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January 5, 2014

Old stories popping up!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:14 pm

With 12 dg.r ABOVE zero and the warmest ever January 3 in history we are better of than most of the people in Canada and the USA where minus 37 was measured including the chill factor. Brrrr,…..
And the poor UK friends are at some places still suffering from rain and wind causing flooding.
We had a couple of days ago,  a short but heavy thunderstorm with wind up to 169 km./h. damaging again roofs and trees.Weird weather!

Certainly in the beginning of a new year it’s easy to look back at what has happened already in your life. No secret that one of the best times in my life happened in 20 -years-  Tocumwal, 10 visits/ wintermonths as guest and 10 years as co-owner of the Sportavia Soaring Center-business with George.
Looking at FB a lot of news around that time, still comes back and stories pop up in my brain again.

Last week Grietje ,  co- owner from Australian Soaring Center Corowa, shared a picture from her son Frank with me , wearing a hat/cap from her old Sportavia time. Both Grietje and Francesco flew with us in the past and Grietje even worked with us in the office, at the field, picking up stranded guests in a paddock first in the back of the tug ,then bringing their glider back home and as pilot herself.
All good times.
Lovely to see those pictures , here they are with her permission in HD. THANKS!!!

Frank HD2  Frank HD 2

Frank, the new Ingo????
Courtesy Grietje

No introduction necessary and more  memories of Tocumwal, as on FB, I found a few pictures, from  a Christmas gift for the Southern Riverina Gliding Club, the club where Ingo is the CFI and the charismatic person ” being the engine” of   the club. Around this time of the year the Geelong Gliding Club always spends their soaring-holiday in Toc.   and last year I had the privilege of getting to know a few of their pilots.
Look what they brought to the SRG-club of our former instructor and life-long-friend !

Ingo 2 extra Ingo

Ingo cup

I guess most of the people my age remember these pictures!

More memories, as in the past we had a guest from former Yugoslavia, Miro.
He liked us we liked him, lovely ,optimistic ,easy going guest.
He loved his soaring as well and drove several times a month up to Tocumwal. He brought uncles and aunties, cousins and friends,  to fly with him and all stayed with us in the motel , eating and drinking and having fun. Yes I have to be honest they brought in good business as well.
Guess what,….. several are still flying and one of them , as I just heard from George who was in Toc., is the President of the club nowadays, Zack Lutovac, keeping us informed about what’s happening in the Soaring Herald.
On November 30, by the way,  he wrote about Dieter Dundee, who flew with us in the past and lives since then half a year at Eddies caravan park in a nice ” Schloss”.
 All people who are involved in the sport of gliding, are well aware of how important safety is.

FLARM, proved itself over the last few years as a very good safety device in gliding sport and prevented many mid-air collisions and therefore saved many lives!

Our member and also experienced glider pilot himself, Hans Dieter “Dundee” Albrecht donated 2 FLARM systems to our club, for use in club’s gliders!”


Ingo and Dundee together a couple of years ago.

And less good news as well as I just heard and saw on the pictures shared by the SRGC.

Sadly, yesterday at the airfield our club lost our Bergfalke VH-GKZ.
As the crew was preparing for the flight strong gust of wind picked up the glider and smashed it to the ground. LUCKY NO ONE WAS HURT!!! The glider is damaged beyond repair!”

” Just”   a dust devil!!!

Tocumwal Bergfalke1  Tocumwal bergfalke 2

Tocumwal bergfalke 3  Tocumwal bergfalke 4


And,…when I see the pictures from Sportaviation with all ” our”  guests from then, I am really happy that  they are still [nearly] on the same spot , at the same field , with the same CFI Eddie and under the good care of Cheryl his wife.It all brings back great memories. It’s a small but FINE operation there on the South side of the airfield and that’s all they want. Looking forward to see them all back next season.

And looking at the site from Corowa it touches me that so many good friends found a perfect new home after Sportavia collapsed.On the pictures they all look happy and energetic.

And looking back just a few weeks ago I missed out on 2 really good declared 1000 km. flights by Brian DuRieu [Kingaroy] flown from Narromine and I want to mention them now, as the declared ones are the real ones!
The flights were; 1038km. on 16 DEC declared 3 Turn Points & 1034km. on 18 DEC declared FAI Triangle.
Good on you Brian!

Not a too good start in  Waikirie for the Club and sports class Nationals;”  It’s bloody raining”  was the message from Robert waiting for the real soaring weather to come,  together with 45 other pilots. BUT,….then there is time to make pictures. This one from my favorite river, yes it streams also through Tocumwal, another great memory!

Murray river by Robert Smith  Australie2010 004

The Murray in S.A . [Waikirie] now in dry times and in NSW in 2011 in November in wet times.
First picture courtesy Robert Smits.

Waikirie by Grant Hudson

Waiting gliders at  the Waikirie-tie-down-area,  as seen by Grant Hudson.
shared by the GFA.

Still not the best weather as I read on the GFA site as shared on FB;
“Difficult landing conditions with strong wind gusts on landing. A few ground loops and some damage. No one has been injured. A number of outlandings and many trailers are heading out in all directions.”
That was today,so we have to wait for the full scores,  BUT they had already 2 good days with 2 and 4 hour AAT’s.
In club class Tobias Geiger in the LS 4 leads after 2 days and in the sports- class Allan Barnes in the LS 8 is on top after 2 days.He flew 480 km. in the LS 8 in time 4.09.

The New Zealand Multi Class Nationals had after 2 days of over 300 km. flights in the open class a leader flying a DUODISCUS, Maurice Weaver from beautiful Tauranga  and a runner up Trevor  Terry in a Duo Discus as well, from beautiful Taupo.
15 m. class,  also  after 2 over 300 km-days showed, Lyndsay Stephens on top in the ASW 27 and as runner up Steve Wallace in the Mosquito with good old Tony van Dyk on a 4th spot in the LS 8.
Day 4 was cancelled, day 3 was difficult with many out landings.

He , Jim Payne, calls it a holiday, I call it hard work with hours of sitting in the glider and days of sitting as in waiting BUT…then it’s there again THE day;2.130 km. with 145 km./h.
” What a holiday … from Christmas Day, 3 flights for 45 hours and 6,350 km … time for a siesta“.
His full comment on the OLC of course!

January 1 showed a nice, some kind of example- list of places on the OLC, where in the last couple of months the longest/best flights were flown either in wave or thermals; 1. Nahuel Huapi in Argentina . 2. Bitterwasser in Namibia. 3. Pokweni in Namibia.4. Kiripotib in Namibia. 5. Douglas Backhouse and Gariep Dam.
The 2 x 1000 km. from Worcester one in an ASW 20 and one in a 15 m. Ventus, show the potential for the Qualifying Grand Prix over there in 2015 this time of the year[Jan.3 -Jan.15] .

That’s it! Cheers Ritz
On Sunday January 5 2014 blog 2 for this year.

January 1, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR! About Bahia, Schumi and Jim….2.700 km. with 184.90 km./h.!!!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 10:09 pm



NKEindbriefing 020

 During the final party of the Nationals in 2011.

A late morning , sorry about that.
After the bubbles [ of course I had to toast on my New Zealand friends , then on my Aussie mates and Japanese friends and then on my European friends , waited even till I heard the 12 bangs from the  BIG BEN in London at for me 1 in the morning to toast ” with” my UK mates and it takes today to lift my glass of bubbles on my USA and Canadian friends and last but not least my friends living in Hawaii] ] and good food, along night and lot’s of fireworks [ beautiful better then ever before  here in Alphen but sometimes a bit TOO loud] , where I stay far away from as I don’t want them TOO close, it’s time for the first blog of the year 2014.
Take a chair, a full cup of coffee or tea and enjoy, as I also share a blog from another blogger , already since 2008 , Branco! He shared his competition adventures in one blog [WGC in Chaves and Serbian Nationals] and his gliding in Brazil from Bahia,  in another one.
I asked him to contact me again when he had more news. After 3 months he finished the next article , so we get all the in’s and out’s from the new-born-resort Bahia .
Thank you for sharing it with me Branco and for that reason with many others.

Have to start as a Formula 1 fan, with a word of sadness about what happened to Schumi.  After so many dangerous Formula 1 races, he nearly killed himself with skiing [ off- piste, to be honest] with his 14 year old son, on a sunny morning in the mountains from France. Hope he survives and when, a good condition.

And on the more funny site I had to smile about how Google -earth looks at the soaring activities at Corowa as seen by Jan and shared on FB and the reaction from co-owner Grietje.
Their Soaring Center is  categorized as”  erotic”   and her reaction;” That should bring more people here”  and ” Thanks for letting me know, I can anticipate on it now”.
Great answers!
And look at Frank the oldest son from Francesco and Grietje,   with a nostalgic hat from their good times,  years ago at Sportavia ! Frank surely waits a great  career in soaring/flying!!!
Pictures to be seen at;

The ” worst ” distance on the OLC page ONE on December 30 was 676 km. in a discus BT, from  46 added by the pilots!!! That is just good again!
What a season! 
On December 30;28 x a 1000 from different fields
  and 9 x over 900 km..
Most of them in top gliders but still,…..! They are there to be used and as we can see already distances are getting BIGGER.!!!!!
On the last day there were 2 over 1.300 km. is the 1.300 km.  the the new ” magic-1000- target”  we were used too and longed for ??? And 4 over 1.200 km.

The West Australian State comps finished yesterday with 4 days and Terry Cubley as winner in the open class in his LS 3.
In club it was Steven Cesco in the Libelle 201b, who won.
The Aussie club and sports class Nationals start on Friday from Waikirie.
The Sports Committee has decided to make a change to Sports Class this year to try to attract more entries.
Gliders will be able to fly ballasted using the Multiclass handicaps.
It is hot 40 dgr. NOW and 8/8 of cu’s! Weather to swim instead of fly, but it will change.

And WOW , the end of the year 2013 ends with a BIG BANG;  That EPIC flight by Jim Payne  ,and his co-pilot from Argentina,  Juan Pagano, in the DG 1001M, as it is a long ” sit” [ 14 hours and 36 minutes!] and for this moment another part of HISTORY!!!
As he said;  ” finally the BIG WAVE, we came for! ” Flown from Nahuel Huapi over 5 TP’s .
2.700 km with that huge speed of 184.90 km./h.
It’s not a new world record as that’s still in the good old hands of Klaus Ohlman, who flew in 2003 a distance of 3008 km in 14 hours and 58 minutes on January 21 from Chapelco in Argentina. What a sit must that have been too in the NIMBUS 4DM!!!!!!
Jim’s FULL comment is to be read on the OLC!

On the very last day of 2013, Lake Keepit had the best flight in Australia with 666 km. in an LS 6!!!Worldwide it was the NIMBUS 4DM with 2 Swiss pilots Rainer and Bernhard flying 1.329 km. with a speed of 144 km./h from Bitterwasser.
Michael Sommer did about the same from Pokweni in the EB 28.

It’s interesting to read that some pilots who have not flown before in Africa, can’t believe how after a day of huge thunderstorms, the next day is a 1000 k-day again.Never been there but I guess that’s Africa,with it’s strong weather both with great clouds and  CU nimbs. It does n’t work like that in Holland. After a day of strong rain , tasks the next day are normally small[er].

In 2013 I wrote about flying at,  what some call , the new premier gliding resort in Brazil.
Here is the story with pictures from Branco Stojkovic ,who was so lucky to fly there last year.



GOPR0657 GOPR0657Branco making pictures with a GoPro.

I copied and pasted it but one way or another, it does n’t look too good in real with the space between, though my draft is perfect. Sorry about that. If you wish you can go to the link and read the story there with even more pictures.


Bahia Gliding 2013 (Return to Paradise)

An Update on the Bahia Gliding Resort
Back in late 2012 these seemed (to me) to be very ambitious plans and Gugui’s target date of September 2014 for setting up a fully functioning gliding resort looked a bit optimistic. Fast forward to September 2013, half way to the target date and my second trip to Bahia and what a difference a year makes! The newly established Bahia Gliding resort is already up and running, and although all of the visiting pilots (save for yours truly) were Brazilians,  there was significant progress towards Bahia Gliding becoming one of world’s premier gliding resorts.
The resort already has its own airfield, located within the bounds of the “Alcatraz” farm (soon to be renamed to Albatroz, which in Portugese means Albatross) just outside of LEM, off the BR-020 road leading South to the nation’s capital Brasilia, about six hours drive from LEM. You can find it on Google Earth by entering these coordinates: 12°10’12.52″S, 45°48’44.44″W) The current facilities include a 1500 meter long grass runway, an open hangar and a tie-down area that can accommodate at least ten gliders. The current glider fleet includes a Grob 103 Twin II, Blanik L-23, Jantar Standard 2 and a Nimbus 3T. In summer of 2013 Gugui purchased a number of gliders in Europe that will be added to the fleet in 2014. These include another Jantar Standard 2, Jantar 1, Jantar 2B, Standard Cirrus, Open Cirrus, and a PIK 20. He is also looking for a high performance two seater, either a Duo Discus or an ASH-25.
This year the towing operation was conducted with a rented Piper Pawnee, which was more than adequate for servicing the current fleet of four gliders, plus a number of Brazilian pilots who came to do some practice flying prior to the 2013 Brazilian Nationals, which were held in early October at the new LEM municipal airport. Starting in 2014 Bahia Gliding should be operating its own tow plane (an already purchased Zlin Z-37T Turbo Čmelák) and a Tost winch, which is at present at the Bahia Gliding airfield waiting to be overhauled before being put back into service. By the way, the location is ideal for winch operation as the thermal conditions around the airfield are excellent and the reliable “house thermals” can be relied on most of the time. As an illustration, the release altitudes on all nine aero tows I took this year were between 200 and 400 meters QFE.
During my visit Gugui signed a lease agreement with the owner of the farm, thus setting up the stage for improving the airfield (lengthening the runway, building a taxiway, installing a runway irrigation system to eliminate dust, improving the hangar) and building the resort facilities right at the airfield. Considering the current and future work on the infrastructure, Bahia Gliding resort is making progress in leaps and bounds and it poised to be ready to receive its first official overseas visitors next season.
More about Flying in Bahia
After all this talk about gliders and infrastructure, you are probably eager to hear more about actual flying in Bahia. If you have read my article in Free Flight, you already have an idea about what was like in 2012, and it was awesome. But this year’s flying was even better!
For starters, this year I made nine cross country flights compared to five in 2012. During those nine flights I racked up 56:21 hours and 6273 cross country kilometers, for an average of 697 km/flight. All nine flights earned one of the top three spots on the OLC plus worldwide daily score.
The soaring weather conditions within the 300 km radius from LEM are usually fairly uniform and reliable.  The usual modus operandi for flying long FAI triangles is to initially head West, downwind towards the border between Bahia and Tocantins provinces, located some 65 km West of LEM. The first turn point is usually between 5 and 50 km inside Tocantins, depending on the weather and the planned XC flight distance.
For the second leg of the triangle you either turn roughly due North or due South. On most days the sky looks equally good in both directions and you can easily go either way. When flying a 700 to 800 km FAI triangle, the second leg is usually around 250 km long usually with a moderate Easterly crosswind. The third leg, also around 250 km long, is to the Southeast if you took the Northerly route or to the Northeast if you chose the triangle to the South. The fourth and final leg of the triangle goes due West and can be anywhere from 80 to 150 km. The final glide into the setting sun is downwind, which can be helpful if you’re going for the maximum distance. Also helpful are the stubble fires which are a reliable source of very good and not too turbulent thermals even late in the day.
Days 1, 2 and 3 and my first outlanding in Bahia
During the first two days (9/15 and 9/16) the weather was a little less than ideal, with high humidity at the top of the convective layer causing the Cu’s to spread into a layer of stratocumuli in the afternoon. For this reason, and because I was a bit overly ambitious, I landed out about 90 km south of LEM after completing 672 km on the second day.
I chose a 1.6 kilometer long smooth dirt airstrip next to a large farm. No sooner I got out of the cockpit, a worker from the farm arrived on a motorcycle to check out what had happened and if I was okay. Thanks to my (and his) rudimentary knowledge of Spanish we managed to communicate enough for him to help me move the glider off the runway, after which he gave me a ride on the back of his motorbike to the farm’s main office. There I got introduced to Luis Evandro Gauer, the managing director for this and five other soy and cotton farms in Bahia, all owned by a company called FraNor and totaling some 40,000 hectares. After a phone call to Marcel to report the land-out and the coordinates, Luis took me to one of the farmhouses with a bathroom, a large kitchen, a dining room and a couple of sofas in front of a big screen TV and offered me to stay there while he attended to some of his duties. I crashed on the sofa, relaxing and surfing through Brazilian TV channels. Luis returned after about an hour and offered me a cold beer and a couple of tuna sandwiches, both of which I gladly accepted. After we finished the meal, and after I refused the second beer, Luis took me on an hour long guided tour of the farm showing me the twin cotton processing lines, huge soybean silos and a number of very large and very modern combines, tractors and various other farm equipment. Soon after we finished the tour, Gugui and Bruno arrived in the Bahia Gliding Jeep with the trailer. Twenty minutes later we were on our way back to LEM – a 130 km two hour trip. Gugui and Bruno brought a few sandwiches and a two liter Coke bottle that Gugui’s mother-in-law Araci filled with freshly squeezed orange juice. We made it back to the house around 11 PM, just in time for the third installment of the dinner.
At this point I should mention that landing out in Bahia is a fairly safe and straight forward affair. The area is flat with large cultivated fields and with a number of farms with adjacent dirt strips used by crop dusters. There are, however, some less hospitable areas. Most notably, the Tocantins province to the West of Bahia and the Goiás province to the Southwest feature hilly terrain at elevation of 400 to 500 meters QNH, covered in tropical shrubs and dwarf trees. The cultivated fields few in this area are few and far between and the road network is fairly sparse. However, if you stay within 20 to 30 kilometers from the Bahia border, you can always move back closer to Bahia and the landable terrain if you happen to be getting lower. Similar scenery is also typical in the Piauí and Maranhão provinces to the North of Bahia. On the flip side, there are a number of airports and airstrips whose coordinates I had in my Oudie and I would often check (and confirm) that I was within the gliding range of at least one of them.
The weather on Day 3 (9/17) improved, with only a few localized areas of cumulus over development. I flew a 599 km triangle to the North, because the XC Skies forecast was a little better to the North. At one point on the third leg, while climbing in a 3 m/s thermal under one towering cumulus, virga appeared from the opposite side of the cloud, producing a very bright and beautiful rainbow. During this flight the total energy system in the Jantar was n’t functioning properly, which made things interesting when pulling up from a 180 km/h cruise speed.
The rainbow.
Day 4, 5 and 6
The morning of Day 4 (9/18) brought overcast skies and even some rain early on. Gugui decided to call a non-flying day and troubleshoot the Jantar TE system instead. Given that I spent a lot of time in the cockpit the previous three days, right after the 30 hour trip from Vancouver, BC to LEM, Bahia, I was quite happy to have a rest day. After a few hours of troubleshooting the TE system we discovered that the culprit was the old PZL pneumatic vario, which appeared to have developed a leak. The problem was solved by swapping the PZL with a Winter vario from the back seat of the Grob 103 Twin II. By around 1 PM the skies cleared and the Cu’s started popping, so the day could have been a flying day after all.
Day 5 (9/19) the weather returned to normal, making for an easy 723 km to the North.
Day 6 (9/20) turned out to be weaker than expected (1.7 m/s average for the flight), but still good enough for a 589 km (568 FAI triangle) to the South.
Days 7 and 8
Day 7 (9/21) the weather conditions improved with cloud bases initially at 3000 meters, rising to 3500 m in the afternoon. I was also able to take advantage of cloud streets on several long glides. To top it all off, my last thermal was a stubble fire in which I gained 1415 meters of altitude in 2 minutes and 19 seconds, for the average of 10.2 m/s!  The tally for the day was a 767 km flight (751 FAI triangle) at an average speed of 126 km/h.  Not bad for a Jantar Standard 2 and the starting altitude of 200 meters QFE. Considering that I could have taken off at least half an hour earlier and that I could have landed half an hour later than I did, a 900 km flight should have been possible that day.
For Day 8 (9/22) the weather forecast looked great and I decided to go for the maximum distance. This time I chose to fly the Northern triangle, if for no other reason than to change the scenery. By midafternoon, the cloud bases rose to 4100 meters QNH, but the conditions were drier than the day before and with not as many cloud streets as I have grown accustomed to. Mid-way through the second leg I chose to deviate around a large area of brush fires in order to keep the wings clean for the remainder of the flight. The result was an 810 km flight (783 km FAI triangle) at still respectable 117 km/h, worth 1044 points on the OLC+.
Days 9, 10 and 11
For day 9 (9/23) the forecast again looked very good and the cloud base was supposed to be a few hundred meters higher than the day before. Marcel and I prepared Gugui’s Nimbus 3T-25.5 and this was going to be my first ever attempt at a 1000 km triangle. Exciting stuff! I made two flights with the Nimbus during my last year’s trip to Bahia, but those were in the 24.5 m “short” wing configuration. This time around the Nimbus was rigged with the long tips, bringing the span to 25.5 meters. With everything prepared and waiting on the runway, we got a call from Gugui that there was an overheating problem with the tow plane’s engine. By noon the problem wasn’t getting any closer to being solved, so we decided to call it off for the day and went to a local river beach instead. The water was just the right temperature and crystal clear and we enjoyed a couple of hours of swimming and had a few beers, all while keeping an eye on the Cu’s high up in the afternoon sky.
Day 10 (9/24) was forecast by XC-Skies to be even better than the day before, however the weather didn’t unfold as forecast. During the day a cold front approached LEM from the Southwest and a pre-frontal weather pattern with low visibility and significant overdevelopment affected a large are to the South and West of LEM. Soon after turning South for the second leg the sky got almost totally overcast and I realized that I wasn’t going to break any (personal) records that day. I still managed to cover 644 km and got in a lot of practice flying the long winged Nimbus, which compared to Jantar Standard 2 required a much different piloting technique, especially when banking in and out of turns.
The XC-Skies forecast for day 11 (2/25) was again very good, and it being my last flying day in Bahia for this year, I prepared for another attempt at a 1000 km triangle. Since the cold from the day before was stalled some 150 km Southwest of LEM I decided to try going North instead of South. I took off at 10:27, earlier than usual, but initially had trouble finding a good thermal and was back to 200 m QFE when I finally connected with a decent 2.3 m/s.  The CU’s started popping early, but as I was approaching the Tocantins border the sky started looking darker and darker with poor visibility and very little sunshine on the ground. I decided to cut short the first leg a few km before reaching the edge of the Bahia plateau and turned Northeast to try to get away from the area affected by the front. However, after about 50 km I reached the edge of a huge blue hole covering the whole Northern half of Bahia. I climbed as high as I could (to 2700 m QNH) below one of the last Cu’s and set off into the blue hole. The air was felt smooth, which was not a good sign. Further ahead I did manage to find a blue thermal, but it was only 0.7 m/s. At that point I decided to finally give up the quest for 1000 km triangle and turned Southeast towards where the weather looked to be the best. It was a good decision and I soon connected with a couple of 100 km long cloud streets, first one going Southeast and the next one due South. The remainder of the flight was effortless and very enjoyable and I ended up covering 808 km. The flight duration was 7:18 and I probably could have stretched it another half hour, which means that a 1000 km triangle is definitely possible on a good day.
Total Tally
Overall, I flew 9 days for a total of 56:21 hours and 6273 km (697 km average per flight). What these impressive numbers don’t show is how great the whole experience was for me. The accommodation, food and hospitality was fantastic, the company was fun, the weather was hot (up to 40°C) but quite  bearable due to very low humidity and the flying was safe, effortless and extremely enjoyable.
I can only look forward to September 2014.
GOPR0734  GOPR0781
Great skies and close to the Toncantins.
Bahia from the air.
GOPR1206  GOPR1219
View on the tie-down area  and from the hangar.
Greetings from Holland on this first day of the year 2014,…make it a good and safe one!!!!!!!

December 29, 2013

Christmas presents ….as in a FIRST 1000 km! AND….171.9 km./h….no turning!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:19 pm

Hope your Christmas days were as good and wonderful as mine!
On several sites I noticed happy overseas pilots, on well set tables full of good food.
AND,…some good flights!

Christmas day still had 48 flights worldwide!
Best was the one from Jim Payne from Nahuel Nuapi where he and a mate flew 1.550 km. They waited a few days for a new ” wave”  of wave and they were rewarded with a Christmas-special in the DG 1001 M.
Their day started blue, then;  ” the middle legs were a lot of fun as we had some very well marked wave. The lift was not strong and the sink was not bad.
Also a lower cloud base as expected was part of this flight. Their full story can be read on the OLC site on December 25, as a comment on their flight. Quite interesting!

Same day, other airfield, this time Douglas Backhouse in South Africa and more fun as 2 Czech pilots got their Christmas present in the ” form”  of a FIRST 1000 km. [ 988 FAI] in the Duo Discus. Congratulations to Petr and Ivan.

After 3 days of heavy rain in soaring mecca Bitterwasser, some pilots still managed to fly 904 in the EB 28 over nearly green fields! Glad to see Bert de Wijs back in a glider after a nasty fall from the stairs last year!
Also former CD from the WGC in Bayreuth Walter Eisele enjoyed a 900 km. flight from Bitterwasser in the Ventus 2CM.
A bit later also Michael [Sommer] and Roland [Wurbs] both flying with us in the past  enjoy Namibian soaring, they fly from Pokweni; 1.170 km.

BOXINGDAY showed over 90 flights and again it was a South American country, Chile, from Chile Chico,  topping the OLC list . Another good flight from Jean Marc Perrin in the 15 m. DG 808, this time his 4th over 1000 km.; 1.383 km.

From Tocumwal, Terry Ryan flew over 3 days, 3 over 700 km flights [826k, 891k and 747 k]  in his ASH 26E, being the best pilot on OLC in Australia on those days.Anton from Austria flew in the LS 4 till now 11 times, with 2 flights OVER 700 km. Indeed in an LS 4!
From Lake Keepit a nice flight from Jenny [Ganderton] in the Mosquito; 724 km.[703 FAI.. trying a set 750, but strong wind and last light forced her to change and fly home]
From Benalla a good flight by Graham [Garlick] in the ASW 20; 744 k., nearly an out and return up North past Temora. And a 750[650 FAI]  in a 17 m. Kestrel from Benalla , by Charles Day is worthwhile mentioning as well.

Talking about good flights in ” basic” gliders I have to mention the nearly 1000 km flight from Adam Woolley and Dutters in a dry cirrus and Libelle again, both starting and finishing together and in between they ” did” everything together as well, flying wing-to-wing for more then 9 hours. A pity it did not work out well as the day finished just a bit too early and days flying a 1000 in a dry cirrus and Libelle are not that often available.

Adam added : “ was a one day in 5 yrs sort of weather for the cirrus/open libelle to do that sort of flight. Light winds, high bases, only 8 kts around too. Just a fast, consistent day. James & I naturally were able to speed up by flying in a team sense, just wish he could be my team mate in FIN next year! We’re best mates, work well together, & our different styles compliment each other. Two more climbs, we would’ve completed the triangle – soo much fun! We’ll try again next year after the pre-JWGC.”
Adam shared some pictures a couple of day’ s ago, from this “day in heaven” on December 18 from Narromine and after that he traveled for 1850 km. to Waikirie to fly the Nationals there.


 Adam 950  Adam 950 2

Adam 950 Dutters

The skies on the 18th and ” Dutters”  in his Libelle.
Courtesy Adam Woolley.

The South Australian State Comps have started last Friday at Gawler with 14 competitors in 2 classes and the first day was a difficult one, but all was good practice for the Nationals in Waikirie in January.
50 % From the participants in each of the classes made it home on day 1.
Matthew [Scutter] had a less good day with an outlanding but better now then during the Nationals and good old Terry Cubley won in open class.
In club class Claire, Matthew’s sister finished after 235.7 km. as number 3!
Day 2 was cancelled.
Today they flew in both classes a 3 hour AAT, but all scores are not yet in.

The KIWI Multi class Nationals have started in Matamata and will continue into next year;January 9 in 2014.
15 m. Class counts 22 participants and 8 in 18 m. class and you can see all the scores on
There will be good coverage by Mike Strathern on facebook as well.
Some other information at
No scores till now!

A SUPERFAST flight on Friday the 27th by Sven Olivier from Worcester in South Africa.
NO TURNING on a pre-frontal day !!!
So 172 km./h.over 784 km.
That’s being on the right time on the right spot!
And the flight from Jonathan Cross in the ASW 20 from 800 km. that same day is not bad either!

And yesterday it was Argentina again topping the OLC list, with a great wave- flight this time by Jean Marie Clement and Pierre Alain Desmeules in the NIMBUS 4 DM; 1.549,50.It’s a different way of soaring; waiting, sometimes days/weeks, till the wave is there and then,…go,go,go!

Looking so in the end of the year at the “best”  OLC pilot , it’s between Jim Payne flying the Andes in Argentina in the DG 1001M  and Reinhard Schramme flying from Namibia/Bitterwasser,  as runner up in the ARCUS.
The speed OLC shows at this stage Reinhard Schramme on top and Bostjan Pristavec on a good 2d place. Great to see Mac [Ichikawa, soon back in Australia to fly] ] on a 4th place.
I know that those pilots have time and money to spend their overseas soaring on the best places in the world and I realize that not everybody is so lucky, but it still  remains great to follow them.

Wishing you ALL a lovely time during the last days of 2013 and with you I hope for a happy, healthy and safe 2014.
Will be back on Wednesday January 1 2014 with a few more words. Till then.
Cheers Ritz
On Sunday December 29 2013.

The year 2013 is nearly over. Here some sunset’s as seen by friends.

Sunset by Bart in Africa  Sunset in Australia by Tammy 2

Sunset in Africa as seen by Bart and sunset in Australia as seen by Tammy.

December 25, 2013

A few words between the turkey and the bubbles ,….as it is WEDNESDAY!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:32 pm

Welkom finish

Last finishes from this nice-to-follow-competition from Welkom.
via FB [SoaringSociety of South Africa]

They were just back in time to celebrate Christmas at home,  the Dutch and Danish pilots participating in the South African National Competition . Just before leaving back to the rain and grey skies here in Holland and a nasty storm [again!!! number 3 and number 4 seems to ” arrive” this Friday] Ronald wrote a short resume, which I like to share as it shows why comps are so precious:
“After a great competition we are on our way back to the cold, but also to the family. We had the best weather with speeds up to 167 km/h average. We had blue, clouds, thunderstorms, wave and 250km. of convergence. But most of all we had a very good time with old and new friends!”
That’s the essence of soaring in a few words!!! 

The ” waiting”  for another worthwhile-to-go-up-day in Chile for Jean Marc was rewarded with a nice flight from 1.594 km. with 120 km. /h. AGAIN in a 15 m. version DG 808! CERTAINLY NOT TOO BAD!

Soaring continues if it is Christmas or not! I remember from my Sportavia -days that most of our staff wanted to have the day off ON Christmas day, so it was always George [towing and paddock retrieves when necessary]  and Brutus [ office] , Ingo [CFI] and I working on that day and our young staff-guests  helping at the field to bring the gliders out and later in for our guests. In between they could  swim in the pool , making ” bombs” and lots of happy noise, while listening to the radio.
Their evenings were mostly spend on the river with a cool fresh beer on the white river banks.
—-One Christmas was superb with one of the pilots flying a 1.250, great Christmas present, followed up with bubbles.
—-One of the other things I never forget was the roman catholic service in the night from 24 to 25 in 1986/87 in Tocumwal, with about 30 pilots from all different nationalities , preparing for the WGC in Benalla. We were all sitting outside as the church was too small for their normal guests and those “colourful cool overseas dudes” and it was still in the high 20thies.
Friends who are not among us anymore as Tapio Savolainen and Leonardo Brigliadori, were part of it.
Not long and Benalla will have another WGC , looking forward to that.
—-Another story I never forget and I mentioned it before is the ” angel coming from heaven”.
One of our female German guests, a gorgeous lady, blond long hair and because she was small, always walking on high heels even flying with them, started for a 300. Her husband had the day off. Till late we did not hear from her and no contact was possible how hard we tried. We asked still flying pilots, to contact her from the air.
” No,this could NOT happen, certainly not on Christmas- eve -day”  went through our heads when we were preparing for the dinner with a lot of international guests.Of course the office was manned and after we all got very nervous from the husband, who seemed more worried about the Christmas Eve  dinners he had paid for, than his ” missing”  wife, there finally was the phone call.
She had out- landed pretty far away as we heard from the farmer ,  but ” no worries, an angel has come from heaven “. Their normal, I guess maybe  boring Christmas night was lightened up with this gorgeous lady, tired of course after putting her glider NOT close to a farm as learned in briefing,  but far enough to NEVER EVER make that mistake again. The farmer said he could not believe his eyes , driving his tractor home to celebrate Christmas and ” finding” along the road in the middle of nowhere this blond angel on high heels walking over the scrub.
No stiletto’s  of course but pretty high cork between the flat and highest part.
On the tractor she went with him to the farm where she got a place for the night and a roast with different people then she had thought.A lovely experience as we heard the next day.
The husband was less amused, as he did not believe  the glider could be back before briefing ready for him to fly after.Later he cheered up, must have showed his worries this way and had a good soaring day, coming back home in the evening.

Off to Amsterdam to celebrate Christmas with my family. See you next Sunday and enjoy CHRISTMAS to the fullest!Also my “poor”  friends in Canada and huge parts of the USA who are sitting in  freezing cold weather a lot even without electricity and some of the mates in Italy, France and the UK ” hurt”  and hit hard again by the storm and the rain with flooding.


On Wednesday December 25 2013.

Kerstmis 2013 049

A pity you can’t see the flash light IN the glider, ” constructed”  by my grand daughter Indya.

December 22, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:41 pm



Merry Christmas as shared by Arne from Welkom.

What a great soaring time it is with nice high temperatures and fabulous soaring.
It’s hard work for the pilots, as every day nearly is a good one.
They need a holiday later to ” recover”. But the soaring-adrenaline will keep them going.

Just 10 seconds after he touched down from his longest flight EVER , I could give ” Thumps up”  for Matthew then not knowing what he did.I was writing my blog and it popped up.
And then ,….a bit later there is the message on FB and I share it with you:

“Earliest start I’ve ever seen at Gawler. Had an 1150km declared but solid walls of rain over unlandable terrain prevented me rounding both the northern and southern turnpoints so I improvised a little .
Beautiful streets heading north, but pretty disjointed the rest of the flight. A few convergences on the outflow of rainshowers made crossing some fairly ordinary patches much nicer.
Other pilots still flying an hour and a half later, so I think this confirms my theory that a Standard Class 1500km flight is possible from Gawler. Regrettably I’m moving to Sydney early next year.”

Luckily Narromine is not too far from Sydney and GOOD ON YOU MATTHEW….still from Gawler  this time…..;
1250 in a Discus 2 A with 142 km./h!!! It was his 2d 1000 for the season.

All my Toc -mates are having a ball.On the ground it is a bit hot, but the guests fly long distances as on Friday when Terry flew in his ASH 26 E 826 km [787 km. FAI km.]
Finnish mate, Hannu who flies the ” old” LS 6 , already stationed in Toc as long as I know and  flown as well by Jari and Kari, had a  topflight with 656 km. as his best till now.
Kari send me these pictures from ” above” 2 years ago when the Nationals were in Toc.
And last Friday Lisa who flew as 1 of the 3 girls the WGC in Uvalde, flew from Tocumwal in her LS 8 a great 1000 km. on not even, as she called it, a good day. But ,…she did it.Good on her!

Kari Toc 2012 2   Kari Toc 2012

Tocumwal from above by Kari.


The pilots in WELKOM finished their soaring holiday/” work -in-the-office ”  ,as some call it and the CHAMPIONS are known!!
After day 6 was cancelled they ” squeezed”  another day 6 out on the next day, with in all classes a 2 hour AAT. Not everybody is good in that some love  the ” just- racing- as -fast- as -possible- mentality”.
The day turned out much better then thought and forecasted and a speed on such a day of 155 km. /h. by Danish pilot Anders Andersen over the set max 310 km. was just GOOD!!!
As Ronald mentioned; ” Start was not so promising. After the rain , it was much better and we averaged fast enough to fly ALL distance within 2 hours.After crossing a big blue hole I climbed over 1600 m. with average 5!!!!!


Welkom by Arne 1 Welkom by Arne 2

Soaring in beautiful South Africa as shared by Arne.

Welkom by Arne 4 Welkom by Arne 6

welkom by Arne 5

And,..the cancelled day 6.
With picture 4 from this picture- blog Arne mentioned:
” Heading the 250km straight back from around Stella at 17.000′ in shorts and sandals was a little bit cold but heck! It was worth every second!
What a way to celebrate the 110th year anniversary of the Wright Brother’s first flight!” 

They got a day 7 as well with 2.30 AAT tasks this time and again pretty good weather. The toppers stayed on the safe site with their points, though it was a VERY expensive day for John and Pieter.
In open/18m. Oscar made it a fast day with 139 km./h. over 356 km. for that reason not winning 1000 but ” only” 826 points.Due to the lost points by Pieter and John, Ronald Termaat ” jumped up ”  from an overall spot 7 after day 6 to a nice 3d position after day 7.That day he was 4th and only lost 39 points on daily winner Oscar
Good to see Maneste won the day in 15 m. class in the Speed Astir 2 and another lady Annemiek was 2d in the club class, so enough girl-power that day.

Friday was a difficult day 8, another” squeezer”.
2.30 AAT’s were set and Annemiek still has a small lead so it was waiting what the last day would bring her, at least she finished 3 others did n’t.
A different daily winner in 15 m. not Wayne , who was runner up, but Rene Coetzee won in the ASW 20a. With one day to go Wayne was 300 points ahead on Rene.
In 18/open John Coutts was the best with 370 km. in 2.29;147.2 km./h.

And the last day number 9 had another set of 2 hour AAT’s for each class, on which you could loose or win depending on the circumstances.For some more was lost than won.Always that terrible last day, but it is part of the comps!
Oscar lost his first place [ after 5 days proud occupying it, ]to Uys  the new CHAMPION in 18 m. /Open.
Oscar , who lost more than 200 points on day 9’s winner,Klaus Kalmbach from Germany in Nimbus 3 24.5m.,  is the runner up missing out on 11 points on Uys.
Ronald had a good bronze spot!

JS1 Atty Uys en Johan Bosman

The Jonkers team, with Uys upfront and Attie and Johan

No secret Wayne is in 15 m. the CHAMPION.With more than 300 points on Rene he is a clear winner. Well known pilot Sven [Olivier] is third.
In club class more hurray’s for Dutch pilots; Annemiek JUST did not win, but being runner is GREAT STUFF!
Champion is Edvard [SLO] but as he is not from South Africa , I presume he is the winner and the CHAMPION will be Jean Du Plessis. Correct me when I am wrong.

Welkom winners  Welkom winners 2

Ronald and Annemiek.

Compliments and congratulations to the winners in each class.

In between ALL guests in Namibia and other places in South Africa enjoy the weather to the fullest.
Only on the 19th;2 x over 1.300k.  from Bitterwasser plus 2x a 1000 , 4x 1000 from Kiripotib, 3x from Pokweni, 3 x 1000 km. flights from Gariep Dam.
Earlier my friends in Kuruman had 1000 km. flights, it does n’t stop and….it should NOT stop, not yet. Summer just started yesterday,…grrr…. winter here , but it is with 10 dgr. NOT too bad!

And from Argentina another great flight by Jim and Dennis;1.606 km. with 112 km/h   but there is sometimes somebody bigger; look at the OLC  for yesterdays 1.900 flight in 15 m. version DG 808 from Chile by Jean Marc Perrin!!!!!!!This well known Swiss pilot flew with a speed 151 km./h.

AND, also worth mentioning a flight from Lake Keepit in the St. Cirrus by hang glider pilot Attila Bertok; 739 km [586 km. FAI].  Got to know Attila in Tocumwal I guess in 2004, when he learned to fly gliders with us. Those hang glider pilots learn it in 4 or 5 lessons. Nice fellow! And…as you see now he still enjoys soaring too.

And not too forget the flight from 2 Dutch juniors and an ” old”  junior  and current JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION, Peter Millenaar, flying 620 km. ridge/wave over the Porta Westfalica area in Germany, rather late in the season but still working good, with his remark on OLC ;
” What a great day! Wave up to FL100. It should have been possible to go even higher.”
15 Pilots added from Porta their flights on the OLC. Busy enough weekend for Dutch, Belgian { Bert Van Eyken with 500 km in the St . Libelle}  and German pilots.

And last but not least a link I received to a video about PR for FLIGHT DECK BUSINESS AND SERVICES.

Wishing you a MERRY CHRISTMAS , where ever you are in this world.Will be back with an update  on Christmas day.
Cu then. Cheers Ritz
On Sunday December 22, celebrating MY Christmas with the family tomorrow.

December 18, 2013

Love you all!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:40 pm

Bloemen Maria

Picture courtesy Maria Boetcher.

Thanks for all the reactions on my birthday and also for mentioning that it is good to see my blogs back on line. You are all great mates!!!!
Feel very blessed, privileged,  but also humble, with so many kind good wishes.
Glad my laptop works again, so I could read my timeline on the day itself.
Had a wonderful weekend full of presents , joy , laughter and good ” booze” , the in-crowd knows what I mean with that.

Back to work,  as things are happening!

WELKOM in SOUTH AFRICA with pictures from Arne and Ronald as shared on FB.

South African Nationals, WELKOM  South African Nationals Gold mines.

The airport WELKOM and the Gold Mines

 day 4 in club class was a difficult one for Konrad , as he only “got”  44 points for 28.8 km, whilst the other 6 finished after 310 km. It could be even worse as 1 pilot unfortunately landed already after 11 km. in the KA 6E.
Annemiek is still on spot 1 after 4 days of flying with 433 points ahead on the runner up.
Too good for words!!!! Go go Annemiek, as it is not over yet!
In 15 m. Wayne [Schmidt]  added a new set of 1000 points as he was the best pilot over the 445 set kilometers.
In 18 m./open Oscar was again the daily winner and is JUST ONE point behind Peter Nouwens who was runner up for the day with 554 km. They flew both over 140 km. /ph, so did Laurens who was 3d.

South African Nationals by Arne South African Nationals by Arne 2

The 3 Dutchies! Ronald and Annemiek and Maurits and Annemiek.

Day 5 had a 243 km. task for Club, an AST task from 315 km. for 15 m. and the ” big/fast boys had to go for 434 km.
And they did!John won the day with 147 km./h. and only needs 44 points to pass Oscar to the overall-top.
But Oscar did well too, finishing on spot 6 for the day but only loosing only 35 points on John.
In 15 m. Wayne Schmidt is clearly the best, winning EVERY day and Annemiek is still on spot 1 overall but lost a few points over the last days. The marge is getting smaller , as Edvard from Croatia is on her heels , but she can do it.


South African Nationals boye Moellers

 The Boye Moellers, sorry have not find the umlaut yet!


Day 6 had tasks from 236.8 km, 348.6 and 428.1 km. but was cancelled and today, the new day 6, they all got a 3 hour AAT.

On my birthday, the 16th a few 1000 km. flights were flown in Australia, from Cunderdin [WA] a 1000 FAI triangle in ASG 29 by Swain Johnson, his 2d in a week and from Narromine  a declared 1000 in an 18m. LS 10. That’s number 4 in Narromine in 3 days.Good on both!!!

Nice message from the Australian Soaring Center in Corowa for Swain:
” Well done Swain!!! 
FA (Frank Alissa the names from the 2 kids from Francesco and Grietje] ) used to be our 29. We are happy Swain is enjoying the glider!” 

Talking about Corowa , they had a few nearly 1000 km. flights and Tocumwal over 800 km. Noticed that not only Anton but also Andrea is back flying in Tocumwal, both friends from Austria fly there already for AGES!!!! And always have fun.
Heard by phone from my Toc friends that temperatures are going up to the low 40thies this week, might mean more 1000 km. flights this time for Toc. and Corowa as well, as they are only about 80 km. to the East from Toc..
There were days that the weather was good on the 16th and pilots promised me a 1000 as present, which they flew! Not everybody gets such a present, is it???
Yesterday was hot and good again and Anton flew in the LS 4 737 km. and today a 736 km task!!! Not bad in such a glider! The weather ” makes”  it all possible!


Adam tried from Narromine to fly a declared 1000 k , yesterday,  flew 917 km. [FAI triangle 873] but as he mentioned;

 ” Declared 1000km FAI in the Dry Cirrus with Dutters in his H301.

Got off to a good start, though the day didn’t get going until 2.5hrs after start. Sadly the trough line stopped at Hilston, the next ~200km was running in the blue. Naturally this slowed down progress, Dutters and I deciding to re-declare in flight – Temora, home for FAI 865.

Flew together for the whole day, a very enjoyable experience – especially the final glide area.

Just need the right day, and a 1000 in the dry cirrus is a done deal.”

Good luck boys, should be possible indeed on THE day!

Adam and Dutters2

Adam and Dutters as shared on FB.

AND  JUNIOR Ailsa flew a 1000 from Narromine [LS 8]  but was beaten by last light to finish at the airport, what a pity. As her proud club members mentioned;
” You may have noticed already but our junior member Ailsa McMillan has just flown 1,000 km from Narromine a few days after placing 4th (third Australian) at Joey Glide. Ailsa was prevented from completing the triangle only due to last light approaching. She showed great airmanship by landing at a safe aerodrome before dark
Of course I noticed and was more than pleased for her and of course sad that she was beaten by lasdt light .BUT we will hear more from her as she is a nice young lady and has the right mentality to get far.


Ailsa here having fun in Poland during the JWGC.

From Jo I received a nice video-link to the juniors- comps in Narromine, a look, certainly when you are young and going to the JWGC in 2015!

Got a nice link as well, from Frauke from the USA. She “glued”  82 pictures to a nice story about Chilhowee, where the Oktoberfest was a while ago. As you know Chilhowee is the airfield ” from”  Sarah and Jason.
Enjoy and thanks Frauke for sharing!

Got the flu!!!!! Hope it does n’t take too long. Off to the doctor now!
Cheers Ritz

December 15, 2013

South African Nationals! Joeyglide!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:40 pm


SA Nationals 1

Picture courtesy Arne, via FB.

After rain and hail, there is sunshine!
The practice day fell in the ”  SA water”  ,but the rest from the week was supposed to be  good , according to one of our Dutch top-pilots, Ronald who flew with Annemiek and Maurits to SA to fly these nationals with 32 other pilots. WELKOM at WELKOM!

SA nationals 3 Maurits  SA National Maurits hagel

Pictures as shared by Maurits on FB. Thanks for sharing!

On Thursday the organizers set tasks in each of the 3 classes;
a 3 hour AAT for club,
259.5 km. for the 15 m. pilots
and 339 km. for open and 18 m. participants.
From 17 gliders in open/18 m. there are 13 from JONKER SAILPLANES in 3 configurations.

For Annemiek it means after Australia, another great part of the world to fly over. What SUPER experiences for her after driving as a car-pilot, the solar race in a winning team in Australia as well. Guess 2013 is HER year!

Kingaroy Annemiek  SA nationals 2

Annemiek in Australia and ” hidden”  in the CIRRUS in Africa with Ronald as BIG help!
Pictures as shared via FB the last one by Arne.

Annemiek straight away showed she had practiced and won day 1  and 2 in the Club class and the 2 other Dutch pilots did not bad either; 2 and 3 in open/18 m. on day 1.
Good to see Pieter Nouwens, won day 1 in that class and was faster than the rest of the toppers with 137 km./h. over 340 km. Maurits and Ronald had 131 km./h. on their ” clocks”!
In 15 m. the Schmidt family had a good day …Wayne won and Maneste his wife was the runner up. Good on them.

Day 3 was a prey for John Coutts , from New Zealand, but living already for a longer time in Africa. The Goudriaans were runner’s up and the speed in this class was excellent; 161 km./h for John in a ” standard ” JS 1and 166 km./h. for the ” brothers” in their fancy c-types with 21 m. span, over 525.5 km. distance.
In 15 m. Mr. Schmidt flew his ASW 20 over 409 km. with a speed of  121 km./h. winning day 3 whilst Mrs.  Schmidt settled in the SPEED ASTIR 2, for the day on spot 6.
In club class over 292 km. Annemiek lost 70 points by being 3d. Edvard Kristo [ St. Jantar] from Croatia won the day. Interesting to see, that the runner up, Konrad Stark in the ASW 15, started more than an hour later!

Today the club flies 310 km., 15 m. goes for 445 and the open/18.m pilots for 554 km.
Ronald was correct, the weather improved!!!

JOEY GLIDE from NARROMINE in Australia!

It’s nice to read that young ones see/compare each other like we all do,  as less good, good and a topper.Nick and Alex from New Zealand flew one day, the last legs with Matthew and mentioned; ”  It was interesting to see how the really good guys fly.”
Matthew won the 3d day over 328 km. as well, with ” the Kiwi-friends ”  Alex as runner up and Nick on spot 6.

They all continued with another 300 k day[just!]  , 33 up to 35 dgr. on the ground and as I ” taste” from far good humored young ones!No Matthew on spot 1 that day [4]  but still runner up!
His JWGC mate Eric [ASW 28] won the day with 127 km./h. whilst he had 121 km./h.

Last day joey glide.
4hr AAT Max distance 680km.
Expecting a big day with CU’s to at least 1000ft and a chance of storms.
Finally a good strong day with clouds!
A few guys have headed off on 1000km flights
” as mentioned by Alex and Nick in their Gliding Adventures.
They had 5 days of good soaring and on the last day , the young ones had to go for a 4 hour AAT. Eric won again with 488 km. in time 3.59.
Aussie JUNIOR CHAMPION 2013/2014 is Matthew Scutter, good on him, congratulations!!!
Kiwi- Alex was runner up, excellent and the other 2 Australian  participants from the last JWGC in Poland , Eric and Ailsa, were on spot 3 and 4 whilst the other Kiwi-mate Nick was on 5.
Matthew’s sister Claire did well in her LS 4 finishing on spot 14 overall,compliments,  whilst the well known Maddock brothers were on spot 8 and 9.

Benalla night 010 Benalla 036

The Maddocks brothers and Matthew in January of this year at the Multi Class Nationals in Benalla.

On the OLC , Bitterwasser topped with several 1000 km. flights the list as usual. After some wet days , on which Narromine,  Gariep Dam , Chos Malal and Pokweni, took over the OLC -spot 1, the great BITTERWASSER weather is back for the guests and with that,  the top places.As last Friday , when the EB flew over 1.281 km.[1036 FAI triangle]
Great to see Alberto {Sironi} flying from Bitterwasser as well; His enthusiastic comment:
3 italian record
distance FAI declared task: 1014 km
speed 1000 km FAI: 134,07 km/h
free distance FAI: 1.015,6
Good on him!

My friends flying from Kuruman had a great day too with 1000 km. distances!
On December 14[yesterday] indeed some pilots indeed flew a 1000 from Narromine but also from Western Australia, where Norm Block , who flew many Nationals in the past, raced his ASW 24 over an FAI 1000- triangle with 116 km./h. Great effort!
The Narromine- thousands were from 2 Czech guests,  one even mentioned it was his first 1000. Congratulations.

Busy busy, guests, upcoming birthday etc., so see you next Wednesday with more news!
Cheers Ritz
On Sunday December 15, the day Nelson Mandela was buried. A great, charismatic and inspiring man, left this world.RIP!

December 11, 2013

Starting blogging-live again!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:21 pm

Just checking if this system works as nothing seems to be the same anymore.

To write a good blog ,I read/check/do research,about  what’s happening in our soaring world and share that , my way, with you.
With loosing all favourites I have to dig them up again , which might take some time, as REALLY EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT!!! So I have to find myself a new rythm .

Yesterday I had help for a full day and I see ” light on the blog-horizon” .
Our long-time-house friend Theo even found more than 5000 pictures back on the extern disc so we might find more!!

Let’s start again!!!

For sure you kept an eye yourself on ” things happening in our soaring world”.
I quickly checked the OLC and was impressed with a few days:
December 2 had only 88 flights but what a great  flight from Jim and Morgan, from over 7000 m. MSL, but also ” only” 1927 m. MSL , over a distance of 1972 km. with a speed of  144 km./h. A day with wave and blue conditions but fun for the Perlan Project team in their DG 1001 M.

December 5 was another interesting day with so many 1000 km flights from the 3 places-to-go too in Namibia , you nearly got lost. Reinhard added the so maniest 1000 to his already impressive list from this year.
My friend Daan , flying the Arcus M with his mate Henk, had a great time in Pokweni flying several 1000 km’s and NO flight under 700 km. That’s why you go ” overseas”.

Looking at Australia today,it’s  great to see many familiar faces in Corowa [ Rudy, Stener, Max, Anders , Peter, Pepe and more] and Tocumwal, [ Anton  from Austria, Hannu from Finland, Stephan from Germany] , as well as Stonefield and Benalla.

The Aussie juniors fly their JOEY GLIDE and the 2 young enthusiastic New Zealand pilots , Nick and Alex, are competing again , as last year.
2 Flying days and 2 ” scrubbed’ days, to stay in their language till now and the Aussie pilots flying at the Junior worlds in Poland are doing well. Matthew won both days, Eric was 8 and 2 and young Ailsa, the girl between the boys ,twice on spot 6!
The NZ mates are on spot 2 and 8 overall after 2 days! They continue till the 14th.

Joey glide 3013 2 Joey glide 2013

Both pictures shared by Nick and Alex from their ADVENTURES FB site. Sorry can’t get the link to work but YES YES pictures are on!

From Western Australia , Perth, I got some news from Vanessa, which is interesting for glider pilots as well.
It’s about sea-planes, always a bit nostalgic.

Commercial seaplanes have been given the green light to fly twice daily, seven days a week on the Swan River.

The soon-to-be disbanded Swan River Trust has approved a 12-month trial for Catalina Airlines to land its Cessna 208 Caravan planes between the South Perth jet-ski freestyle area and Milyu Marine Park.

The seaplanes will courier up to 11 passengers at a time from Rottnest Island, Mandurah and Margaret River.” 


Read more:

In South Africa the Nationals start today with a lot of top pilots in club, 15 m. and open/18m.
Will try to follow it for you.Finish now as it took me more than an hour extra to write such a short blog, but I will get there.
Cheers Ritz
on Wednesday December 11 2013

November 24, 2013

“An absolute stonking day” Jenny called it!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:59 pm


“Much better day today. ” Is what Bruce shared with us about flying-day 4 in Lake Keepit.
”  We had clouds most of the way, though they became thin on the last leg, and climbs, while not really consistent, were of the order of 6 – 7 knots for most of the day. There were some climbs much stronger than this, with reports of 10 to 12 knots. “.

Jenny called it “an absolute stonking day!” You can read her full report about day 4  on the OLC on November 21 2013. She flew a “dry” ASH 26E and was 3d .
It’s over now! Nice comps!!
Bruce won not loosing one day only a few points on a no-1000-points-day.4 days 3983 points.
Allan won same story and out of 4 days he had 3797 points.
David Jansen won in 18 m. with more then 300 points on Tom.
Matthew Atkinson in 15 m. class with more the 500 points  and in the 2 seater class it was Derek Ruddock in the DG 1000.
For all scores;

“The Southern Riverina Gliding club would like to congratulate our Life Member, Mike Burns as a worthy recipient of the Harry Ryan award for Services to Airworthiness 2013, from GFA on our nomination. THE MAN WHO KEEPS US ALL SAFE IN THE SKY!” is what Judy Renner wrote on their site. I know Mike for ages and indeed if someone deserves this award it is MIKE!! Congratulations!!

Mike Burns
Mike Burns
Courtesy SRGC.

Tocumwal did well with all these recipients, here is the news about Bill, another “gem ” in gliding and very devoted tuggie;

Bill Harvey
Bill Harvey
Courtesy SRGC.

“Bill receiving VSA Living Treasures Award 12/10/2013- Melbourne

After 1 practise day and 4 flyable days they had a rest day in Omarama and look how the skies looked: For more news;

 Omarama rest day
As shared on FB with the remark:
“Rest day. Not a bad sky after all.”

And the latest about the South African Grand Prix;
“Welcome all to the face book page for the next leg of the African Sailplane Grand Prix 2015 qualifying series. The event will be held at Worcester in the Western Cape from the 4th to the 10th January 2015. Follow this page for news, views, updates, information, pilot lists and much more.”

AND,..something totally different. When you have NEVER heard of a volo-copter please look at;

DG Flugzeugbau is a partner in this project and with that one of my “former” juniors in HusBos, Jelmer Wassenaar is involved in it as well. As you know he is now the constructor at DG Flugzeugbau.

volo copter

The volocopter
“DG Flugzeugbau as member and key-partner in the Volocopter Project is very proud to announce the VC200 maiden flight! On Sunday 17th of November 2013 a successful maiden flight and numerous other test flights had been performed. All flights were unmanned and took place inside the locked “dm-Arena” in Karlsruhe. ”

Due do family circumstances I could NOT visit the ZES seminar, but Bert Schmelzer sr. was so kind to write up for me what he had heard. Here you are and thanks BERT!

Dreams of Flight: Flight of Dreams

That motto was dedicated to an inspiring and spectacular symposium on behalf of the 50th jubilee of  the Eindhoven Student Gliding Club at their Technical University’s auditorium maximum at November 22nd 2013. All was perfectly organized in detail and with the friendliness and effectiveness of whole the team.

180 attentive listeners were participating at an unseen compilation of newest technology in and around flying and energy.

Because of a huge hart for gliding the organizers invited two well-known experts in gliding with a scientific background and there approach to realize their dreams.

Ir. Tijl Schmelzer from Belgium,  member of the Belgian Gliding Team, opened the symposium. He started with his profound research and theoretical considerations about cross-country glider flights above 1000km from a difficult and wet area as Flanders. He proved his theory with 3 flights above 1000km from Flanders in a single season. The secret was his excellent preparation and use of modern weather models, airspace information including radio communication and use of transponders with a well-balanced  cockpit equipment. At least a motor as a “Turbo”-system  is of wish able value to start early in the morning. The use of power-plants in the late evening and again the Turbo to reach the airfield before sunset makes all possible.  Tijl realized the best performances in only one year from the low-counties, including two Belgian records. He looks forward to realize even more and longer flights in the nearest future.

The other speaker about gliders and gliding was the worldwide known  Ir. Loek Boermans from Delft University. His merits are countless. His presentation was all about how to develop and reach a glide ratio of 1:100. The audience was  stock-still whether the listener was interested in gliding that much or not. He is the one and only master. The trick lies in the lengths of the wingspan, in having flaps, in optimizing  the wing-fuselage transition and in boundary layer suction. And if we would have an until by IGC and FAI not accepted new open class definition with using the power of suctioned air in driving a propeller 30% of improvement of the glide ratio would be certainly achievable. And by knowing that the Concordia with a L/D of 75 (the actual best glider of the world) could be use that kind of technology it’s easy to belief that a glide ratio of 1:100 wouldn’t be a dream anymore.

The other aspect of the symposium was the use of sustainable energy, with a focus on aerodynamics. The students of the hosts of the symposium from Eindhoven University of Technology presented in a wonderful spirit of being eager for knowledge,  working hard and going for it, demonstrated  their “Stella” Solar Car. They said: “The solar car is a user friendly and comfortable electric car, powered mainly by solar energy”. The car is made for transport of four persons and can drive independently more than 750km on electric energy. All this incredible effort ends up in the “World Solar Challenge 2013” 3000km race in Australia from Darwin to Adelaide in a huge victory in the cruiser class. The enthusiasm of Karin Conen and Tim Jansen was contagious to all of us.

The other item was about “Airborne Wind Energy”. The team around Drs.W.Allaart succeeded in developing the Ampyx Power Plane-Systems. A glider is fixed via a cable to a winch. The autopilot-controlled glider flies repetitive cross-wind patterns at an altitude between 300 and 600m. It  fetches wind  that power converts into mechanical power and will be converted in electrical power at the ground. That system is promised to be cheaper than all current forms of electricity production, and reliable in all circumstances.

The commercial realization of Dreams of Flight or Flight of Dreams were highlighted by two outstanding projects and well-known experts.

Lt.General Ben Droste, highly decorated former fighter-pilot of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Professor and Dean of the Aerospace Faculty of the Technical University in Delft (The  Netherlands) and also a former gliderpilot and member of the ZES promotes “Your Ticket into Space”, it’s an upcoming reality and not any longer a dream. All of us looked fascinated which what drive and passion he advocated space traveling for common citizens with a common health, and with 100.000USD at their disposal for a ticket.  “Space Expedition Corporation will be carrying out the flights into space using two different spacecraft. The Mk I will be operational from 2014 and will take passengers to the edge of space (60 kilometers high). This spaceship will depart from Mojave Spaceport exclusively. The second spacecraft, the Mk II, will be operational in 2015/16 and will reach deep space (103km) from both the Curacao and Mojave spaceports.” General Droste said. He also said the sky is not the limit anymore.

Ir. Robert Dingemanse MBA and CEO of PAL-V Europe NV came up with a striking and revolutionary technology The PAL-V One, or simply the flying car. The speaker demonstrated elegantly the realization of an old dream in the best way. Many concepts were tried in the long history of flying, but that kind of using a vehicle to drive on earth and after a 10 minutes change of the configuration it transforms from car into a gyrocopter and overcome gravity  and fly away . It was astonishing to all of us. This  beautiful and certainly splendid concept is already  available in some month. The authorities of many countries and also fortuned investors are highly interested. The PAL-V (personal air and land vehicle) two seater  will be accepted in a minimum of time for many purposes and is the first usable car-aircraft hybrid which is developed in The Netherlands and will be spread over the world.

Furthermore, commercial displays of new technology were present. Modern instrument and equipment technology were shown by Glider Pilot Shop, Millenair Glider Supplies and XCap Batteries. Glider manufacturer Alexander Schleicher Flugzeugbau presented the fuselage of the upcoming ASG32 double seater, HPH from the Czech Republic demonstrated its jet technology of the Shark glider, and the Dutch composite model aircraft manufacturer Weimo presented their large-scale glider and aerobatic models.

After being entertained by so many passionate speakers with already or nearly already realized newest projects in  mainly flying, the audience was more than grateful, we all thanked the organizers, the  moderators and helpers of Eindhoven Student Gliding with a big applause.

I will finish with a lovely saying: Those who are thinking the sky is the limit doesn’t have imagination.

Bert Sr. Schmelzer MD.Ph.D.

 Lustrumcommissie _ex Arjan

The lustrum commission.

Hope to be back on line soon again, but loosing a lot of details maybe not stored in the back up, can cause some problems. Sorry cheers Ritz
On Sunday November 24 2013

November 20, 2013

Championships downunder! “One year of flying” by Bert Schmelzer jr.!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:31 pm

With 2 regional comps, one in Lake Keepit Australia and one in New Zealand in Omarama , where the South Island Regional Gliding Championships are flown, we are going to the end of 2013. About 40 days and we “hit” 2014.
Last Sunday both comps started.
In Omarama they fly in open/18m. and 15m/standard class and club.
14 pilots in the first combined class , open/18m. amongst them Aussie Graham Parker flying the ASH 25 and on spot 7 after day 1 and  winning day 2 ;1000 points , even with a handicap of 114!
In the other class 2 young pilots we know from last years Australian National Junior Championships also  in Lake Keepit , Alex and Nick.They keep a blog and you can read their “adventures” on :
Nick won day 1, Alex was so unlucky to outland. In this class are 11 competitors.
In club only 5 and nobody I know.
For scores and more news you can go to;


as shared by Jill Mc Caw mum from Alex and editor of SoaringNZ.

In Australia , Adam wrote his blog and you can read what happened , looking through his eyes, at Lake Keepit on the first couple of days as he had to go back to work [as an airline pilot in PG];
Couldn’t get any more time off work that wouldn’t jeopardise the CC Nats, Squad Week & the WGC next year

Day 1 was won by Bruce, [JS1B/21m.] who thought he was slow during the 3 hour AAT, but he flew 387 km. in 3.23 and gained the 1000 points in open class , whilst runner up Jenny [ ASH 26E] flew 317 in 2.53. 7 Pilots in this class.
In 18 m. class , with 7 participants , it was David Jansen who won the 3 hour AAT in his ASG 29 E, with 342 km. in 2.39.
In 15 m. class an AAT from 2.30 and local pilot Jacques Graells won in the LS 6A.
In club Allan Barnes [LS1f] was the best flying 270 km. during an AAT of 2.30, flying 270 km. in 2.30 on the dot! In this class 12 pilots. Adam was 2d in his Cirrus 75.
In the 2-seater class 2.30 AAT won by Derek Ruddock in the DG 1000, 285 km in 2.48.
Day 2 was “scrubbed” due to the weather.
Day 3, bigger tasks but not for everybody easy.

Lake keepit day 2 by Adam
With Adams message:
Much better day today, 250-340km set. They’re playing it easy here today, because the weather looks BIIIG for Thurs – 750km big, not sure .”

Bruce one of the task setters on day 3, wrote:
Today was forecast to start slowly, and end early. Indeed it did start slowly, but the early finish was not the problem. We set a task north to Bingara, then NW to Moree, which on a good day can be a wonderful flight. The slow start meant a careful glide into the hills, while things warmed up and strengthened. The real problem was out to the NW, as it was completely blue there and the wind seemed …much stronger. Most of the big wings came home with some hard work, but the smaller classes and clubbies had a real struggle, and there were about a dozen out landings. That means I will have to endure some jeering in briefing tomorrow. That’s OK, the weather tomorrow looks to be very much better, so I will simply send them far, far away where the grizzles can’t be heard! I think David Jansen had a good flight today. I was slightly slow on the home leg.”

Bruce won the day [ 362 km] and I felt sorry for Jenny who was 2d the day before and now just outlanded a bit over 30 km. from the goal.
In Club 256 km and Alan and Adam were the best. Adam went after, for a retrieve arrived back home at 2.40 AM without the glider;
Couldn’t find it, or the access gate in the paddock during the night.”
In 18m. David won the day with 128 km./h. and runner up was Tom [Claffey] with 114 km./h. over 372 km.
In 15 m. nobody finished but the best performance was 197 km. from the set 308k.
Good old Harry [Medlicott] won the day in the ARCUS slow but steady with 79 km./h. over 254 km.

Day 4; today nearly 500 km in open class and won for the 3d time in a row by Bruce
In 18 m. also nearly 500 k. this day won by Tom and David “lost” only 10 points. After 3 days he is on top in the overall scores, with more than 200 points.
In club Allan is “the mini-Bruce” ,[ as in glider he has an LS 1-f]  also 3 wins in a row and more than 600 points ahead on the rest!

All scores you can find on;, pretty interesting look at the club class today!!!

Hope to see a lot of friends on Friday at the Conference from the ZES , but I am still not sure if I can go there, due to personal reasons .
En passant I heard that dad Bert Schmelzer sr. gets concurrence from son Bert, as in writing books.
Bert sr. wrote a fantastic book about the history of gliding in Flanders , published in December 2009 and now in December , there will be a new book from Bert jr ;

“One year of gliding “

…. never stop exploring….

with the best 348 pictures from the more than 30.000 , with commentaries,  as we are used from him,  to combine it all. Looking forward to see the book, with 288 pages and  articles from Arndt Hovestadt and Daniel Rossier AND an interview with Tilo {Holighaus} with
” his vision on the future of gliding and the process of building high-tech gliders .”
As Bert said: “I really enjoyed making “One year of gliding” and, honestly, I am a little proud of the end result. I hope you like it!”

Bertje S genietenboven de Sahara
Bert jr. here enjoying a flight over the SAHARA.

You find  a preview, all the news and how to order the book [ from November 17 onwards ] on ;

By the way Bert jr’s FAI 1000 km flight “from Zurich to Vienna ” and back  this year  in the DISCUS 2B on May 18, is just recognised by the FAI . In that flight he set en passant, 3 new European records in 15 m. class. Busy as he is at the moment, he still found time to explain all of us a bit more, which is VERY MUCH appreciated.
You can read this in my Sunday Soaring café blog , but here is already a small part. This flight will be also described in the new book.
I prepared myself for this specific flight on May 18 for 3 years! I had to learn to judge the meteo-situations, analysed IGC files for days and nights to get to know for me known , but even more un-known areas to fly over in all kinds of weather, optimise de waypoint and task database and,…I had to fly as much as possible, in all kind of weather situations  .”

Bert jr
Above the Dachstein Area.
1 of the pictures from this 1000 km. flight.

On top of that Bert has a busy job as architect in Zürich, but you will hear later, that just moving to Switzerland from Belgium had a great influence on his soaring ambitions and achievements.

Yesterday was a good day in my old area around Tocumwal. Luckily the Corowa gliders arrived and they have started their season too.
Jos from Holland has 3 flights now in his ASH 31/21 m. from Corowa  one over 500 and 2 over 700 km., so a great start of the season. Pepe enjoyed even an over 800 km. flight.
From Tocumwal Terry Ryan , a real kilometre -eater flew in his ASH 26 757 km [ 741 FAI triangle] and Ingo in his Discus 683 [ 623 FAI km.]

I liked the next story, what about you? It’s all about Human Factors!

Hope to see a few of you for a few hours in Eindhoven , if not I will be back on Sunday both in my European blog  and “in the soaringcafe”

Cheers Ritz
On Wednesday November 20 2013, nearly winter time, we have 5 dgr. now and MAYBE the first snow tonight.

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