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January 5, 2016

Part 29 !!! UPDATED!!!! From “cold” to hot, it’s all happening here in Australia! Benalla day 1and a “bit” of day 2 !

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 1:00 pm

Tuesday January 5;

No flying yet in Benalla.BUT,…it will happen soon. The weather is weird. A too hot month of December , a too cold start of the normal hottest month of January.Look at this…..

2016-01-05 02.14.32   2016-01-05 02.11.10

This is normal and this is NOW.

The next 2 weeks will be VERY busy, [lot’s of lunches, driving around behind black Betty , dinners etc .,etc and lot’s of rest after my bones are cracked again] but after I have been in Benalla this upcoming Saturday ,where the next full week just looks good to fly, I will be back with the latest on the OZGLIDE/54th Nationals.On the last flying -day, Friday in Benalla, I will be there as well.One day later I am on my way home!!!

2016-01-06 06.33.41

The gorgeous skies yesterday.

Thursday JANUARY 7;
So you wear socks , so you “sweat”  again from the high temperatures. This is AUSTRALIA , mate!!!
Yesterday the skies looked great. We were driving behind BLACK BETTY,,…I show you pictures later when I am back from lunch but after the rain, the skies looked fabulous. HOWEVER at 4 from the South some showers appeared, but then we were back home already.
The great skies meant that flying was possible in Benalla, after they had to cancel the practice day and first day , due to poor/weird weather.
We knew there would be still some rain yesterday ,but from now on they predict,…..”it will be dry”!!!

Tasks were set yesterday so a 3 hour AAT was set in open and 18 m. and the “smaller ships” had to go for 3.30 hours.
As said the rain was visible from here about 77 km. to the N. at 4, and indeed some pilots could not make it home on the first flying day.
In open class Bruce Taylor [JS 1c] was the best with 437 km. in time 3.34, so a speed of 122 km./h.
The French team in the Duo Discus, FLYING IN OPEN CLASS !!!! “lost” 2 points [998] in the Duo Discus from Narromine. 10 From 16  finished!!!
Here is Bruce’s story more to be found at Taylor’s Gliding Page . [on FB.]
” Finally we have a competition day… It’s really not that bad, as we have only missed one day so far. It is just that the weather has been crappy for the past five days.
It started with bright sunshine and a crystal clear sky, and a water ballast seal trying to find its way out of the wing. By the time I got it back in place and filled the tanks we were almost late onto the launch grid. It is good fun waiting to launch, with all the overseas pilots wondering about how Benalla works. There is plenty of joking about; Eric Napoleon and Laurent Aboulin are flying a Duo Discus in the Open Class, which for the non-gliding folk is kind of like racing your Toyota Land Cruiser against the V-8 Supercars. But wait, between Eric and Laurent there are maybe 4 world championship gold medals, so there will not be too many mistakes made in that cockpit. Their rego is “VS”, which I thought might be Very Slow, Anita suggested Very Sexy, but at the end of the day it was actually Very Speedy!!
3 hour AAT, the first leg was fantastic, running along at cloudbase with no circling, then the thermals became difficult to work, and I found it hard to stay really high on the second leg until we were back close to the trough line. Then it was a blast again, until the sky filled in and the choice was straight on track or take a huge diversion around the west of the rain. Fortunately I took the diversion, as most of those who flew straight ahead didn’t come home. It took the shine off some high speeds, but home was a good place to be today.
I finished just 2 points ahead of Very Speedy. Better keep my mouth shut!—” 

Today they have a task from 526 km.’

David Jansen was the best in 18 m. class . He flew 394 km. with a speed of 129 km./h in the ASG 29, followed by Rolf Buelter from the Geelong Gliding Club in his LS 8/18 m.
David was more than 10 km. faster than the runner up.
Normally Rolf is here for the summer camp , his mates are here now without him and good to see he flew so well on the first day. He was one of the 18[ from 28] finishers!!!

TODAY; 466 km.

17 from 31 finished in 15 m. class.Who else than …..Matthew [Scutter]won day 1 in his Discus 2A, BUT…only after Miles [Gore Brown] missed the start-line and got penalty points for that.
Matthew  flew 420 km. in time 3.48, so a speed of 110 km./h.
Miles was 2d  with 113 km./h., Mac 3d.[105 km./h]
Fabulous to see Swaantje flying an ASW 20 in this class!!!! Chapeau!!!!
Here is his view, more to be read at Matthew Scutter’s Gliding [at FB] ;
Day 1, Australian 15m Nationals, selection event for WGC2016 (Benalla)
Started by myself because I was worried about storms later in the day. The wind was howling through the Kilmore Gap creating a bit of a convergence which I turn on to head north, ran a long way north, then had to navigate some rain showers on the way home. Made a few errors and had to make 40km of deviation which wiped 10-15kph off my speed and lost me first for the day, but (un)fortunately first place missed the start line, so I got it after all. Sometimes you have to make your own luck, other times it’s just given to you.”
Today; 406 km.

The weather here was blue, but quickly clouds pop up every where! It looks like a good day for the pilots here and there, they started flying already early.
The day turned out good as pilots have finished their tasks already in Benalla and scores are to be found at
Preliminary scores show nice speed as well, around 136 km./h. in open class, it looks Matthew did well again in 15 m. class with 128 km./h. but not everybody is scored yet!!!
In 18 m. it looks like a good day for Tom Claffey in his ASG 29 E, speed 131 km./h.


Benalla TODAY!!!!


More diary stuff;
As said yesterday was the BLACK BETTY day.

2016-01-06 05.03.43

Dundee with Black Betty.

Last year I already got an invitation by Richard Vincent, our former instructor to go with him through a beautiful area of unseen places here in this part of Australia. Loved it. As the sulky was in revision, we went with a little covered wagon , so Dundee was invited as well.

2016-01-06 05.16.50    2016-01-06 05.01.17

The sulky and the wagon.

2016-01-06 05.11.50    2016-01-06 05.13.57

Dundee feeding the horse and I am ready for a trip through unseen areas.

It was just so much fun, though I felt “like a milk shake” after nearly 3 hours. The views were amazing and I show a few pictures.

2016-01-06 04.40.19

2016-01-06 05.37.12    2016-01-06 06.32.16

2016-01-06 06.08.26

Amazing views from lagoons, creeks and plants
VERY OLD trees.

2016-01-06 06.46.47

After the nearly 3 hour-ride, the horse got a shower and a few carrot’s and was brought back to it’s mate Clyde.

2016-01-06 06.59.19    2016-01-06 07.03.55

2016-01-06 06.51.43

A very special day.

AND, did not finish then.After we had bubbles at Dundees and good cheese with Margie and Jeroen, another good Tocumwal-day finished with home- made- pea- soup!!

2016-01-06 08.28.19


Lunch today at the Pavillion, was with Tugger’s [Anthony, who has been a tuggy with us several years] parents who drove up from Deniliquin to see us.Lovely people.
I spoke with Anthony as well ,he just arrived home after a flight ,[ he flies as a captain with Jet Star,]  starting his day at 3 AM this morning.

2016-01-07 04.44.05     2016-01-07 04.44.19

George with Faye and Ken.


And to finish this Aussie-news from Channel 9:

A NSW farmer will lead a convoy of 120 trucks travelling 1860km north to deliver more than 150 trailers full of hay to drought-stricken farmers in Queensland. 
The hay is expected to assist more than 200 drought-affected properties.
A record 86 percent of Queensland is currently stricken by drought


There are still lot’s of GOOD people!!!!

Cheers Ritz

January 1, 2016

Part 28; HAPPY 2016 !!!! Updated.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 11:35 am

Friday morning;
As you might have seen I added some more pictures in the earlier blog as I found they belong to 2015.
The party pictures will be on tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, as I am too busy today.

Have a nice weekend.

Cheers Ritz

2015-12-29 11.25.12

Beautiful Tocumwal with “just”  one of the creeks along the walking track I follow to town.

Sunday morning;January 3.
Slowly I will go back to my-more- normal-blog-style and be less personal.
This was the AUSTRALIAN diary and I loved writing it but with the Benalla comps it is easy to get back in the normal -blog-groove.

Before I do so I wish to remember our son and brother Dennis, who lost his life here close by , in a freak accident with the tug VH-ADP, today 28 years ago.

First of all,….THANK YOU for all the good wishes for the year 2016!!!
The last day of 2015 and the first one in 2016 were hot with up to 39 dgr. C. Very humid as well.
Then the change came and Benalla might be not having the weather they have hoped for, at least for the next couple of days.They start tomorrow with an official practice day .
Ingo is flying with Scot Percival in the ASH 25. The 4- times world champion calls himself ” just ballast”.
He drives up and down from Toc. to Benalla as it is “just” 77 km.
After flying in Benalla, he was at the SRGC part on the last day of the year and I promised you some pictures here they are.

2015-12-31 11.03.44   2015-12-31 11.17.05

Annie Wilson and I ready to go to the party….with bubbles. And….the ladies ready with some entree nibbles.

2015-12-31 11.37.21    2015-12-31 11.39.32

Joergen from Denmark with Annie and Dieter and members from the Geelong Gliding Club . And guests at Tocumwal with SRGC members Dieter Dundee and YH.

2015-12-31 11.49.27

Dieter from Geelong who started his soaring in 1987/88 here in Tocumwal at Sportavia and now back here as a member of the Geelong ,Gliding Club, [he has been flying more here in the past] together with Mr. Ballast …Ingo Renner himself.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, 2015 was globally seen the hottest year on record.
Australia was hot , but has been hotter before they claim, in 2013.
Due to the influence of EL NINO,the first half of 2016 will be have “above average temperatures” as well.
In some states as SA and NSW where we are, they had the hottest December in more than 100 years.
On January 6 they are going to release the official 2016 weather fore cast for Australia , for what it is worth.
They expect EL NINO to end in autumn 2016, when the temperatures and rainfall will go back to normal.

Globally seen , you notice the impact on TV or in the paper,with devastating flooding in parts of the USA and UK, a more luxury problem with lack of snow in the lower ski resorts in Europe , with all the results for holiday makers and ski-resort-staff and no -income and with scorcher -days here in Australia.
NOW it is over here, we had a GOOD drop of rain  yesterday and fabulous clouds before the storm arrived. Severe weather-warnings for places as Wangaratta and Yarrawonga.

2016-01-02 07.58.08   2016-01-02 08.09.43

I happened to be at the cemetery when I noticed fast growing cauliflower-clouds and storms to the E. and  S.

The last day of the OLC was topped by a [former] SRGC member Bernie Seizer in his PIK 20 flying 814 km. [750 FAI triangle] from Ararat.
“First 750Km flight.
With thick cirrus and weak lift in many places, this was a difficult flight. Made some big deviations to get around large areas of shadow and  had to fly many km’s into the sea air at Keith and  then back to lift. I didn’t think I was going to make it… had planned to land back at Horsham but managed a good climb just after dumping the water.
Congratulations Bernie.

The 2d day of 2016, was a glorious one for former Tocumwal visitors Karin and Marcus; a fabulous 1.370 km. [1.102 km. FAI triangle] with a good speed of 144 km./h. in their ARCUS M flying from Kuruman. Congratulations!!
Not bad from dad Hans either, 1.245 km. in the DG 800 /18 m. flying some kind of yo-yo with legs from 390 and 323 km….from N to S of Kuruman.
And more congratulations for pilots flying in South Africa;
Declared 800km FAI Triangle @ 149km/h new Dutch National Open Class record.” was the message from Dutch record-chaser, Max Leenders and Dirk Nieuwenhout flying from Douglas Backhouse in the Minbus 4 DM.

My Belgium friends , the Schmelzer’s are flying from Kiripotib, and had a “hard-labor-day” yesterday;757 km.
And some of my LASHAM friends have arrived in Bitterwasser for some good soaring.
Young Davide from Italy has started his soaring in BIWA as well.

The 2d 2016-day here , yesterday, looked not impressive, but turned out rather impressive before the storm arrived.It even was HOT , with an unexpected 38 5 PM.
This is what Swiss Chris [flying with Sportaviation] had to say:” What a day after the weak start.
One climb after tow , the rest flying straight along the trough line ,but unfortunately did not have the final height to close the circuit to the takeoff point (triangle would have been 340km)”.He flew 555.5 km.

Rain and hail coming out of these.”


10380896_1073369712682197_8326070194387509060_n   999908_1073370662682102_5922886921081688569_n

“Some water in the wings would have made it less bumpy and faster”   AND, ” What else do you want.”


170km/h and still 4.6m/s lift at 9400ft

Today, it  started to rain [2 PM] only a shower,no worries…. several pilots went “up”.

Cheers Ritz.

December 30, 2015

Part 26; Wishing you a HAPPY, SAFE and HEALTHY 2016. Updated.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 4:31 pm

December 30;
Will be not behind my laptop the next 2 days, so this is a nice opportunity to wish you ALL a happy, healthy and safe 2016.
It has been a good year for me , I hope for you as well, though I know some people are sad, as they lost a loved one and some of my friends are very sick.
I wish them all the best in the new year.

Looking back so in the end of 2015, it is maybe time to remember those who are not with us here anymore.
As a tribute to all we lost over here in Tocumwal, I went today to the cemetery and made some pictures from those you knew as well. For some it’s a long time ago, for others only just.
They are sadly missed.
For those who have never been here it might be not so interesting, sorry, those who have been here will be pleased.

2015-12-29 11.12.33

Bill the founder of Sportavia died not so long ago.

2015-12-29 11.16.41

Maureen , Sportavia’s secretary for many ,many years and good friend and her husband Dolf, also a good “mate”.


2015-12-29 11.14.55

Jeff, former owner with Don Escott. Don is buried somewhere else , so is Bob Smith. As far as I know both have their ashes scattered over  their farm.

2015-12-29 11.11.16

Good old Jim, our “gardener” who loved to be involved with Sportavia and took care of the gardens. He was a successful business man , before he retired and came to the aerodrome EVERY day,  to “see” friends.

2015-12-29 11.15.17

Hadley ,son of good friends Lynne and Chris. Lynne owns the ANTIQUE shop and many have a had lunch with her.

2016-01-02 08.07.16

Good old Dessie,CFI for many years in the early times. He died of a heart attack in his motel, on his way home with tugs and gliders from Couff ‘s Harbour, where they did joy-flights.
Tim Mc Grath died last year.He was a tuggy and bar tender,  as many of you still remember and his ashes have been scattered over the Murray River taking them with the stream up to faraway.Tim was over the last years a great help and companion for Dessies wife Mary.

2015-12-07 02.51.42

And,…our Dennis.

Enjoy the change to 2016!!!

December 29, 2015

Part 25 from the AUSSIE diary, the regular Wednesday-blogs start again end of January!Benalla!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 1:16 pm

December 28;
Noticed some clouds popping up at 12 , but they disappeared as quick as they arrived. It is very blue, but it looks like a good blue day as pilots, as I see on the ground,  thermal at a nice height.
3 Tugs are going up and down here , not bad.
Yesterday evening we had a nice dinner with the Wilson’s, we know them already for years!


Annie Wilson and I at the Tocumwal golf club.
Picture courtesy Bruce Wilson.

Before we went out for dinner, Steven Wallace, the crew from NZ junior Alex Mac Caw , flying at the JWGC in Narromine  arrived here.
In Benalla , HE will try to fly himself to a spot in the NZ team for next year .
“9 N.Z-Pilots for 6 places “, he said, so some will be disappointed.

With him Delio visited ….I did not know him, but I was VERY pleased to see him, as I had heard about the nasty accident he had a couple of years ago . Everybody was happy he survived that. After a long time in hospital , he walks again and even flies again. Good on him!!!He now owns a Hornet , flew it 2 days ago for the first time and yesterday he even out landed for the first time close to Finley airport. A few more pilots out-landed yesterday in the very blue conditions with only 6500 as height.So not as good as expected or hoped for but still a nice flying day.
The better weather was in Western Australia where pilots flew up to 959 km. in an SZD 55 from Cunderdin, but also in blue conditions and unfortunately not finishing the flight.Still a good one!
Carl Audissou had a real nice wave-flight ,as I saw on the OLC , from St Gaudens in France, in a DG 600/18 m.;1.269 km. speed 143 km./h.
Same day, same place another one in the ARCUS M by Robert Prat; 1.304 km. speed 153 km./h.

Off to Benalla for a short visit.

December 29;
Benalla was GREAT fun. Though there were not a lot of pilots yet, I met a few and heard from one of the scorers [Tim’s wife] that they are very pleased with the 50 participants in the 54th Nationals and the 30 from overseas practicing for next years WGC in Benalla.
Caught up with Beryl and son Mark, who both drove for over 8 hours from Narromine to bring gliders for the French team.[Duo Discus for Eric Napoleon]
They stayed over night and left back home already this morning.
Both Terry [Cubley] and Beryl were checking how we all found the JWGC and there is nothing bad to say about it ,a HUGE adventure for the young ones, who turned out very disciplined and learned more than at any other competition. They had experiences beyond their believe, so what do you want more???
The only “minor”  point for some was the price , to fly down under was high, ” maybe too high, ” is what I heard from one of the TC’s . But that is inherent to flying on the other site of the world. The young pilots however LOVED every minute of it.
Some even did n’t want to go home and stayed longer, making many more good flights.
Narromine had extremely good weather this year, which was/is also a bonus.

2015-12-28 09.08.55

Benalla with Jason, Sarah, John, Miles Beryl and Mark.

Like in Narromine the first visitors I met were the pilots from the USA.
Sarah and her husband Jason and John, the TC from the USA junior- team who traveled through Australia after the junior’s,  finding the best spots to visit as Mount Kosciusko, Bright and Melbourne.
Sarah will fly as “captain” in the DUO DISCUS  during the comps with John and Jason as co-pilots/ crew.
Jason was so kind to give me a link to his pictures, so I can share them with his permission, with you as well.
This time I made the picture
We were only there for 2 hours , but it was good to see several Aussie pilots already, as Gary, Andrew and Miles and as said Terry.
Will go back there for sure 2 times more!

2015-12-28 08.33.36

Sarah from the USA, not in Uvalde Texas now, where we met in 2012, she was one of the tuggies there, but in Benalla [Victoria] .She was 4th at the WWGC in France .

2015-12-28 08.33.51

Her husband Jason and John, both crew/co pilot.


Another blue day here, but higher temperatures and hopefully better “organized”  lift than yesterday.It’s buzzing with 3 tow planes, all good.

Got an invitation for the New Year’s Eve dinner at the SRGC-hangar.  It will be a combined New Years/Xmas Party.Will not go to the  dinner, but we will catch up with a lot of members ,with a good glass of bubbles in the hand,  to wish EVERYBODY at the SRGC a good, happy healthy and SAFE year.Pictures and more news on January 1 2016, so NEXT YEAR!!!
Heard this morning that Ingo, the president of the SRGC , will participate in the Pre Worlds/ Australian Nationals as well, on invitation of a double- seater- owner.
Very pleased with that ,as he has n’t been involved with comps for a long time. He was one of the participants in 1987!!!
More later.

Cheers Ritz

December 27, 2015

Part 24! In memoriam …Kees Musters! Chinese pilots and Chinese H. sailors !

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 3:28 pm

2015-12-27 04.56.42

A tribute to Kees and Dennis. The white- gum- tree, 28 years “old” on the 10th of January 2016.

December 27.
Today it is 28 years ago that Kees Musters died in that terrible hang-glider- accident in France.
Here is the tree which was planted after Dennis funeral , by Bruce Brockhoff. It was a little plant from some seed from a white gum tree in St Kilda park.
Janet Hider Smith took care of it to grow it, into the little plant .
After the funeral Bruce planted it at the Tocumwal Aerodrome Caravan area from Sportavia.
It was a memory to both Kees and Dennis, mates dying exactly one week behind each other,….both from Holland, …both participating in the 1987 WGC in Benalla, Dennis with his father George in the NIMBUS 3D .
A lot of friends all over the world could not believe it and I know a few are still trying to come to therms with it after nearly 30 year. THAT big was the impact.
Unfortunately Janet died a few years ago of cancer as well.

I made some more pictures from the old Sportavia environment while walking around there.It made me VERY sad!!!

2015-12-27 05.02.45     2015-12-27 05.03.22

The former dining room and outside area for drinks and the BBQ area.The briefing room and sun room.

2015-12-27 05.01.46     2015-12-27 05.02.26

The pool where so many had great fun.


Told you yesterday a bit about the Chinese pilots setting up base here in Tocumwal.
Today it’s about 2 CHINESE crews participating in the Sydney to Hobart race.
First time in history!!
Yesterday at 1 they started ,…108 vessels ,….27 of them international.
They started with a nice North Easterly wind ,but last night and this morning they had to deal with much more  heavy weather.
More later!

2015-12-26 00.58.27

We had some pretty bad weather here as well. Yesterday it was “cold” ,windy and we had a lot of rain. In the night I woke up and felt happy for farmer Ted , yes from the “dry rice” , that a real good Christmas present ….”lot’s of rain” , had arrived for him. It might make his rice-season!!!!????.
Today ,Sunday it ‘s still fresh with 24 dgr. ,but in the sun it feels really good.
Along the Great Ocean Road a lot of holiday makers were evacuated due to out-of-control-fires.The rain helped a bit but several houses have been lost.A total of at least 116 homes, houses and holiday houses.


Caught up with the Macsteads this morning.Parents from Dennis and Michael, both tuggies here in the far past, now both airline pilots.
Also with Tammy, good friend of my daughter Inge and married to Glenn, another tuggie here for several years, now an AG- pilot.
And with Laurel and Paula , Wayne Wood’s wife. Great looking dog they have as well.

The Geelong Gliding Club arrived for a good week of soaring  in Tocumwal with several gliders and one Pawnee.Busy, busy!
Mac is flying his glider to Benalla, where he will participate next week in OZGLIDE.

Talking about Benalla 1987, it makes me think of the OZGLIDE 2016, the 54th Australian Nationals combined with the PREWORLDS. 80 Pilots have entered for this event in 3 classes, starting in the new year between the 4th and the 15th.
I know for sure that Wolfgang Janowitsch flew in 1987 and he participates now again.Will be there next week and find out if there were more.
As it looks now 19 pilots will fly in open class among them Sarah Arnold, tuggie in Uvalde and glider pilot during the WWGC in France and her husband Jason [Duo Discus]  ,from the USA. Both own and run/operate the Chilhowee Soaring Operation.
28 In 18 m. class and 33 in 15 m. class.

And to finish, the “madness” in Melbourne at Boxing day when the SALES starts.At 4.30 AM the first ,over 500 people, were waiting already in row to enter David Jones. The expectation is a turn around on ONE day of several billions in Australia!!!!!

I nicely stay here in the country.

Cheers Ritz

December 26, 2015

Part 23, with several Christmas parties !

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 12:36 pm

December 25/26.
Hope you all had a lovely CHRISTMAS.

2015-12-24 11.04.06

 2015-12-24 10.11.36    2015-12-24 10.11.22

   Easy-going Christmas Eve Dinner with Gina and Bob.

Christmas breakfast with Margie and Bracey, yammie with ham and turkey sandwiches.

Christmas lunch with Dundee and YH, Swiss Chris and Ashleigh in Dundees Schloss.

2015-12-25 06.08.06

Christmas-evening seafood with a “happy bunch from Shepparton/Melbourne”.

2015-12-25 07.58.54

2015-12-25 07.44.36    2015-12-25 07.45.24

2015-12-25 07.45.11

The very first Chinese-owned-ARCUS from Qing  and Andrew “Peng” Du, who is the Schempp-Hirth dealer for China as well.

Just to let you know ;
Just got the latest news on Chinese glider pilots. Some of them, flew here already for a few years. Now they are ready for the next step; organizing “things”  by their selves. Not much happening this year , it’s all “work in progress”, at this stage.
Soaring China is a company promoting soaring for Chinese people.They have an agreement with OUTBACK SOARING Tocumwal, to organize the operations from the Tocumwal Aerodrome.
They welcomed the new ARCUS M , the very first owned by Chinese people, over Christmas with good food and nice wines, as you can see on the pictures.
Will keep you informed how they go.
In China this group is setting up a glider center at the edge of the GOBI DESERT, according to Andrew a great place to fly. The hangar there is already built.

Andrew will give us soon, some more info about soaring in China as well. Most interesting as I don’t know a lot about it. It’s all probably new for you as well.



The ladies at the AINTIQUE shop, last week with Zita and Jean.


And with Liz in het scoot mobile.


Also a picture from my visit to the Menhennit’s with Libby, “old”  Mary [88] and Mary Anne and me.I managed with some help to upload these pictures from my mobile.



CHRISTMAS day was, as usual, not a very busy day on the OLC.
Only 28 pilots choose to put a flight on it.
One 1000 k. from Carlos Rocca from Munivitacura.

Still a bit off , but getting there.

Cheers Ritz

December 24, 2015

Part 22. MERRY CHRISTMAS from Tocumwal to ALL of you wherever in the world!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 2:19 pm

December 23;
Yesterday I had a busy day. Caught up with some elderly ladies I know already for 25 years and this time the whole “bunch”  was there where they always were; at the ANTIQUE SHOP outside at the veranda. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me.All looked well, though one lost half her leg due to amputation, but she has a very nice artificial one , is more than happy with it and you nearly don’t see it.
Strong lady, she is!!
Lovely ladies all of them but , yes we are getting older.
This town very much is a “grey” town.

In the afternoon “Simon”  the chiropractor really found all the soar spots, so AMAZING, but I was a bit “off” after and still am.

In the evening there was an invitation for Christmas drinks at Tocumwal’s own winery. They don’t produce wine,  but sell 100 thousands of grapes .

2015-12-22 08.53.40

2015-12-22 08.52.27  2015-12-22 08.51.34

As far as you can see grapes and don’t forget to look at the sky!!!

Had a nice talk during the drinks, with our former Sportavia-bar-tender Ted, who run’s the family farm nowadays and told me he had an innovative season trying ” dry rice”.
Pilots flying here, recognize the very green irrigated area were they grow rice ,straight away. NOT their favorite spot to fly over  and when possible they avoid those wet areas. Nice green but for sure NO place to land, as they all know as well!!!!!
Ted tried this year to grow rice without irrigation , natural ,…..just with  rain. Not a lot fell here unfortunately, much more just a few km. from here. So he is not sure yet if it will be a success.

2015-12-22 09.29.24   2015-12-22 09.18.42

Ted and Lach, Jill and I.

At 7 yesterday during those drinks , I looked up and  got all attention when I showed all of them a very high glider, for a moment I thought it was an airliner, but no IT WAS A GLIDER  and another glider happily came back home  from a flight. Great clouds here all day and nice flights.
725 km. Was the best flight from Tocumwal by Terry in the ASH 26 E. Akemi flew 604 in the LS 8 and Anton over 500 in the LS 4.
888 km. was flown from Benalla in an ASW 28 and from Corowa pilots flew up to 922 km. in a Ventus 2CM/18m.[750 FAI triangle]


Is over!
I bet with Mac during breakfast last week, that Oscar would win,[sorry Laurens!!!] but as they did n’t fly it stayed as it was.
The last 2 days were cancelled so, no more points and Laurens won with a total of 5976, Oscar was 2d with 5947 and Attie with 5690.
In 15 m. Nico le Roux won with 6344 points nearly 2000 more than the runner up and Konrad Stark was “Strong on his own” in club class with 6818 points.


Laurens with the CUP and plate!!
as shared by Arne!



2015-12-24 05.52.36

Today at 3 PM. looking at the East.

December 24;
Still a bit crook, stiff and worn out from my treatment.
Had a lovely Christmas drink with the Menhennit’s yesterday,with Mary Anne and Peter, Libby and mum Mary 88 years old now.
Got back into the good old history/times  of our long ,longtime relation. VERY pleasant.
Great meal in the evening with Margie and Bracey and an early night for the “cracked ” body.

More and more clouds are popping up now at 12 and it looks like another good soaring day here in Tocumwal.
See the ARCUS drive out behind the car to the strip, ready for another Danish record??
1.10 PM; they launch their selves now! Others are already long on track.
Hear the tow planes,… see the gliders, so it’s all happening and it will be busier during the holidays now.
Fabulous skies before I left.

I could write a book about all politics here at the Aerodrome, but I have decided to stay out of it.

2015-12-24 05.52.50

Today at 3 PM looking at the North.
the South and West looked exactly the same.


With their latest ” toy” !!!



Greetings from Tocumwal……the original name is TUCUMIVAL; meaning deep hole [pit].
Merry Christmas dear friends all over the world.

Back in a few days, depending on how my “cracked” body goes. Better not to sit too long behind my laptop now my neck is straight again.
Cheers Ritz

December 21, 2015

Part 21 !! Danish records .

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 2:30 pm

December 21;
Forgot to tell you, that when we went for a nice strawberry-pancake-lunch at Saturday at the BIG STRAWBERRY, the Newel Highway from Toc. to Koonoomoo had on several parts melted!!!!We drove over shiny, soft , black pitch and the stones flew around the car. Can’t remember to have seen this SO bad before , proofing it was really HOT and for a few days.

2015-12-19 07.57.22

Whilst sitting there, we recognized “our” sun-room- tables  from the Sportavia breakfast room and the Skyheaven- restaurant- dinner-room -tables,…. all with a new top. George remembered they had bought them on the auction. So good to see they have a new purpose. I made a picture for the “connoisseurs”.

2015-12-19 07.56.46    2015-12-19 07.19.52

Nice fresh strawberries from the area and well known tables.


A bit like this.
As shared by friends on FB from TAKE 5 MAGAZINE.


The “change” yesterday arrived first at 4 with rain, wind and a thunderstorm , but it was still rather warm. At 5 a real storm passed by and then finally the temperatures dropped.We heard a lot of sirens and were worried,… to only find out that the SAR and FIREBRIGADE were on a ” Christmas mission” .

2015-12-20 08.24.21     2015-12-20 08.27.07

It’s difficult to “catch” the wind and storm, it definitely was “interesting”.


Danish records.
Joergen was so kind to offer me a flight in the ARCUS M for my birthday but nowadays with my neck problems,I stay with 2 feet on the ground. My head spins already without thermalling. [To my chiropractor  tomorrow.]
Joergen and Birgitte flew last Friday to Narromine to visit Evelien and William ” and return Saturday back to Toc. Our aim was to use the tailwind to fly a straight line declared and free Danish record.
They knew that there was  a strong headwind toward Narromine, that the time was already past 11 and that the forecast of a trough passing Toc earlier than previous was expected for the next day.
” Anyway we went for it, started 12:45 and went on the headwind task toward our first turnpoint some 50 km past Narromine.
We reached workable Cu clouds 300 km north of Toc, and we passed nice terrain we had not flown over before.
We reached our turnpoint and could proceed further 50 km to the North to take the 2.nd Danish record this day, before returning to Narromine.”
Birgitte and Joergen decided to make a tourist flight back to Toc on Saturday, and landed early, based on the forecast. There glider is back, right on the spot not far from where I sit.


Congratulations….arriving in Narromine with 2 new Danish records.

Not a “fab”  flying-day here today but they are still flying, I see and hear the EuroFox and Cessna with gliders on tow.
Had  nice morning tea with my Japanese friends.


Welkom had a rest/ cancelled day and what nice speed they flew till now over the several tasks during the South African Nationals.Time to do other things for a change.

1934172_10207036892514621_5381526854038710579_n   12369183_10207036893154637_29961061131290297_n

12373442_10207036891514596_71230563375426934_n   12369047_10207036892274615_8024468112375952604_n

As shared by Rowan Hill.

Not much more to say, will be back on the latest from WELKOM .
Cheers Ritz

December 20, 2015

Part 20 of the Aussie diary! Scary wind! AND,….Welkom and the story of Tom the new JWGC champion in club class.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 12:39 pm

Sunday morning noon;
It’s a blistering HOT storm outside!!!!NOT NICE!!!!!!
Yesterday we got 42.8 dgr. Now before 12 it is already 40 and the wind between 50 and 70 km. gusting to over 100 km./h.

There were fires yesterday to the W of Melbourne, the biggest with damage to land – 4000 hectare, houses [ 8 of them] and animals at Ballarat. It’s under control they say.
This morning about 20 k from here, Finley had a fire, but also under control. Fire brigades are on the highest alert and rush out straight away.

Hangar doors here at Tocumwal Aerodrome, are closed at this moment and I am sure, will be closed for the rest of the day. The cool change should come soon [expected at 2PM] and then the temperatures will drop with at least 10 dgr.
The dust is terrible now and the tumble weed passes by with huge speed!It’s kind of scary this noisy wind.

The Christmas period will be nice with temperatures just under and just above 30 dgr. Starting on Monday with 21, the cycle will built up again to higher temperatures!!!
Yes I have certainly picked the hottest time to be here.

TASK 7 in WELKOM was a 3 hour AAT for the open class pilots. This time the Goudriaans were upfront with 1000 points for Oscar  flying 486 km. with a speed of 161 km./h. and 987 points for brother Laurens;484 km. in 3.02.
The Nationals near their “end” and Oscar has moved from 6 overall in the beginning to 2 , behind his brother now,… with a difference of  less than 30 points; 5974 for 5947.
Nico le Roux is still around 2000 points ahead in the 15. m class , where 1 of the 3 participating pilots did not start anymore and in club Konrad Stark happily flies around, as  a sole competitor finishing every day and accumulating a score of 5818 over the 6 days he flew ,as he did not fly the 4 hour AAT on flying day 5.

It was a difficult day with over development as I read in Ronald ‘s blog and a low base and a possibility of rain.
Ronald flies mostly together in Welkom with Dutch pilot Marco Vermeer and before the 3d TP Ronald was still close to Oscar and Holger, BUT,……..they arrived 20 minutes earlier! As Ronald said; ” It can be  like that as well” , they found a 4 m. thermal and could use that  for the final glide straight home!!!
For Dutch reading readers;

THE UK GLORIOUS JWGC team specially in club class, has published a nice blog from JWGC CHAMPION Tom,  how they “snatched” 2 titles on the last day, interesting for ALL to read , so I publish and share it with you.

—-” World champion… Nope, it still hasn’t sunk in yet! It’s been a pretty manic week since the end of the competition, so apologies for the lack of posts about the last day etc. Here’s a write up of how the last day went for us club class boys, and how we ended up snatching two medals from under the German’s noses.

We were set a 3 hour AAT, with blue conditions up to about 7000 ft forecast. Big sectors, close together in a relatively short AAT can be a recipe for a bit of a lottery, and there was a lot to be gained or lost on the last day. With myself sitting 80 points off the lead in second place, and Sam in seventh, we discussed tactics a lot in our usual pre-flight team briefing and decided that we would try and fly our own flight, knowing that we had flown very well as a pair on the previous blue days. The plan was to try and start on our own, but if we did end up with the Germans, to stick with them to ensure we secured a podium finish. The start proved to be vital. We knew that if the Germans found us, they would simply wait until we started, and then follow us. So, with a bit of help from the Standards (thanks Mike and Matt!), we went and hid about 25 km from the airfield, the other side of the standard class start line, whilst Andy and the crews kept a close watch at the airfield for any club class starters. As our pre-determined latest start time approached, we snuck back towards the airfield, and managed to make a start relatively undetected. Unfortunately, we caught up with the Germans, who were surrounded by a massive gaggle of gliders, after only 20km or so. Although it turned out they had started about a minute before us from the other end of the line, we knew that sticking with them would mostly likely secure a second place finish, but no better than that. It was here that we made the pivotal, and risky decision, to hang back a bit, and then make a split from the gaggle. We were confident that we could fly faster as a pair in the blue, so we went for it, taking a more northerly track whilst thankfully everyone else stayed with the painfully slow gaggle. After a long glide, Sam cored 6.5 knots which put us well out of reach of the gaggle and we pushed deep in to the first sector before turning to align ourselves with the standard class task. We then ran with some of the standard class gliders, heading North for another 50 km or so before we stumbled across a large gaggle of club class gliders. YES, it was the Germans again! After some communication with team base, Andy told us that it appeared they had turned much shorter than us in the first sector. We ran with the gaggle, again at a rather slow pace with nobody willing to push on, until they all decided to turn for home. In order to squeeze as much advantage as we could, we decided to push just another couple of km’s in to the turn, before chasing them down all over again. Five minutes later we were back with the gaggle and Andy came on the radio to say the speeds looked good and our best bet was to just follow them home. This turned out not to be so simple! We managed to miss a bubble in one of the climbs and fell off the bottom of the gaggle. Soon we were down below 2000 ft and thinking that we might have thrown the day away. We took a couple of weak top up climbs but still had to keep pushing forwards uncomfortably low. Finally we cored a solid 4.5 kts and took this on to a very skinny final glide. As we approached the final turnpoint, we came over the top of a few thermalling gliders. OH YES, it was the Germans again! Somehow we had managed to catch them back up, and as we turned for home the question was whether we had done enough to bridge the 80 point gap to first place. With the gliders off the field, the traces submitted, and everyone pacing nervously, we waited… BOOM! 2nd and 3rd for the day, but more importantly 1st and 3rd position overall! I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy. After 10 gruelling days flying against the best under-26 pilots in the world, we had nailed the last day and come out on top.

So, now it’s back to reality… A cold, dark and wet UK for Christmas. I’ve already got my Christmas present though, and I need to say a few thank you’s. Firstly, on behalf of the whole team, I need to thank our generous sponsors, without whom this would not have been possible. The British Gliding Association for all their support, including entering us in to the comp and transporting our gliders, British Airways for flying the whole team across the world, Land Rover for providing us with a Discovery for the comp, Apogee for lending and fitting us out a container to transport all of our equipment, and Sydney Charles, Lasham Gliding Society, Naviter and Navboys for supporting the team throughout the year. On a personal note, I also need to thank the whole team who made this possible. Andy Davis for being both a fantastically organised and dedicated Team Captain but also a coach that provided us with a wealth of experience throughout the competition. His tactical calls and infamous ‘weather updates’ were spot on every time, and were so good that we had to resort to ever more complicated code to stop the other teams relaying them to their pilots. Pami Davis for supporting both Andy and the rest of the team whenever we needed her to, in any role we needed her to. The crews, Ben, Bendict, Guy and James for ensuring our gliders were on the grid every morning, without fail, ready to go, whilst also feeding us, sorting out a multitude of equipment problems, and still finding time to cause mischief around the airfield.
To my crew, Guy Dutton, I couldn’t have asked for a better crew. You put up with my pickiness for a whole month and I couldn’t have done it without you. And finally, to Sam Roddie. This was truly a team result and I could not have achieved this without my amazing team mate flying alongside me every flight. It took a lot of practice throughout the year, but we made a formidable team. We took on the world and we won! Tom—-”


I guess reading this,….. the DESERVED GOLD  and bronze winner.Also it shows HOW important it is to have a good coach and ALL support on the ground necessary. Of course coach Andy, Matt’s dad is a world champion himself and a VERY TALENTED pilot and a great guy!!!

Attila, who so kindly “gave”  his glider to USA pilot Boyd, flew his St Cirrus from Lake Keepit over 690 km.

Off home, TOO hot in the hangar, waiting for the cool change with a book in an air conditioned room.
More next week.
Cheers Ritz

December 19, 2015

Part 19 of the Aussie diary; 43 dgr. C here and 187.2 km./h. at Welkom.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 2:44 pm

Part 19 on December 19;

It’s HOT with big capital letters.Even too hot , maybe also too stable this early, to fly as the doors of the several hangars are still closed at 11 AM!!!
Some fires already , I heard on the radio this morning ,with lot’s of smoke, but still far away from here.

You can’t do a lot with these temperatures , but we have had them before here in Tocumwal. It’s not unusual for here.
For Melbourne it’s another piece of cake, they suffer ,….as over 40 is NOT normal, over there.

At 1.30 PM, 2 tugs [Cessna 150 from the SRGC and the Skyfox from Sportaviation] gliders in tow, went up, whilst the clouds to the East look pretty high, pretty good,  but also pretty far.Wind is from the NNW.  Temperature is 39 at the moment going up every hour with 1 dgr. so we might be up for 43 already today.
The doors and roof of the hangar “bang”  every time a strong thermal hits.
At 3 PM, it was 41 dgr. C and the clouds nearly reached the field , but you could fly to them and now  the SE  looks fantastic as well. Nice fast short flights would be possible!


I looked at the South African Nationals yesterday and mainly had eye for the open class as I know most of the pilots in this class.
Today I will do so too , but will have a quick look at the 15 m. class with only 3 competitors. In this class Nico La Roux [ LS 8] is already nearly 2000 points ahead of the runner up Rob Tiffin in the ASW 27, after 6 days of flying and most probably a few to go as they continue till the 21th.
The club class IS Konrad Stark, he flew himself already as one and only competitor to 5818 points, finishing EVERY day.
Yesterday the open class had a set 391 km. task and it was not the Jonker family, neither the Goudriaan family who won the daily prize.
It was John Coutts [NZ] living already for a long time in South Africa, flying in the NIMBUS 3DM , with German pilot Andreas Siebold who was the fastest for the day and they were really fast, flying the 391 km. in just over 2 hours, so a speed of 187.02 km./h. What about that!!??
They “travelled”  together with Bernd Hubka also from Germany and finished with half a minute difference; 637 and 611 points.

Some tried to beat the storm front coming in. They managed!

After 6 tasks the overall score looks like this, with still a few days to go;1. Laurens [4996] , 2. Pieter Nouwens [4976] 3. Uys [4950] 4. Oscar [4947] and 5. Attie [4880] ALL VERY CLOSE and ALL flying JS1 C except for Attie [JS 1B].


2 Times a 1.300 km. in a VENTUS 2cm /18 m. is not bad. According to the German pilot Philipp Keller, flying from Kiripotib it could have been more but a thunderstorm over the field spoiled the day.The day before he declared a 1000 FAI triangle and flew it.
One of the young 1000 km.-camp pilots at Bitterwasser, flew 1.320 km. and mentioned ” he started too late and landed too early” .
Several good flights again from Namibia and South Africa.
From Temora Brian flew 997.9 km. in the LS 10 !!!
From Narromine Pepe added another nice long flight, 987 km.

More tomorrow.
Cheers Ritz

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