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March 14, 2018

Soaring…..and more newsy news !” Heaven on Tswalu – earth” .

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:54 pm

—— Heaven on earth;
As every time after a WGC has finished, some of the best pilots are invited to South Africa for the Helli Lasch event. As I told you earlier ,Mac was one of them and he wrote an article about it, which I am allowed to share. The Great pictures accompanying the story are from his wife Akemi, who flew JS 3 too. THANK YOU BOTH !!!

Tswalu airport and surroundings taken from above

  “South African friends organized 8th Helli Lasch Challenge (HLC) at Tswalu, about 100km west of Kuruman near Kalahari desert. This special event is by invitation to the selected top World’s pilots only.  I had never flown in this part of South Africa before, (we did not go to this area during the WGC 2001 in Mafikeng) so was very excited to go.

For this particular event,

7 South African team pilots were invited:  Laurens & Oscar Goudriaan, Attie & Uys Jonker, Nico Le Roux, Dolf Pretorius, AP Kotze.

Additionally, following 5 international pilots were invited.

Katrin Senne, Louis Bouderlique, Killian Walbrou, Peter Szabo and myself.

We were asked to give a speech of about 30 minutes on various topics of competition gliding, in the mornings.

Andy Davis was invited as facilitator/coach this time. (He was previously invited before as World Champion, too.)

“Super Team Captain” Carol Clifford was busy organizing everything, Martin Lessle from Douglas Soaring Center was the key person on the operation side of things and Rowan Hill was busy towing us all up in the Cessna from Potch.

Altogether we transported 3 JS1, 3 JS3, ASG32Mi, DuoDiscus T, Ventus 2cT, Janus, and ASH25 to Tswalu from different locations of South Africa.

Andy set us tasks every day from Sunday 25 Feb to Saturday 3 March. Task length varied from 218 km in the blue to 433 km with Cu and showers, and a few AAT’s were added to the menu towards the end of the week. The start was normally Grand Prix start. It was an extremely high-level racing environment, and we all learned from each other. It was great FUN!


Everyone getting gliders ready together in the morning.            and     …after [Mac’s] landing.

My  takeoff in JS3-18.

The evenings were busy with a sundowner and game drives and special dinners (We were even invited one evening to the new residence of the Oppenheimers!). Some people went to game drives starting 5am or so in the morning! So we never had enough time!!

It was a week of gliding paradise. I must confess that we felt all the hard work of Benalla WGC (which was mostly weak blue and lots of gaggles) was more than rewarded by this fantastic week.

There was a very special camaraderie amongst all participants. We all got to know each other much deeper during this event, which is unfortunately difficult these days during serious Internationals.”

” Morning briefing. Everyone listening seriously to Andy Davis, the coach for the week.”

Thank you Mac, [he was runner up at the last WGC in Benalla !] for sharing your thoughts with most of us who will NEVER be there. Now we have at least a bit of an idea!!

According to Uys from Jonker Sailplanes ,Katrin Senne was the very first woman to fly their JS 3.
Katrin Senne, current Women’s World Gliding Champion 18m class, had the opportunity to fly the JS3 Rapture during the recent 2018 Helli Lasch challenge in Tswalu. She is also the first women to fly the JS3 and we hope she is the first of many .”
I hope so too!!!She loved it….fantastic!!!Her first cross country flight , years ago, she was 17 then,  was in a Club Libelle and the handling of the  JS 3 with the “small and high  wing’s” like a Libelle was easy and she flew the glider with a smile from ear to ear, she said to Uys.


—–Seminole Lake Gliderport; As every year the “oldies” [with much respect !!! ] fly their competition and more and more toppers from the recent past, but also from the far past, participate . The far -past as in Doug Jacobs and Karl Striedeck and from Canada Ed Hollestelle with a Dutch background.
It ‘s a feast of recognition !!!
And there is still fire in these pilots, as some only go “for the win”.
60 Eager entrants [ the max for this competition]  and  25 of them are flying the more modern motorized glider, even  with jet engines !!
They started on March 8 with a 2 hour-practice task won by the champion from last year Fernando Silva
Task 1 was cancelled due to the weather after launch. So till now March 13 they only flew one day won by the SSA chairman Ken Sorensen, [15 m. Ventus 2 cxa] who was the 2012 CD at Uvalde. Fernando was runner up in his ASW 27.
They continue till March 16 so more next week.


—–Stonefield  in South-Australia, about 110 km. North East of Adelaide as well of course as North East of Gawler and South West of Waikirie, is a for most of us ,  relative “young” airfield [ with an elevation of 350 m. MSL] and home of the Adelaide University Gliding Club.
Konrad Maierhofen from Germany started a few years ago his own operation there; Fly Down Under.
In the past I wrote about it when young German pilots visited to broad their horizon and they loved it there.   [Soaringcafe 2013]
Not a lot of good landing-spots in this pretty rural/remote area, but serious fun when you “cross” along the hills.
Last week Konrad flew in the NIMBUS 4d with Aussie Leigh Stokes during a nice “ride” over 622 km. they even “visited the beach” from high up in the air.
On Thursday they did it again now with 708 km.
They nearly topped the OLC list  that Wednesday, as the ASH 31/21 m.with James Cooper, flying from Cunderdin in Western Australia flew a 778 FAI triangle [ extended to a total of 824 km.]up to over 3000 m. MSL .


——Aussie Adam Woolley,  I got to know, when he was still a very active junior. He even worked a few months for us at Sportavia as tuggie, but left when he got a job-offer. Nowadays he is an Airline pilot based in Japan and he has the best contract ever!!! He can take off when he wants to “soar” instead of flying intercontinental.
Now he has time off for 7 months!!!
“This year I’ll be flying 3 big practice comps, then representing Australia at both World Champs! First comp will be in Slovakia in a months time – to watch my progress it’ll all be found at Adam Woolley’s Gliding Adventures  ”
So you can follow all his actions in his blog.
Before he left ,he flew from Kingaroy together with his mate Jim Crowhurst and another mate Mark Chambers, made this great “bye-bye-Australia- ” picture.

Picture courtesy Mark Chambers.


——-Gliders from Kiripotib arrived safely in Austria. Lucky the weather was sunny to unpack as a day earlier there was still 10 cm. snow I read. So after a great successful overseas winter ,the season can start here now.
hopefully as good and as successful.


As shared by Kiripotib Soaring.


———-Another 2 great wave flights by the Perlan Project pilots. 2 Gliders this time and flying from Minden [Nevada] with Dennis and Tim Gardner in the ARCUS J [156 km./h.] and Jim and Alan Coombs in the ASH 25 [ 170 km./h] ; distances…..1.760.22 km. and 1.681,47.
Aussie pilots Morgan and guest Matthew Scutter [Junior World Champion in Narromine at the 9th FAI JWGC] flew a shorter run over 540 km. but with with a speedy-speed of 170 km./h in the ARCUS J.
Guess the fastest flight for young Matthew, who lives his life to the fullest. Talking to the guests at the Reno SSA conference a couple of day’s ago and now visiting  good old Minden. Later he travels to Europe again.

Matthew in Narromine after winning the JWGC in 2015.

Talking about the Perlan Project, ….just got the message that  the “ Perlan Project has been nominated for the Smithsonian Air and Space Trophy, and was recently named a finalist for the Collier Trophy “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America in 2017.”
“Perlan 2 reached 54,000 feet pressure altitude (52,221 feet GPS altitude) in September of 2017 on a research flight over the southern Andes. This is the highest altitude ever reached by a glider.”
There are 10 nominees in total.


—–Remember Brad Edwards? An Aussie who won the 1991 Uvalde WGC in Texas. Great guy, and playing then nearly every evening the guitar , surrounded by many who loved the relaxing music as well.
Just read in the “Armidale Express” , that his business, Edwards Aviation, saves lives !!!
Brad was in the buss-business before. He bought the Citizen Jet from Mr Terry Snow , bought more jet’s and started private flights. NOW he is doing organ retrievals and helps to save lives !!!!!
There’s only four hours that the heart has to be transplanted so we have to move pretty quickly, that’s why they use private jets.
Brad mentioned in the article, that “Aeroplanes with organ donations are given priority at airports across the country.”
Of course I would say !!!!
They transport transports livers, lungs, kidneys, “nearly everything these days” and work together with  St Vincents Hospital or Westmead [in Sydney].
Fabulous job , as said I know [ already for many years ] Brad as a lovely guy!!!

It seems Brad [to be honest I guess it is this Brad]  bought a JS 3 and at this stage John “Butch” Buchanan is flying this glider in Potsch. Butch has one himself already ,but was more than satisfied with this one as he mentioned in his OLC comment;
“Hey Brad. Your glider is amazing. Not great wx, 250 kms in the blue and still 131 kph for 620 kms. Go Js3!


And to finish 2 very great pictures from Roy Pentecost, who flew with us at Sportavia in the past with some of his Lasham mates as Patrick and David .

As shared by Roy,who just stood  on the Roof of Africa, around 0815 Thurs 8 March accompanied by my Nordic Walking friends Steve Ellis, Dave Myers and Dave’s delightful children, Charlotte, Lily & Ben.
Hardest thing I have ever done, climbed 1200m in 7.5 hours, mostly in the dark.
Could not have done it without the fantastic guides and porters, who carried my rucksack from the mid-point and kept us motivated with some fantastic singing.
The 4 hour walk down to Base Camp was nearly as tough with lots of snow. Kili weather is also challenging, from blue sky at the summit to heavy continuous hail for the last hour of the descent.

As shared by Roy second left above.


AND,.……..R.I.P Professor Stephen Hawking. A truly inspirational man, died at age 76 !!!!!!

Cheers Ritz

March 7, 2018

It WAS cold, but getting better now….from minus 10 to plus 10!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:05 pm

——The first day of the new meteorological spring, March 1, was here ,in Holland,….. the coldest EVER.
The last day of February had great and already warm sunshine from a strong shining sun, but my goodness me, it was still SO cold. It was “only” minus 10, sunny,  but the feeling temperature with the 6 Bft NNE wind,[wind chill factor]  made is feel up to minus 20 and even 27 in the N. That IS cold for Holland.
Ye,…. I know not for the Scandinavian countries .
So finally some marathons on natural ice here, which is special and as long as there is no “11-town-tour” , this is the second best in Holland and from all directions enthusiastic people go to these events…3 days in a row .
Europe ,all over , suffers from the cold and some countries even more than we. I feel for them !!! Several people died from the cold specially the older ones.
A German weather station on the highest mountain in the N. of Germany [1.141m.] showed MINUS 55 on the thermometer !!!

Down under, I heard,[ in Toc. ] it was still around 30 when autumn started.
Autumn in Lake Keepit started on the OLC with a 555 km. by Allan [Barnes] and Harry [Medlicott] in the ARCUS M. On march 3 still over 500 km. flights/triangles in the BCT triangle.
Europe started the OLC list in freezing conditions with a 232 km. wave flight from St Girons An Gld in France in a Pegase.
And Africa with 490 km. by Mac in the new JS 3 . He was one of the 2017 WGC- champions, who were invited to Africa for the Heli Lasch event flying from Tswalo Game Rese.
“Fantastic day. We saw giraffes on the way to airfield, we flew very fast race of 2:30 AAT close to 160kph, and then saw lions on the way back home. Special thanks to South African friends for inviting us to such a special place. And the new glider goes super fast.”
On March 3 a very fast day at Tswalu from Oscar in the JS 3; the actual speed was 175 km./h.


—–The last day’s of the 2018 Lake Keepit Regatta were GOOD, but I read, some not as good as “advertised”.
Task 5 was set last Thursday ;3.30 AAT.
Dave Shorter [JS 1] won the 1000 points with 448 km. in 3.30 at the dot  [127.52 km./h.]!!! Great result as well for Speed Astir pilot Jason Kath who flew 365 km. with a speed of 102.52 km./h. He was 3d.
Jenny [Mosquito] was 7th and Kerrie [ASG 29/18m.] 12th from 27.
Out-landings as well; Robert [Smits born in Holland] flew 316 km. in his St .Cirrus ,but then as he said:”Under cooked the final glide…. Went a few extra km’s in the time soak as I was just a little early….. And then I didn’t find the expected lift and just didn’t make it...”

“Bugger….. Same paddock as two days ago….. What’s wrong with me?????”
as shared by Robert.

Task 6 ; had another 3.30 AAT. Bruce Taylor [ASG 29/18 m.] showed up and straight away showed his class AND how to do it; 436 km. in time 3.42 [speed 118 km./h.] He flies HC.
Runner up and overall number 1 Dave flew 394 km . Jason in his speed Astir earns extra credit flying 368 km. in 4.05 , slow with 90 km./h. but with this glider against the hot-shot-gliders he did well; 3d. AND,….on spot 2 overall with one day to go.
Task 7 and last day; with a 3 hour AAT and …ouch…it was a difficult day. I am not sure if it was real courage or maybe a problem, but Jason in the Speed Astir started last and nearly 20 minutes behind Dave !!!
The ASH 25 /26 m. won the day,…but Dave and Jason were 2 and 3. Only 10 finishers.
Winners from this fun but still serious competition;
1. Dave Shorter 5.764 clear win. 2. Jason Kath 5.280  3. Alan Wilson in the LS 8 with 4.982 points.
The “girls” practicing for the WWGC were on spot 4 Jenny in the Mosquito [4.563] and spot 8 Kerrie in the 18 m. ASG 29 [3.675]

As said the next WWGC will be in Lake Keepit but more  news!!!!
“Great news!! The BGA Women Gliding Project has won the bid for the 2021 Women’s Worlds – looking forward to welcoming you all to HusBos any time between now and August 2021.”
We are looking forward to welcoming women pilots of all nations to the UK in 2021. If your nation doesn’t usually take part, please contact Womenglide now and we’ll work with you to help you get a team to the competition.”
I was in Hus Bos in 2005 for the JWGC and that area is just beautiful ,so is the airfield and the people!!


——-Matamata Nationals; you remember I wrote about these NZ Nationals a few weeks ago. I was impressed with the young ones winning the title in racing class in the Duo Discus.
Matamata shared some more news which is, I think, very inspiring for young pilots.
Allie, Alexandra Thompson is only 15 years old and still a school-girl in year 12 at the Sacred Heart College!!!!.
Here are parts of it:
“Thompson had flown with 22-year-old Auckland-based McIver as part of Youth Glide New Zealand (YGNZ) – not-for-profit organisation that provides under-25s with education, tuition and training in the skills necessary for gliding in New Zealand.

It all started when she was gifted a flight in early 2015 at the Hawke’s Bay and Waipukurau Gliding Club at Hastings Aerodrome in Bridge Pa – and it almost instantly became an obsession. Before then, the Taradale family had no contact with the world of flight but just hours before she turned 13, Thompson took to the air on her own.

Now 15, she has lost count of how many hours she has spent in the air – well over 100, she reckons.

“I love the whole uniqueness of it and the fact that when I get up there it is a completely different world and I can be myself,” the keen flyer said.

“Once you’re up there you can pretty much do anything in your limits and it is a whole different side to the world that you never really get to see from the ground and it is quite stunning when you are first up there.”

Allie with  principal Maria Neville-Foster .
Courtesy Paul Taylor for


———More and more pilots/clubs are finishing the last “bit”  of the winter maintenance on gliders ,instruments and trailers.In the middle of March these gliders will have their last check ready for hopefully a fine summer and great spring.
Here are some pictures from February 25 in Germany.


Still very cold, but gliders “sniff” already some fresh [Siberian] outside air.
Segelfluggruppe Donauwörth-Monheim


—-SSA convention in Reno in the USA;

As shared by US Soaring teams.

As shared by Jonker Sailplanes with up front the Perlan Project glider.

with many, speakers as Tony Condon  speaking about Downwind Dashes and Sarah Kelly Arnold US team committee and WWGC silver medalist in 2017.
Tony also got 3 Awards for one of his “dashes”  AND for the story he wrote about it in the SOARING. Love those great looking awards and to see them well I enlarged them all 3.

as shared by Tony and CONGRATULATIONS!!! It looks like the Tony show as he got ONE more!!

As shared by Tony.

Karin Schloesser [in the past like me a member of the ZES] and her husband Heinz showed together with Benjamin [Neglais] and Biko [Berger] the new Ventus with the FES. Sarah tried it out.

Sarah and Heinz


Biko [Berger] , who I have n’t seen for ages and Benjamin [Neglais] explaining .
Pictures courtesy Karin.

More news from Reno; Paul Remde [ Cumulus Soaring Inc.] well known for his books , video’s and other soaring related objects, added a new “wing”  to his business.
“I am very excited to be the new DG Flugzeugbau representative for the USA and Canada. They make DG and LS sailplanes. This photo shows me with Stefan Göldner from DG in my booth at the Soaring Society of America Convention in Reno, Nevada yesterday.”

as shared by Paul [to the left.]

And last but not least RENO ,of course showed the JS 1C /21 m. too ,with “eye-catchers”  as Jennifer [Benetti-Longhini] and top kilometer eater Keith [Essex].

As shared by Paul.


——More meetings ;the IGC meeting in Freudenstadt where it, so to see, was COLD.

As shared by Marina Galetto.


——An interesting international OLC top on March 4:
1. Damian [Goldenzweig] in a Ventus CM with 534 km in Argentina.
2. Jiri Fousek from the Czech Rep, flying in Narromine [NSW]Australia …590 km. in Discus.
3. Ramy [Yanetz] in the USA with 562 km. from Byron CA in a Discus
4.Claudio Eduardo Schmidt in the ARCUS M with 465 km in Brasil.
6. Mark [Bland] instructor at Mount Beauty in the Victorian mountains in Australia 415 in an ARCUS.
7.  Yves Gerster from Swiss in Europe in a DG 400/17 m. with 347 km.


——And to finish this great picture ” FINAL APPROACH” at Sculptures by the Sea shared by John Welsh.
March 2 – March 19……Cottesloe Beach, Perth.

Photo: Davis Walmsley
#sculpturesbythesea #finalapproach

And during the opening it was busy from morning till evening with fabulous glorious autumn weather.


pictures shared by John Welsh.

More next week, also about the “oldies” [seniors] and their annual competition in Seminole Lake in the USA
CU Ritz.

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