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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

January 26, 2014

” We actually broke a record for aircraft with engines,… with the engine off!” Alexis.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:16 pm

to my Aussie friends.

Some ” HIGH”  news from my Greek friends . This week, on January 21 they broke an altitude-world record in a VERY SPECIAL way from Kopaida in Greece in the Pipistrel Sinus;

” Two days ago we made an interesting flight and we actually broke (paperwork and ratification pending) the 7.143 m. FAI RAL2T (2-seater microlight with thermal engine) world record.
The interesting (and gliding related) part is that we did it with the engine off for the last and critical part of the climb flying in mountain wave!
So, we actually broke a record for aircraft with engines with the engine off!

Welldone guy’s!And ….THANKS.

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Courtesy 4 pictures; Alexis and Petros.

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With the WGC in Rayskala this year , I am pleased to see several pictures from their glorious past on FB. Great PR tools!
Love the pictures from Kai ,as you all know!  Here is the one from Rayskala [ sorry still don’t know where the umlaut is] from above. Lakes, trees AND the field and an old one from the restaurant at the field.It brings back fond memories.

 Rayskala from above by Kai.  Kai restaurant

courtesy Kai Monkonen.

 Not only for the juniors but also for ALL interested here is some news from the Aussie juniors.
And with the 2015 JWGC in Narromine,  ” around the corner” , please have a look and co-operate, I did too;

” The Australian Junior Gliding Club has decided to vastly improve our online presence. We wish to create an online source of information on all aspects of gliding, targeted at juniors (i.e. under 26 years old) but also relevant to the general population.

This short survey was created to discover what information the greater community thought should be displayed and where it should be displayed.

If you could fill it out and pass this link on to anyone you think would be interested (not just pilots), that’d be great!


They continued there chase on records, from Douglas Backhouse, the Dutch pilot Max and his mate Edo. When a 750 after 2 hours of flying, was impossible  due to thunderstorms, they declared and flew in the Nimbus 4 DM another new Dutch record this time over 100 km. O&R  with 182 km./h.The finish was a bit special as in retrospect the thunderstorm was pretty close , Max mentioned. Here is another great picture , shared by Max.
By the way they set  7 new Dutch records in open class, a great ” harvest”. Yesterday they  flew 821 km. Edo is ready to go home, Max is ready to pack his belongings among them his precious NIMBUS 4DM.

 Max bui  Z happy Edo

A shower close by and a smiling,soaring,ready-to-go- home Edo.
Thanks for the great pictures guy’s!



Tocumwal  topped with a flight from Stephan  in the LS 4 over 505 km. the world-wide OLC list on January 23. After the heat they had a cool change and the cycle has to built up again.
It shows what a determined pilot Stephan is , already for years,he really loves long distance soaring in the glider[KYO]  he has in Tocumwal already for years and years.
It also shows  that there are less good days now world wide  and shorter and that a lot of over-seas pilots are back home!




Old friends visiting Tocumwal as Pepe and his Brasilian mate Eduardo Pontes. Ingo and Eduardo  had not seen each other for 28 years.
And active as always Dundee hooking on gliders.
Pictures shared by the SRGC and more pictures on their FB site.

Only 38 flights were added on that January 23, mostly from Australia, but also a few from Europe.
The mountains are active as Gerard Lherm showed with his flight in the Nimbus 4D,  from St Martin de Londres in France; 602 km. .
Yesterday he flew in the 15 m. Ventus B 708 km.
Also a flight from La Cerdanya in the Spanish mountains in the Duo Discus with 200 km. shows European activities mostly in wave.
And the first flight in the new ARCUS T over Vinon by Erik Borgmann was special too; 252 km but tough wind at altitude; 160 km./h.
308 km. from Calcinate in Italy in the ARCUS M from Aldo Cernezzi flying with Luca De Marchi shows activities there as well. They even had lift up to 4 m./s. Not bad!
And specially to achieve your height-gain as first 3000 and 5000 Aosta is active.

Bitterwasser has packed it’s containers on the 23d and for them the season is over! The containers leave tomorrow for their trip home to Germany.
They had a fabulous season with very strong weather but with that also some very strong thunderstorms  and even worse …phenomena as micro bursts . Luckily all went well for all pilots, not for all gliders, as you really have to be inside in time, with that kind of weather!
They are very open on their site about this and I appreciate that as former owner of a soaring-business as only then pilots can learn from it.
With 134 guests adding their flights on the OLC , they made 913 flights and an amazing amount of kilometers;
710.940, 28. This is 162.621  km. more as last year, when they had 103 guests. So they still grow in numbers! Good on them!!!

South Africa;
Gariep Dam is still active and flights were up to over 800 km. from there in the 25.5 m span Nimbus 3 T from Klaus Engelhardt.
UK pilots always love New Tempe Bloemfontein as their overseas destination and they are still flying at the moment, though they struggle with showers.
Kuruman had still 1000 km. flights yesterday , lovely to see how much Hans and his family and friends love the new ARCUS M. Pilots also enjoy nice flights from Worcester and Potchefsroom.
It’s weekend so a bit more busy.

To finish some more pictures from the fires close to Bacchus March in Victoria Australia last week, as shared by Joergen.


DSCN0461  DSCN0462

Fires on January 17.
Courtesy Brigitte/Joergen in their ARCUS.

That’s it! Cu next Wednesday!More news in Sunday’s SOARING CAFE.
Cheers Ritz
on Sunday January 25 2014

January 22, 2014

” He very much improved on the record I had held for 14 years and Ingo the previous 20 years”! Harry says.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:52 pm

It’s the week of the long distances!
Looking back at the 1.300 km. race , I received the next message:
“Chris Woolley’s amazing 1250 Km flight from Kingaroy to Tocumwal via Dirranbandi on Friday 17/1/14 has resulted in a 1250 Km badge claim, 1 Continental Record claim, and several Australian National Record claims in 18m and Open Class.


Chris in Tocumwal in front of Eddies  hangar.
Courtesy picture;

AND,…a very nice comment from Harry Medlicott  one of  Australia’s  grand old men in soaring via Jo.
”  Hi All,

My heartiest congratulations to Chris Woolley for his magnificent flight from Kingaroy to Tocumwal. He very much improved on the record I had held for 14 years and Ingo Renner who had held it for about the previous 20 years.

Records are made to be broken and it is very pleasing to see mine broken by Chris, who all regard as not only a good pilot but a very decent person

Harry Medlicott

Harry must be “far”  in his 70thiest now but still flies, nowadays in his ARCUS M , with his lovely wife Wendy.
Not bad either as he flew recently, a new Aussie 2-seater speed record from 140.67 km./h over 300 km.  in Corowa on January 16 !!!
Good on them and I can assure you they belong to the nicest couples in Australian Soaring!

Talking about Ingo….Not so long ago I told you about the  president of the Riverina Gliding Club in Tocumwal.He and his mates  are all from former Yugoslavia.
Look at how they “use”  PR tools.
Sunday 19/1/2014 they wrote;

” SRGC was visited by Montenegrian National TV presenter Mrs Dragana Mrkic. She had wonderful flight with our CFI Ingo Renner.”

Z Ingo

Still very active ” our ”  Ingo!
Picture shared by the club.

Talking about 1.300 km. It nearly happened again this time a TRIANGLE and just not 1.300 but 1.256 [FAI triangle 1.207 km] by John Coutts from Douglas Backhound. Speed 138 km./h.
Another record for the Dutch boys Max now  flying  with Edo also from Douglas in Max Nimbus 4DM;
” Declared 1000km Out & Return @ 145 kmh. New Dutch Open Class Record!”
They extended the flight to 1.252 km.
It’s the week of the OVER 1.200 km. flights!

Z 1000 record

Great picture shared by Max during the 1000 km. O&R.

Yesterday they did not fly! Reason???
Have a look at the shared picture by Max.
The shower started out of the blue within 1 hour Max mentioned. Great picture!

Z edo

Edo in front of the Nimbus 4DM and ” A CLOUD”!!!!

Brigitte and Joergen from Denmark enjoy good soaring from Stonefield but had a bad experience with the fires as well, which luckily turned out not too bad. You are on a nice, joyful soaring holiday and then fires come close and scare the hell out of you.
I know that feeling so good from when the Tocumwal airport was nearly hit by the fires and we feared for the old WW2 hangar with lot’s of gliders in it and no time to get them out, only the glider from Bruce Brockhoff who worked like hell , sweat on the face, it was about 45 dgr. and when he was ready to leave he could go nowhere as the streets around the hangar were surrounded by fire.
Then the wind turned and only the east side of the airfield was damaged. Tragic enough anyhow, as lot’s of animals got killed. Those fires close by are HORRIBLE!!!!

Here is the story from Joergen about their soaring holiday and I share it with their permission:

” Birgitte and I are enjoying the Australian summer and our nice new Arcus.

We have set a couple of new Danish records, dual seater 20 m. A 100 FAI speed triangle with a speed of 177,7 km/h, and a 300 FAI triangle with a speed of 145 km/h.
The 100 task speed also surpass the open class record.

The evening January 17, we got a message from the emergency unit, that the house position at Konrads address was in danger of wild fire during the night, so we should prepare evacuation. Our Australian neighbors packed and escaped.
We packed our car with our belongings, and watched the development. 
Luckily the wind did not turn to the south, so at 1 am we could go to rest, as the fire also started dying. Sadly a few homes were lost.

During the day we flew a short flight of 400  as a gust storm was predicted in the afternoon. We flew from one bush fire to the other, I have attached a few pictures from Renmark and further south of “Pyro cumulus” from the fires.

Z fires 2  Z fires 3

Z fire 5  Z fires


After Stonefield they travel to Tocumwal to finish their Aussie holiday.


A good day for Kuruman yesterday where some of my friends spend their overseas time . A few 1000 km. tasks were flown.

To finish the blog some memories on that great EGC in Finland from Rayskala in 2005, where on day 1 a 1000 km. task was set by CD Silva, and……was flown by more than half the open class pilots.

On the picture Silva is in the middle [ with Katja behind him] and to his right is one person, Jorma, who ‘ s finger is out of line; that was the “boss’  at that time from Rayskala and as far as I remember the deputy CD then. To the right the president of the jury Peter and to the left the chief steward Dick and I was to the right of him as steward.

Maybe you don’t believe it ,….the the other picture is a glider on tow. Some pilots [I remember from the UK] straight away pulled up the wheel. Some , I was one of them, found that risky.
Great pictures from one of my favorite photographers Kai and placed in Rayskala -EFRY.


 Kai2  Kai 1


 With the Aussie hat tuggy Kari and behind him [l] Visa Matti.
And,…no not a wheels-up- landing from a glider, but a launch.
By clicking on the picture it will be enlarged.

That’s it , great to see Stephan back in Toc. as well as Jochen!

Cheers Ritz
On Wednesday January 22 2014

January 19, 2014

Hot, hotter, hottest!1.250 km goal-flight, extended to 1.300 from Kingaroy to Tocumwal!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 8:37 pm

Up to 47 dgr. in Australia!!!! Fainting tennis players and helpers/ ball boys/girls in Melbourne a the tennis court,huge  fires in the Perth area, NOT good and sad to hear again 1 person was killed in those terrible fires.
I hated them when I lived in Tocumwal ;we had a few bad ones too.
But the change arrived on Friday!
On the other hand great flights in other hot areas nearly ALL over Australia !!!

Sorry have to mention Tocumwal again as Adam’s dad choose to fly there A DECLARED 1.250 k.from Kingaroy to Tocumwal,   a goal-flight and he made it! Finally he can see where his son in the past flew as a tuggy for Sportavia, only for a short time though, to make hours, as he was invited to come and fly up North and for him of course that was more important then, as he was trying to find a job.

Such a flight  in the Ventus 2 CM, that’s all the way from the East coast North of  Brisbane,  to about 280 km. north of Melbourne in the South.
As Adam said: ” It was, 1250km downwind dash via one TP. He over flew Tocumwal at 6000′ & continued on to Victoria, before turning around for Tocumwal!”  A great total of  1.299,52,…I call that 1.300 km!!!!!
13 minutes before last light he landed and flew the race , with a speed of 120 km./h.!

Adam's dad

Adam helps you with this picture of the bearings.

More from a PROUD son over his dad!
Congratulations Dad, what an achievement!

Dad now has every badge from ‘A certificate’ to ‘1250km’, surely a first for
a platinum badge!?

Got no idea, but would Dad be the first Australian national pilot to
complete a declared 1250km flight in Australia?

Also good weather in Tocumwal and hot with 46.5 dgr. at 5 on Thursday…. 2 more 1000 km flights on Thursday and Friday from Terry in the ASH 26, the second one an FAI 1000 km.triangle! Far to the West and North, past Hillston and back home, good on him.
And on the Sportaviation site good news for their Japanese guests;
” Congratulations to Hiroshi,  who completed his Gold Distance and Diamond Goal  with a 300 km flight and Nobu  who completed his Gold height -Fantastic effort!!



The Grong Grong Boys , such lovely men!
Courtesy Sportaviation website, where you find more pictures.

And Bob [Nicholls from the UK] flew another 1.100 from Benalla.
From Gawler Matthew set a declared 1. 250 as well, but over 3 TP’s,  hoping to use the cold air coming in with the ” change”   but, …the chance was too late. No worries he still flew over 1.000 km.
From Corowa I was pleased to see Chris[ and Linda from Monaco] flying there again as always during this time of the year and he flew 935 km. in the ASH 31/21m.
Lovely to see good old Roger in Corowa flying his ARCUS M with a Brasilian mate. He started too late otherwise a 1000 would have been possible he mentioned.
Still only ONE 1000 km. from Corowa this season , which I find a bit of a pity , as they have the same good weather and much better gliders as most pilots fly their own gliders there or rent GOOD/COMPETITIVE  ones!!
BUT,…there can be just 1 day and 10 or more pilots fly one.No worries ,..yet!
From Narromine another 1000 today by Czech guest Jan in the Ventus 2 CM.


Soaring day 6 from the  WA State Comps at Beverley was according to John ” a tuggies delight” .
” Westerly breeze strengthened during the day deteriorating soaring conditions. I pulled four retrieves out of paddocks in one hour ten minutes flight time in PA25 BMF.”
Pilots had a 2.30 AAT and conditions were tough with indeed a lot of outlandings.
Greg Beecroft won the day and Greg just put in a claim for two records set on 14/12/13 with a 1011.7 Km FAI Triangle at 120.74 Kph in his LS8/15m.

Standard class Australian National Records:
Speed Triangular 1000Km G.Beecroft 14/12/2013 LS8/15m 120.74 kph

15m class Australian National Records:
Speed Triangular 1000Km G.Beecroft 14/12/2013 LS8/15m 120.74 kph

After 6 days Greg just beat Norm in the overall scores with 6 points!!! You see State Comps can be fun and full of  excitement as well.
BUT…it was not over yet,……Day 7 and 8 had under 3 hour AAT’s and both days were a prey for Greg, so no secret who won the State Comps at Beverley; Greg [ 7241] , who really has a fantastic season, with Norm as a good runner up![7042]
A great 3d place for Daryl Mc Kay in a St Cirrus.
As John mentioned in his last comment:
WA State Comps done and dusted! Hot Cross Bun won again with Captain Bloch in 2nd place. I did 20 hours and 104 launches in PA25 BMF, I don’t want to see the inside of a Pawnee for a while thanks!


The Victorian State Comps are flown from Bacchus March and one of my mates TT, Tony Tabart, flies in the 2 seater class in his Ventus 2 CM. Strange !!!!????

But,…. Before I could check WHY he was in 20 m. class I got the next message;
” very very very hot!  Open class is classified 2 seater because there is a 2 seater competing.” So not too difficult!
5 Pilots in this class ;TT, flying his Ventus, then a Nimbus 2, a JS1 and a 15 m. Ventus b and,…a TWIN ASTIR!

Day 1 was cancelled . On Tuesday they had a 2 hour AAT and on Wednesday a 3.30 AAT, but TT was the best for the day and flew ” only” 190 km.It looks like the day was over-set!
Also problems with  JS 1  pilot Peter who missed Friday due to instrument problems and Tony had a problem with the undercarriage [collapsed at launch] . He still tried to fly the task, after repairs but, it was too late the weather- change had arrived.So all a bit difficult but nothing really important is at stake , just a nice state competition. On top of that they suffer from lot’s of smoke as well.
On the last day they set a task but it was COOL, after the terrible heat the cold change was welcome, but it was n’t good for the comps.The day was cancelled , so TT won over 4 days the double class!


9 Days during the 60 thiest NATIONALS [standard class]  in Argentina and here it was Lucas Goldenzweig , flying the standard Jantar, who was presented with the trophy.Lucas won 3 days and was on 4 days in the daily top 5.
Cristian Franzini was overall the best during the first 6 days but against the end of the comps he lost some 100 points a day and on day 8 even 250 and that costs. He finished on spot 6 in his LS 4.
For all scores you can go to

Bitterwasser added more perfect flights even for them a bit late in the season. My Lasham friends have the time of their life . Roy flew another 1000 km in the 20 m Antares, Patrick as well but in the Ventus 2CM and Andy flew in the EB 28 already 4.
For Roy it was his furthest flight EVER; a declared 1.024 k ., extended to 1.112 km!!!
Can’t count anymore how many 1000 k’s Reinhard {Schramme} flew!But atleast it is clear in one look that he , after the ” wave -flyers” Jim and Jean Marc tops the OLC CHAMPION list at this stage.


Last but not least the reparation/repair of a DISCUS B by Maddock Composites, as you know the family Maddocks is a real soaring family and I met them at several junior comps on all levels, where Nick and Andrew were flying, everywhere in the world. Here is what they do in pictures as shared by them.

Benalla night 010  Z Maddock1

Nick and Andrew , when I met them at Benalla and the freshly painted cockpit controls from the Discus B.

Zmaddock2  Z maddock 3

Final undercoat on fuse and following the inner skin cracks.

Z maddock 6  Z maddock 7

foam and outer skin removed and ready for inner skin repair and inner skin and foam molded and ready for repair



Talking about weather and the heatwave in Australia, we here in Holland have a difference 0f 26 dgr. looking back at last year same period!! Bizarre! It’s warm now , cold then!

Cheers Ritz, off to be host of 2 guests for a few weeks and my grand kids are here as well since Friday.
on Sunday January 19 2014

January 15, 2014

44 dgr. ….only fun when you are HIGH up!Recent record- and world record-claims! 23 records for Lisa!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 5:55 pm

The Andes OPEN 2014 , organised by the Club de  Planeadores de Vita Curas, started on January 6 in Santiago in  Chile, with 14 competitors among them toppers as Rene Vidal and Carlos Rocca Vidal,   but also overseas guests as Thomas Gostner from Italy , Juergen Wenzel from Germany and Phil Sturley from the UK.

With 7 out of 8 days the team mentioned on the last day:
” Well, our championship is almost done. With smoky days, massive Los Andes outlanding due to the closing of Vitacura and a “Los Andes Task” this has been a different championship. What has remained the same is the friendship among pilots specially with our visitors. Also the marvellous sightseeing during races over Los Andes mountains. And needless to say… the 140+ speeds… we love high speeds..”
Speed up to 148 km. for daily winner Carlos in a competition , this time on a set task of 374.5 km. , is good!
In the end the winner was; Carlos who won 5 days , the other days were a prey for Rene,  who was the runner up. Thomas was on spot 3 and Juergen on spot 4, all flying a Ventus in different configurations,  whilst Phil finished at spot 9. [ASH 26E]


More friends have arrived in Tocumwal and Ken from Japan is one of them.  I love his vintage gliders and I share one picture of one of them; The Olympia Meise. It will be 40 plus this week, so maybe great flights or too stable to have them, that’s always possible too.
” Poor”  tennis players at Melbournes tennis courts, they struggle with the heat as well.


Great picture from both the Olympia and Ken.
Courtesy Dieter.


It was not only HOT in the B [enalla]-C[orowa] -T[ocumwal] – area but also a bit up NW; Gawler had 44 dgr. C. and with that some good flights were set/declared by 3 pilots.
The ingredients for the day;  a trough , but also thunderstorms…..  and as Peter Temple said in his comment on the OLC, when he had to finish his 1000, in bad weather ” Final glide from 14500 feet helped.”
Peter had to abandon his declared task, but still flew a GOOD 1000, far up north over scrub and back.
As I heard they had had a big storm with lightning and fires and they had trouble flying around it.
The other 2 pilots abandoned their declared task as well.


3 Successive over 1.100 km. flights in Bitterwasser, for Wilfried and Luc  [ASDH 25EB 28] and 2 x 1000, in a row for Antti and young Nikke in the ARCUS. Great to see how very experienced pilots take younger pilots under their wings to share knowledge and happiness in soaring.
It’s mid January, which means the air can be already more humid and rain/thunderstorms can pop up as quickly as good cu’ s.
But whatever happens Bitterwasser had a great season , a pity for some who just arrived on less good days but that’s soaring too as we all know!

Bitterwasser by Antti  Bitterwasser by Antii 2

2 Successive 1000 km flights as shared by Antti.


The 60 thiest Nationals in Argentina are on in standard class with 36 participants among them Damian and Lucas Goldenzweig, Gustavo Saurin and Fernando Repicky. They started on January 6 continuing till January 17.
Day 1 and 2 had 3 hour AAT’s , day 3 a set task from 282.8 km.and day 4 a set task from 194 km. which was won by Damian with a speed of 115.9 km./h. and Lucas was on spot 2. [ 113.8 km./h.]
Till then each day had another winner!
Also day 5 had another winner ;Lucas and Damian were in the top 5 as well.
After 5 days the  first 10 were all between 4082 and 4397 points overall.


Beverley ; WA State comps
I left you with day 3 news from Beverley,a day Norm [Bloch] won and lead the pack after those 3 days .Day 4 and 5 were good ones with a 3 hour AAT .
Also in Beverley 45 dgr. C.
Interesting day’s  as well as I could read :
” Very convective day! Challenging final glide. Had to detour around lightening and hit 24 knts of downdraft.” [Paul Oakly]
After 5 days it will be all between 2 LS 8 pilot, s Norm and Greg Beecroft with a difference of  67 points as the rest is already more than 500 points behind!


FAIL, was the word Max and Marc used last week when trying a 900 km. O&R in the Nimbus 4DM. But last Sunday [ January 12] they added a new  Dutch open class record over the 900 km. to their list;144.20 km.h
They flew over lot’s of unlandable areas over 450 km. out of Douglas to the TP which was  Kgalagadi Tansfrontier Park and back, had some showers but with them they could increase the speed even more and to finish the day in style they added ” a few kilometers” ;1.100 km and…. back just before sunset so a full day of joy . Happy chappies no doubt about that, they really have fun together chasing records!!!! They flew yesterday a record  over a 700 km. O&R with 148 km./h.and on the 11th of January over a 300 km. O&R with 160 km./h.
Congratulations!Here some pictures from Marc during the  900 km.record-flight.

Douglas by Marc 1  Douglas by Marc 2

Douglas by Marc 3  Douglas by Marc 4

Great pictures from a great flight as shared by Marc.


When I wrote about records last Sunday in my SoaringCafe blog, I forgot to give you the link to the most recent claims.
WORLD record is extra special and that happened on the last day of 2013 in Bitterwasser by Susanne Schoedel; a speed record in the feminine class over a free triangle [ 132.49 km.h. ] and world records over free triangle distance [1.110 km.] and triangle distance [1.107 km] !
Recent record claims are now on the GFA site and the 1000 Lisa flew in Tocumwal on December 20, was VERY, special too and flown , as she said, on not even the best day!Record as in  Oceanian, world,  feminine and general categories!! 23!!!!

Of course the GFA was more than pleased;
‘”GFA congratulates Lisa Trotter on achieving 23 Australian General and Feminine Records from her flight on 20/12/2013.
Claims have been submitted to FAI for 1 World Record and 7 Continental Records.” 
Here is the full list as received via Jo and it must have been a hell of a job for Lisa and the official, all that paperwork;

Standard Class Australian National Records (4 records)

Free Three Turn Point Distance                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,036.01 km

Free Triangle Distance                                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,027.66 km

Three turn point distance                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Triangle Distance                                            L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km


Australian Feminine Records

Standard Class  (5 records)

Free Three Turn Point Distance                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,036.01 km

Free Triangle Distance                                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,027.66 km

Three turn point distance                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Triangle Distance                                            L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Speed Triangular 1000KM                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               102.73 kph


Australian Feminine Records

15m Class  (5 records)

Free Three Turn Point Distance                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,036.01 km

Free Triangle Distance                                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,027.66 km

Three turn point distance                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Triangle Distance                                            L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Speed Triangular 1000KM                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               102.73 kph


Australian Feminine Records

18m Class (5 records)

Free Three Turn Point Distance                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,036.01 km

Free Triangle Distance                                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,027.66 km

Three turn point distance                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Triangle Distance                                            L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Speed Triangular 1000KM                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               102.73 kph


Australian Feminine Records

Open Class  (4 records)

Free Triangle Distance                                   L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,027.66 km

Three turn point distance                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Triangle Distance                                            L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               1,026.78 km

Speed Triangular 1000KM                             L Trotter              20-12-2013                        LS8/15m               102.73 kph
As you surely remember both Lisa and Susanne flew the WGC in Uvalde in 2012.
Got a link to a local Australian paper  [Gympie Times] about the Tocumwal flight from Lisa as well:

 Another experience not to be forgotten is the world record glider flight of 1027km by local pilot Lisa Trotter.The historic ten hour flight in December 2013 saw Mrs Trotter break a total of 31 world, national and continental records.

Introduced to the sport at a young age, the record setting pilot has conquered some of gilding’s toughest achievements.

“My father was an airline pilot and took me on a week long gliding holiday when I was growing up,” Mrs Trotter said.

“Funnily enough he wasn’t very interested in gliding after that week but I was hooked.”

“I had wanted to attempt the triangular distance record for some time and it was an incredible feeling of achievement when I knew I had completed it.

“I had done quite a bit of preparation so it was great to know all the hard work had paid off.”

And not to forget Anja [Kohlrausch]  who flew a few  as well from Bitterwasser.
And what about Jan Ritsma from Holland flying on January 3 192.7 km./h/ over 100 km. in the general class. He flew the record from Gariep Dam in a Ventus 2CT.[Category; D 15 …15 m. gliders]

Have a look at the great list of recent claims  at

And to finish the story about Waikirie from CHAMPION Matthew Scutter as read in his blog and maybe you can help him to find a good glider for Leszno.

Matthew as shared by proud dad Michael,
with his third national championship trophy this season!

It’s been a great two week’s flying from Waikerie in the Club and Sports Class Nationals against some stiff competition and covering the whole weather spectrum.
We started off grovelling in the blue building up to a pair of 12,000ft cu days and finished on a very blue, very low day!
My key focus for this competition was minimizing competitive risk, trying to identify situations where it’s ok to take ‘big picture’ risks (starting early/late, breaking away from gaggles, choosing different tracks), and also judging when it’s safer to fall back and bleed a few points in order to stay out of trouble.
This is my last competition of the season so I’m now turning my full attention to WGC2014 in Leszno!
I am still evaluating my options with regards to gliders – if you know someone in Europe who has a Ventus 2(a,b,x), ASG29-15 or ASW27 they might consider lending out, please write to me!

The photo is riding the gust front off the storms down the guts of the trough on Day 6.”

Waikirie storm Matthew

As shared by Matthew.

Cheers Ritz, off to the Hague for the day.
On January 15 2014

January 12, 2014

Champions! 667.5 km. with 158.8 km./h. in Waikirie by BB.First 1000 k!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:54 pm

Champions, YES we have them!!!. First of all of course from the Multi Class Nationals in  New Zealand .

”  the final day is over! 3 outlandings and some landbacks but all pilots home. Final presentation has been completed – a great competition had by all. “

Here the final results and CHAMPIONS in each of the 5 classes.

Mixed class;

1. Steve Wallace Aviation Sports Club 5310
2. Tony van Dyk Gliding Hutt Valley 4958
3. Nigel McPhee Auckland Gliding Club 4638

15 m. class;

1. Steve Wallace Aviation Sports Club 4979
2. Tony van Dyk Gliding Hutt Valley 4714
3. Nigel McPhee Auckland Gliding Club 4476

18 m. class;

1. Brett Hunter Tauranga Gliding Club 4964
2. Terry & Co Taupo Gliding Club 4778
3. Gray / Dennison Piako Gliding Club 4747

and open class;

1.Brett Hunter    Tauranga Gliding Club      53772.
2. Trevor Terry  Taupo Gliding Club            45223.
3. Bob Gray           Piako Gliding Club               4473


The 33d Nationals in Club and Sports class in Waikirie got their 5th , 6th , 7th and 8th day and I mentioned already the expectation for GOOD weather.

Day 5;
In the mixed class ,a 3.30 AAT and Matthew flew 444 km, but “used”  4 hours,  half an hour too much,  Butch  flew 433 in 3.37, whilst Peter Temple flew 429 in the ASG 29 [15 m.version] in time 3.41.
In club class the 4 hours were spend well by Don Woodward in the 15 m. ASW20 flying 389 km. in 3 hour 58.
The LS 4 from Tobias and the LS 3 from Terry , both WGC pilots in the past and maybe future, followed.

Day 6
, as the mixed class got a 4.30 AAT and yes the well known kilometer eaters did their best; Matthew won the day with 640,5 km. with 142 km./h. whilst Allan and Graig from Mount Beauty followed with 611 km. with 135.8 km./h.!!!
After day 6 Matthew topped the overall list for the first time during this competition, but only with 80 points over Allan, who occupied the top spot for 4 days.

In club class Tobias Geiger [LS 4]  was on the top-overall-spot for 5 days, only missed out on day 1 when he was 2d. On day 6 he was 2d behind good old Terry in his LS 3, who added 1000 points to his total , making him runner up. Terry flew 494.2 km. with a speed of 123 km./h.Not bad for the old LS 3, but both pilot and glider know their way between Gawler and Waikirie.

Waikirie by Robert tugs
  Waikirie by Roberttuggies

Tugs and tuggies ready for the last couple of days.
Courtesy Robert Smits.

Day 7,
had another 4 hour AAT ,in both classes,…. yes the weather turned really good as predicted and….
in case there would be thunderstorms during the finish time, the organizers changed  the local rules for the day, to make the finish circle 10km .
In Sports class BB, John ” Butch”  Buchanan flew 667.5 km. with a speed of 158.8 km./h. in his 18 m. ASG 29. BUT,…he was not the winner of the day.Matthew got the 1000 points in his Discus 2 flying 631 km with a speed of 155.2 km./h. FAST DAY!!!!
” Matt left a bit later to try to maximize the effects of the convergences over the hills.”
In club class Adam, in the standard cirrus,  finally got what he hoped for ; 1000 points!!!He flew in 4.02,36 a distance of  521 km.[ speed 129 km./h.]

Interesting to see that Brian DuRieu was in the overall scores every day [except for day 1 when he was on spot 7 ] , on spot 6, very consistent flying in his LS 10.

Day 8 ;
All gone for the last time into a milky blue sky. HDL [ Tobias] currently leading the class was one of the last to launch. VN is not re-launching.
The last gate will open around 15.15.
The organizing team here have done a fantastic job with good humour and endless patience.
The task setting has been achieved in very difficult weather conditions with gust fronts, troughs and sea breezes to contend with.” as published  on  the GFA FB site.

So after a couple of fantastic days back to less good circumstances on the LAST day.
What would it bring?
First of all a C task for both classes; 300 for Sports and 250 for Club, later changed in a D task for club pilots [2 hour AAT]  in mostly blue conditions and a steady 15 kt.wind , so they all stayed more or less together, which , you would expect, should not change the results very much.
But,… Peter Temple just missed out on 5 km. to finish, missing out on 200 points on local ” hero” Craig Vinall who won the day in sports class.
6 From 16 finished on this last day.

In club no worries for Tobias , no stress either as he won the day. But for a few others ” something”  did not work on this last days , so indeed changes in the top, as p.e Adam lost nearly 170 points on Tobias and Terry 139 points.

The final results in the mixed class ;
1. Matthew Scutter in the Discus 2 with 6642 points and the new 2014 Aussie  champion.
2. Allan Barnes in the 15m. LS 8 with 6461 points
3. John Buchanan in the ASG 29/18 m.with 6276 points
4. Peter Temple in the 15m LS 8 with 6237 points
5. Brian Du Rieu who moved from 6 to 5 in his LS 10 with 5666 points.

The final results in club class;
1. Tobias Geiger in his LS 4 with 6813 points and the  new 2014 Aussie Champion
2. Terry Cubley in LS 3 with 6598 points
3. Don Woodward in the 15m. ASW 20 with 6294 points
4. Stephen O ‘Donnell in the LS 3 with 6103 points
5. Eric Stauss in the St Cirrus with 6072 points
6. Adam Woolley in the St Cirrus, the oldest glider on the grid, with 6013 points.
Swaantje was on spot 12.
Next year the National multi -class- Nationals will be flown in January in Waikirie as well .

Adam on his way home.

After the comps it’s a long drive home, but as you see you meet friends on the road.
Courtesy Adam.

Bitterwasser; One of the Dutch pilots Luc Stalman, flies in Bitterwasser and flew 3 x1000 km. flights with Wilfried Grosskinsky in the ASH 25 EB 28.And yes,….???
The interesting point was that Wilfriend mentioned on January 8 ,that  never a 1000 was  flown  on such a COLD day in Namibia!
The trigger temperature was 21 and the max for the day 28!
CU’s  started already at 10.45, and good-working clouds.According to the boys it was an interesting day with a strong N Westerly and cloud streets till the border of SA. In the evening the clouds dried out and the last part had to be flown in ” the blue”.
Yesterday was according to most pilots another ” HAMMERTAG”
Quite a lot of friends are at the moment in Bitterwasser and even on a ” cold”  day , as last Wednesday, they flew between 760 and 900-plus km.
On the Hammerday  Andy with Lasham mate Hugh [EB 28] flew a 1000 and for Hugh,  at age 76 this was his very first!!!!!
There were 2 more FIRST 1000 k’s in Nimbus 4DM and ARCUS m.

Hugh Kindell

Andy and Hugh after the 1000 k
Courtesy Hugh.

Lovely to see that Hans and Ronald topped the OLC list on Thursday flying in the ” family-ARCUS”  over 814 km. from Kuruman.

 FINALLY the weather turned really good again on Friday,  in the Benalla/Corowa/Tocumwal area with clouds popping up early and staying for the day except for some more Northerly TP’s, where it was blue!
With 826 km. [725 FAI triangle] in the ASH 26 Terry Ryan had a good day from Toc., and Michael who flew with us in the past already, is back on the old nest and straight away flew 781 km in his DG 600.
Back on the old nest is also very true for Klaus [Brand] ready for some nice soaring and also for the Danish boys Ib and Ole and their mates, ready for more Danish records.
Not to forget our Japanese mates , THE GRONG GRONG boys as we called them.In the past they tried their first 50 k. to Jerilderie,  300 to  Grong Grong  and 500 k;  Hiro and Takeshi, Hiroshi and Nobu!  We had flowers for them and they shared sake with us.
And as far as I heard Mac will follow soon as well. He already  travelled from Africa [Bitterwasser]  to Australia [Stonefield ,where he flew on Friday in the 22 m. DG 500  767 km.]

The 17 m. Kestrel flew from Benalla,with Charles Day in the cockpit 760 km. [740FAI trainagle] and Corowa , [very nice to see Kees back in Australia,] waited long and I waited with them, but finally had ….their first 1000 km. flight with Hans Juergen Lange ;1.018,54 in the Ventus 2 CM.
Also Saturday was a ” beaut” day with distances in this B-C-T- area up to 870 km. by Bob from Benalla.

Beverley;  ” Day One of the WAGA State Comps went ok, the fleet of 27 launched by the three Beverley Pawnees in just over an hour, 3 relights. Only one outlanding, 73 km out, aeroretrieve straightforward, GPS makes it almost too easy!” as written by John Welsh.
Small milestone – all 3 tugs and tug pilots belong to Beverley Soaring Society at Day 2 WA State Comps. 28 competitors lauched in one hour.”
Day 3 of the WA state comps, reached 42 C on the ground, early finishers reported FL130+, 3hour task, should be some fast times! 46 C forecast for tomorrow.”

Worcester; the Western Cape Regionals were flown there and finished with 3 out of 6 days.
The first soarable day had a set task of 436 km and was finished by 2 from the 11 participating pilots, each gaining just over 500 points.
Day 2 was won by Laurens [Goudriaan] who only had 27 points on day 1 , but could add 399 on this day.
Day 3 was a prey for Gary Whitecross and as he was with Sven Olivier a finisher on day 1 , he won the comps, with Sven as runner up and Laurens on spot 3.

Enough news for today. More in SOARINGCAFE later.

Cheers Ritz
on Sunday January 12 2014.

January 8, 2014

Windy conditions at Nationals in Waikirie! Tough conditions in Matamata.The latest G.I.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:12 pm

The comps in South Australia from Waikirie do have weird weather and not as good as hoped for. It can be really fantastic over there, but now it was more than windy!!!!
They suffer, as I heard from Robert,  from the after- effects from cyclone Christine. Bloody cyclones!!!!


Weather in Waikirie , as seen and shared by Adam.

Just as gliders were finishing on day 3, a front passed by with wind- gusts from 40 to 45 kt./h.only  for a few minutes, then going back to 35 kts. for about half an hour.
Pretty strong certainly for landings and stronger as fore-casted.
For that reason some gliders opted to to land short of the field, but  some low and marginal had to continue their landing which was even more difficult,  as severe wind shear played up as well. Result one PIK 20 damaged, some called it a ” write-off”  and a 29 making a ground loop after a low energy landing.

” The safety officer urged everyone to be open and honest in incident reporting to improve safety in the future.
Can only agree on that!!! When you have read my latest blog in SOARINGCAFE you know why!!

But also, good news as via the GFA site, [ ] specially for those who are not on FB I read;
” Yesterday’s Club Class winner Don followed the sun with long glides in the murk, found a few 9 kt thermals to the East. He tried not to go too far downwind on task. He climbed in wave in the blue and had to dive to get below cloud base. Matt who won Sports Class said starting early was the key.”

And by Adam Woolley;
” Flew well, got beaten by the wind.
A fair contest day yesterday, I don’t know?”

The rest of his story you can read at;
Matthew Scutter won day 3 in sports class [557 points] and in Club Don Woodward won the difficult day.

Day 4 , last Monday, was cancelled due to ” due to lower than forecast temperatures. ” A pilots meeting was set for noon. Enough to talk about as I know from the several I attended in the past.
The rest from the week was supposed to be better weather wise.

AND YES the ” new”  day 4 was a good one with 595 km. but also still 20 kt wind .The day in sports class was won by Matthew  with Allan  3 km./h slower and 48 points less. Both are real kilometer eaters.
In club class Don won again over 356 km.,[1000 points] as he did the day before, whilst Tobias [983]and Adam [938] followed.
As Robert mentioned;
” 355 km task today with hard points. Took me over 5 hrs but at least I finished back at Waikerie.”

The briefing might be earlier at 9 to allow for longer days…..the great Waikirie weather is there! Specially for tomorrow and Friday they expect top weather with a trough over Waikirie, so it is not over yet!!!
Who will be the National Champion in each class?????

Some pictures from Robert, who as I guessed already,  turns out to be Dutch and a former member at the club in Woensdrecht  [how small is this world!!??] from Waikirie airport  and the day- off.

Waikirie by Robert S1  Waikirie by Robert S2

Waikirie on a day of 2  waikirie on a day of

Gliders on the strip and travelling up to the Coober Pedy area [town of the OPALS] and looking at ” BREAK AWAYS”.
As shared by Robert Smits.

Tasks today; AAT 3.30 for sportsclass and club had to go for a 4 hour AAT. No results yet.

 And the West Australian State comps started yesterday, with the practice days. They welcomed their guests in Beverley, under hot conditions; 41 dgr. and still 32 at 11 PM according to John[Welsh] .
” It was a rats practice day one for the WA State Comps at Beverley only went to 4000 (3200 agl) only four launches.” 

The Multi class Nationals in New Zealand are busy with their last today and tonight a dinner will be attended by 60 guests and the trophies are ready to be presented. Scores are not in full yet, so when you look at www.soaringspot you can see later the final scores and see who are the National Champions.
They struggled with the weather as well.
Last Monday open class had 449 km. the longest distance till then and the 4th soarable day.
On day 3 the 18 m. pilots only saw 1 finisher the Duo from the Piako Gliding Club flying their 2.30 hour AAT in 2.58 with 286 km. and rewarded with 71 points!!!
That ‘ s pretty good, not the points but the kilometers looking at the other distances from 161 and then 26, 23 and less.
On day 4 the open class pilots flew 445 km and Brett Turner won in the JS 1, whilst in 18 m. another DUO DISCUS won the 1000 points over the same distance, this time the TAUPO boys and they were on spot 1 overall after that day.
In 15 m. Lindsay Stephens [ASW 27] was on top after 4 days, with Steve Wallace [ Mosquito]  as runner up and Tony van Dyk [ LS 8] going strong on spot 4.
On day 5 only 2 open class pilots finished  over 260.3 km., the Tauranga Duo discus and Brett, the rest was ” aux vaches” .In 15 m. Steve finished gaining 324 points. He passed in the overall scores Lindsay with just over 100 points.
Day 6 today had 2 hour AAT’s .

Their news and pictures are on;

For the Dutch and Belgian readers I add the link to the new Dutch Junior Website with nice stories from Annemiek, who first ” drove”  as a pilot the Delft- solar- car- to victory, then flew the Aussie Nationals and after catching up with Arne over there in Kingaroy, she decided to book for South Africa as well. Her story is on the from now on more active new site from the JUNIORS.

Another great flight by Jean Marc Perrin who is back at Chile Chico and flew 1.711,80 km. with 142 km./h in the 15 m. DG 808 last Sunday.I noticed  his HUGE speed on a flight from Alto Palena[Argentina] on December 29 with 184 km./h. only now. Good on him with only 15 m. wingspan!

AND a Danish pilot tried his luck on long distance wave flying as well and flew in Argentina from Nahuel Huapi in the Nimbus 4DM a flight from 1.564 km with Jean Marie Clement.
Ole, wanted to set a new Danish National record for a 500 k out and return and that was done quickly with with 210 km./h. The rest of the story, you can read in their comment on the OLC on January 6.

My UK friends arrived in Bitterwasser and Andy and Roy started their holiday on Saturday in the EB 28 with a 1000 k! Not their declared task,  but an alternative 1000km.
One day later Roy flew the Antares 20m.  and tried out the engine as well.A less good day in Bitterwasser but still nice to practice for the rest of the holiday.
Over the last days the first from 2014 every day a palm was planted , great season there in Bitterwasser and lovely to see on their site how they introduce their staff  in the beginning of this year 2014!!!

And last but certainly not least,….the GLIDING INTERNATIONAL arrived here in Holland and the magazine is BIGGER and heavier with a great picture on the cover from the JS 1, taken in America, by the  new photographer for GI, Antonio More.
The in depth evaluation of the JS 1 by Aldo Cernezzi and Christophe Cousseau , ” SHEER POETRY” … about  the Jonkers Sailplanes Manufacturers  and well known pilots Attie and Uys and their Dutch aerodynamicist ,Johann Bosman,  it ‘ s all there with pictures and the technical data !
Even with all the info from the Sales Representatives for Central Europe [Ronald Termaat],  for Western Europe [ Andy Davis] for Scandinavia [Arne  Boye-Muller] the USA [Leo Benetti-Longhini]  and New Zealand [Brett Hunter].

Also news about;
—-The Worcester Magic….. South Africa where the qualifying Grand Prix will be in January 2015
—-A minute or 2 with Karl Striedeck
—-Glider pilots make better airline pilots by Joseph King, about Sarah Kelman’s address on a conference in Londen
—-lot’s of World Aviation News for glider pilots
—-head up display for glider pilots and more MUCH more, 64 pages of top reading.
Should mention the double spread picture from the DUODISCUS near the Omarama Saddle from Marty Taylor and Gavin Wills []  as well.

See you on Sunday,quickly off to Amsterdam now
cheers Ritz
On Wednesday January 8 2014.


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!!!!!!!
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