and German hang glider pilots all speak some Portuguese. Well, luckily I had my daily training with my friend Claudinha´s mother who even made me read recipes early in the morning as a test for my pronunciation ;) very cool lady!In the evening, we were rewarded with a nice get together in a super nice location on the lake, the Mormaii Surf Bar. So nice to meet lots of friends from the international flying circuit!
Tonight we are going for the opening ceremony, and a safety conference afterwards.




25 August 2016

Day 7: 80km and award party!


Results here! On the last day of the Brasilian Nationals, the wind was a lot stronger on take off, but the prediction for thermals was good, so we were hoping for a nice day. The task was about 80 km around 4 turnpoints.
I am ok with strong wind take offs, but my helpers on launch were not quite ready to let me fly, so it was a bit scary. Luckily I could just pull it off and start into the task with a lot of adrenaline, racing along the ridge with the guns.
Just before the waterfall turnpoint, I had to stop to get high again. That should have been the last thermal of my day! On the high plains in the flatlands, the wind was really strong and seemed to kill any kind of lift. I glided to a huge field and landed in a breeze of about 35km/h, still one hand on the base bar, one on the upright.
Looked like nobody went to goal. Glauco Pinto won the day with 51km, I was in 10th with 44km - not a bad result, after a very exciting start!
A nice Brasilian couple came up to me, they really liked my glider and took some photos. Then I was on my own for a while until a herd of cows came a long to keep me company. 
Later in the evening, there was a barbecue and the awards party at the house of one of the pilots, a beautiful place for celebrating the week we had, with music, drinks and food.
Jonny Durand won the Open Nationals ahead of Andre Wold and Nene Rotor. Carlinhos Niemeyer and Glauco Pinto qualified for the Worlds team next year as well as Andre, Nene, Davizinho and Rafael Mello.
I was pretty stoked to finish 16th overall and first woman, in an area I have not known or flown before, surrounded by top pilots. A good start for my worlds training!

24 August 2016

Day 6: 85km around 3tp, about 25 in goal

Results here! Finally a great Brasilia day, with nice thermals and clouds and half the field happy in goal! Tom won the day, Jonny in 8th dropped out of the overall lead and gave it to Nene Rotor.
Strong storms during the night cleared the air of the red dust, but the forecast is for more stability today. It will be an interesting last day of the comp, as four Brasilians are fighting to get on their national team for the worlds next year: Eduardo Oliveira, Glauco Pinto, Marcinho Rosadas and Carlinhos Niemeyer. All of them really cool guys and top pilots - I wouldn´t want to miss any of them next year...
In the evening, the awards and a big barbecue is scheduled for the pilots party! Hope we have another safe, fair and beautiful flying day!

23 August 2016

Brasilia Day 5: 109km task, nobody in goal

Results here! A good forecast, but really tough conditions. The inversion did not break all day and left us with barely 250m above the plains. Not enough height to even make the first turnpoint of the task... Many people landed in the valley, retrieves were long and complicated, I was lucky that I landed on top of the ridge and got help very soon!
I also wrote a German version of the last few days here on the DHV Homepage! Now that Jörg has arrived, it will be easier to update it with nice photos daily!
Nobody in goal today, but lots of hours for marginal kilometers. Looks like young Australian pilot Josh Woods won the day - 3 Aussie blokes in the top 3, worlds title here they come :) Tomorrow has to have better weather!

21 August 2016

Brasilia Day 3: cancelled on take off, strong side wind

Task 3 was cancelled after about 5 pilots took off, but the lateral and partly tail wind kept getting stronger and more unpredictable. I had cued up quite early cause I expected to have to wait for a long time for safe conditions, but I was very relieved when they decided to cancel. Everybody packed up and went back to town.
As it was Saturday, a lot of people went partying. Our great driver Elsa wanted to take me out, but when I was running through the garden barefoot, I struck a rock with my toe and it ripped out the full nail :( so I tried to clean it up, stop the bleeding, and put a tape on. I had wanted to cook a moong dhal for my hosts Claudinha and her mother, but now I had to remote-control Elsa to do that, as I had to put up my foot. She made a great job and we had a delicious dinner!
Luckily day 4, Sunday, was also cancelled, with a frontal system moving through and a strong tail wind on take off in the forecast, so I had another day to follow our team doctor Eckhart Schröter´s instructions - keep it clean, let it dry, and wait! In the meantime, Claudinha and her mom spoilt me with mango, coconut water and pão de queijo!

Brasilian Nationals Day 2: 109km

As the first day was undercalled, a much bigger task was set for the second day, even though the wind started to be a bit off on launch. I quickly got into the line to have enough time in the air before the start, but still only got away with the second gate, like most others.
It was exciting to fly along the ridge - you really don´t want to land in the valley! There are good options, but it takes 3 hours to get there and 3 hours back out, so your team and your driver won´t like you that much afterwards...


Luckily I got back to the take off turnpoint ok, but made the mistake then to fly over the flats directly towards the next turnpoint. The wind washed me down, and after only half the task I landed on Mars! A huge field of red dust welcomed me with a very strong wind. One by one, more pilots kept dropping into that place, and when their drivers went past me, they dusted me in a big, red cloud - no sign language helped to slow them down...
When we stopped in Brasilinha for some dinner, they had lots of meats on the grill for offer, but no vegetables - Glauco is a local pilot and he had the great idea to just go shopping in the supermarket next door, and with a value of 2,50€, we provided broccoli, pumpkin, aubergine, zucchini and capsicum for our whole big table of 11 people - everybody was quite happy to dig into some healthy, fresh greens as well! The chefs did a great job!
Jonny won the day by a big margin, only four other pilots made goal. Results not quite finished, as they still decide on the protests and complaints of the first day.



Brasilian Nationals Day 1: 60km





I was happy with a short first task of 60km, as I had once again gone straight from work to travel to competition. The weather proved to be better than expected, so almost all pilots made goal. At the moment, the authorities won´t let us use Esplanada, the main aisle of Brasilia, as a goal, but with a low airspace of about 1500m above the city, it doesn´t really look that desirable anymore. I have done that flight before, with plenty of altitude, and it was exciting enough!
The organizers have plenty of large, flat fields as goal to land in, and I was greeted by a cute friendly dog.
When we found out the next day that almost half the field got 0 points for airspace infringements, it felt a bit strange, as I had followed the numbers given at briefing, so I filed a complaint and gave my gps and barographic altitude values again. I have not seen a decision yet, but I hope they can re-score the day on a different basis. Once they finished their decision, we might find the results here.






17 August 2016

Arriving in Brasilia, Timezone UTC -3

This morning I finally arrived in Sao Paulo after a smooth trip with a great Lufthansa crew. Then I flew with Latam, how TAM is called here, to Brasilia. I had a good chat with very friendly flight attendants and really enjoyed the short flight.
Our driver Zeca picked me and Klaus, a Carioca pilot, up and took us to the Pousada where Glauco booked us in. A great place, with a pool underneath the mango tree, with lots of green (not quite ripe! I want to eat them anyway!) mangoes on them - my dream! I always wanted a mango tree in my garden!
I set up my mosquito net to stay zika free and tried to have a snooze. And there was the problem- this place is on the way to take off, and take off is 60km north of the city of Brasilia, so to save time in the morning, it is great not to have to go through the traffic. BUT- this place is right on something like a huge highway, with lots of trucks racing past, so even with earplugs squished almost into my brain, I could still hear the road. Did I mention the motorbikes? I know, spoilt European pilot... I´m sure there will be a solution. Everything else is great, internet is available, we have a fridge in the room, and it is clean.
Tonight registration will take place somewhere for the Brasilian Nationals, nobody seems to know yet where ;) Lots of time, the comp only starts tomorrow morning. "Ralaxa!" the guys keep saying to me, but it will take me a few weeks to stop being my over-organized, super-punctual me...





16 August 2016

On the way to Brasilia

Summer has been very limited this year around the alps, and my timing with work and flyable days was terrible. Rain and strong wind the few days at home, and while I was gone, some bigger distances had been flown. I kept following the webcams around my favourite mountains, and found a beautiful little rainbow at Greifenburg today!
Luckily I have worked hard enough that I can take a few weeks off now to go to fly two major competitions in Brasilia, where I will compete in the women´s worlds next year. I teamed up with some friends from the Brasilian national team, but also Primoz, Jörg and Tom Halter from Germany will arrive soon, so we can check out the area together. Well, Jörg of course has already flown the worlds in Brasilia in 2003, so he knows the area well! 
Glauco said we have internet at the place where we are staying, so I will keep you updated with photos, stories and results! Stay tuned!