Erik and Katia flying to MunichWe are getting closer and closer to the race start. The last couple of weeks have passed very fast with all the action. First of all, I am very happy to have my family back. Penny, Katia

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and Erik came last week and things have been even busier than before. (no surprise though) . To go back a couple weeks….After I completed the flights with the CT (, I traveled to Innsbruck to get my wing for the race. The wing was a proto Factor2 which was has never been flown before. After my first flight, we decided to let Pipo (Nova Test Pilot) fly the wing as well to get his comments and feedback. It turned out the large Factor2 was by no means ready yet. They needed to do some changes within the canopy and as well as it needing to be trimmed. Time is running out, so Nova and I have decided that Nova build a Mentor2 in a light version. I am glad we did that instead of trying to finish the large Factor2, as it is already so late in getting the wing before the race start. Believe it or not, I still do not have it, but will pick up the wing on our way to Salzburg tomorrow. Just to clarify, the Factor2 in small and medium sizes are finished and certified, and the large is just about there as well. I flew with Steve Nash (Team UK) for one week and he is very happy with his small Factor2. For the past couple of weeks, Nova gave me a large Mentor2 demo wing, in order for me to get used to the wing. After Insnsbruck, I headed to Silian to meet up with my friends Stefan, Susanne and Wendelin at They are such super people and so friendly, and I only can recommend to stop by their store/school when you are going to the Dolomite’s. Wendelin has competed for several years in the Dolomite Man competition, and seeing him a couple of weeks ago, gave me a great opportunity to discuss with him route details. While staying at, I met Richard Pethigal (Team Brazil) and we both hiked and checked out the route from the Tre Cime to Meran. The weather was not good at all and I headed back to Germany as it was time I put a couple of solid days of work in. Max and SteveNot long after, I met with Steve Nash (Team UK) in Innsbruck. I traveled there by train and we continued to Meran to check out the route from Meran to PizPalue. We did it by train so we could move forward without having to worry about the car. The weather was only semi good for 2 days and the rest of the week we had some rain and the north Foehn. The first day we hiked up in the Meran area and stayed in a hut. The day after, we flew for about 20 km in north wind conditions (not the best for this area). We ended up on the Stilfzer Joch (second highest paved pass in the Alps at 2770m) via train and bus. The next day we hiked up to 3000m to find a great launch site. We managed to get off around 11:00 am and flew west of Bormio. The winds got stronger and we were not able to fly the route we planned. After landing and on our way to Livigno a local pilot convinced us to go up again for another flight and it turned out to be very mellow this time, but still not bringing us there where we wanted to go. Later that day we headed to Livigno and the day after to the Piz Palue turn point. The “north” route was actually more challenging, as we thought it would be. It is the shortest way, but certainly not the easiest due the high mountain passes. Max sleeping in Mentor2From Piz Palue we headed to St. Moritz and explored the route from there to Bellinzona, which included a great hike in the rain over a high pass. The weather did not look very promising and we decided to take the train to Locarno and then further west to Santa Maria Maggiore to see how the route would look heading direct to the Monte Rosa area and then over the high glacier pass, which Maurer took 2 years ago. This is for sure the shortest way, but for sure a very difficult stretch to fly around the no-fly zone and with a narrow valley below. After that experience we headed back to Bellinzona and with no accommodation to be found, we ended up staying overnight beside the bike storage area of the youth hostel, which was also booked up. We stayed overnight x-alps style, sleeping in my wing. The day after we headed up to the Sankt Gotthard pass without any flights as the north foehn was just too much. The weather did not look too promising to keep on going, so we took the train to Kempten (Germany) and we managed to get a great hike and flight the next day at Tegelberg flying over the Neuschwanstein Castle before Steve had to head back to the UK. Penny hikingSince then I got a couple very good x-country flights with the Mentor2 before picking up Penny and the kids. The week with the kids and Penny has been fantastic, and thanks to Oma and Opa, Penny and I have had some good times hiking and flying in the Allgauer Alps. Now we picked up the rental car, got all the supplies organized and will be heading to Innsbruck to pick up my wing and then to Fuschel am See to camp with the kids and the grandparents. This will give us some time to explore the Salzburg to Dachstein area with hiking and flying. Everything is coming together very nicely and our spirits are high. We are looking forward to the last week of preparations. Max and Penny