Comps and Events, News

German Hang Gliding League 1999: Class 1 and 2 come head to head

Thursday 3 June, 1999

Cross Country reports from Hochfelln at the 1999 German hang gliding league

The first task was launched from Hochfelln, a mountain in the south-east of Germany, famous for its XC potential. The transport up to the top was by a two section cable car, that only had the capacity to transport 5 flexwings or two rigids at a time. This was the main reason, why the competition was moved to another site after just one task. The rigid wing pilots were just complaining too much about the lack of easy transport.

Task no. 1 was a 93 km flat triangle with only 5 pilots out of the 55 competitors at goal. There were 8 rigid wings and 47 flexwings in the competition. The rigid wings were 3 ATOS, 2 Guggenmos E 7, 2 Exxtacy and 1 Ghostbuster. Among the 47 flexwing glider were only 3 kingposted gliders.

The task wasn’t a very valid one since 17 of the pilots, which were on the course early, had to land after only 15 km, among them half of the rigid wing field. Christof Kratzner on his first thermal flight with the ATOS was winning the task for the rigids, with Bernd Weber, managing director of A.I.R., coming second on his ATOS. Bob Baier on his Laminar ST was the overall winner of the task and with 3:25 hrs. almost one hour faster than Christof.

In spite of Bob’s brilliant result it was obvious, that the flexwings had no chance to keep-up with the “stiffies”. Therefore it was decided to run two separate scores for the “flexxies” and the “stiffies”. This is why I cannot give you a combined results list.

We moved to Zell am See in Austria. Schmittenhöhe was our launchsite for the next three tasks. And what amazing tasks these were going to be! Schmittenhöhe is 2000m asl, 1250m above the wide open valley floor with spectacular views to the main range of the eastern Alps, called “Hohe Tauern”.

Jo Bathmann launched his 205 km World Record FAI-triangle from there. Transport for gliders was easy, but expensive in a big cable car with 1/3 of each glider sticking out of the window. Launching is possible to any direction. There is enough space to rig hundreds of gliders at a time.

The 2nd task was a flat triangle with 70 km. The day was undercalled because it appeared to be too wet in the beginning because of the thunderstorms on the previous day. It was a race to goal with 34 “flexxies” and all 8 rigids in goal. Christof Kratzner was winning again with 48,6 km/h and Bob Baier in the flexwing class with 44,27 closely followed by Hans Bausenwein.

Christof’s and Hans’ times showed a difference of 15%. Both pilots had very similar performances during the past years. Later tasks showed a similar difference between the ATOS and a well tuned Laminar ST, which can be understood as the performance difference of these two gliders.

The E7’s and Christian Müller on an Exxtacy, that was Felix Rühle’s private one (which tells me, that it certainly is very well tuned) showed similar performances, a bit less than the ATOS. Christian Müller is a paraglider competition pilot, who hasn’t flown hang gliders for 6 years and just started to fly his Exxtacy.

Task no. 3 was the biggest closed circuit task ever set in a hang gliding competition, a 210 km flat triangle, set along the race course of the “Pinzgauer Spaziergang” (Pinzgau walk). Christof Kratzner was smoking (he really smokes in flight) down the course on his ATOS and again winning with an amazing 46,4 km/h average.

Seven of the 8 rigid wing gliders made goal and 11 of the 47 “flexxies”. Jobst Bäumer was winning the flexwing competition with an as well amazing average speed of 42,95 km/h.

Task no. 4, the last task of this competition, to me seems to be a valid task to look at the performance differences of rigid wings and flexwings again. The task was a 106 km FAI-triangle followed by an add-on part of 24 km, total task distance 130 km. Very consistent conditions over the whole task and flying time. The task was set to beat the existing speed over a 100km FAI triangle world record, set by Martin Henry from Canada on 22-07-98 with an average speed of 34,81 km/h (FAI 1).

Again all 8 rigid wings made goal again and 18 of the flexwings. Christof Kratzner on his ATOS (who else?) was winning again averaging 42,47 km/h, best flexwing pilot was Jobst Bäumer with 37,96 km/h closely followed by Oliver Barthelmes and Hans Bausenwein. Jobst’s average over the course of the triangle was 35,62 km/h, so he claimed a new World Record, as well as Rosi Brams (29,22 km/h) in the feminine category. Christof and Hans did not have their baragraphs turned on.

The next day, after the comp was over, Hans went up again to beat Jobst’s World Record of the previous day with all the documentation well prepared and an official ÖAeC observer at site he managed to fly the course all by himself averaging 36,43 km/h, a new World Record.

So let’s look at performances again:

Christof Kratzner ATOS: 42,47 km/h
Hans Bausenwein Laminar ST: 37,46 km/h

Christian Müller (Felix Rühles Exxtacy): 38,01 km/h (second fastest time of the day)
Kurt Schuhmann E 7: 37,55 km/h

The result shows a performance difference between Hans’ and Christof’s gliders (Christof and I are convinced it is the gliders and not the pilots) of approx 14%. If the Laminar has a glide ratio in between 14 and 15 than the glide ratio of the ATOS can be calculated to be in between 16 and 17.

Many of my friends, who fly hang gliding competitions agree, that the performance of a good Laminar ST is in between 14 and 15. Flying next to Christof’s ATOS even lets me believe the performance difference is bigger, than what I unscientifically calculated.

The performance of the E 7 is similar to a very well tuned Exxtacy and somewhere in between the ATOS and the Laminar ST, but closer to the ATOS. This was also what I could see when I watched Bernd Weber on his ATOS and Kurt Schuhmann on his E 7 doing a long valley crossing together.

So what about the Ghostbuster? Lukas Etz did not seem to do too well with it. He only flew it in the first two of the 4 tasks. The glider suffered by some transport damage and Lukas did not dare to continue to fly it anymore. He changed to an Exxtacy.

I also would not want to evaluate the performance of this Ghostbuster. It was the first one made, the one which was presented at the FREE FLIGHT exhibition mid of April in Garmisch and it looked pretty prototypish too me.

Class 1
1 Bob Baier
2 Jobst Boeumer
3 Oli Barthelmes

Class 2
1 Christof Kratzner ATOS
2 Bernd Weber ATOS
3 Josef Guggenmos E-7

The German National Team FAI 1 for the Hang Gliding World Championships 1999 at Monte Cucco in Italy will be:

1. Guido Gehrmann La Mouette Topless
(the current World Champion, who could not fly the League this year, because he is trainee Lufthansa pilot)
2. Bob Baier ICARO Laminar ST
3. Jobst Bäumer Aeros Stealth
4. Hans Bausenwein ICARO Laminar ST
5. Gerald Woll ICARO Laminar ST
6. Oliver Barthelmes Moyes CSX 5

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