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December 30, 2009

Happy 2010!!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:29 pm

Alphen aan den Rijn      Wednesday   December 30    ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

First of all I do like to wish you a very happy, healthy and safe 2010. If you have made good resolutions , I hope you  achieve the goals you have set.  Good luck in 2010! I try my best to make ” easygoing ” readable newsy news again and say THANK you to the many readers for visiting my blog. What will happen in 2010 is not sure yet. In any case in MAY I will be the journalist for the Dutch comps and I am really looking forward to that. Writing in my own language would make it even easier!
Szeged showed interest and will decide in March if I can come to write for the WGC. That would mean that after many WGC ‘ s for the “smaller ships “, I will see the pilots from the “bigger ones” again. Would be great fun as well!

Our new Dutch hero is very down to earth. He was pretty shocked thinking about WHAT could have happened with their flight just before landing in Detroit, is more or less happy with all the commotion and attention, but will “do” his surf holiday with his sister first, before coming home on January 8. Then there will be a special welcome for him here. Our vice- president has congratulated him by phone. I guess he might be even invited by Obama in the White House ,when the president is back from his holiday in Hawaii.
The EU commission  has announced  to look again at the safety regulations for airfields!

Last Monday, Lubor flew his 3d 1000km flight from Corowa  up North and back and up a bit more NE and back. I was happy to see that Vincent, this time with girlfriend, is back in Corowa . He is the son from Max and Carla and Max has 2x 1000 km. flights behind him last week. I like the young enthusiasm from Vincent. Looking forward to his comments! More good friends in Corowa as  Chris , for sure with is wife Linda, arrived there as well.
Great flights yesterday again as Lubor flew his 4th 1000 km. flight in one week. Just excellent!!!
Nice to see the comment from Bert in Kiripotib yesterday. He thinks Alexander Mueller is not only a worldclass-pilot but also a good guy, helping with his technical knowledge, wherever necessary.
He also appreciates the help from Bernd Dolba who organized using the radio over Botswana!!! With some help of your friends, the world gets only better! That’s what Lubor thinks as well as he was also grateful for all the help at Corowa. Always knew that gliding was not “egocentric” but social as well !!!!!

Katja from Finland and web master during the JWGC and before the EGC in Rayskala has designed  the new website for the JWGC in 2011 in Musbach. [ Germany] Have a look , it really looks good! www.jwgc11.de
Everything for the PRE JWGC in 2010 can be found there as well.

Looking back at the year 2009  ,it was not a bad year for gliding, though the weather was not always co-operating ,but still good enough to “give” 13 flying days during the ECG. “We” had to deal with rain , thunderstorms but also with great thermals , sunny conditions and a lot of great soaring days. 
I was invited in 2009 for  both the JWGC in Finland and the CIM in Italy and  had a fantastic time and  fabulous weather, so great distances and good speed were part of the happiness.  Of course we will never  forget the pilots who “did not come back home” in 2009, they are in our hearts.
Hope 2010 will be a great year as well , a year with as soaring-high- lights 2 FAI WGC’s one in Priviedza and one in Szeged.
May all your soaring give you great fun and new friendships ,together with the ones you have already and just ……keep it SAFE!!!!
See you  NEXT YEAR!

Ritz

December 27, 2009

White Christmas!Lucky flight 253 !Christmas comps in Benalla!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:08 pm

Alphen aan den Rijn      December 27 2009      ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Hope you all  had a few lovely Christmas days. It was white here [only on Christmas Day then the sun started shining and the snow slowly disappeared, but they still call it a White Christmas the first since 1981!!!!] and in more places in Europe. It was blue in Gariep Dam and  lovely weather for a good and well deserved rest after the many great flights in the rest of Africa and in the Southern part of Australia .Then the worst snowstorms in the middle of the USA and heavy storms with hurricane power in the Swiss Alps [136km/ph].Parts from Spain and Italy suffered rain , snow and avalanches, killing several people. VERY SAD!!!!
My poor friend Maria broke on the early morning of December 24  her left leg and arm in front of the door and had to spend Christmas in hospital for surgery, not what you want for Christmas!!! I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she will be fit again a.s.a.p.

One of the readers wrote to me , that I had forgotten a “nice” flight and INDEED , he was very right,I did !!!!! What about top-pilot John Coutts from New Zealand flying  1.269 km. in an ASW 20 /16.6 m. flown in Gariep Dam !!!!???? GREAT FLIGHT on December 21 and I love his comment “I love Gariep” !!!!! And till now it is not even the best season over there! I met him for the first time when he was still a junior and thought then: He will be GOOD!!!! Nice to see him in flying in Africa!

Flight 253 with 278 passengers and 11 crew had a lucky escape  on Christmas day. A 23 year old Nigerian student , studying on a a University college in Londen did an attempt , 20 minutes before landing on this flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, to blow up the plane  over American spoil. A hero -passenger jumped on him and stopped the sophisticated explosive devise which was on the  knees of the young man ,who said later he was an agent for Al Qaeda . Badly burned [on his legs] the student , known by the CIA, but not on their black list,[ as they had not enough negative information, ] was brought to hospital  and taken into custody!
And then to know that this guy was walking around at Schiphol airport’s transit zone for 3 hours !!!! And how is it possible that he entered the KLM flight in Nigeria with those devices!!!!! The USA , the UK and of course  Lagos-Airport were he entered the plane to Amsterdam  and Schiphol-Amsterdam-airport were he was in transit , are doing a full investigation!
In the end it seems that the HERO is a 32 year old, Dutch young man , you see we Dutch do have  some “tough” people! Fantastic job he did, as he says, in blind anger when he saw what the Nigerian was doing! He put the guy in a “lethal” hold , doing that , he burnt his hands , lost his shoes, wrecked his clothes, but only says, “never mind I had to do it”!

The Gliding Club of Victoria has a Christmas competition,  run on OLC speed rules and many pilots ” found the skies”, on this good day with nice Cu’s. Flights up to over 500 km were flown during these comps. Very nice flight from the Akaflieg[Stuttgart] pilot flying 419 km.  in the JUNIOR there in Benalla and a good 347 km.  in a standard Libelle.

Not so much more happening, so thanks again for all the season greetings I still receive. THANK YOU!!!! CU on Wednesday.
cheers Ritz

December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Joeux Noel ! Feliz Navidad !Great “Christmas- present-weather” for Africa and Australia !

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:28 pm

Alphen aan den Rijn     December 23 2009    ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Wow , KING WINTER has Europe in a firm grip  and with a lot of homeless people dying by the frost , a lot of accidents happening on the roads , no train , no plane and a car only when you dig it out first, it is not funny anymore!!!! I must say I do have a lot of respect for my Scandinavian / Canadian friends and all others living in the very cold countries. Sorry but it is not something I get used to,…but I survive!!!
Millions of French people were without electricity and Russia had a traffic jam from 1700 km. total !In Poland over 3 days of cold , 42 people died!!! Schiphol Amsterdam airport had 400 “uninvited guests “for the night and holiday- beds were quickly brought out to help. One couple , arriving from Mexico on transit in Amsterdam on their way to Germany,  even missed their own wedding day and by mobile it was called of. North Italy asked the army to help out and the UK suffers as well.

Africa has still great weather, that is if you look at Namibia. Certainly last Sunday more great flights were flown and Alexander Mueller flew his last flight during this holiday and hoped in his comment, that we have enjoyed his flights. YES I did and I congratulate him with 15 x1000 km flights. His “last” flight was a good 1.319 km with big speed;156.73 km./h.
Walter Binder flying EB 28 has flown 15×1000 km as well from Pokweni !! Good on him as well!
Gariep Dam had its first 1000 km. flights flown in the “big ones” [Nimbus 4DM and ASW 22 BLE ]by Gerd and Norbert Kalisch .
 2 Very good and declared FAI 1000km [ 1139] flights were  flown from Kiripotib by Bert Wijs . He had a drink afterwards , as he went over the “5000 hours” border !!!!
Daan added an FAI 1000 km. triangle ,ready , when time and weather are there, to fly as many as he can!
Then it is December 22  and 23 and COROWA is on the map with 1 time 6 x 1000 km.plus and 1 time 8 x 1000 km.  Also 9 x over 900 km. And….as I heard, in the early morning it really did not look as a 1000 km. day and….during the day some pilots “met” even showers some with hail ,  but also wave!
I really like the flights from Lubor in the ASG 29;1208 km with a speed of 126 km/h. The day before, he flew also a great triangle of 920 km.  And today another longest flight from Corowa; 1252 km with a speed of  127 km./h. and….not even in an open class glider!!!
That even beats the longest distance flown from Tocumwal a few years ago AT Christmas time by Gerrit Kurstjens. When I remember well that was 1250 km.
Just fantastic soaring-weather in that part of the world now as well , as Tocumwal had 3 great flights from Richard [557 km. and 686 today], Terry [ 876 km.] and Milan in LS 4 !!!!![656 km.] and Benalla added a few good ones also.[ 726 and 712 km. and 799 km] and  Narromine had 669 km.
As said today on December 23  a few more 1000km flights were added and I must say I am very HAPPY for Rene , the European Champion in Club class , as he flew his very first 1000 km in a discus from Corowa during his very first visit . Congratulations Rene!!!!!!!
Also to Francesco one of the owners from Australian Soaring Centre Corowa,  as he flew a new Dutch record over 600 km with a speed of 134 km./h. SUPERDAYS!
But …and I know that too, when you are on the right spot at the right time, meaning when the super weather  is there, sitting in a good glider, you just have to do it and with a bit of luck it works , if you are in Africa in Australia, New Zealand or where ever!!! Some pilots go for a few years to the same spot and just miss out, while trying So hard.
Great achievements , it still makes me feel happy as well!!!!!

The German sportsoldiers have finished their competition soaring in the Andes  mountains in Chile . The Nationals are over and  the mixed over-all results after 6 days of flying  showed 2 winners from Chile ;Rene Vidal with Ventus 2C /15m. and another Vidal this time Carlos Rocca with Ventus 2 B ,while Sebastian Kawa [ Diana 2] was number 3 and the 2 German boys Alexander and Patrick on spot 4 and 5. Not bad!

Ryanair has announced NOT to continue negociations with Boeing  about 200 new planes, as long as they can not agree on conditions. So for the time being it looks as if Ryanair gives up this huge order.Michael O’ Leary said also that they will “slow down” a bit in 2011 and 12 with investments. From March 2010 they are going to add some new destinations and they will fly as well to the Algarve in Portugal .

Time to wish you all , where ever in the world a pleasant ,warm [outside or inside!] and happy Christmas ! Thanks for all your good wishes and season greetings.And I just learned to say it in Finnish [thanks Katja] so to all my friends in Finland ;
                  Hyvää Joulua ja Onnea Uudelle Vuodelle

Cheers Ritz

December 21, 2009

Snow! BA-no strike!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 1:34 am

Alphen aan den Rijn       December 20 2009    ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Indeed we got snow on the 16th , more on the 17th and even more on the 18th. up to 20 cm. at some places which is pretty unusual for Holland.
Reason for all traffic in Holland to go “bezirk”, with the first few snow flakes! Trains did not go or with huge delay [I had 1 hour!] and on Thursday the traffic jam was 671 km. meaning this was the busiest morning jam for this year and the 4th worst over all. The longest one on the road was 84 km.
The last couple of days the snow continued and at the moment we have a real “blizzard” with 7 bft. wind from the south and snow. With minus 18 dgr. yesterday pretty unusual weather here. Again snow has de-regulated all traffic including the flying traffic. Not only Holland has this weather but lot’s of countries in Europe. Advises have been given to just stay at home!
Belgium closed its airfield Zaventem and several other smaller ones as well while trucks were forbidden to go on the road! Dusseldorf-Airport the 3d biggest one in Germany  has been closed this morning as well. In Germany 6 people have died since Friday and the temperature there dropped to MINUS 30.3 dgr. and in the Alps even 33.6 dgr.

British Airways staff were ready to go on strike over and after Christmas, but it was forbidden by the court! The cabin staff had announced a strike between December 22 and Januari 2 2010, a bit of a “rough” period , in which one million passengers would have been let down. I do understand that people are unhappy with changed working situations and sacking procedures ,but the harm done to a company as B A , in this period of the year would be terrible, by such a strike.

Anton [Austria ] really feels at home in Corowa, as he flew another beautiful long distance task this time 746 km. Well done ! In between the “rain” of 1000 km . flights continues in Namibie! Lost track of them, but nobody can say now that Namibia has had “not so good weather”! Alexander added number 14 to his impressive list of 1000 km. flights in Kiripotib and good friend Daan flew in 10 days 4 x1000 km. flights from Pokweni.

Between December 14 and 20 the 48th Chile Nationals  are flown and some of the young German “Sportsoldiers” are flying there. What a great way of flying these sport soldiers have. They are busy with day 6 now flying over the Andes mountains and enjoying it to the fullest. Sebastian Kawa and Stanilaw Wujczak from Poland are flying there as well. From Januari 2 till 10 the 3d FAI Grand Prix FINALS will be held in Chili as well.

That’s it for now,will try to get rid of some snow in front of my door, no worries, as long as I DO NOT have to drive!!!
Cheers Ritz from very WHITE Holland!

December 16, 2009

Ohlmann in Chapelco!1000 km. “rain” ! Greek Isles !

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:57 pm

Alphen aan den Rijn    December 16 2009     ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Thanks  for the many , phone calls, emails and sms messages  I received for my birthday today! It feels fabulous to receive them from all parts of the world. THANK YOU!!!!! Was busy for nearly 2 hours to read them and react quickly on a few already!!!! And it is only morning! Will leave soon for Amsterdam for Birthday cake with the family, sushi in a great Japanese restaurant in the early evening and the Farewell Performance of River Dance  with Inge in the Heineken Hall after.
“Heaven ” might send us some fresh white snow as well today, it is cold enough  [-8 tonight ] and…. it is predicted!
Heard that they expect 41 dgr. today in Tocumwal , with  strong wind and as I heard as well Victoria and NSW are on high fire alert today. Tomorrow it seems , a cold change  with some rain will bring some relieve

To be honest , I must say that I do have respect for Klaus Ohlmann. Not so much for the distances he flies up and down over the ridges, but more for the duration of the flight and the motivation he gives to other pilots , for sure the ones who did training with him, to fly long distances. He “did it again ” in Argentina in a Nimbus 4 DM, where he flew a 2593.7 km . with a speed of 175.31 km./h. and had to sit and concentrate for 14 hours and 47 minutes and 42 seconds  and that is not nothing, certainly not with an oxygen mask on your face [over 7000 m.]!!!!!On November 30 he did about the same [the mountains know him by now!] but with an even longer and higher flight; 2831.15 km.  with a speed of 186.17 km/h.  soaring the skies for 15 hours, 12 minutes and 26 seconds. [over 8000 m.]Not my cup of tea!!!!
Even…new challenges are there! What about 3000 km.???!!!! He will do it one day!

It is getting a bit boring but on December 13 30 flights over 1000 km.were flown. Then 26 on December 14 and  another 12 yesterday.
It is good that not everybody is interested in flying those long distances. Enjoying your soaring, that is the most important!!!!! If your goal is a 1000 km.[ set ] task, that is ok for you , but if you are happy with your first 50 or 300 or 500km. flight that is as important. And…for some is ONE 1000km. enough. That is, if it was an FAI triangle as that is still “cooler” then a jojo. And an out and return is not bad either , even more flying it without an engine! So I am impressed with all the 1000 km flights but I do see the fun in great set other distance tasks as well maybe, even more.
For that reason I mention the flight in the SZD55 a nice triangle of 843.13 km. [750 FAI] flown in Western Australia and as the pilot , James Cooper claims, with no cu’s and under total overcast all flight!
And knowing Anton Horrill from Austria , I am very impressed with his great flights in Corowa. Another 608 km. all the way up North to Forbes and back.
On December 12 , I nearly missed a flight between all those African  1000 km. tasks , flown in New Zealand , in fact the wave paradise. Vaughan Ruddick flew in LS 6 a nice and very interesting 547 km flight with a speed of  151 km. /h. He writes that his plan was to fly a 1000 km. distance but due to a late start , caused by the weather [high wind on the ground and a slower then forecast cold front]  he enjoyed a “shorter” flight with pressure wave, lee wave, primary wave, ridge soaring ,climbs up to 9.5 kts. reaching fl.175 and a nice 50 km. final glide with a 60 km. headwind and the first 45 km. flying over full cloud cover with tops up to 12.000 ft. [look for his full story on the OLC news]. I liked it!!

What about a Greek ATR-42 nearly landing on the wrong Greek Insel!?The Olympic pilot started his descend to the  island of Paros but the “friends” on the tower just were in time to convince him that he had to go the another island Naxos. There are so many small Greek Isles ……!

We had – 8 , so the skating-fever starts again  here in Holland. Ice skates are sold like ” sweet bread-rolls” and many will find them under their Christmas Tree. Even the ” 11 steden-tocht ” , the famous trip over ice visiting 11 towns in Friesland ,the Northern part of Holland , was mentioned in the papers this week.One more week of -8 and the canal in front of my house will be full with colourful skaters,  stead of ducks and swans.

Narromine has been pretty busy  over the last weeks and they had mostly good weather. Yesterday Mac {Japan}  flew a 1119 km flight in a Ventus 2 CM /18m. Hans Raschke [ Germany] who flies as long as I know him in Unterwoessen and Narromine, flew 579 in an LS 4! Not bad either! Great weather yesterday in Narromine. But also in the rest of Australia as Benalla, Corowa and Tocumwal all claimed nice flights.
Bitterwasser and Kiripotib added more 1000 km flights and Bostjan is enjoying himself VERY much in Bitterwasser ! 1225 km .And…what about Alexander!!?? A 1250 DECLARED FAI triangle with a total scoring distance of  1401 km. AMAZING!!!!!!
And then the comment of German pilot Matthias Hoelzl; A dream comes true , a very hard fought-for  and declared FAI 1000 km. and flown now![Bitterwasser DG 800b/18m.]THAT is what it is all about!!!!! Dreams coming true, feeling free and happy with your sport !
Felt sorry for Josef today as he nearly flew his 1000 km. from Corowa, but  missed out on 53 km on this very nice and very far out and return.

Thanks again and now I am going to eat cake with my friends here in Alphen . CU on Sunday! Ritz

December 13, 2009

Official opening from Tocumwal’s CP!Statistics till now !Junior Nationals in Narromine!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 9:20 pm

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday December 13 2009      ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Yesterday was the official opening  of the great looking Caravan Park in Tocumwal at the airfield. Friends and people living at the Park arrived and most of them have their caravan at the by theirselves choosen spot. I know a few more guests will arrive over Christmas , so it is good to see that they are busy enough !

My friend Daan arrived a couple of days ago in Pokweni  and added a nice 1000 km flight to the total of Pokweni for this season. For sure, if the weather is good, he will fly many more . This time he flies a DG 800B /18m.
Another friend[ from Australia by the way! THANKS!],  had a look at the OLC  from October till now looking at some airfields in Africa and Australia and made some statistics. Though it is still a bit early, as lots of things can still happen and the season is still long, I will give them to you anyway to keep an eye on “overseas soaring”.

                                                    2007                     2008                         2009                  2010
Bittwerwasser                       402,589                 584,385                   481,335           238,000
Gariep Dam                           365,387                  392,946                   424,674              84,000
Pokweni                                 219,286                  276,608                   235,927             118,000
Kiripotib                                                                                                    61,005             67,000
Corowa                                   324,295                479,208                    496,302            110,000
Tocumwal                                19,013                   44,218                      48,486               17,000
The last colum shows the percentage of kilometers flown in respect to last years OLC list.[ October 2008-October 2009]

And more;

Flights OLC                  > 1000km %

Bitterwasser               344                            52                    15%
Gariep Dam                171                               0                      0%
Pokweni                      176                             24                     14%
Kiripotib                      83                              24                     29%
Corowa                       224                              0                        0%
Tocumwal                   50                               0                        0%
                                 1048                          100                        10%
According to these statistics, Gariep Dam is flying less then last year as well as Corowa , all ONLY at this stage!!!!!
Bitterwasser and Pokweni are about the same , also ONLY at this stage and Kiripotib has flown already NOW MORE then the total of last year, so they are in the “lift”! Bigger distances set and flown, with even better long distance gliders as ASH25EB have a huge influence on these statistics.
Namibie had till yesterday 100x 1000 km. flights!!!!!!!

Great to see that from the New Tempe Boemfontein -airfield  of Dick Bradley also a 1000 km task was flown by UK pilot Edward Downham in a JS 1Revelation; 1017.05 km with a speed of 134,74 km/h.
I expect a lot of this 18 m. glider built in South Africa by the Jonkers. Look for more info at; www.JonkerSailplanes.co.za

After 5 days of flying in Narromine during the Junior Nationals  the clear winner is Nathan Johnson with LS 4. Runner up is Andrew Maddock, [ he won day 1-2 and 4 in the LS 8] who flew in Finland during the JWGC and had a ball and 3d was NZ pilot Dane Dickinson in a Discus. Great effort from all.

That’s it for now. Enough fun for most of the pilots , the others are sitting at home looking at their Christmas tree and enjoying the festive season which is about to begin. Not bad either and….we can just “read” what’s happening in the soaring world far away! Thanks to OLC!
Cheers Ritz

December 9, 2009

Newsy news!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 9:35 pm

Alphen aan den Rijn        Wednesday December 9 2010           ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Good to see so many familiar names   flying all over the well-known soaring places in winter. Anton from Austria is flying in Corowa at the moment , as well as Andy and Reinhard from Germany and not to forget Jozef from Slovak Rep . He is the next contest director for the WGC in Prievidza.  Corowa has about 25 pilots at the moment.
Paul from Belgium is in Narromine. Guy from Luxemburg flew a 1000 km in Bitterwasser. Some of my Japanese friends arrived in Tocumwal and Rene, the “fresh” European Champion , in club class, had a ball, flying for the first time in his life an ASG 29 in Corowa , where he works during this season.
In between one of the German juniors I met, Alexander Spaeth is having ” his ball ” in Chile, flying the mountain ranges in a Ventus in thermals, hang and wave!!!!!! A few of them are enjoying….and fly from Minivitacura Pis. Not a bad life, or did I say so already when they all flew in the mountains in France?
 One of these  German pilots flew a 1000 km. flight in a Ventus 2M18m. yesterday, flying up and down and…up and down , and….over the Ranges.
In  Narromine  the Juniors are flying the Nationals , Joeyglide 2009 , with 10 pilots. After 3 days Nathan , who flew the JWGC in the UK, has the lead with 70 points over Andrew who flew in Finland during the last JWGC, while New Zealand pilot Dane is 3d. He flew in Italy during the JWGC. Still a lot can happen as the comps go to December 12.

What about Richard Branson,  flying in his own space ship into space???? He seemed happy as a little boy!!!! And why not , he achieved a lot! It is a bit expensive 200.000 dollar but already 300 people have showed interest. And the flight is not even to the moon??!!!
KLM  is most probably having a new partner in their Sky Team Alliance in 2010. The expectation  is that the 2d biggest airline , China Eastern Airlines will be part of it, after the number 1 in China, China Southern joined in  already in  2007. It seems that China is more important for them then the USA, though Delta Airlines joined in this year as well.
United Airlines  just ordered 50 new modern planes to lower the environmental pollution with 33 %. The planes are 25 Airbus 350 XWB and 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. They should be delivered between 2016 and 2019 and will replace the older 747  and 767 types .

Very busy at the moment so I leave you here till Sunday. Cheers Ritz

December 7, 2009

Munich! Salzburg! Africa/gliding/soccer!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 10:01 pm

Alphen aan den Rijn              Monday  December 7 2009

Back home again! Is n’t it nice to visit the world only because one day , in 1966 you heard about gliding and got thoroughly involved in it and “found” yourself friends EVERYWHERE!!!!!
It was a bit of a change after the 46 dgr. in the car on the way to Cobram, the 33 dgr. on the beach in Cairns, the 13 dgr. with arrival in Holland and then Munich with minus 6 in the night and Austria with minus 3 at noon but…at 1500 m height! I had rain, snow and sun and another GREAT time.
Munich is a lovely town, even more in Christmas time and Salzburg has been one of my favourites since I visited it 8 years ago.
Maria and Dieter have been great hosts and they took me everywhere. Highlight ; the “SALZBURGER ADVENTSINGEN” im grossen Festspielhaus [if you are interested you can find news at www.salzburgeradventsingen.at] ] with before,  a lunch in the famous restaurant Hertz’l where you have to book at-least half a year ahead!!! What did we eat???  Wiener Schitzel of course ,as they can only make them in Austria SOOOO good!
Driving at 1500 m on a mountain top with snow falling on the huge trees was impressive as well, though we had some spinning winter-tyres nearly at the top, but we made it. Further on I saw 2 beautiful baroque churches in Munich and so much more, we even went by boat over the Chiem See to visit on the “women insel” a special Christmas market.And…what about a FULL moon which was visible for 17 hours on December 2 , no clouds ,minus 6 and enough light to stay up if you wished. We saw the moon disappear in the morning while the sun appeared , very special!!!
Met one of their glider friends Gustl, who showed us a slide show  , on how they still glide in winter at Unterwoessen with skies instead of wheels under the Falke and Super Dimona.
You “see” I had a great time. Though flying the AVRO RJ85 was not a pleasure. I never have pain in my ears but this time on the way to and from Munich it was terrible!

But in between more things happened. It was a week with interesting glider flights. When  I start with December 1 the flight from Bruce Cooper in Argentina was remarkable certainly when he is the Bruce I know. Have to find out! 1471 km with a speed of  140.70 km/h. in a nimbus 4DM in wave , racing the mountains. NO wave for Pepe , flying a 1000 km from Narromine, great effort. And…Alexander added another 1000 km to his more then impressive list. While Stephan flies his LS 4 to another nice distance of 584 km. in Tocumwal. Talking about Tocumwal,  good “old” friend Michael has arrived as well and being a member of the UE syndicate he flew the DG 600 and “made” a nice 507 km.
On December 2 it was good to see that the Gariep Dam pilots had a good day. And…Stephan flew in his LS 4 another great distance of 584 km from Tocumwal airfield. He really is a kilometer eater as long as I know him you can expect great tasks from him.
December 3 had another 3 x 1000 km flights, and….you guess it already…one from Alexander Mueller.
December 4 another 1000 km flight and this time for Slovak top -pilot Pristavec Bostjan, a very good pilot.He flew the ASH 25EB. Pepe had a great run again from Narromine with 951 km.in his DG 800/18m.
December 5 had the better weather for Namibie again with 5 x 1000 km flights from Bitterwasser, Kiripotib and Pokweni.And….top place was for…who else…Alexander with 1372 km. He flew now NINE 1000 km. flights!!!!!!! The best next flight out of Africa was for Australian pilot Terry Bellair who flew from Victoria 587 km in his DG 400.
December 6 was good in OZ and Pepe topped the list again from Narromine! I know that Grant is not only a good hang glider pilot , but also a great glider pilot. He bought a few years ago the cirrus and he flew a very nice 396 km up and down to Narrandera from Tocumwal . Stephan had another great run in his LS 4 KYO,  with an out and return to West Wyalong 518 km. NO engine for both boys!!!!!!Big drive if things go wrong!!!
Today December 7 , pilots from Corowa had ” a ball ” with flights up to over 940 km. Great to see that Francesco , [together with his wife Grietje, the owners of Australian Soaring Corowa,] flew his first declared FAI 750 km. task in most blue and variable conditions!!! And…good old Anders flew a nice 624 km in his ASW22 /24m. He stayed always for a long time in Tocumwal and moved to Corowa,  where he is happily flying now! Too early to say what’s happening on the other site,  so that will be on next Wednesday.

Africa was in the middle of all attention  as well when the draw was made for the  WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SOCCER IN SOUTH AFRICA from June 11 till July 11 2010. I guess “we” Dutch should not be too unhappy.
Today the CLIMATE TOP has started in Denmark. Hope something constructive comes out of it.
See you on Wednesday, cheers Ritz

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