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March 19, 2014

” I decided to declare BIG , or go home!” AND,….news about Euroglide!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 5:39 pm

Another week is over and still no news about the MH 370!!! Weird to see, that in the time we live in, something like this can happen!!
The latest stories are about ” stalking” another 777.
It feels , if it was not so tragic, as if you are reading every day a new part of a science-fiction-book or a thriller.
In some theories they even think that the 777 might show up during the Nuclear Security Summit here in the Hague next week,  where not 48 [ as I said in my last blog] but even 60 world leaders will appear.
Others think it is shot down and not protected by their own airforce!!
” Stalking”  , hijacking, wrong info put in before the flight, not competent pilots, transponders switched off…… ‘s already TOO much for me, how would this feel for the family and friends of the passengers and crew.
Hope they find soon signs of what happened, but unfortunately from the past we know it can take a while.

Last Wednesday Tony Condon from the USA topped the OLC list with one of those special ” goal-flights”. Flights you don’t decide to do one day before, flights which need quite some preparations.
This time in a St. Cirrus flying 517 km. from Wellington [USA] to De Queen in Arkansas very early in the season.

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Tony and his St Cirrus.

OLC link to the flight here:

AND  here is his story;

Spring Go South

By Tony Condon

Spring Go South. KSA members have been saying that for decades. Since well before Jim LeSeuer wrote his article “Distance in the Spring” in the March 1967 Soaring, pilots in Kansas have been watching spring cold fronts pass, watch the weather behind them closely, and occasionally chase one towards the Gulf of Mexico. Bernie Mohr followed just such a front on his flight in his modified BG-12 on April 2, 1971 from Newton, KS to Osceola, AR, a flight of 436 miles that stood as the Kansas State Record for over 40 years. Tonk Mills described a post cold front flight in the Fall in his September 1989 Soaring article “November Flight” where he flew 265 miles in 4 hours.

In my early days of Cross Country soaring in my Cherokee II I was often looking for a cold front to chase. While almost all of my flights in the Cherokee were downwind dashes, none of them that I remember were post frontal and my best distance flown in Iowa was about 100 miles. After moving to Kansas my flights got longer but that elusive cold front just hadn’t worked out. Steve Leonard, Andrew Peters, and I would spend each spring analyzing the upcoming fronts and then watching them go by ,while watching the Satellite pictures from our desks at work. It seems that these fronts tend to happen Monday through Friday.

Since I have been liberated from desk duty for the time being, I had one roadblock out of the way to attempt a flight. The week before the flight I had noticed strong north winds forecast for the Talihina, OK area on Wednesday and wished that it would be reasonable to get a towplane there for a long day of ridge soaring. After John Wells gave an excellent presentation on Saturday night about Soaring Weather, I realized  that the cold front on Wednesday just might be bringing good thermal conditions. I contacted John on Saturday night to see his thoughts on the Weather. On Sunday I asked him if he’d like to chase me. The forecast was indicating that the soaring would definitely be good and with due north wind. I started looking at routes down towards Dallas and further on and started working on getting everything ready for a potential flight.

On Monday, I arranged with John and KC to chase. That was a big relief to have a good experienced crew available, and well in advance of the flight. Leah and I went down to Wellington after work to assemble the glider, our Standard Cirrus “Kate”, and I hoped to change the tires on the trailer and do some other work. We got the glider assembled and in the hangar and then spent the rest of the evening repairing the lights on the trailer. The forecasts still all looked good although without as many clouds as I would’ve liked.

Z tyres

repairs on the tires.

On Tuesday morning, Steve sent an email out about the weather. Looked pretty good for a go south flight and it was good for me to know that his opinion on the weather matched mine. I returned to Wellington and with help from my partner Rafael Soldan we repacked the bearings on the trailer and put new tires on it. I also did as much prep work on the glider as possible so that I could minimize the number of tasks required on Wednesday. The cold front hit early afternoon with wind gusts in Wichita recorded at 53 mph. I was sure glad the glider had already been assembled and was safe and sound in a hangar. The forecast updates were showing a more northwesterly wind and I was starting to wonder about the possibility of soaring to the Talihina area and using the ridges there to extend my distance. On Tuesday night, Randy Teel posted a wind forecast on the Talhina Soaring Facebook group and wished that he wasn’t busy with airline simulator training that week. I mentioned I was hoping to fly there from Kansas and he recommended a turnpoint to join the West end of the ridges, near Daisy, OK. I had never flown that far west on the ridges there and his information and shared experience was important for my confidence on the route.

Tuesday night I confirmed with John and KC that we would meet at my house at 9 AM to head for Wellington. KC had a lot of confidence in me as he said he would pack an extra pair of clothes in case we ended up at the Gulf of Mexico. Optimism. I like it. I spent the rest of the night getting batteries charged, looking at forecasts, finding maps and developing a task for the day. I decided that a launch at noon would be about right and set a task from Wellington to Cochrane Ranch airport near Daisy, OK and then to the Three Sticks monument on the Kiamichi Ridge and then to Texarkana, TX. Total distance was 360 miles. I figured 6 hrs at 60 mph would be a spectacular flight for March 12th, but decided to declare big or go home. Since I have never flown south of the ridges I also spent some time looking at the route between Three Sticks and Texarkana. There are a lot of trees down there, but an airport at De Queen, Arkansas was about halfway, which made me feel better.

Z crew

The VERY important “chasers”.

Wednesday morning I made a quick check of the forecasts. Everything looked the same, the sounding still showed that noon would be a good takeoff time and the forecasts still showed clouds until Interstate 40 with a slight chance of clouds after that. Further east into Arkansas the clouds may extend further south so I felt that my plan of cutting east on the ridges was a good plan. As we drove towards Wellington, the first flush of low altitude cumulus arrived. The mood in the car was pretty high. It didn’t take long to get the glider ready. Rafael asked me to bring the towplane over and after some searching we found the plane and discovered that its battery was dead. No fear though, Air Plains had a cable for jump starting. Whew! I pulled the glider out about 11:30 AM and could see the first cumulus wisps on the horizon. Good timing. Mike Logback texted me at 11:45 AM to let me know that there was Cu in McPherson, Northwest of Wichita. KC and John got the towplane started and I launched at 12:14 PM, just as the first Cu wisps were arriving over Wellington. Perfect timing.


about 15 minutes before takeoff

I found lift immediately off tow, went through my start line, and told Kate Ground to head out. They had just finished hooking up the trailer and were on their way. I tiptoed very carefully at first, taking any lift going up and waiting for the cloud field to develop in front of me. I had had several flights in the Cherokee where I pushed out too hard to start and spent the rest of the afternoon watching a beautiful soaring day go by. I was not going to repeat that! By the time I crossed the Oklahoma border the sky looked much better and I was usually between 4000 and 5000 feet. About an hour and a half into the flight I got the first really good climb, 4.3 knots to nearly cloudbase at 6700 feet.

The clouds were not streeting so I couldn’t take advantage of long straight runs. I was still flying pretty carefully, as I’ve had a lot of experience trying to dig out in from low spots on windy days in torn up thermals and I preferred not to add to that experience. The 20 mph wind was blowing right down my course line so I figured even a weak thermal was still allowing me to make good progress on course and was worth taking.

I passed Interstate 40 west of Henryetta as the clouds started to thin. Base had been rising and the clouds getting thinner and thinner. Beyond I-40 there were just a few faint wisps or haze domes and solid blue beyond. I initially was inclined to turn more East and follow the clouds but out in the distance to the east the clouds didn’t really look a lot better. There had been a series of large fires with more on course in the blue and I was confident I could find lift in the blue. So I stuck with the task. Shortly after that I had my last radio communication with my crew. A few climbs from fires allowed me enough altitude to make it to McAlester. Nearing McAlester I saw no more fires but blundered into a good climb that gave me enough altitude to make the turnpoint. Alright! Shortly after I found a 4.7 knot climb that got me back up over 7000 feet and gave me plenty of margin to get to the turnpoint and get down on the ridge.

I joined the ridge east of Daisy. With the strong surface wind it was not a challenge to maintain over 1000 feet over the top. I passed by Sardis Lake as the ridge turned east and took 3 turns in that averaged 6.5 knots which made the gap at Clayton no sweat. I joined up with the familiar Kiamichi Ridge and ran east to Three Sticks. The ridge leg was a piece of cake and gave me plenty of time to game plan for the last leg of the flight. Ideally I wanted to get a really tall climb right at the turnpoint, at least get high enough to make De Queen and then hope to find another few climbs to make Texarkana. There were still thermals coming off the ridge so I hoped that the day still had something left.

IMG_20140312_162807_594   IMG_20140312_161543_359

flying along the Kiamichi Ridge in Oklahoma AND Sardis Lake in Oklahoma

The plan worked partially. I found a good thermal right at the turnpoint and took it to 6400 feet, which wasn’t quite enough to make De Queen. However the thermal was dead so I set out. Shortly after that I found another climb which was very weak but was going up so I held on as long as I could. I gained 1300 feet and drifted 5 miles and my Oudie now said I could make De Queen at over 1000 AGL. I set out and found a spectacular river of sink in the blue and the margin started to disappear. Landable fields were few and far between but there were a few and I was pretty happy to find some zero sink about 7 miles away from the airport at 1500 AGL. I didn’t gain much altitude but drifted a mile and a half and was in a much better place. The last few miles presented no problems and I was happy to land at the airport in De Queen, even if the runway was straight across the wind. Task distance worked out to 318 miles in 5.5 hours. A good day!


Greetings from De Queen in Arkansas.

The airport was equipped with a nice leather recliner so I relaxed and started to catch up on several texts and emails that I had received during the flight. Word had gotten out thanks to my friends notifying the world on rec.aviation.soaring, Facebook, and by email and several people had been following along on the SSA Sailplane Tracker. I contacted my crew and they were about 2 hours behind in Talihina after having some trouble finding a good route through the ridges in SE Oklahoma. They arrived shortly after sunset, the local Sheriff’s Deputy let them in the airport and we were on the road a little after 9 PM. We arrived back in Wichita at 4 AM and I was wide awake riding the high of a great flight for at least another hour.

Thanks a lot Tony for sharing this great flight with ALL of us!Indeed WHAT- A- DAY!!!!


 Z tony 3

Tony, here busy with another soaring-related hobby.
Courtesy Leah [Tony’s very supportive wife]

Practice for the upcoming WGC’s is HOT these days. The Aussies have a squad week in Narromine and I wrote already about VERY good practice from West Wyalong a while ago, between Allan and Matt.
The Aussie team ;
Team Poland ; Tom Claffey and Ben Loxton in 18M and Matthew Scutter and Craig Collings in 15M. 
Team Finland ; Allan Barnes and Matt Gage in Standard and Adam Woolley and Eric Stauss in Club.
No Aussie entries this time in Open or 20M classes.

As Adam mentioned;” 2nd day of the squad week, looks good. Team Finland really gelling nicely, all having a great time!
300 km. fixed task for dry gliders, 350 km. fixed for the wet gliders!”

Z Adam

Shared by Adam.


The “life is good”  formula works for the Aussies :
” good fun racing today, together all day – went faster as a result. Enjoying a nice meal & cool ale now at the club house.
Thanks to Mike for excellent ground support today (& every day)”
And what about Matt and Allan, both having / enjoying a  coaching-flight in the DUO DISCUS with Ingo Renner!! What better practice can you have?!
As I read he is still in good shape saying p.e. ” good sink is difficult to find”.
And when somebody asked  about the role of “luck” in racing, he said  “The more practice I get, the luckier I get”.
So Ingo!!!
And talking about Matt;
GFA has ratified the following records flown by Matt Gage:

Australian National Records in Standard Class

Free Triangle Distance: 1,048.54 Km

Free Distance via up to 3 TPs: 1,060.76 Km

Date of flight: 16 January 2014

Glider: LS8/15m

Location: Benalla

Claims have been submitted to FAI/IGC Records Office for 2 Continental Records, Oceania Region, from this flight for the 15m Class Free 3 TP Distance and 15m Class Free Triangle distance records.
So well done to Matt!

 Z adam and crew

Adam and Mike.
As shared by Adam.

Some Dutch pilots travel to France to prepare as Jeroen Verkuijl and Jelmer Wassenaar [LS 10/18m.] and others practice at home as Alfred Paul Alfers who mentioned:” Physical exercise for Finland started. Last weekend 5h garden work out and 60km on the racing bike. 
Today my friend convinced me to aim for 80 km. of biking…..which finally became 110 km. in 3 h. 45 min”

As you see/know, you don’t jump in a glider and fly a WGC. There is much more to it!!!!
Some of the German squad fly in France as well.

EUROGLIDE 2014 will be from June 23 till Saturday July 5 this year.
79 Teams in 3 classes [ glider, turbo and  self launcher]  have entered, from 6  different Nationalities!
A huge HAPPENING as some teams exist out of  4 pilots.

Starting fromEindhoven (EHEH) to Dahlemer Binz(EDKV) in Germany.

Then to the South West to Poitiers(LFBI) in France.

From there to the East, just North of the Massif Central, to Roanne (LFLO).

The following leg to Klatovy (LKKT) in the Czech Republic passes through four countries, France, Switserland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The finish is in Malden, the Netherlands.

The total distance is 2438 km (clock-wise 2475 km).
Please note the route will not be exactly the same for all classes.


For all news and the teams;

More than enough for today. CU next week, or on Sunday in the CAFE!
cheers Ritz

March 12, 2014

Longest/busiest runway in Holland closed for nuclear summit!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:44 pm

WOW, we had a real spring/summer weekend with temperatures up to 22 dgr. in the Southern part of Holland!
It was very blue here, so no cross country weather, but time enough for check -and- local- flights to test the glider , the instruments and to just  be together as glider pilots , at the field/clubhouse,  to start their talking with ” hands and legs” about their flights from last year or the years before  or their plans for 2014.
It’s ALL happening again!


z Gelderse

Members from the Gelderse at Terlet enjoy the sun and the finish of their 3d soaringday in 2014!
Picture shared by Hobbit.

The longest/busiest  runway at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam , the POLDERBAAN, 3800 m. long and 60 m. wide [ 18R-36L] ,was closed last Monday for more than a month,[ till April 21]  due to the fact that the Nuclear Summit will be in the Hague on March 24 and 25 and due to maintenance after the world leaders have left.
48  of them[Obama -yes, Putin -no]  will visit and to  let them land straight away on this runway and to give them the opportunity to   park their [private] planes at this runway, it is closed already now.
The eyes of the world will be looking at the Hague, as it is an important summit.
With the leaders a total of 5000 delegates will arrive, as well as 3000 journalists.
Parts of the highway from Schiphol-Amsterdam to The Hague will be closed for normal traffic and will be only open for guests.
This SUMMIT  will be HUGE and will cost around 24 million euro, security NOT included!!!!
F 16’s will fly over Holland over the 2 days of this summit, boats will be ready in harbors and at sea and around 13.000 police will keep an eye on things.

No worries for the ” other”  pilots, landing or departing from Schiphol Airport,  they will like that the POLDERBAAN  is closed now,as it  extends the flight with about 15 minutes only by taxiing from there to the terminals. Though on the other hand there is one long runway less, so it will/can be busy at times!

The weather is still cooking in Australia “ was the message from Adam, when he drove from Kingaroy to Narromine, on a ” nice”  day!

Z adam

Surely not too bad!!!!
As shared by Adam

And…..ANOTHER WOW -factor!!!! One of our Dutch glider pilots , Leon Mol,[ flies Nationals and a lot in Spain -Fuentemilanos!]  has designed the new  leather  interior of the JS 1!!
Their business in the S of Holland  is unique as they are excellent cabinet makers, specialized in design furniture, but also in renovating.
It has nothing to do with gliders I know, BUT, Leon is as said a glider pilot and the co-operation between sailplane lovers resulted in this new interior of the JS 1.
Backrest and arm rests full leather!!! Pocket for oxygen System. No more tubes everywhere!!!

z leather chair  Z js1 stoel

Uys enjoying the great sitting leather and mentioning;
Development of the luxury leather in the JS1. This is the prototype. Production will change slightly. The leather is the highest quality available and the colors can be chosen by the customer.
What do you think, should this be the standard?
More pictures and news at:

Mol and Geurts also design exclusive chairs as this one.

.z stoel

A luxury chair by Mol and Geurts with an audio system built in!!!!
Shared by Leon on FB.

For all the news about the IGC Plenary in Varese you can read the soaringcafe -news about the latest.  For those interested, also a video-tour  is published about the exhibition hall in Reno where the SSA convention took place.

Cheers Ritz

March 5, 2014

Spring is in the air!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 5:34 pm

Zmaart 1

March 2 in Holland.
As shared on FB by Gliding Adventures Europe

Last weekend the meteorological spring started here and ……down under they started their autumn.
Sunday here was like spring- weather should be,even BETTER!
For several clubs it was the beginning of season 2014!
As at Terlet where the Gelderse made the first start for 2014 .
Yes ,Sunday was fantastic with blue skies white clouds and on the ground you could feel the thermal-activity, but also a pretty chilly wind!!!
Thei Bongers from this club flew 116 km.

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Very first flight from the Gelderse!
Courtesy Max .


the first flight of the brand-new DUO DISCUS XLT.
Courtesy Marion.

Z duo1  Z duo 2

But more clubs started their season on March 1/2. Up North in Friesland the tuggies had a job for 31 launches and down South they did 22.
It’s all happening again,…..THE SEASON STARTED!!!!
Not for my former club de ZES; their field needed some work first; moles!!!!!!!!
The ACVZ [Amsterdam] flew from their field Soesterberg.
My mates Sikko [Ventus BT/17.6 m] and Daan [ Ventus 2CT/ 18m.] flew 250 km.  and 152 km. Sikko mentioned the cloud base was in the end 1300 m. but a strong wind and Daan tested  his instruments after the winter-maintenance!

7 Flights were added on the Dutch OLC list, so quite a few  “exploring” local flights,to ” feel”  the air after not feeling it all winter ,  but that will change when flights are REAL cc-flights.
Germany much bigger than Holland added 54 flights for the Sunday, with comments as ” this first day was KLASSE/HAMMER with good lift and nice cloud streets“.
Best cross country distance was 362 in a Discus 2T /18m.
No snow in this part of Finland as you can see on this great picture from Mikko Malinimie , who is a professional photographer, shared by one of my Finnish mates Martti, it might be even his son Petri flying in!!!
Petri was a todler when he visited us in Tocumwal!! Time flies!!!!!
So I checked with Martti ……and YES it isPetri flying the plane !!! WOW !!!!!I am getting old! I am old!
Petri is 22 now, a glider pilot now and a tuggy! He even won a day in the first competition he attended last summer.

Z Finland  Z Finland2

March 1 in Finland and,…………………………………….March 2 in Finland.
Fabulous pictures!

Autumn in Australia was for parts from South to East pretty good too ,with temperatures still in the low thirties and flights with cu’s you could follow where ever you wanted to go!
In the South at Benalla Tobias Geiger flew in his LS 4 an FAI 599.6 km triangle and extended his flight to  a distance of 658.
More to the East,  from Mc Caffery Field , Gerrit Kurstjens flew in his QUINTUS 738 km.

One of the Benalla pilots mentioned;” sky laden with Cu’s again – 3 days straight. Go where ever you want.”
In the East David Jansen [ASG 29E/18m] who flew together with Sven Kolb [Ventus 2CT] said:” Sea breeze at Bundy is always interesting.”
One of the Tocumwal pilots ;” first cross country flight by myself. Will claim silver badge distance with this.
Cloud base at 4000 Toke and up to 5100 at Jerilderie. ”
Was like a big kid in a lolly shop.”
He flew the ASW 15.Congratulations to Phil Heintze.
The season is not over yet is what I heard a lot!!!
Ingo was invited to fly on Monday with Joergen in their new ARCUS M and as pilot in command he flew from Toc. to the mountains [direction S.E / Mount Beauty] and then back via the W. to Deniliquin; 538 km.
I presume he values the ARCUS M as much as the Caproni, but…. we all know,…the less instruments ,….the better for him.

In the USA ,Florida had a good day as well and several pilots had great flights.400 km in and ASW 19 is pretty good.One of the pilots flying from Seminole, even called it ”  a booming day in the sunshine state.”
And,….” cu and some cloud streets; got a 5-6kts after 4 on final glide.
So that all sounds GOOD and HAPPY.

The 56th Nationals in Brasil, from Bebedouro,started last Sunday in 2 classes with 9 and 8 pilots in each class.Small tasks to start with ;for B class , with gliders as DG 400, Nimbus 3T , ASW 20 , Discus and Jantars all with their own handicap; 254 km and for A ,with gliders as ELFE S4, PW 5’s and an ASW 21;  190 km.
Day 2 had a 2 hour AAT for both classes but unfortunately there were more outlandings than finishes . No more news as yet.

And  Varese in Italy is this year the host for the International Gliding Committee meeting.This will happen this weekend on March 7 and 8.Lot’s of mates will fly to Italy to talk and listen, discuss and take decisions to make our soaring lives good.

Off to Amsterdam CU on Sunday in the CAFE!

Cheers Ritz

February 27, 2014

Finishing over a lake remains spectacular, if it is in Lake Keepit or in Rayskala!!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 2:21 am

Sorry a bit later today then normal, but I was on a 2 day trip, to the East of Holland.


finish over the lake in Finland

The regatta in Lake Keepit is on till March 1. Nice later in the season , with good weather for practice and lead and follow.
On their site Jacques Graells writes:
” Lake Keepit Soaring Club’s annual Regatta is a fun, friendly and informal cross country event to introduce pilots to cross country competition.

 The  idea is that the regatta is a mentoring event where pilot pairs are scored together around an AAT task. So we match up early cross country pilots with a seasoned pro, and they compete together as a team, either in two gliders or in a twin. Only the slowest time of the pair is scored, so it is in the interest of the more experienced pilot to coach and assist right throughout the flight. 

So coaching, team flying and mentoring are all encouraged at this event. Really, this is a great opportunity to introduce budding cross country pilots to competition type AAT flying, while not getting caught up in all the formal competition hoo-hah. It will be run in a low key and relaxed way, all the while making sure people have fun. ”

Their practice day was last Saturday with a 3 hour AAT. Toppers  among them Allan Barnes , Gary Speight, G Dale, Morgan Sandercock Andrew Georgeson and Jenny Ganderton fly with pilots who want to learn to be a better cross country pilot. A  total of 44 pilots flew this week over the beautiful Lake Keepit area and I SHOULD share AGAIN these great pictures from a finish over the lake.

The first 2 days had a 3 hour AAT in this big mixed class [44 pilots] and were won by Morgan in the Sparrow Hawk [ 232.3 km. in 2.58] and Andrew [ 385.5 km. in 3.04] in the Ventus 2CX.

Day 3 [3 hour AAT] and 4 [2.30 AAT] were won by G. Dale in the DUO DISCUS , with a co -pilot. As G said;
” Excellent fun and IE is a really good example of an original Duo.”
Have to check if that’sour old IE.


 Joey glide Nick finish  Joeyglide lake

During Joey Glide over the Lake in Lake Keepit

Still very good weather in Australia and as I last said already,  Cunderdin in Western Australia,  has had great weather this year and had a Super Sunday with an 833 FAI triangle in the SZD 55 by James Cooper, extended to 853 for OLC kilometers.
Beverley , same region, enjoyed the same circumstances and the weather was good till in the South as well .

The Benalla-Tocumwal area as,  Corowa’s last container left last Monday,  remains good as well!
With flights up to over 500 and even 663 km. in ASW 27 and ASH 26E from Tocumwal on Sunday and Monday, pilots can only be happy this late in the season, as I heard the evening definitely starts earlier.

Look at this story from Joergen who flies at Toc at the moment;
“2 days ago we used the weather to declare a 500 out/return flight toward Robinvale to the NW.
After 1 hour on the task, we had achieved 135 km, so it looked promising. The next hour the speed dropped to 105 km/h, but we still had 120 km/h average speed, and on final glide we finished with 129 km/h, 10 km/h faster than the old record.
Of our records, our 100 km FAI stands out with 178 km/h, flown around Waikerie area. We used a trough line, and managed the task without a single turn. This record also surpasses the existing Open class record, set in South Africa.
Also our 760 km FAI out of Tocumwal is very memorable. We were the first to launch, got on the task at 1000 m, and headed directly for a huge dust-lift just to the north of the field. This gave us 3,2 m/sec to 2400 meters, a very good start.
We kept the curving down to 20%. The task speed was 132 km/hr. Our finish height was 800 meters above our start altitude, so we could have done a speed of 140 or more, this time we chose to go for more distance.
This flight gave 5 new Danish records.”

They love their ARCUS, though like a few more, they had some problems in the beginning.
Next year they ” go”  for the 1000 km!!!

Benalla pilot Andy Smith from the UK had over 500 km. as well in the Ventus 16.6 m. but  on Monday even 720.
AND,…also the East of Australia was good with those flights from Lake Keepit.

Z John Welsh

A great picture shared by Beverley pilot John, who just had another 500 k in the pocket in his HORNET, with a final glide starting at 10.000 ft.

Not to forget always surprising New Zealand were Finnish pilot Jyry Laukkanen flew 761 in the Discus and he called it ” A somewhat exploratory flight.”
Last Saturday he flew in the Duo Discus 816 km. from Omarama going up N and down S of the airfield.

A lot of rotor cloud for a day [Monday] that was supposed to be nearly blue. Awesome cloudscapes in the end!

High winds (in the order of 90 knots at 13,000 ft!) and steadily increasing cloud cover (7/8 in the end) made even the milk run demanding. Luckily the wave was high.

Difficult wave entry with rough rotor and dancing wave.” 

Talking about WAVE, they had good wave in Norway as well, according to Ulf Hustad on February 22;
A great day for cross country flying in the mid-Norwegian mountain Waves.
Extra oxygen supply increases both the height of the flight and the safe range.
An awesome day in an awesome glider.” [LS8]

Last but not least I got a Polish mail, which I share with you, though I have NO experience with them neither with maintenance in general.
Some info, just to let you know, certainly when your glider needs this kind of maintenance.
” We are a company with many years’ experience in painting and repainting of small composite aircraft such as gliders, motor gliders and ultra light aircraft. 
In our long-standing career we have had hundreds of satisfied clients from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, England and other countries. 
Additional services
- replacement of the canopy
- gluing of sealing tapes
- repainting of the cockpit
- designing and painting of anti-collision markings
- painting and modification of the instrument panel
- modifications on a specific glider type according to bulletins
- sewing of canopy covers
- designing and sewing of upholstery (all types of fabric)
- recreating of information plates of a glider
- defining of the center of gravity and weighing of the entire glider
We provide transport service from Poland to any place in Europe (30 euro cent  km):
and many others
To learn more about us, please feel welcome to visit our website .

You might be getting sick of me talking about our speed skaters but with winning 64 % of the medals in long track speed skating , we did indeed WELL!!!!!They have been welcomed as heroes by 10 .ooo people and by the prime minister and the king and queen, one day later!
4 x A clean sweep as well in one discipline , in one Olympic Game , is excellent and happened never before.
Now I will ” shut up”  about it.But I feel extremely happy with it and with me a million or more other Dutchies.

That’s it, CU next week, still pretty quiet so not enough news to entertain you twice a week. Back in the CAFE however on Sunday!
Cheers Ritz

February 19, 2014

Newsy news!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:10 pm

Last Saturday James Cooper from Cunderdin in Western Australia flew in the SZD 55 anFAI triangle from 800 km. extended to 894 km..which is fantastic so late in the season and proofing not only Narromine but also Cunderdin had a great season.
To be honest ,…the WHOLE Australian season was TOP.
Maybe not as strong as Namibia, but at least a few months longer.

A while ago Cunderdin also had a few fantastic flights and I wrote about it in my SoaringCafe blog.
One of the pilots I mentioned was Swain Johnson, you surely remember. Here is his comment and I share it with pleasure;
‘” Appreciate the mention, really has been an awesome season so far in Western Australia, and we would welcome all pilots from around the world to experience the amazing landscapes of Malley bushes and salt lakes in a truly unique landscape and unique part of the world at the Gliding club of Western Australia in Cunderdin. Most days in summer will get you a 500 k day. For those interested I have posted the first ever 1015 k FAI flight to be done by an Australian Pilot in Western Australia as seen through Youtube. That week I also achieved a 762 FAI flight at 135 kph / 515 k FAI at almost 151 kph all speed records and another 1007 km FAI flight to top off 4 days running. Awesome !…… Come to Australia and why not try the Western Side.”


One of our German guests at Sportavia and good friend of Dieter Dundee,  was/is Ernst Ditges. He loved Australia, came back to fly a few times, took his wife  Steffie with him to live and work in Queensland . Last Australia- day Ernst “turned”  into a REAL Aussie by receiving his citizenship.
Ernst is the head -engineer at  Swift Electronics and a highly valued team member there.
One of  Ernst ” inventions ”  is the dittolog and the team is excited to announce now, that ” we  have partnered with Butterfly Avionics, to distribute Dittolog in Europe.
We will keep you posted about exciting new changes, which include a totally new pricing structure that will make dittolog affordable for all clubs.” 

Ditto log

  • is a small low cost device in your aircraft
  • it transmits pilot and flight details to the web
  • it interfaces with your club or businesses accounting package
  • dittolog saves time
  • dittolog improves efficiency
  • dittolog saves money

Ideal for clubs, flight schools and charter operators dittolog brings seamless flight record integration for your accounts department, and accurate flight log details for your members and



More news from Australia, as it might be ” only a fun competition” over there in Horsham,  but it has already for 48 years a very serious touch.Also the people involved are professional. One of the pilots Jarek,  has compiled some stats for the Horsham Week 2014 competition that finished on Saturday, 8/02/2014.
Here you are and he used the data from Soaringspot , thanks Jarek;
 Kilometres Flown and Speeds are non-handicapped. Calculated for non-zero scores only.
Speeds calculated for finishers only.
Averages per pilot across all tasks.

–          Six Competition Days

–          Total Kilometres flown in all classes: 55,809.30 km


Open / 18M Class:

–          Kilometres Flown: 15,365 km

–          Max Distance Flown: 601.10 km

–          Average Distance Flown: 374.75 km

–          Max Task Speed: 166.30 km / h

–          Average Task Speed: 118.91 km /h

15M/ Standard Class:

–          Kilometres Flown: 24,536 km

–          Max Distance Flown: 565.80 km

–          Average Distance Flown: 340.77 km

–          Max Task Speed: 131.00 km / h

–          Average Task Speed: 99.82 km /h


Club Class:

–          Kilometres Flown: 19,908.30 km

–          Max Distance Flown: 421.60 km

–          Average Distance Flown: 294.59 km

–          Max Task Speed: 131.00 km / h

–          Average Task Speed: 99.90 km /h

The new gliders for the Australian Air Force Cadets are on their way at least the first one! Can’t miss it!

Z aircadets

First  ” DG” bird in the nest.
As shared by Jane and Tom Gilbert from Temora.


We have n’t had winter till now. It looks like we had a LOOOOOONG autumn, with temperatures around 8 dgr. average and lot’s of rain and already the 2d storm in 2014!
But ,…skies look good for the Dutch pilots;

Z soesterberg

At the airport of Soesterberg where they do the last jobs at the field by removing old barb wire from old fences.

  2014-02-16 16.41.07  2014-02-16 16.41.16

clouds over Alphen as seen from my garden and in my garden some fresh flowers.

The first flight was made as well here on Sunday;152 km. and 2.5 hours of soaring by Robin Smit flown from Gilze Rijen and it could have been even longer but the other members wanted to pack up .
Good on him!
They told him he was ” mad” , when he rigged his Cirrus, but certainly for February 16 he had an excellent day.

After the cool chance again super weather for the time of the year in the South of Australia . Yesterday Benalla had flights up to over 700 nearly 800 km in ASG 29 .100 km. flown by a Finnish [Eric Heinonen] and UK guest.[ Nick Woods]
A  100 -km -no-turns- final -glide was possible.
In the last weeks of soaring  in Corowa before packing the last container Pepe flew  836 his ASH 31  and from Tocumwal Finnish guest Kari flew in the LS 6WL a distance of 688 km.
At the moment there is a mountain-coaching course /camp at Mount Beauty and also their guests enjoyed the nice weather with flights up to 400 km..

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Laura Sullivan with some of the participants on the Mt Beauty Club alpine flying course this week.
as shared on FB.

2 Comps just finished in New Zealand one in Drury with 20 competitors and 4 days of flying  2 less good and 2 with 3 hour 30 AAT’s . Winner Patrick Driessen in the Ventus 17.6 who was  just 50 points better then Lindsey Stevens.[ASW 27]
The other one at Waipukurau , the Central Districts with 13 participants, 2 days and 1 less good and 1 good one with a 3 hour AAT.
Graham White from Hawkes Bay  [which I visited  in the past] flew 332 km. in 3.25 in the LS 8 . Graham was 2d on day 1 so winner of this competition ,  just over 100 points ahead of Trev Terry from Taupo [visited Taupo as well] in the Duo Discus T.

When you are not interested in speed skating you can skip the rest of the blog.
Loosing with 0.0003 sec. on a 1500 m track!!!!! A night mare not only for our speed-skater Koen Verweij, but also for all his fans. The Polish skater was 0.0003 sec faster so he won, no worries, but it hurt!
A lot of Dutch people are still sitting with orange cheek, on an orange cloud.Over 4 million looked at Verweij’ s race but one day later the fans were ready again for the 1500 m of the ladies!
What a day!!! I am not a chauvinist but a real enthusiast  and seeing 3 speed skaters again on the podium and also number 4 was in orange you can only say CHAPEAU!!!
That NEVER happened before. The Dutch are writing history and our CUMULUS CLOUD, is getting bigger and bigger and higher and higher and is even noticed by lot’s of other countries and what ‘s lovely is , that they all admire the speed skaters and are not jealous or so. That’s the spirit and I can assure you this will be only once this hegemony as others will be back in 4 years.
We knew we are good in speed skating, but it looks like we are a class ahead of the rest at the moment. That should change again otherwise it will be boring for ” non-orangers” .
In the evening on Sunday, we were on spot 2 on the medal list. Unheard of!
Jorien Termors who won in a new Olympic record, is in fact a short track racer. The Dutch officials were not so pleased with a girl skating in both disciplines. On Friday she”  lost”  the 1500 m in shorttrack and was only 4th. What would she do on the 1500 m on the long[400 m.]track?? Easy she WON!!!! And took over the Vancouver-title  from Irene Wust.

Z 1500 m.

As shared by Bart van Stratum.

Yesterday another clean sweep with a 1-2-3 on the 10 km. Not so good was that Russian and Norwegian speed skaters retired, did not even try.
It’s weird but “we” were all a bit sad with the line up of the medals!! Yes I know we had an orange podium again and Jorrit Bergsma had a fabulous race and deserved gold but after Vancouver where he should have won, but missed out in finishing in the wrong lane, we ALL wished the joy of gold for Sven Kramer. But as in gliding and any other sport it has to be YOUR day, all has to fall in place for you and that did n’t happen, as Sven got after 15 rounds a soar back.

Today Ted Ligety ski hero and Bode Miller  both USA and Felix Neureuther who had an accident with his car on the way to the airfield of Munich to fly to Sochi and Marcel Hirscher half Dutch with a Dutch mum from Austria.I better go to look at the 2d race of the giant slalom.
And,…sorry but we might do well in the 5000 m for ladies as well this afternoon. Great race between Irene Wust and Martina Sablikova.
Let’s wait and see. Enjoy your week and back on Sunday in the Soaring Cafe.,

Cheers Ritz
on Wednesday February 19 2014

February 12, 2014

Caproni! Looking ahead at the Pribina Cup! Orange, a strong color on the Olympics!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:38 pm


The OLYMPICS have brought euphoria in Holland, we are ALL sitting on an ” orange cloud”!!!!
After 3 days, we were number 1 on the medal list in Sochi [ at this stage on 4]  and had won each day a gold medal!!! AND, on 2 days even 3 orange colored men on the podium; gold, silver and bronze. Unbelievable! So 6 male and 1 female speed-skater, did more than we ever dreamed of. AND,….it’s not over yet!
We expected more or less gold from Kramer and Wust ,but for sure not 3 orange training outfits on the podium for 500 m. speed skating, among them the twins Ronald [bronze] and Michel [gold] Mulder.
Since the beginning of the Olympics , “we”  have now 3 times a clean sweep with 3 Dutch athletes on the podium , once in 1998 and now 2 times in 2014.
Last time in Vancouver we had a total of 8 medals and we beat that already now!!!!!
Not bad for a small flatland country with 16 million people and only  40 athletes in Sochi, most of them speed skaters.
That’s progression!!!! A fantastic staff of old toppers take the young ones by the hand. And success leads to success and those successes attract more young skaters and  the many ice halls we have here in Holland will be crowded.They all want to be Sven or Irene or Michel.
That’s how it works!
Yesterday , on day 4, another historic day of success with a bronze medal for the by the male sprinters, very inspired  female speed skater, Margot  Boer who just lives around the corner[about 15 km. from here] ,  on the 500 m. and also that has n’t happened before. ” We are in a winning flow”!!!!!

Z nick en Simon  Z Nick en simon2

The first clean sweep in 2014 with Jan, Sven and Jorrit and 3000 gold winner Ireen.
Pictures shared on FB by Nick and Simon 2 VERY popular singers in Holland.



Z Ingo and Miro

Ingo and Miro cruising last Sunday at 15,000 ft in Caproni Calif A21S, VH-GUB

Is n’t it great to fly beside each other instead of behind in a GLIDER? This is soaring too!!!!
Ingo estimated they flew for just over 500 km!!!!!
He was pretty busy as last week he also made the first flight for years on our old Blanik VH GXO, which was first hidden in an hangar since 2005, then restored and inspected by good old ” master in repairs”   David Riley and now is part of the fleet of the SRGC in Tocumwal.
Wish the old work-horse many happy and safe flights and landings!
Just received some pictures from Dundee, THANKS Dieter.



And this is soaring as well. Found it on FB , as it was shared by Tony Condon from the USA and the long story finishes with;

I open the canopy, but do not get out. You want to sit a moment, to keep the magic and not break the spell. You are reluctant to leave this link with ecstasy, your heart and mind are filled with reverence and beauty. This is soaring.”

Last Monday, Narromine, venue of the next JWGC,  was the place to be for soaring, with perfect soaring weather so late in the season and Hungarian guest Gabor used that weather to fly in the DISCUS a great 750 FAI triangle,  extended to 919 OLC kilometers.
Frequent flyer in Narromine, already for years,   is Unterwoessen- pilot Hans Raschke and he flew in the DUO DISCUS a 600 FAI triangle extended to 783 km. His comment;
” Last flight of Australian season turned out the best day.”
It must have been a MAGIC day as other pilots called it; ” Best sky I have ever flown” .
That promises enough for next year ! I have mostly been there in November and December but we see now that even in the middle of February Narromine is good. A nice long season over there!
Heard there were super-cu’s up to 12.000 ft. and an average lift up to 6 to 8 kts.
Some pictures from my archive; Narromine from above and clouds over Narromine.

Narromine from above

Narromine skies  Narromine

Only 27 flights on the OLC last Monday and 23 yesterday , mainly due to activities in the USA from Seminole Lake, where they had a ” super-day” with clouds .
But…..Europe’s season starts in about 2 month as well , with a BIG competition at Nitra in Slovenia. Between April 19 and 26 , pilots have to be fully awake from their hibernation to compete in 4 classes against each other.
They fly in club, 15 m. and 20 m. [2 seaters] and open class.
At this stage 17 different countries have entered with a total of  114 pilots. The max is 150 with 50 max in each class, plus the winners from last year.Of course they have to enter as well.
That number is nearly reached in club class, where at this stage 48 pilots have preliminary entered.

No news on Sunday here, but yes there will be news on

Till then and enjoy your country fellow Olympic sportsmen and women as much as we do here!!!! There are so many fantastic sports with great athletes from all over the world.
And don’t worry we are ONLY going to win in the ADLER ARENA ,the skate-hall.

Cheers Ritz
on Wednesday February 12 and have a wonderful VALENTINE-day on Friday.

February 9, 2014

Olympic Games have started! Horsham day 6;509.8 km. with 166.3 km/h. in open and 565.8 km. in 15 m. with 131 km./h!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:15 pm

They had 2 magic competition days , then 2 days off and on Wednesday a difficult day for some.
Talking about the 48th Horsham Week.
Only for standard class it was a 1000 points day, with still  3 from 9 going ” aux vaches “. The other 3 classes had less points.
Last Thursday , day 4, was a good one again with a 4 hour AAT for 3 classes and 3.30 for club. In this class the Sparrow Hawk from Morgan won the day, with 336 km. in time 3.54.
1000 Points as well in 3 classes except for open where Tony Tabart won the day with 893 points.
The very last day, day 6 was a topper again!!!
15 m. had 565.8 km. and the winner was Gary in the Discus b with a speed of 131 km./h. Gary won this class with more than 400 points ahead on the runner up.
Club class  had a 404 km. task and the 2 seater Janus 18.2 m. was the best with a speed of 131 km./h.
By winning the last day they just were the best in the overall scores but VERY marginal as Morgan and his Sparrow Hawk only lost with TWO points!!!!!
In open class they had to fly 510 km.and Graig , from Waikerie, did so in his ASG 29 with a fantastic speed of 166.3 km./h!!!! He was the overall winner, before Tony Tabart in the Ventus 2CM, [154.2 km./h.] , who still is a top -competition- pilot at age ” over 70″ !

Most soaring places say or said goodbye to their guests but in Tocumwal, where they fly till Easter,still new guests arrive. 4 Japanese pilots are using the less busy season for flying and as they are not there to fly a 1000, they have enough time  on a good day to do something ” nice”.
After the cool change, the weather-cycle has built up again and they are back  in the low 40thies .
A bit more S. in Victoria , 9 spots are in danger due to fires and tough wind. That’s the less good part!
Also Bjoern [Norway] and  Kari [Finland]are still there.
Kari flew on Friday 766 km. Not bad for the LS 6, but a keen pilot in it!
Joergen and Brigitte [Denmark arriving from Stonefield]  as well as Roger, [Australia- arriving from Corowa]  fly with  their ARCUS   from Tocumwal now.
Our Danish mates flew yesterday a 760 km.,  declared FAI, which is a New Danish distance and speed records.
And Kari flew on the same day, in the LS 6 , 744 km. whilst Swiss Chris who was over for the weekend got his ASW 27 out for 810 km.[750 FAI triangle]

Z Joergen1  Z Joergen 2

Car and glider in Tocumwal and Joergen with some friends from Stonefield, who passed by.
Great back ground, yes our old hangar!
Pictures courtesy Birgitte and Joergen from their shared diary.

Corowa has packed 2 containers and they are already on the way home. The last container will leave in the end of February so those pilots still have a few days of soaring fun.
Pilots still there are p.e. Pepe and Peter Zander who both flew on Friday just under and just over 600 km.Hans Juergen who flew the 1000 a few weeks ago, had 765k. on his OLC list now.
Yesterday they had a great day; Peter with 727 km., Hans Juergen 845 and Pepe 851.
Great late- season- fun!!!


Like Tocumwal , Benalla is open for club members and guests till late in the season.Also their pilots had a great week. Bob Nicholls [UK] is THE kilometer-eater over there and he flew yesterday 713 km. and today 642 in the Ventus 2CT/18m.


Still good flights from the training camp in West Wyalong with flights  up to nearly 1000 km!!!
Allan Barnes and Matt Gage are practicing for their WGC this year in Europe by flying together and both sound as if they are VERY happy with the co-operation.
 Final day team flying with Matt Gage, we set a 750 km. triangle and managed to knock off Tom’s ancient speed record! 134km/hr, and we both took the same time to get around, down to the second! Great day, a lot of remote scenery and some stonking climbs.”  was Allan’s last comment.
Yesterday Chris Becek nearly flew a 1000 k in the ASH 26 [ 938 km.] and today Paul Mander in the ASH 25 a distance of  700 km. whilst the others were driving home in different directions, after a beaut week.
Other Aussie pilots coming to Europe this year are Matthew Scutter, Adam Woolley, Ben Loxton all 3 still very young. A tad older, Tom Claffey , Andrew Georgeson and Craig Collins.


I noticed on the entry list from Finland in the 2 seater class Heinz Weisenbuhler and Karin Schloesser. Good on them! They will fly the ARCUS.
Enough ARCUS gliders in this class also T and M, but also an ASG 32MI flown by the Austrian pilots. Interesting!
Finnish pilots Anti Lehto and Nikke Luukkanen,  who practised in Bitterwasser this season fly an ARCUS M.


Karin en Willem 002

Karin ,Heinz and Hannah in Uvalde.

The French are already very busy promoting their GrandPrix and their PR is good. They keep coming with news and pictures and that keeps the attention as happens to the Finnish WGC .Good on both of them!
Here a great picture I found on FB and shared by the organizers of one of their TP’s . Ever seen such a great spot as TURNPOINT?

 Z Mount Michel

The Mont-Saint-Michel is in the turn-point database of the Grand Prix France 2014

LOVED the opening of the Olympic Games , certainly the ballet and though I have my own opinion about Russian Human Rights , for me that’s on the back ground now.
Our prime minister promised to talk with Putin and with human-right- groups among them the homo’s, which he did already. Hope it works but I am a bit skeptic.
And all that money!!! And the ” holy ground ” of the first people who lived and were killed there? Must say the Olympics have given us a better view on things we did know, but also we did not know in detail.

SPORT IS NOW FIRST ! And the Dutch are not only born on the bike,  but also on skates! Speed skating is in our blood and when we don’t do it ourselves,  we support  our heroes in orange !And how!!!!
Holland was more than happy, with the ” clean sweep”  we made in the first discipline in the great looking  skating hall.With a 1-2-3  and today at he ” place of honor”  3 Dutch flags and gold, silver and bronze  for the men of the 5000 m. , we can be very proud!
We even topped for a few hours the medal list and as a very small winter-sport- contingent , we should be very proud on that.

Due to the fact that it is the quiet in- between-time for soaring, I will write only on Wednesday for and on Sunday for Soaring Cafe. Just to let you know!

Cheers Ritz
on Sunday February 9 2014.

February 5, 2014

Horsham Week started with great weather! Olympic Winter Games!World records in hang gliding!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:41 pm

Horsham week, an annual notion.

When you fly during a competition in February, a few over 500 km. tasks in gliders as PIK 20, St Cirrus and  St Jantar , you can call the weather GOOD!
That’s what happened in Horsham during their special WEEK on day 2 with a 4 hour AAT in 15 m. class.
The Gawler, Stonefield,  Horsham area ‘ s,  all situated a bit in the W. still enjoy super summer conditions in February. Stunning good conditions up to 15.000 ft.

” Forecast blue, but trough made it to the east and provided the moisture, so we had cu’s to 15k with 10kts averages. great day.” was the comment from Craig Vinall flying an 18 m.ASG 29 in open class during these comps; 601 km. in just a few seconds under 4 hours , so a SPEED of 150 km./h.!!!
The 3.30 AAT for the clubbies was won on day 2 by a TWIN ASTIR flying with a speed of 110.5 km.h over 386.8 km.
Runner up was another 2 seater the JANUS 18.2 m.flying 421.6 km. and the  Sparrow Hawk from Morgan was on spot 3!
By the way Morgan won day 1; a 3 hour AAT .

But after 2 days with great weather and soaring ,they stopped for 2 days and continued today [the comps go till February 8] with 280 km. for 15 m and not all are scored but it looks like a difficult day.Some called it hot and low!
For todays scores you can look later at

Not in the competition but ” just”  a nice flight from Gawler on February 2; Matthew [ Scutter] with 910 km.[811 FAI] One day earlier 792 km. busy, busy in the weekend!
” Long and slender glide from FL140 through a tiny gap in the rain yesterday. Fortunately very buoyant air all the way in.” 

Z matthew1   Z matthew 2

As shared by Matthew.

Also the S. East had great conditions on the ” free”  Sunday and Brian Du Rieu flew from Narromine 987 km. in the LS 8.
When you drive from Toc. to Narromine you pass West Wyalong and yes the pilots having a camp/” outing”  over there  had some good soaring there as well. You don’t hear about WW,  too much so here an extra mention; 3 over 750 [2 over 800 km] flights, direction W.  by their guests from Bathurst and Benalla.
Also Allan Barnes [normally flying from Mc Caffrey Field in Queensland]  flew from WW and mentioned:
” First pair-flying flight with Matt. [ normally flying at Benalla in Victoria] 750km O/R to Boundary Bend. Great day.

One of the active  former Aussie  JWGC pilots, flying in the 2009 JWGC  and 2 times National Junior champion is Nathan Johnson.He flew on Sunday , S. from WW,  from Temora in his  St Cirrus WL, 736 km !!!
Like Nathan , Grant is a member of the Wagga Wagga gliding club and he took his old Slingsby T-59d-Kestrel out for a “ride” from Temora; 805 km!!!
You can call that good weather INDEED!!!

Francesco from Corowa took the opportunity to fly their glider 3W for the last time through the Aussie skies as it is sold to a new European owner.
 I have never been so high in Australia and it was my longest final glide ever. (152 km)” is what he said.
Is n’t that a real worthy farewell to a good glider.[ASH 31/18m.]
They put a picture on FB and on that you can see all the places I mention in my blog today as Wagga Wagga, Temora and the road via West Wyalong via Forbes ,Parkes  and Dubbo to Narromine.
Did that many times to be at the Narromine Nationals or just to visit friends over there!
Great satellite-picture Grietje! Thanks!


By clicking on the picture it will enlarge and yo can see a busy area for pilots from different areas around it.
Courtesy Grietje Bruinsma-Wansink

Bitterwasser , no doubt was the overseas place to be this season. Look at this,….. as published on their site:
719.348,46 flown Kilometer, and this, you will find nowhere in this world
236 flights over a minimum 1.000 KILOMETER
113 flights over 900 Kilometer
137 flights over 800 Kilometer
112 flights over 700 Kilometer
174 flights over 500 Kilometer
151 flights up to 500 Kilometer
10 Palm-flights and planting of palm tree
world record flights, national records flights and continental records

 Congratulations to the Bitterwasser- team,  a huge team,  but so to see all very devoted to their different jobs. Guess with these statistics next year will be even more busy!

Z bitterwasser

copy from a great picture on the Bitterwasser site

I am a HUGE fan of sport and the Olympic Games will have my full attention.

Belle Brockhoff , the 21 year old daughter of one of my friends, will compete in the fast-paced sport of snowboard cross at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Belle is the daughter from Bruce who in the past was a great Aussie glider pilot and  the winner of many Aussie Nationals and other comps and still a great mate!
I am going to check of course all snow board issues on TV, as some Dutch snowboarders will be her concurrent.
May the best win!
And a MUST for all Dutch people is looking at speed skating. That’s where our GLORY should be in Sochi.

To finish a link to a fantastic sportsman , hang glider pilot Johny Durand who  flew on January 18 2 world records on ONE day.
Here are the records:
Sub-class :O-1 (HG with a rigid primary structure / controlled by weight
Category: General
Type of record : Speed over an out-and-return course of 300 km
Course/location : Nullabor National Park (Australia) Performance : 71.28
km/h Pilot : Jonny Durand (Australia) Hang Glider : Litespeed RX 3.5 / Moyes
Delta Gliders Date :28.01.2014 Current record : 56.59 km/h (12.02.1998 –
Rohan Holtkamp, Australia)

Sub-class :O-1 (HG with a rigid primary structure / controlled by weight
Category: General
Type of record : Speed over an out-and-return course of 100 km
Course/location : Nullabor National Park (Australia) Performance : 90.41 km/h
Pilot : Jonny Durand (Australia) Hang Glider : Litespeed RX 3.5 / Moyes
Delta Gliders operated by Date :28.01.2014 Current record : 75.73 km/h
(09.01.1998 – Tomas Suchanek, Czech Rep.)

And don’t forget to look at the impressive link about Jonnies flights with great pictures and a flamboyant story.

Cheers Ritz
On Wednesday February 5 2014.

February 2, 2014

Statistics,….. boring? …not really! Australia continues with some great soaring!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:33 pm

Z bitterwasse by Hugh

Bitterwasser area as seen by Hugh Kindell.

The Namibia season was over on the 23d of January in Bitterwasser and also the 3 containers from Kiripotib  have left  and their gliders are on the way back to Europe.
It’s quiet in Namibia again and  all 3 resorts had a good season. I told you already about the excellent  Bitterwasser-season, now I looked at the stats from Pokweni and Kiripotib according to the OLC, as well.

Kiripotib was very busy in the beginning of November when the CHAMPIONS were flying there for 2 weeks. The organizers,  Ludwig and Wolfgang and all their guests,   were blessed with great weather so early in the season .
Pilots could fly several over 1000 km. flights  and other long flights , “students”  learned a lot and the Champions enjoyed sharing their soaring knowledge. And as the experiment/dream  worked from both sides  they continue in 2014.
In the end of their season, Kiripotib had a 2d spot on the airfields stats from the OLC with 84 pilots , making 521 flights and 372.090, 21 km.
Last year, 2013,  they had  47 pilots , making 370 flights and a total of 288.887, 36 , so this year was a great success, also for them.
The preparations for the 2014/15 season have started straight away and you can find the info on;

For flying with the Champions;

Pokweni closed up in the middle of January and 3 containers were ready to sail back on a ship to Europe. This year they were number 3 on the list.
In 2013 they were on spot 5 with 52 pilots , making 458 flights and 341.672,91 kilometers .
This year they had 47 pilots, making 414 flights and 317,266, 23, which is a bit less  than the year before.
They had a couple of days just before Christmas , with a lot of rain but straight after,  some perfect days with in 3 days 19 x a 1000 k. and 3 even over 1.300 km!
To fly next season at Pokweni Soaring you can go to;

Z 1000 record

The Molopo River, the border between SA and Botswana
Courtesy Max Leenders.

South Africa has been very active as well this season.At several places a lot of guests had happy times, flew comps or records or just enjoyed the skies of this beautiful part of the world.
Still have n’ t had time to go there but one day I will and combine that with a visit to the Namibia’s resorts.
What happened;
Gariep Dam was 4th on the OLC list, with 44 pilots , making 495 flights and a total of 297.655, 85.
Compared with 2013 the year  was a bit better , as they then had 42 pilots,  394 flights and 234.908,79 kilometers.
Since 2012 the airfield of Gariep Dam is , after 10 years, exclusively owned and operated by by Gariep Dam Aviation.  [Mr. Gunter von Versbach.]
So 2013/14 was in fact their second year and they did well.

Douglas Back House was on spot 6 this year, with 46 guests , making 333 flights and 211.819, 48.
Not bad either, as they more or less ” belonged”  to Gariep Dam in the past, but started last year their flying from Douglas.
Max Leenders and his mates made some great flights and arrived home with 7 claims on Dutch open class records from Douglas and  as the organizers are not very ” busy”  on line with news, I checked yesterday on a 50 thiest birthday-party with one of the pilots who flew there.
He said that the Douglas area is VERY good for flying. This year they could fly and use the storms whilst others at other fields had to stay on the ground, or could not fly home as storms would n’t allow for that.
In 2012 Martin Lessle has moved his operations from Gariep Dam to Douglas.
(his business is still called GariepGliding /

New Tempe Bloemfontein, very much loved by the UK pilots and ran by Dick Bradley and his team among them daughter Jennifer, had 36 guests who made 258 flights and 123.682,40 kilometers.

Some friends who flew at Tocumwal and later at Gariep Dam in the past , moved to another spot ; Kuruman Johan Pi. With a small group of people, who know each other well, they [ 13 pilots] made 76 flights  and 63.839,04 kilometers.

The list of the OLC will change of course when the European season starts.
When you are interested in MORE , I refer to the current OLC list .


Still great weather in the Benalla/Corowa/ Tocumwal area, with on Thursday a light wind , high temperatures in the low 40thies, lot’s of blue skies in the beginning, but a bit more up N. great cu’s up to 12.000 ft. and cloud streets up to 150 km long,  direction NW and the expectation of  over-development and showers in the evening to the S.!
Yarrawonga, not far from the 3 airfields had at 20.30 on Thursday evening, still 33.4 dgr. So the expectation for long flights was high even with sunset at 20.29 edt.
Remark on the hot weather from one of my young friends , Kait, in Australia;
 Getting rather over the temperature updates. We grew up with the heat and it hasn’t changed. Living in the Riverina (and yes sometimes Melbourne) and complaining about heat is like whinging about sand at the beach or cold at the snow.
Tocumwal .[NSW] ;
Kilometer -eater Stephan has flown in his LS 4 now  in 9 days, starting on January 20 ,1 x a 400 plus, 4 x a 500 plus [up to 592] and on the last 3 days 3 x over 600 km.!!![ up to 671]
Great to see Bjoern from Norway back in Toc. and Danish Joergen [and Brigitte] have moved from Stonefield to Tocumwal as well and Joergen started with a flight from 634 km.
Kari in the LS 6 WL,   flew a 600 k.

Corowa; [Victoria] Swedish guest Markus flew a very nice 750 FAI triangle in the ASG 29E/18m.
Roger Druce and his Brasilian mate Eduardo flew in the ARCUS M 780 km.; they loved the day but it was a a pity it started a bit late.
Pilots are busy with their last flights for the season, as the container will be packed soon and some gliders have been packed already.
They had some nice flights on Friday as well; Aussie pilot Terry Bellair flew in his DG 400/17 m nearly 800 km.[793] , no worries for him as he can bring his glider home himself.
Mac arrived back in Australia from Japan and flew from Corowa in his LS 8 straight away a nice 911 km.
Pepe  flew 844 km. in his ASH 31.

Benalla; [Victoria] Junior pilot Ailsa flew in the LS 8 a distance from 566 km.On Friday it was even 41 dgr. C and young Ailsa flew from Benalla now 816 km. [660 FAI triangle]
This year she also flew from Narromine a new record on December 16 over 500 km. record;129.29 km./h. .
The claim has been received and is awaiting finalization.

From the 46 flights on the OLC, 32 were from this area on the last day of JANUARY!
Reason to specially focus on it!

The 3 Czech pilots flying in Narromine [NSW]  each flew over 500 km.on Thursday.
AND in January a record-amount of solo pilots was counted at Mount Beauty.; 5 in one month. Congratulations!

And what about the flight from the ASK 21 with JWGC participant  Eric,  who flew with a  “60kg bag of gravel strapped in the back seat” ;  560 km.!!!!!Eric flew from Balaklava NW of Stonefield. In 2013 he was one of the Aussie junior pilots in standard class flying the ASW 28 from Leszno .

Some other news;  about a STEMME, flying over the Himalay a tn Jan. 23, capturing the first of many images that an international science team hopes will save lives.Here is the link when you are interested to this news on AOPA.


Remember you can still enter for the 33d WGC in Finland for club,standard and 20 m. multi-seat-class till February 28!!!!
Detailed schedule, pricing and other related information can be found in the Bulletin 1 published in the documents section. Please follow us also on Facebook and”

Finnish gliding Nationals 2014 will be arranged at Räyskälä 1st – 7th June (no reserve days) in club and racing class.
Competition is open for international competitors.
Registration opens 1st February.
More info at competition website

And to rent accomodation or gliders, tools or car’s, here is a link;

As I have been there a few times I can tell you it’s an awesome airfield, LOVED it there, the weather can be fantastic and the people are very, very kind. There is a camping area in the forest with clean toilets and showers,  also a nice motel with roomy rooms and of course several sauna’s with the lake behind it , with real cold water I nearly ” died” after jumping in the first time in 88. A small restaurant with good food is a place to go to in the morning , for lunch[crews] or dinner. The outside terrace in the front, with nice wooden tables is the place-to-be before and after flying as well as the lake for a fresh swim.
Sometimes there can be lot’s of mosquito’s but in fact only in 88 we had problems with them all the other years NOT.


Z camping2  Z camping1

1988 on the camping. We stayed at the camping too, just along the tennis court!
Pictures courtesy Kai.

Not a lot more news as it is getting quiet in our soaring world,  till spring and summer hopefully spoil all pilots with fantastic weather.
More news later in SOARINGCAFE. About the drought and the devastating impact it has on people, land and animals with a contribution from our soaring-mate Bruce Taylor.

Cheers Ritz
On Sunday February 2 2014.

January 29, 2014

Caproni as a glider in the club?!The DG 1001-club and Schleicher ASK 21 Mi for the Australian Air Force!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:10 pm


What a fabulous PR tool this picture is! Found it a FB.
Use it straight away to maybe help them! The Magalies Gliding Club operates from Orient.
Have you ever thought of becoming a pilot? Then why not kick start your aviation aspiration with a GPL – “Glider Pilots Licence”. Magalies Gliding Club offers introductory flights to those who are interested in learning to fly and conquering the skies.


One of the last comps for the 2013/14 season in Australia is Horsham Week in Horsham.They start in 2 days and as I heard , it always is a fun competition with a serious touch. Rolf Buelther is the CD and 25 pilots have at this stage announced their arrival . One of them Morgan Sandercock, who flew in Argentina [Chos Malal] as member of the Perlan Project Team in the DG 1001M in November last year,  in the cold over the mountains, is flying now in the heat over more flat land and scrub in a Sparrow Hawk. Quite a difference! But ALL fun!
A bit of a struggle” he mentioned in his comment,” not very high , neither consistent“. They had an AAT for practise!

The very last comps in Australia are in Goondiwindi [Queensland]  in the Easter weekend in April. And then it is nearly May and the European comps are on,… as in Bruno in France where the open class pilots and the 2 seater pilots “fight”  for the highest spot in each class.

The enthusiasm to welcome the new summer-season is GREAT. Here a message from Tucson Arizona.
 First soarable day in 2014 in Tucson. I had to celebrate! What better way to finish the flight than with a double low pass and a smooth landing” .
The video from the LS 3 is on YOUTUBE and shared by Eric Redweik and lovely to look at. [LS- 3A Fine January soaring]


Not a lot of clubs nowadays have a CAPRONI . They do at the Southern Riverina Gliding Club and after some work the glider looks like new. Ingo made the  test flight of the Caproni Calif A21S and of course landed it safely at Tocumwal Airport.
After 11 years in storage, Calif is back! With 20.38m wing span!!!
By the way I got a very nice  farewell gift when I left Australia; a flight with Ingo in the jet-engined-Caproni!

Just to let you know; In 2011,  6 Caproni Calif gliders came together at Reinsdorf,south of Berlin.

Z caproni2  Z caproni 3

Z ingo Caproni1

Beautiful UB coming in from the West. On the background our former Sportavia  hangar, with to the left the camping area and to the right the park and swimming pool.

On January 26 , pretty late in the season but  still possible, as we can see, 4 x 1000 km. flights , one from Douglas Backhouse,   a 1000- FAI triangle and 3 from Kuruman.
Max, our Dutch record chaser, was all by himself . Over the last couple of days he tried with a co, several times to improve on the 750 record he had flown already ,  now he had to do it alone.
Just before packing the glider in the container he did it;  No worries; this time 153. 10 km. /h.
It seems that it was an exceptional good day! Perfect!

640 That day from Calcinate in Italy, by Luca De Marci in the Ventus 2AX,  is good too!

On January 28 a nice late 1.o88 k FAI triangle from Stonefield by Konrad Mayerhofen , one of the 2 directors of Fly Down Under and his co pilot;
” It is the longest flight from Stonefield and if all went well it was a continental record for Oceania for a free triangle over three points.”
Not even the best weather as they launched and had straight away a 15 kts Northerly on the nose. They struggled for 2 hours, had then 2 legs in the blue, but the last one with cu’s and extended their flight to 1.148.7 km.
Great effort!

More work, this Stonefield -flight,  for Pam Kurstjens- Hawkins, who took , as record officer for the Gliding Federation of Australia ,care of a lot of records this season.
There was a special mail from her as well about records and I share it with you just to let you know!

” When the Continental Records were introduced a year or so ago, someone at IGC prepared a list of minimum performances for the Oceania Region, based on the existing National Records for Australia and New Zealand.

Since then 2 records have been awarded to Allan Barnes, and several pending claims are in the system. These can be searched on the IGC website. 

In order to see what performance you have to exceed to claim a Continental Record, you have to check the list of minimums, and the records claimed since that list was created. A bit messy I am afraid, but it is the result of a two-stage process. We will update this information on the GFA website in due course.

Pam Kurstjens

Good flights that day as well from Gawler [655 in the LS8] ,  Corowa [713 in Ventus 2 CM]   , Tocumwal [598.99 in ASW 28] and Benalla [644 in Ventus t] and lovely to see Kari flying the LS 6 from Toc. and Richard the Ventus B2 from Benalla, flying first up to Wakool in the West  , Deni and Jerilderie and  over good -old-Toc. , where he flew in the past .

Australia is VERY BUSY with it’s aviation- future. A message from Schleicher’s dealer Bernard to the Aussie soaring population gives some clear views on what’s going on:

” Judging by two recent telephone calls there appears to be some misinformation in gliding circles 
on the latest Australian Air Force order for new training aircraft.

The following is fact – the rest is unsubstantiated rumours:


  • ·         The Air Force has ordered 11 (eleven) Schleicher ASK 21 Mi for basic training of cadets
  • ·         All of these gliders are self launchers and come with trailers
  • ·         The aircraft will be based at four different training centers throughout the country
  • ·         Deliveries begin in August of 2014 and the contract includes shipping, registration, 
    aircraft inspection, delivery and operator training


To ensure that the rumour mill doesn’t spread further let me point out that a previous order for pure 
sailplanes from DG was not cancelled. ”

When we talk about DG then here is news about them.
DG has send it’s first , from 6 DG 1001-CLUB training sailplanes
 to Australia just after Christmas and Tom Gilbert from T&J Sailplane Services  will be the one to take care of the import and registration and what’s needed more and in February this first glider will be handed over to the Air Cadets from the Australian Airforce.
The second glider has been send on the container now as well [end of January] from Bremershafen to Melbourne and then on a side-loader to Temora ,where Tom lives.
The gliders will be used as basic and advanced training of the Australian Air Cadets at different spots in  Australia.


 DG for aircadets.
The first DG 1001 Club ready for Australia,  as shared by  DG.

Just ” delivered”  my column for the March/April issue of Gliding International and I heard it will have 72 pages!!
The biggest they have ever done. And they settle for the new and latest  format for the future now.
And that is a great format !

More news next Sunday. CU then.
Cheers Ritz

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