Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Autumn Time is Flying Time - A long weekend above lakes

Since I discovered mountains and especially paragliding as my passion, October never failed to excite me. After a extraordinary cold and wet summer which luckily paid a little bit out towards the end, also in 2016, late October didn't disappoint us at all. 

Since 1st of November was a public holiday we decided to use the long weekend for heading south for some flying. While probably most people were heading to Bassano del Grappa, we were looking for some more quite alternatives.

Our trip started on Saturday, 29 October with a visit of Tegelberg (1665m) and Neuschwanstein Castle. Not having in mind that it was holiday season and weekend both at the same time, I was a bit shocked about the crowd that was queuing in front of the takeoff. It was not a big surprise, since Tegelberg is one of the most scenic sites in southern Germany,, offering views over Neuschwanstein castle and Lake Forggensee. After some 45 minutes in the queue, I finally was able to get airbone. Thanks to the very stable day with some southerly wind (the take-off is facing northwards), the flight was rather short. But nevertheless beautiful :) I was luckily able to take some proper shots of the castle.

In the evening we continued our journey towards Laion in Grödnertal, with the plan in our minds to fly at Col Rodella, probably the most scenic site in the world the next day. But already in the evening a strong North wind made us clear that this won't be the site for the next day. We instead headed towards Trento and from there to Lago Toblino, a smaller and almost unknown lake just north of its big brother Lago di Garda. A beautiful flying site at Monte Gazza (1583m) was waiting for us. It offers two different landings: the first one just on the southern shore of Lago Toblino, between some vine and apple plantations. 
The second landing is around 700m in altitude higher and a lot more spacious situated in the small village Margone (936m). We met a bunch of pilots from the local club at the second landing. They offered us a free ride to the takeoff along with some Maroni and beers. 

The takeoff is a big grassy knoll right on the top of Monte Gazza offering plenty of space for taking off in multiple directions. The conditions were again very stable and therefore the flight ended after 20 minutes. With the surroundings, the wonderful locals and a beautiful view over Lago Toblino and Lago di Garda, this site is a real gem with 100% no German masses (yet). 

Our last destination was Levico Terme on the other site of the Adige valley. After having driven to Bassano del Grappa probably more than 50 times in the last years, the place was familiar to me, but only from passing by. Paragliding365 suggested a takeoff at the very top of Monte Panarotta (1800m) so up we went. What we found was a very steep slope that offered no space for mistakes covered with slippery grasses. After enjoying the view from high up there towards the Brenta Dolomites and some Alpine glaciers, we went down to the takeoff in Vitriolo (1490). It is a easy and spacious takeoff for hanggliders and paragliders with a parking space and a little Café just next to it. 

Jump for Joy (Picture by Philip Boesecke)

The flying site offers again wonderful views over Lago di Caldonazzo and the smaller Lago di Levico. In the valley landing spaced are manifold  and some smaller XCs are easily possible. A small drawback are the larger amount of prohibited airspaces towards the west of the takeoff. Even though a strong inversion was damping a lot, we still were able to fly in thermals on both Monday and Tuesday for each more than 1.5 hours. Overall a wonderful place with a nice old town in Levico and by far less people than in Bassano. In future I will definitely stop more often here :)

Lago di Levico

Florian flying around


My beautiful Ozone LM6 (Picture by Philip Boesecke)

Happy Landing (Picture by Philip Boesecke)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Trofeo Tre Pizzi and a bit of Adria

For the second year in a row, I decided to participate in Trofeo Tre Pizzi, a four day cross coutnry competition which takes place in the middle-italian region Marche, in a beautiful valley of the Apennines mountain range. With many cute villages and small towns like Matelica and Esanatoglia, the area is not only wonderful for paragliding but also a blast for everybody to visit (not to mention the delicious food and amazing people).
Unfortunately the area 100km south of Esanatoglia was hit by a devastating earthquake the day before the competition was supposed to start and many people left their lives in completely destroyed towns. People in Esanatoglia were luckier and got away with no more than a fright.
Since the first day of competition was cancelled to free the airspace for rescue maneuvers, we decided to spent a day on the coast to enjoy wonderful soaring over the Adriatic sea and swimming during sunset and sunrise.

The first day of competition welcomed us on Monte Gemmo with a beautiful East-facing takeoff with a lot of wind. We waited until the afternoon to let it weaken and were able to fly a 68.1km-task in a zick-zack course between Camerino and Fabriano. It was hard to decide whether to fly in the flats or rather close to the mountains. I stuck to the mountains until the 3rd waypoint and then went to the flats which turned out to be a mistake on this day. In the strong head wind I was washed down and landed 20km short.

For the second task we went again to Monte Gemmo where we realized that the forecasted west-wind was already setting in earlier and lower than expected. We waited for a while if it will change and finally were brought to the opposite side of the valley, to Monte San Vicino. This range offers a North-West-facing takeoff and beautiful rocky peaks where you can soar up in the west-winds. Since the whole procedure of shifting pilots over to the new takeoff took a while, we had a late strat at 15:40 and another zick-zack task, this time on the other side of the valley with 61.3km. The same fortune (wrong decition) as the day before brought me back on the ground. This time 30km short of goal. It turned out that on this day the flats would have been the better choice rather than flying on the mountains.

Day three, which was already the last day, started earlier from Monte San Vicino with again strong west winds and blown thermals. A task was set with 57.9 km, Again with the option to fly everything on the mountain range or in the flats.
I was high in the beginning but came quite low at the start. Patiently I made my way up again and flew with a good hight to the first waypoint north of Fabriano. Learned my lessin from yesterday, I decided to go in the flats on the western side of the small hills. It turned out to be a wonderful decision and while people spent a lot of time making hight on the mountain range I gained a lot of places on my course. According to the live-tracking I was second in between and made a very fast race. Unfortunately, a little lack of patience made me land 4km before goal and I finished 19th overall on this day.

In total I ended up first woman (although there was no extra ladies category since we were only two) and overal 40th out of 82. So far my best result in a competition and what's even more important, a wonderful three days experience. Here is a link to the results:

I'd like to thank for the Ozone LM6, which brings more and more joy with each flight, and Richard Edlinger for the great company and for showing me beautiful places.

Many thanks to the organizers from the Lega Piloti and from the local club in Esanatoglia for a perfect competition and a very warm welcome. It was again a wonderful event! I will definitely come back again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Buchenberg - After-work flying at its best

Buchenberg is another mountain in the Allgäu alps range. It is just a few kilometers east of Tegelberg with a similarly beautiful view over lake Forggensee.

While Tegelberg offers a quite steep and rocky surface, Buchenberg is mellower and pretty much covered with trees. But this doesn't mean, it is less thermally active. Flights from here to Tegelberg and further are not rare.
With 1142m, Buchenberg is 700m lower and therefore, even after cable car hours, a good opportunity for beautiful evening flights, especially in summer time, where the sun sets around 9pm. Even with my rather heavy XC equipment, the 45 min of hiking are very well doable.

Enjoy some pictures of one of our flights there in mid-July 2016.

Pilots: Ewa Korneluk-Guzy, Thorsten Pausch, Martin Lukasiewycz

Sunday, July 10, 2016

40 Years Drachenfliegerclub Ingolstadt (DFCI) - Beautiful flying til sunset

On Saturday, 9th of July 2016 the 40th anniversary of my club DFCI was celebrated in Oberemmendorf. Most pilots already arrived in the morning and flew with a gusty and strong wind between 40 and 200km with a cloud base as low as 1500m. Additionally UP Paragliders provided a variety of wings for test flying.
I landed on my first flight with the wonderful LM6 with many others close to Kelheim after beautiful views over Riedenburg and the Danube Gorges.

On my second flight I had the possibility to test fly the UP Trango XC3 and made another 28kms again to close to Kelheim on it. This wing is a turning wonder! Probably not as good as the Mantras on flat turns, but it turns so smooth on the spot. Wow! Only two things I'd need to get adjusted to: a very very short break travel and the lack of C-riser handles. I tried to grap the C-ricers directly instead, but since there's no connection to the B-risers my impression was that it's less effective than on the Mantras. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the flight with a very relaxed though amazingly performant wing. Thanks to UP and Thorsten Pausch for the opportunity. I hope I'll be able to test it a little more in future.

The third flight was a real sundowner. We all landed after the sun set and had a wonderful time in smooth evening air.

Fabio Wenk  on his MacPara Elan over Irfersdorf


Danube Gorges (Donaudurchbruch) and Kloster Weltenburg


Fabio Wenk

Michael Lang

Michael Lang

Fabio Wenk

Fabio Wenk

Tobias Märkle

Raul und Stefan