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February 22, 2017

Post 976…..with 2 Seater-comps in Narromine !News from Italy ! Fires in Christchurch !

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:03 pm


2 seater nationals in 20 m. and open class !
7 days out of 7 !

Day 5;
Finally it was their turn to win a day and it will get them more and more excited for comps. Dutch Evelien and William had no clue about flying AAT’s when they started this competition in their ARCUS T, from their home-field, but they learn quickly.
The set task from 370 km. was won by them with a nice speed of 141.04 km./h. and the runner up, team David Jansen  ” only ”  had 135 km. p/h. BUT in a DUO DISCUS, whilst the Tocumwal team Joergen and Lumpy, flying an ARCUS M had 139 km./h.
So that shows that it was a good day for Evelien and William, spending more and more time in Australia at Narromine where they run their own business during the season. All 10 teams in this class finished!!
Looking at the combined class with open  Peter Sheard and Ron Sanders were just a tad better. In their Nimbus 3 DM,  they flew around with a speed of 141 .41 km./h. So close!!!!!
Bernard in his ASH 30 MI did not fly.
Storms as forecasted to the north, north-east and Cu’s in the task area.  But a great Narromine day ….A real good one.

Allan Barnes is SO good in describing a day, so I give the “word”  to him:
Day 5 of the Narromine 2-seater Nationals. The forecast was for 14-15000ft but strangely it turned out different. We had a lot of points to catch up on Dave Jansen so we had to leave later and catch him. We hid off the upwind end of the start gate until we were sure most of the pilots had started, then raced down the first downwind leg at 100kt. A few good pullups but the 10kt thermal just before the downwind turn never eventuated. Had to turn low, by which stage the trough line coming in from the west was shading the courseline. We found 5kt which got us to the second turn, and had a fairly good run north, making distance on most of the others. I left a 7kt when it turned to 6, in order to catch another one on the next downwind leg. But we never found one, and ended up taking a weak 3-4 to get the penultimate turnpoint. Almost on final glide but not quite, the final indignity was a 2-kt climb onto final glide. Then the really really final indignity was getting good lift from then on all the way back and finishing at VNE. Faster than yesterday but not much, and we had to be much.” [OLC comment]
The difference in points when they started that day was 169 points so their hope to catch up was reality.
After today it is 243. BUT,…that still means nothing……

Joergen in the back of his ARCUS M.
Courtesy Lumpy Paterson.

Day 6;
This day was for the “Tocumwal”-team, both import- Tocumwallers, but no worries and,…they were the only team finishing!! Joergen and Lumpy flew during the 2.30 AAT 253 km.  in time 2.35 .
Matt and Ailsa flew 324 km. but did not finish.
Allan gained a few points on David ; 631 for 562. Looking at the open 2 seater class, the only winner there was of course also team Joergen/Lumpy in the ARCUS M. Peter and Ron were runner up .
Day 6 as seen by daily winner Lumpy;
“Well what a mixed bag today. The WX was overcast and looking pretty ordinary this morning, so much so that we had the pilots meeting. The sky opened up very quickly and it was suggested the trough to the north would be working well if we could get to it…. 15kts from the SW on the ground. Engine away and we where struggling to get above 3k….finally got up and looked for wave …..and low and behold we connected, managed to climb up to 7500….about 3k above cloud base….(scattered Cu) massive wind change at height..15kt SW to 35kt NW… So picked this energy line for half to the first leg, mind you once outta that it was hard work to connect to the trough line….some did, some didn’t get there …..(landed out in paddocks) The trough line was so far to the east, it was almost out of the sectors…. We managed a climb to 8100 right on the edge of the line and set out for home needing 1800 feet with a 3kt ring setting…..we did not turn all the way home, 115 kms final glide with at 50 to 1 ….sweeeeeet
Yippee…..the only glider to get home today….and thus a day win 😀😀
Very happy day in the office….” 

Day 7;
LAST DAY on Sunday and it looks like Joergen and Lumpy finally had the right groove together in this beautiful ARCUS M. They won another day!!! Not enough to climb up higher than spot 5 overall but still,….a great result.
A speed task from 345 km. was set and flown with a speed of 122.45 km.h. and the max 928 points were theirs.
Here is Lumpy about the last comp day..
SW wind 15kts with thermals to 6k….4 to 6kts…345km racing task. The plan was to get out front of the gaggle and stay there….and it worked. Really good first and second leg, got bogged down a bit on the third as conditions softened again out around Nyngan (this place got me durning the NSW comps as well)….. Tip toed along this leg and managed to get a reasonable climb just before the last turn which gave us final glide …. Great way to finish the comp with another win…
Thank you very much to Birgitte and Jorgen for giving me the opportunity to fly your amazing Arcus M (JT) greatly appreciated.”

Last day winners Lumpy and Joergen with Beryl.
As shared by Lumpy.

Team David Jansen [Duo Discus] was only 5th on this last day , but there was room to fly defensive,…. though ….that’s not how I know David.
Anyhow team David and Lesley, are the new CHAMPIONS in the 2 seater 20 m. class and open!!!!6169 points.

The Jansen family; David, Lesley and Rebecca. AND,…June, David’s mum is there as well.
They were in Uvalde in 2012 as well,….. indeed a real family affair!!!

Allan was runner up on the last day  and  decided to defend his 2d place , which was necessary [ 3 points !!!!] and did that, they even got a bit closer to David; 6056 points AND…..he defended his 2d place as the difference was 34 points now with team Stewart  [6022]

David Holmes and Allan Barnes.
Both pictures courtesy Sharon Dennis and  shared by the Australian 2 -seater comps.

Looking at open,  team David and Lesley had 6038 points and team Ron and Peter 5983.
As Allan said;”Great comp – 7/7 days flying, good competitive spirit and a very challenging and entertaining mix of weather.

Some impressions as shared by the Comps organizers;


With Ailsa [ here without Matt] …. Good old Bob Ward , HI BOB,….Catherine talking to Ron [Sanders] with Bob’s son Andrew listening.


Catherine selflaunching the  Stemme S10…….Task setter “Rowy”, John Rowe …HI JOHN…..the all important briefing.


as seen by top photographer Geoff Soper, who lives in Christchurch.


TRAGIC, devastating, what can I say more…..

Talking about the weather phenomena last week, this week Christchurch was in “the sad picture”. Not because of an earthquake …yes they are more or less well known for them…but because of dangerous all overwhelming fires!! Geoff Soper , top photographer , shared a few with us and seeing that ,your heart breaks for the people living there. Quite some of our soaring mates  live there  or in the surrounding.

One of the fire-brigade- helicopter- pilots ,crashed and died, whilst helping out.He was a veteran pilot , as I read an hero in the past and…. NOW again. Too sad for words.


Heroes they are!!!!!! And what skills…..
What great coverage of these fires by Geoff, sad only is the occasion !!! Lot’s of native forest has been destroyed.
“Decades of conservation work has gone up in smoke as the Port Hills fire rages across some of the region’s last remnants of native forest.
While the fate of several important reserves remains hidden beneath smoke and beyond cordons, some reserve land has been confirmed destroyed.
The fire spread across the hills at a rapid pace, finding plenty of ammunition in the highly flammable gorse, broom and pine forests threaded across the hills.” source ENVIRONMENT.

Last Saturday ,the fires were not out , there was a bit of rain but not yet enough.On Monday they were still busy.



2 Competitions one in Santa Cilia and one in Rieti; this new  initiative ,called the N42 Gliding Cup ,is launched by Luis Ferrera and Aldo Cernezzi.
Currently Aldo is the Competition Director in Rieti for a full month between July and August and happy to help organize a new competition in early September as well.
Gliding races/ competitions on the parallel 42°N.

The final rankings of the N42 Gliding Cup are the combined results of the two competitions in the same year.
We love both these places and we wish to invite you to a new experience. And also, we want to provide the opportunity to extend your racing season for a couple more weeks.

When you are interested,….by the way both fields have a very nice swimming-pool for the family.

Coppa Città di Rieti, 14 – 20 August 2017…/coppa-citta-di-rieti-rieti-20…/

The grid in Rieti. Have been there many times!!!!

Copa Ciudad de Jaca, 3 – 9 September 2017

The grid in Santa Cilia de Jaca in the Pyrenees.
Pictures courtesy Aldo.


Interesting OLC flights.

I missed one on February 13 .A flight from an airfield I never heard from but not too far from Tocumwal…Weird! It is South from Swan Hill,… know that area and West from Corowa…. know that area even better. All in the game ,…Yando Airfield Boor is the name!!
Marlies Eicher flew in an Archaeopteryx, ….never heard from either,…some kind of goal flight without destination ,… guess flying with the wind as far as possible,…distance 586 km. in 9 hours and 19 minutes  68 km./h. BUT all under 2000 m!!!!!
The highest point was 1.714 MSL and 1.577 AGL.
Looking at GOOGLE;

The Ruppert Archaeopteryx (English: ancient wing) is a Swiss high-wing, pod-and-boom, single-seat, microlift glider that was designed by Roger Ruppert and is produced by Ruppert Composite GmbH.
The aircraft is named for the feathered Archaeopteryx dinosaur.
No idea if this was the glider but here is the picture from the standard version [from 2011]  I found on Google .

Never to old to learn something new. Very interesting!

On February 18 Benalla had a super -late- summer- day with flights up to 845 km. [ 800 FAI triangle]  in an LS 4 by WGC meteo-man Toby Geiger!
It seems there was an “excellent cold SW airstream with good cu’s” , so all good flights were flown direction West.
The Kestrel flew 577 km !!! 8 Flights between 500 and 845 km !!! Not bad!!!! Still wish they would have had more of this weather during the WGC, but what can you do.


That’s it for now.
CU Ritz

February 15, 2017

Extreme heatwave in Februar in Australia! DG…LS1-f in a “new jacket” !St. Gaudens..WOW !!Benalla CD report !

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:32 pm

Post 975 , with what happened in our world last week!!!

Whilst we had over the weekend,  between 4 and 8 cm. snow [winter] …AND … TODAY up to 15/16 dgr. C. [spring] …… friends in Australia suffered.
welcome to hell on earth[BSCH with one of the quotes about the weather]

With temperatures up to 45 dgr. C the “poor people down under ” had to deal with another heatwave. They just had one broken by a dust storm and rain ,… now they have a new one.
As one of the weather channel’s [JWC] mentioned:
Large parts of SA, NSW, North western Victoria and will move into southern inland QLD on Sunday will be impacted by these extreme 45c+ temps including regions near Sydney on Saturday which may include the suburbs.”


As shared by Tammy, who used to live in Tocumwal and Mary Anne who lives in Tocumwal.

That does not only mean HOT, but also huge risk of bush fires and heat stress factors to people and animals.Some of my Toc friends struggled already with the heat last week, now this week they struggled again.
“Nice cool high up ” ,for Toc. glider pilot Terry , who flew in his ASH 26 an FAI triangle of 691 km and a total distance of 717 km. on Friday!!!!!
And Ingo , as you know not the youngest anymore but still going strong, did a test flight in the ASW 17, [yes the former glider from Dick Butler] , same day, same temperature ,…43 dgr C !!!!!…

The ASW 17.

It is 43 degrees in Tocumwal today & the ground staff has the course looking schmicko for the 2 Person Ambrose Championship this weekend! Well done boys, your hard work is appreciated!” by  #golfonthemurray #visitthemurray #golfcourse
And even with the heat the nowadays combined golf & bowls-club, is looking spiffy. As you can see on pictures shared by the Tocumwal Residential Airpark. Been there a lot!!!


With their message:”Can’t beat these greens, and the cool river too. How lucky are we to be here during a heatwave?

In between the west of Australia suffered from heavy floods due to torrential rain  and in Perth in the Swan Valley,  entire grape crops have been wiped out. It is not only bad in Australia, as the NE of the US suffered from heavy snow storms last Thursday hitting New York and surroundings and St Louis was hit by a tornado ruining houses over a line of 3 km. wide. And after a lot of rain , parts from California had to be evacuated due to an overfull dam ready to break….. 200.000 people were on the move.
The weather really has lost the plot and when “we” did that,’ we” better should do something against it ,…when it is still possible.


Talking about Australia ,……

Here is the Benalla report by Champions director Terry Cubley.

Terry,…As shared on the WGC site.

—“ In many ways, the Benalla World Gliding Championships were a big success. We had great support from GFA members with over 70 volunteers spending three weeks to ensure we could put on a good show. Another 30 spent two to five days helping out with a myriad of jobs.

Our focus was to ensure everything we did contributed to the pilots being better able to compete fairly without too many hassles. We all learned that 90% of the pilots were nice people just wanting to have a good time and enjoy some fast competition. A few others were a little tense and, therefore, more prone to complain or react. Our team quickly learned to keep smiling and to work with the pilots, which worked well.

The advice to “keep smiling” and sound positive also applied to how we worked with the weather. It was a terrible weather system that we had to contend with. The task area was still green from a very wet spring, we were constantly subjected to high cloud streaming over from WA, and temperatures were quite low. Not great gliding weather at all.

We had three really good days over the three weeks. Two of those days, occurring in the practice period, saw typical high speeds under cumulus, and the one good day during the competition featured good heights, although blue, with open class completing 750km and the other classes near 700km.

Most days had the same structure – thermals starting to 3,000ft between 12 and 1pm, with maximum heights expected from 4,000 to 6,000ft. The weather models showed thermals weakening from 6.30pm, although the pilots were regularly coming home at 7.30pm.

Race tactics are quite important if you want to win this event. The scoring system rewards people who don’t make mistakes, and does not reward people who try things differently. As a result, pilots were not prepared to start early and risk getting rolled by the gaggle. On many days, the large gaggle waited until long after it made sense to leave and, as a consequence, the gaggle progressed en masse around the course.

Pilots were complaining about the risks in the gaggle, but they all still waited for it and would not go alone. We had two mid air collisions. Two 18m gliders ‘touched’ (which means ‘crashed’) on day 2, but both were able to return to an airfield and both flew the next day. The other crash was more dramatic, causing both pilots to parachute. The injuries sustained appeared to result mainly from landing in the parachute with strong winds on the ground.

The task setting was very well done by Weather Lady Jenny Thompson and Task Setter Tobi Geiger. The weather was hard to predict, in particular at what time it would start and finish, but we had to set increasingly larger tasks to try to reduce gaggles before the start. A 30-minute delay in launching could make a task less likely to be achieved, so we had a fine balance between launching into low altitude or changing to task B. On one day, we had to invent Task C, sending a car carrying the new task sheets in a mad rush down the runway in time to meet the delayed launch time.

Tobi’s plan was to try and keep the three classes separated by setting tasks into different areas, so we often had one class heading west towards Bendigo, another class heading NW towards Hay, and the third class northeast towards Temora. Sometimes, a short leg along the edge of the hills at the start was needed for one class to give a separation in time, when they would then head north. This worked well and the separation was achieved on all days. The weather was not good enough to go into the hills to the south except during the practice period and even then, many competitors were reluctant to venture in due to the limited outlanding options available from the heights being achieved.

The last day was a good example of the comp. Launching was delayed for 15m class and heights achieved were under 3,000ft AGL. Gliders were dropping water and milling around in low gaggles. By the time we came to launch 18m class, the gliders were just getting to 3,000ft, and as we had a different launch area we continued to launch 18m class, who also milled around at 3,000ft in low gaggles. Heights slowly improved and the 15m class moved away towards their start line, allowing enough space to launch Open class, who then milled around in low gaggles at 3,500ft, slowly climbing to 4,000ft.  It takes 80 minutes to launch the fleet, but we managed to get them into the air in time to make their tasks achievable. It was all a bit low but a good opportunity to race for the final placings.

The tasks were difficult throughout the competition, but the pilots were better. At this level, small errors make a big difference and after seven or eight days of racing, a few pilots had slipped down the ranking due to outlandings or some slow speeds. But there were some familiar faces near to the top.

In Open class, Andy Davis and Michael Sommer, who fought out a close battle in Poland two years ago, were both again in the top three, with Michael in third place only 30 points behind Russel Cheetham in first, with Andy between. On the last day, Michael and his team mate Tassilo Bode started a few minutes after Russell and Andy. As we watched the tracking, they remained close to each other all the way around. It came down to getting a climb on the Warby hills 40km from home – who could get onto glide the fastest. They were all below glide, with half a knot climb rate. Tassilo headed off on final glide to see if he could pick up the height by gliding and therefore give Michael some advice. He didn’t, and had to fire up his engine 5km short. Russell achieved glide first and flew home to become world champion. Michael got home only a few seconds later, but not enough to bridge the 30 point gap.

Michael and Andy silver and bronze in open class.
As shared on the WGC site.

In 18m class, Killian Walbrou (France) was 70 points ahead of a group of two Germans and two British pilots. Killian was the first pilot home just before 6pm and was the new world champion, just ahead of Mario Kiessling and Mike Young.

Killian , French [military] helicopter captain. Lovely guy , had an interview with him in Rayskala.
Here trying out a 15 m. JS 3 RAPTURE, but flying during the comps in an 18 m. JS 1.
10 Years after he became JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION in Rieti [ 2007,… I was there] he is senior World champion.
Very well deserved! Though I know Mike and Mario are toppers as well.
Picture shared by Pole France Planeur.

15m class was also quite dramatic, with Mak Ichikawa in the lead going into the last day, 33 points ahead of Sebastian Kawa and his Polish team mate Lukasz Grabowski. Mak and Matthew Scutter flew together, starting a little earlier than the Polish pilots, and were managing to say ahead quite well until the last turnpoint area. Mak and Matthew went much further into the turnpoint area, probably expecting some good air on the way home, but it was getting late with an expected finish time of around 7pm. Sebastian won the day at 81kph, but meanwhile Mak had got low on the Warbies coming home and arrived 40 minutes late at an average speed of 71kph. Sebastian was once again world champion with Mak Ichikawa in Silver medal position and Lukasz with the Bronze.

Picture courtesy Maria Szemplinsky.

So the weather wasn’t easy on the pilots or the organizers, but the pilots still had a very tough battle and the skills of the champions really showed through. Open Class had nine tasks, 18m Class had eight tasks and 15m Class had seven tasks. These tasks, with the three practice days, provided enough flying to make it a very viable outcome.” 

Nothing more to say,…clear and pretty straight forward as expected from Terry.
The first days of February showed flights from between 150 and 612 km. from Benalla. Mind you this is LATE summer.
[ ] At this site you can re-read all the official news from the WGC in Benalla.


DG Flugzeugbau GmbH !

Announced great news on February 8 2017!!!

–“ Today we assembled our new LS1-f neo the first time. With it’s new neo winglets, the wing-fuselage transition and a new paint shop this beauty could also be a new aircraft!
The upcoming weekend, we plan to conduct the first flights for certification. We are curious about how the modifications will influence flight characteristics!

This LS1-f neo will soon be a racing with a young talented pilot as a sponsorship.

How do you like the new look of our LS1-f neo?“—
I love IT !!!!!!!

As shared by DG.

test flight done.

“Yesterday, we were able to conduct the first flights with our LS1-f neo in Sinsheim. Thanks to the good weather, we were able to perform multiple flights. All pilots were very excited and loved the new flight characteristics. During the next weeks, flight testing goes on. Afterwards, we’ll hand over this beauty to a young talented pilot to support him season 2017.”


NZ…..Papawai…continued… .

The Central district championships in Papawai continued after waiting first, for 4 days and started ” carefully” with a 2 hour AAT in the combined class with the most participants.A 1000 points day for winner Stew Barton in the DG 400, with 187 km in time .1.58.
USA pilot Keith [ASG 29] was runner up with 240 km. [handicap 111] and Tim Bromhead [DG 300] 3d.
Keith mentioned on the OLC; ”  Good to the south. Overcast to the north made the flight scrappy and very slow.”
One day later another difficult day in this class now with a 2.15 AAT and,….not a lot of finishers.In the combined class, only 4 from 19 starters , finished. Among them good old Tony van Dyk in his LS 8. He was runner up with 255 km. in time 2.59. Daily winner Patrick Driessen with 246 km. in time 2.42 in an 18 m. Ventus 2C [handicap 110]. He moved straight up overall from 5 to 1 !!!!
Chapeau for Mike O’ Donnell who flew in his Libelle OVER 4 hours but he finished !!!! a deserved 4th spot.[273 km.]
Tim was on spot 8 and Keith on 7,  with as comment:
” High overcast snuffed out most of the thermals to the north. Kept optimistically thinking I would get a climb. Wrong!

On the last day this class got a 2.30 AAT and it changed the overall scores ; Tim flew 309 km. in time 2.26 and for him that meant 1000 points.He moved overall from 5 to 3.[2413]
Winner in this class after 3 days of soaring, Patrick with 2711 points and runner up Tony van Dyk, good on him…2573.

Looking at the  4 classes each after 3 out of 7 days;
Open 1. Tony van Dyk [2521] , 2. Tim Bromhead [2385], 3. Patrick Driessen [2370]
Racing; 1. Grae Harrison team in DG 1000S [ 2114]
Sports ;1. Richard Keir in PW 5 [1204]
Combined; 1. Patrick Driessesn [2711] 2. Tony van Dyk [2573] 3. Tim Bromhead [2413]
Keith did not fly on the last competition day for points,  but did a 586 km for fun.

One day later,Keith Essex flew on the N Island from PAPAWAI a 1000!!! I did in the past the A1 highway, going from N to S on the top island, he “took” the wave  between water to the left and the right;1.020 km. with a speed of 142 km./h.
His comment on the OLC;
“Was a challenge connecting to the wave off the winch, just 6kts of wind at 2000ft. Tricky semi unstable wave with lots of moisture. Fun to figure it out and put it all together.”
By now after so much time in N.Z. he has this wave in “his fingers”.
AND,…he proved that on the 14th ..VALENTINE’S day.. with another LONG flight from Papawai;
1.276 km. with a speed of 181 km./h.
Came to the North Island for thermal and convergence flights but found wave instead.
Same route and I guess same fun when you love kilometers in wave!!!!!


Australia….some nice flights and 2 seater Nationals.

Not far from NZ , Australia “suffered” as said  from a heatwave , but not all suffered.Matthew flew a 1000 last Saturday as well.1.099 km. from Pipers Field in his Discus 2a. A sort out and return direction NW, nearly 500 km. out.
His OLC comment;”Very straight forward day. Great streeting. Unfortunately switched off quite aggressively at the end of the day which hurt the speed a bit.
That speed still was 146.7 km./h.
Some more comment :”Probably should have done a declaration today, 1.250 k O/R or 1.100 k FAI would have been easily possible… but I wasn’t feeling in the mood for a long flight at launch, it just kind of happened. The weather was the easiest soaring weather I’ve ever flown. 13.000 ft cloudbase lifting to 15.000 ft, consistent climbs, solid streeting, early start, late finish.
Believe this is the longest flight ever out of Bathurst, and my fastest 1000 (148kph avg. when I crossed the 1000k mark, higher than I started too)”
So a pleasant day for Matthew.
The change arrived on Sunday and the fun and or heat-stress was over, temperatures from the low 40 thies to 22 dgr.C. though Lake Keepit still had a flight with nearly 800 km in the JS 1. And 542 in an LS 4 from Warwick is not bad either!!
Akemi, working hard as “crew” from vice-world champion Mac, in Benalla , now flew the LS 8 over 545 km. from Mc Caffery Field.
Good on her.

The 2 seater comps started in Narromine last Monday with 13 teams.
5 Pilots in open class , among them good old Peter Sheard from the UK, flying together with Ron Sanders in the Nimbus 3D. Peter was a” regular” at Sportavia in the past. On his way to Narromine he , of course, passed by at Tocumwal with his wife.
Female pilot Catherine Conway, flies the Stemme S10 VT and there is one more Stemme.
Further on 2 x Nimbus 3DM and an ASH 31 MI.
8 pilots in the 20 m. class with gliders as DUO DISCUS x 8 and an ARCUS M and T.
In the end they put all in ONE Class, much easier to follow!!

In the practice period great weather with an 800 FAI triangle for Attila Bertok and John Smith in the Duo Discus and 886 in total and Evelien and William flew an FAI triangle of 595 km. and a total distance of 755 km. with a nice speed of 143 km./ their ARCUS T.

According to Evelien and William day 1 of the 20 mtr. two-seater Nationals had ”  20-25 kts wind and in the blue with a cool southerly wind.”
Day 1 ; a set 244 km. racing task and Allan Barnes got the most out of the day, as so often. He  flew the Duo over the circuit with a speed of 76.63 km./h.  with David Holmes. They called it a ”  Very blue, low, windy day. Tough work. We were almost last off the grid but fortunately found a good climb that took us to the top of convection immediately.”
The rest of the comment on

A tough day as only 8 from the 13 [3 teams fly HC] finished. Catherine was unlucky as she only got 57 points for 23.5 km. and Terry Cubley had ONE more. It could be worse as the Duo Discus from the Hunter Valley, [hope it is not the one they bought in the past from us] only managed 19 km.;47 points.
Catherine’s comment; “Too optimistic about the conditions and flew too fast. Got low near the irrigation and had to start the engine. Bugger. Beaten by  Terry Cubley and John Orton by 20m and 1 point! ”
Tocumwal pilots Joergen [from Denmark but escaping the European winter-season  in Toc.] and Lumpy in the ARCUS M, managed to just make it in, after nearly 4 hours.

Day 2;
From Catherine first the next news , after she started and flew 52 km.:
Thought we were doing well today. Good start. Good climbs. Clearly we had the opposition worried because they sent an attack eagle against us along the first leg. Eagle hit the left wing about halfway out. Stemme 1 -Wedgie 0 🙁. Aircraft looked ok but prudent to return to base at slow speed to land and inspect the aircraft more thoroughly. Happy to say no damage.”

So with a 497 km. day , the pilots were looking at a fun-day, won by Bernard Eckey in the ASH 30 MI, [ speed 121 km./h. ], he flies HC as do the runners up Peter and Ron. Looking at points for the championship Davis Jansen won the 1000 points with a speed of 103 km./h in the Duo.ONLY 2 points MORE than Allan and David in the Duo T.
997 Points for Terry and John. All very close.

Nostalgia. …good old mate Peter with his hat from 25 years !!!
as shared by Sportavia.

Joergen and Lumpy had a reasonable day :”It was a hard work survival day. 3 times below 300 m, and the dry thermals dying at 1200 m agl. We are flying at max weight with no water to dump.”
They just missed out on 25 k , but started as last pilots as they hoped the day would get better. It did not.

Joergen and Lumpy from Tocumwal in Narromine.
As shared by Lumpy.

Today; day 3,  a 4 hour AAT with flights up to 558 km. and speed up to 138 km./h .
” what a day ! Cu’s and good lift in the task area.
More next week as all scores are not yet in or look for scores at


In between the Dutch Junior team is working hard on their gliders and Cirrus AG is ready for the 2017 [competition-] season, now only the weather has to be ready. Glider AU is still in the work shop. As shared by the team.


St. Gaudens!

The day-to-be-for-great-wave was last Sunday in the Pyrenees .  Some pilots must have known by studying the weather earlier, [as most good pilots do who when they want to achieve something] , that Sunday had the potential to be a TOP DAY with mistral. And it was!!!
WOW, WOW, great wave and super long flights for sure damn cold,  but the adrenaline “heats” .
Gil Souviron flew in a TAURUS ; 1.263,4 km. with a speed of 138.8. km./h.
He called the conditions “very nice” ,….understatement maybe ???But he was happy ;
I have realized a dream, more than 1000km with a glider.”
Robert Prat, already famous for his long flights from St Gaudens, had in his ASG 29 E/18 m. a “dream-flight” ;1.327,58 km. with a speed of 161 km./h. Well done Robert!!!
His OLC comment ;”Cold, but too warm when low in the strong wind shear.”
At one point he was ” low”  at 1980 m MSL [1218 AGL] , the rest of the flight was between 4 and 5000 m. up to 5803 MSL [4625 AGL]


on Februar 13 JAPAN topped the OLC list with a flight from TSUKB;376 km. in an 18 m. Discus 2 T.
That’s it for now CU next week.
25 blogs to go for number 1000!!!!!!

Cheers Ritz hope you a had a lovely VALENTINE.

February 8, 2017

A New Zealand blog ;Matamata ; NZ club class Nationals..Omarama with great flights .. Gliding International January/February!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:55 pm

Matamata !
January 27-February 4 2017.

The Matamara soaring center,as shared on their site.

The airfield of Matamata , homefield of the PIAKO Gliding Club,  was the host for the club class Nationals in New Zealand with 10 competitors in 2 classes and reasonable weather with 7 days out of 9 .
I even think we passed this field when I drove around with John and Chris Roake [GLIDING INTERNATIONAL] in 2010/2011.

6 Pilots in club class,  each in a different type of glider as PW 6, Discus B, St Libelle, DG 100, LS 4 and DG 300.
And the same 6 pilots , with 4 other pilots/gliders in the open version; as Duo Discus, LAK 12 , Puchacz [SZD 50]  and  JS 1 .
With several AAT’s between 2 hours and 2.45 and set tasks from 244 km. pilots had up and downs, some real up and downs loosing days and winning days , as Tim Bromhead, just back from the WGC in Benalla. He flew an ASG 29 there and finished on spot 34 from 43.
Tim , flying the DG 300 and a member of the local Piako Glidingclub, was “out ” on task 1 and got 296 points of the 1000 available on a 2 hour AAT-day.Not good. The PW 6 pilot gained the 492 points as winner.
BUT,…Tim won task 2 [2.45 AAT] ,…1000 points in the pocket.
Task 3 was his as well [2.30 AAT] ; as there were only 5 finishers he got the 900 points available for the day.
Task 4 gave him a 3d spot as the St. Libelle was runner up and Bob Gray in the DG 100 won and task 5 with a set 244 km. was “out” again, and only 3 pilots finished; Bob in the DG 100, Bill Mace in the LAK 12 and Mark Wilson in the Libelle.
Tim was on spot 5 with 186 points from the 833 available for the day.
As I said up’s and down’s.
Another 2 hour AAT was set as task 6 but had to be cancelled.
They tried again last Friday with task 7, another 2 hour AAT and yes it was flown. AND, was a fast day ; in pure club the Libelle who won showed a speed of 120.65 km./h. over 241 km. AND,..the runner up in the DG 100 had 120.27 km./h. over 240 km.. !!
I checked for “maybe wave” but no, no wave.
Looking at the open version;  speed was 135.97 for Mark in the Libelle.
Saturday was the last day and task 8 was set ; 2.15 AAT and local, Bob Gray had his 3d win.

So the DG 100 with Bob was the clear NATIONAL CHAMPION in club class. He flew very consistent, won 3 days and had NO out-landings.
Look at the points; 5.730, whilst runner up Tim with his up’s [ 2 daily win’s] and downs [ 2 “out’s”] had 4.836 points.
Mark in the St .Libelle was on a good 3d place [4.650.]
The open version scores were a bit different; Bob won, runner up was the LAK with Bill and Tim was 3d.
Finally “summer”  in N.Z. with 30 dgr. C.


Omarama pilots from glider ZR and QQ enjoying /”playing in the wave after ridge soaring Mount Cook.”
Got the pictures from Glide Omarama on my FB site, courtesy Milan sawyer.

Trial flight(s) in a southerly wave – lee of the Hawkduns, with Dan (ZR).
Lake Benmore, and Pukaki in the distance.”

Talking about N.Z. is talking about wave and….WAVE  …… showed up at NZ ‘s top- mountain– mecca- Omarama. They had that Friday great [but a bit complicated] weather too. “A day of Awesome Clouds!” was part of the comment from Finish pilot, Jyri [Laukkanen], who flew in nice wave a distance of 722 km. in an LS 3 a.
A…”sky full of lennies” , was what Aussie Graham [Parker] said after his flight in the ASH 25. [612 km.]
Both Jyri and Graham are frequent flyers in Omarama.
AND,….last Saturday another great flight 771 km. in the LS 3 a , flown by Peter Mc Kenzie. A day with SW- wave according to Graham and ” a lot of cloud about.”
Like Australia they have a great after-summer-time.

As shared on the Omarama site.


Paraparumu Airport, New Zealand.

YES,…  I was at the North Island and we passed by Wellington about 50 km. from Paraparumu, but we did not visit this airfield, so like many aboriginal names in Australia sound intriguing, so do the Maori names;
Paraparumu means “scraps from an earth oven” in Maori: “parapara” means “dirt” or “scraps” and “umu” means “oven”. It is commonly abbreviated to “Para-Param”, particularly by longer-term residents of European ethnicity, and simply “Pram” by local youth.”[ Wikipedia]
The NZ Central Districts Gliding Championships 2017 started on February 5 , as I read on soaringspot, with a cancelled day.
The next day a task was set, only a ONE hour AAT,  but the 24 participants got the message , according to top USA pilot Keith Essex; “Day cancelled after launch. Increasing moisture through the day. Great cloudscapes.”
He must have thought , now I am here anyhow, I do a “bit of flying” and he flew 735 km. in the ASG 29/18m.!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!
On a cancelled day, bit embarrassing??
Keith flies already since the end of October in N.Z. first in Omarama on the South Island and very successful with 3 over 1000 km. flights, one with a speed of just under 180 km./h.  and then from Papawai, this 735 km. task, not too far from Wellington.
Other pilots flying this competition are Tim Bromhead yes from….and good old Tony van Dyk,

Whilst writing all this, I got totally confused. Tried to find out if Papawai was the same airfield as Paraparumu…???
Did some research,… found both names ….and some facts,…. but not where the comps exactly were.
So I contacted Jill [Mc Caw] who knows everything about NZ and even more about soaring in N.Z. and she wrote me back and the answer is clear; NO GLIDERS fly anymore from Paraparumu !!!
Here is what Jill wrote,…thanks Jill:
The Wellington Gliding Club used to fly from Paraparumu which is on the west coast just north of Wellington. Due to increased commercial use of that airfield they were forced to move. About two years ago they joined forces with Gliding Wairarapa based on an airstrip in Papawai, a small place near Greytown in the Wairarapa. The airstrip is now the Greytown Soaring Centre, and both clubs operate independently off it while cooperating to run youth camps, and this, their first competition. Greytown is in the Wairarapa, separated from the Wellington region by Rimutaka Range, and a steep, windy road. The weather conditions can be very different “over the hill”. It is a little further to go for Wellington people, but conditions are better and bunkrooms are being built.

Well after all this research I am still waiting for task 1…..the nice weather disappeared for a few days. No task today.Next week more.

More news last week from NZ.
Geoff Soper a fabulous photographer shared this great picture and news on FB and I share it with you non-fb-users. This NASA -DC 8 , a kind of flying-lab, arrived in New Zealand and landed at Christchurch .
 NASA DC-8-72 arriving CHC.
It has been highly modified to support the agency’s Airborne Science mission. The aircraft, built in 1969 and acquired by NASA in 1985, is 157 feet long with a 148-foot wingspan. With a range of 5,400 nautical miles (6,200 statute miles), the aircraft can fly at altitudes from 1,000 to 42,000 feet for up to 12 hours, although most science missions average six to 10 hours. The DC-8 can carry 30,000 pounds of scientific instruments and equipment and can seat up to 45 experimenters and flight crew


Talking about N.Z…..

The new Gliding International for March /April from editor John Roake is nearly out and I still have not given you details from the first issue of this year January/February.
It’s a bit more complicated now,as all overseas readers got a code to read the magazine digital. Of course that’s the future and I read it ,…but found it more difficult to skim through digital pages instead of paper pages. In the end I “got it”  and in fact ….it is easy!!!!
Here you are:
—–quite a few pages for Sebasian Kawa’s adventure in the Coucasus Mountains. His expedition to Russia covers 14 pages with great pictures and interesting stories but also tip’s what’s allowed and not allowed in Russia p.e about pilot’s license validation.
——Paul Remde shows on his page the latest soaring product news. P.e, news about the latest colibri x GPS flight recorder and the LX NAV NANO 4 GPSflight recorder and more.[]
——Aldo [Cernezzi] evaluates and comes with an explanation for poor handling on tow.
—– the ARCUS J as in JET; The ARCUS M airframe from Schempp-Hirth get’s a PBS-TJ-100 engine installed by Desert Aerospace of New Mexico….. More in the magazine!
—–the history of ” Wings & Wheels “.
—–Gliding’s best kept secret the JS 3 RAPTURE. We had already the opportunity to see how good this 15 m. class glider is as it showed it’s great performance in Benalla. Both gliders were flown by the Jonker brothers Uys and Attie.
—–all about a world map in 3D.
—–lot’s of world aviation  news for glider pilots.
And much more.
So if you wish you can read it digital now as well , in fact it is easy and clear.


Some more airfield ‘s..

And a few pictures from other airfields in New Zealand. I took them in the 2010/2011 year. I had the unique opportunity to see SO much from the fabulous North Island as my friends Tony [RIP] and Emily and John and Chris showed me the beauty from the N to the S of this N. Island .




AND my friends Tony and Emily and John and Chris who showed me the beauty from this N. Island.



Last but not least…
LOVE this picture

shared by Hans and with his permission.

This young man belongs to my long-time-friends and after 27 years of flying for KLM, he had a nice FAREWELL-flight to ST Maarten with his favorite crew. You would not believe he is a pensioner now [56] , would you?
More gliding time for him now????
No, not yet,…for a couple of years he shares another company.

cheers Ritz

February 1, 2017

Interaction! Bitterwasser had a fabulous season!Great late-summer-weather in Australia!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:45 pm

Interaction !
ANOTHER , ….this time Finnish …..FAMILY -AFFAIR!

When I wrote in one of my blogs about our “FAMILY AFFAIR ” in Benalla in 1987, I got a lovely reaction from Riku Rissanen.
I have been a few times in Rayskala and I am proud to got to know quite a lot of people there.
Here is the Rissanen family as shared by Riku, who wrote so enthusiastic about his family , that I asked him if I could share a few news items and here you are.

“Me [4 months old] and Markku ,my father in 1979 at the Finnish Nationals in the  “2 seater”  ASW-19 OH-592 “

His grandfather Pauli started in 1947, his grandmother Pirkko flew in 1965 , his own  father Markku started in 1966 and his uncle Sami in 1983. Riku himself had his basic course in 1994, when  he turned 15.
He was in the junior team 2000 and 2002.

Dad was best mates with Tapio Savolainen, the TOP-Finnish -TC I wrote about in my blog .They met in the 60thies  after Tapio started gliding in 1968.
The strings between the soaring families was strong, as Tapio was the godfather from Riku.
Last year they had an awesome flight, dad and son;
When I flew the 1037km with my dad Markku last year, we both said after the landing that it was so sad that Tapsa didn´t see this.”

Well ,so out of the blue from one of the blog readers with a comment, such a nice story about family-soaring.
As you know,  I know a lot of soaring families and they intrigue me.
Thanks Riku. AND,…he has children as well, the oldest is 13 ,so who knows the soaring-history continues.

Riku [to the r.]  in 2002   with a very well known soaring-face/crew  at several comps,  Mikko.
“Normally” at comps,  Mikko is dressed in Riku’s outfit
” For the last days briefing, we changed clothes with my crew Mikko.”
And about that competition.
“Nordic Junior competitions 2002 at Kronobergshed Sweden with NO contest days..ONLY RAIN”.



Here is the last news from this season and the first for the upcoming season from the Bitterwasser site:
The Bitterwasser season 2016/2017 is finished.
After getting the ok from the customs ladies, the containers with the gliders left Bitterwasser.
A fantastic, successful and accident-free season is over.
230 flights with more than 1000km.
780 flights with a total of 625 thousand km shows the high quality of the season.
At January 19 , the Namibian weather showed again his best side, with 1400km.;Reinhard Schramme made one of the biggest flights of the season.

From tomorrow on the preparations for the coming season 2017/2018 will start.
Those who wants to fulfill their dream of flying in Bitterwasser can make a booking under “

The 4 Namibian airfields did well on the OLC list looking at the stats of airfields after their season, with a 1st [Bitterwasser] , 2d [Pokweni] ,3d [Kiripotib]  and 5th place [newcomer Veronica]
On spot 4 was Gariep Dam in South Africa.
Bitterwasser;118 pilots flew during 781 flights a total distance of  625.356,35 km.
Pokweni; 58 pilots flew during 448 flights a total distance of 344.633,04 km.
Kiripotib; 78 pilots flew during 395 flights a total distance of 275.423,88 km.
Gariep Dam; 64 pilots flew during 437 flights a total distance of 240.538,71 km.
Veronica; 45 pilots flew during 231 flights a total distance of 184.608,56 km.


Interesting OLC flights last week!

It’ s a great after-season in Australia !!!
one of the great spots in Australia to fly from had some friends/guests using the very nice weather for some exciting and great flights. Arne from Denmark moved there after the WGC and flew on January 27  with dad and son Woolley and Butch and Ben Loxton and some Temora “locals” as Brian, Nathan and Graeme .
Brian nearly flew a 1000 in his 18 m. LS 10;  955 km. [750 FAI triangle! ]
Nathan in his LS 3 a 865 km [667 FAI triangle]
Ben in his St Cirrus flew 721 [600 FAI triangle]
Arne flew a 750 FAI triangle and Adam 725 km. One day later they all had such a good day again and Adam flew then 850 and Arne 875 km.
Adam tried out his new 15 m. Ventus 2ax and loves it “Fantastic day running up and down the trough line with my mates.

All places in Australia were pretty good this late in the season and good old Richard was back  in Benalla after the comps, for his annual soaring holiday and enjoyed 524 km up N. with “ Wind nw/5-10 kts. Mainly Cu except later on to the west.”
Kilometer-eater Stefan flew his LS 4 from Tocumwal over 603 km !! Corowa had several over 700 km. flights .
After all the stress from organizing a good WGC , competition director Terry relaxed win the sky with a 500 k in his LS 3 from Benalla. Maybe his last as I just read he bought himself a new toy and he is now the proud owner of a Ventus2cxt.

It can always be BETTER, I mean with the weather!!!! Bathurst was according to Matthew Scutter, the place to be on January 29. Pipers Field hosts the Bathurst Soaring Club , one of the largest gliding clubs in NSW, only 2.30 driving from Sydney.
Matthew flew from there 1.018.05 km. in his Discus 2 A with a nice speed of 115 km./h.. Good on him, after a pretty frustrating WGC, he deserves such a great flight to feel again how nice soaring is!!! Well done!!!
On the OLC he commented :“Today was the approximately 1 day a year Bathurst was the best place to be. First thermals, the last thermals and a marginal seabreeze convergence let me just squeak out a tonne.”
In his 2017 WGC recap he mentioned;
I’m now going to take a break from high-level competition and do some more distance, adventure and generally ‘fun’ flying for a while. I hope to come back to a different landscape, hopefully with some different rules that make for safer, more enjoyable racing.”
Right he is!!!!The full recap was on FB at Matthew Scutter’s Gliding.
And Matthew has made some firm decisions:
It’s finally happening. Just booked Adelaide->London on March 17, to build a campervan, then travel Europe.”
Always welcome!
Also Tocumwal had a great day with a 700 FAI triangle in an ASH 26 E [ Terry Ryan.]

Not long and the doors from the hangars in Europe will be opened again. I noticed already the announcement of opening- parties to see each other again and to just talk SOARING after winter , till they can all go UP again.
AND…the temperatures here in Holland will rise to 12 -plus in the weekend.


AND as you can see Corowa has started preparations to send all incoming gliders “out” again, destination Holland.


Beautiful Corowa, it will be less busy in the pool over the next months.Looking at the skies,…great day for packing!!
the message from Francesco and Grietje:
Everyone, really everyone helped packing today! The weather has not been that good this season but it did not kill the “Corowa family” spirit!!!!”


And to finish this perfect picture from Wolf Herold, shared by
Soaring News by Paul Remde of Cumulus Soaring, Inc.

“Waterbomber – here comes the force…. Antares 23”

CU next time
Cheers Ritz

January 25, 2017

Back to normal !? VERONICA…. the place to be in the future?!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:54 pm

Benalla …the day after!!

No blue skies in Benalla on the day everybody departed. The Usual….!
The normal weather is back.
as shared by the successful team UK.

One of the worse things of a WGC is packing at the end and going home. Of course you are happy to see your family again when they are not with you, but you step out of a bubble back in the reality.
Containers have to be packed, tickets to be found again somewhere under in the bags/suitcases and you have to be in time at the airfield. Now is Benalla only a 2 hour drive, so not much can go wrong there.
Glider pilots often are airline pilots and they have the time to fly the comps ,but have to return back to work straight away, so the “heavy jobs after” more or less waits  for the TC and crews. No worries part of the job!!
I guess a few pilots will maybe still have nightmares of the gaggles and see everything in  BLUE .
BUT..they also go back with great memories on a fine well organised competition …forget about the weather for a moment….and on great friendships ,lovely get-to-gethers and unforgettable moments.

Life continues so do we, but there is not a lot happening in our world at the moment. Gliders will take a few weeks to be shipped home again also from Namibia and South Africa where they had a great season . In S.A they still fly around 819 km. in a Duo Discus [Gariep Dam]
From Corowa not far from Benalla, they flew last Monday 750 in an ARCUS M, but with pretty strong wind and a drop of rain more N.
Stefan Soell in his LS 4 flew 500 from Tocumwal. Swiss Chris flew again from his homefield in Tocumwal and mentioned :
“2 days after WGC 2017 the good weather is back.” Grrrr……
Chris did a great job in sharing news and fabulous pictures over the last 2 weeks. Thanks again Chris!!

Got some new Polish FB friends, so I do receive some more nice pictures. Here is one shared by Maciek Labno ;

Sebastian now has eight FAI World Championship gold medals across different classes and is the most successful competition glider pilot in history.


Time to look at VERONICA in Namibie. I did not know a lot about it, so I asked Bert Schmelzer sr. who flew there with his wife Hilde for his impressions and as you can expect from Bert he did this detailed and with a lot of pictures!!


Veronica Flying Lodge Namibia


The well-known spots in Namibia as Bitterwasser, Pokweni and Kiripotib are for sure on the “to-do list” of many gliderpilots. A brand-new destination for friends of “long distance flights” with gliders is available since November 2016 in Namibia.

Veronica is a big farm of 180 km² with a huge animalstock of all sorts, including black rhinos, giraffes and all those African animals. Besides a farm, it is also customized as a Game-drive lodge, and during Namibian winters as a hunter lodge.

Bernd Dolba, a real seasoned maker, started Kiripotib already more than 10 years ago and was the responsible CFI of flying there. Under his watchful eye Kiripotib flourished, and is still a nice place with high activity.

Bernd gets intrigued by the Veronica location, laying at the Olifant-“river” in a beautiful surrounding with lovely red Kalahari-sanddunes. Close to Kiripotib direction ESE and NE from Bitterwasser, meaning excellent located in the morning when heading to the east to find good thermals during the first hours when long distance flights are planned. The imposing Lodge and the luxury Bungalows are located on the top of the dunes and one can watch the animals at the watersources, and admire the real African wide scenery. And belief it or not, Bernd realized in a mum of time an airfield with hangar, two outstanding runways (RW 08-26 / 2000m x 90m and RW 02-20 / 1600m x 60m) and one short emergency runway for landing of 700m, a powerful radiostation and an automatic weather-information-service every hour at the airfield, all readable over 100km.


How did he do it? With bulldozers, the right people, and an incredible energy, the untamed will to do and the talent of persuading the right people. The whole project was created from zero until the first take-off in less than six month, chapeau.

That first season, November 2016 until end of January 2017, was a rehearsal. Many plus thousand kilometer flights were made with only six self-launching gliders type Arcus M and one ASW-22.  More wasn’t scheduled but all went perfect and showed that next season twelve or thirteen self-launchers will be welcome.

Bert Sr. Schmelzer / Antwerp-Belgium

 Bert, with  Jaroslav Potměšil Czech owner of  the SHARK manufacturer and Dr. Med. Juergen Koch , a wellknown German long distance pilot . Juergen was so kind to send me lot’s of fabulous EXTRA pictures about Veronica. TOO many to publish now, but I keep them in my file.They are made with a CANON Power Shot SX710 HS.
Thanks Mr. Juergen Koch.

Flying in Africa must be awesome!!!!

See you in VERONICA!!!


CU  next week
Cheers Ritz

January 22, 2017

Last 1987 and 2017 -WGC- blog !Back with the regular blog on Wednesday!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 10:44 pm

Flying over a lot “of nothing”.
As shared by WGC champion Sebastian.

Listening to a lot of pilots,  the last day of this 2017 competition was a terrible one. Some even mentioned they should not have started but, they did .
2000 ft. over the field, over 100 gliders many dumping water mostly in 15 m. class as they were up first.

As I was not there I can not ” feel” the atmosphere so I stay out of that.
From 1987 I know the task setters had a hard time. And then they even had 12 days out of 12 with one compulsory  rest-day.
For both comps counts that the weather was not really Aussie weather. Both times cyclones up N had influences ,this year even worse than in 1987.

During both comps the Benalla people and the town were more than supportive, warm and friendly as I noticed .Town people invited teams for dinner or a real Aussie BBQ and shops made PR for soaring.Lot’s of pictures from happy people in town.

At both comps ” friends-for-live” were found or re-found. That is such a beautiful aspect of our sport!!! I relighted my enthusiasm by looking back at the pictures.
I can be honest or polite about 1987; when I am polite  I loved every minute there as anyone else did,  but when I am honest ,  we and a lot of others thought…. everywhere in Australia is good for a WGC , but not in Benalla anymore.
After 30 years they were back just there.

New gliders as EB 29R, JS 3 RAPTURE and VENTUS 3T, all of them showed their potential and will be seen even more on the next WGC’s. The DIANA 2 did a superb job.

What struck me most, creating this combination blog is that so many people are not with us anymore!!! All those nice friends so many gone due to illness or accidents.
Who could have ever thought that both Kees and Dennis would die within a year!!!! Tragic and unbelievable!!!! Kees during a hang glider accident in France and Dennis in his tug on a retrieve in Australia. Already………30 years ago this year.

Gaggle flying!!!! A hot item this year but also 30 years ago. The comps were pretty similar.
In the blue you stick together,…yes but with so many and some only looking at their instruments and relying on their FLARM , it is more and more dangerous. A mid air in 1987 and in 2017 with some near misses as well.
Also one in Uvalde in 1991 with a fatal accident involving Anssi Passila from Finland and one in 2012 with one pilot landing the other bailing out.[Peter Hartmann]
So in 30 years nothing changed. About time it does. We do now have the “intelligence” of trackers showing exactly what’s going on. Ask the pilots involved for a comment first, if that is not good enough …..disqualification.
That’s my humble opinion.

As shared on several social media.

I will continue with my Wednesday blogs now again. Mac has promised already to shine his light over this WGC. He did a great job. Being on that important spot 1 overall for a few days , but with “Sebastian and Lucasz on a mission” , it was nearly impossible to win, but he showed how good he is and I was surprised when Sebastian straight after finishing got a “mike” under his nose and said when he heard Mac was not yet back ; ” Mac not yet back?” He was some kind of surprised as well, so Sebastian had his doubts too, he proofs he is  “just a normal guy” but a very TALENTED new icon/ legend Ingo has quit competition flying already for a while.
The new Ingo.

The soaring icons/ legends for ALL of us.


Different times, different gliders [no engines], different instruments, but both more-than-once-WGC-winners.


For the last time back to 1987.
Here is the material I used ;my photo book and some papers I kept.


The book and papers and the book front and back with stickers from that time.

THE WW 2 HANGAR in Tocumwal from the in and outside in 1987.
About 10 years later we bought Sportavia including this hangar. Around 2006 the then sole owner R.C sold everything on an auction. As said before the SRGC “lives” in it now, with Ingo as their president.

Dutch pilots; Kees with his mate Bruce and Gerrit talking to the “red men”/helpers.
We always had MM, this time SX,  Kees always MS and Daan NL and Baer SB
Bruce later bought this MS.

USA pilot Eric Mozer ” Herbie” for friends  with his crew and the very involved French TC Jackie Clerbaux “Kiki”  for friends.

My friend Sue and I  and Inge, me , Giep and Kees….. just looking around the corner.

PARTY TIME after the comps. First a dinner together with the team, then drinks at the pub bar or the other way around.

Adrian,  Jo [from Tocumwal] and George enjoying drinks
Baer Selen ,2 times WGC champion and his partner Chris, Adrian ,Kees ,Giep and Daan , Gerrit, David and Robyn Riley ,George and Dennis and Piet all relaxed and in our hotel the Executive Hideaway for dinner and ” words”.

Great memories.
MUCH more work than I thought,… but I loved it.
CU on Wednesday.

“It’s all over” Part 2.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 7:45 pm


The very successful UK team shared some nice pictures from the champions and indeed with a gold for Russell and the team Cup and a bronze for Mike and Andy , they did extremely well. Looking forward to their performances at the EGC in Lasham.

The team effort. Excellent!

Germany with Walter , UK as winner with Max and for France Eric.


The champions in 18 m. CONGRATULATIONS !!!

15 m. class  with Mike [3] , Killian [1] and Mario [2] ,……and still BLUE skies!!!!


THE VERY HAPPY WINNERS from the other side.



With Andy [3], Russell [1] and Michael [2] , well done guy’s.



courtesy Maria Szemplinska one of the best photographers in the world
With Lucasz, Sebastian and Mac [Makoto]
and shared on FB by Gliding Team Klinika Kolasinski.


the “10 best players of the WGC game in 15 m.”  as shared by the French.

Good to see French pilot Anne on spot 9 and   UK pilot Derren on spot 6!!
Loved the comment of young Aussie Andy Maddocks who wrote;
“Firstly congratulations to the team for a great overall result. This post however I would like to talk about one of the happiest guys at the competition, Derren. Derren managed to come 6th place at his first WGC and as he told everyone that would listen at the final night party, in a 20+ year old glider. I’m sitting here this morning seeing people upset about 2nd or 3rd etc and you have this guy that makes this sport so amazing to be around. Congratulations Derren. You are a great of this sport and I look forward to seeing you on that top step one day soon.”




unfortunately I did not find one from 18 m. class.


Uys flew this speed in the JS 3 RAPTURE and,… no they did not win,… but proofed again that they built an excellent glider with a few very high scores.


Party time first yesterday for Bruce, so it should be relaxing first and then re-flecting . Here is his promised comment ;

It’s all finished. We are mostly packed, and now waiting to fly one of the new gliders which appeared here.
Yesterday was another tough day, which began with the15m class circling over the airfield so low we could have thrown some lunch packages up to them. Slowly it improved, and all of us were launched on the final task. I almost fell down for a relight, but crawled away, and it improved a bit more through the afternoon. The people like me who were down the list started as early as possible to make sure we got back, while the leaders played the terrible games they have to play. Mostly we used 4 knot climbs to 4500 feet, sometimes better, but as we came south towards home it got steadily worse. By the time we arrived over the Warby hills east of Benalla it was desperate, with conditions deteriorating rapidly as we struggled to find enough height to get back. Finally I left my last thermal a few hundred feet low, sneaked around the final checkpoint and set off towards the airfield. It was not until I flew through some friendly air around 8-10 km from the finish that I considered it a possibility that I might make it back, which I did. The leaders who started late all had a real struggle and finished slowly… just.
It is a sad measure of how this competition has been for me, that yesterday I made no real decisions of my own, and finished in third place! I just followed the pack, and for me, that is not a measure of skill. We need to do something about this. The answer is not simple, but many pilots I have spoken to feel very jaded about this problem.
Many thanks to all the followers through these past weeks, and for the many very kind and supportive comments. I enjoyed the time here, mostly for the beautiful people that are all part of this soaring community. I will miss them all until we meet wherever next time may be. Thank you one and all.”

THANK YOU BRUCE, for sharing this WGC in your view with the world.


The final words from WGC PR man Sean

Final Competition day at WGC Benalla

Low, blue, windy, yup, a really poor flying day, Australia-style. In Europe, it may be more straightforward – rain. But not at this comp. However, no matter how crummy the day was, it was still sparable. It was proven to be sparable by the pilots who made it around the course, complaining that they had to start at only 600 metres AMSL. Yes, it looked tough from the ground, and the look on the faces of the pilots when they landed said it, too. A bad day. All pilots had the same look – except for young Marcus Nouwens from South Africa, who says he had a good, challenging day.

Still, the pilots made around the course and finished the championships. Please have a look at the numerous videos I have posted with pre-launch interviews with many of the pilots as well as their reactions after they landed. What they said and how they looked at the sky, will tell you more than I ever could about the most difficult flying day of the championships.

At the end of it all, we have three new World Gliding Champions. Russell Cheetham in Open Class, Killian Walbrou in 18m Class, and a not so new champion, but a champion nevertheless after holding off his great rival Mac Ishikawa – Sebastian Kawa.

More from me in the morning. I know most of you are just waking up on wintry Saturday morning. Make a pot of coffee, forget the newspaper, just look at the videos from the final day of WGC Benalla.

Sean Young

More later with the last pictures of the 1987’s.

“It’s all over again!” Part 1.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 3:44 am


The official results AND the results of the team cup, as I got them. Thanks!!!

Some last reflections;

—-A few were unhappy/disappointed with the meal at the closing dinner:
 But this….! $30 dollars later and this cold meal is apparently all the land of out door meals can offer at the culmination of 12 days of competition. What a disappointment. Skipping this affront and going to a restaurant with my team.”

NOT GOOD!!!I remember fabulous dinners in fancy restaurants in Italy in the past.


I guess the French team was TOO HAPPY to see what was on their plate, though one face says enough….

As shared by the French.


The British Gliding Association was HAPPY, so they should:
We have a new World Champion for GB and the British Gliding Team with an awesome performance in the Open class by Russell Cheetham. Andy Davis has taken Bronze in the Open class and Mike Young has taken Bronze in the 18m class! And a fantastic team achievement by all in a difficult competition resulting in the team Gold medal!”


—-Anita reflected on Bruce and Bruce on the comps:
Anita; “A picture says a thousand words!!! Brucey may come back to you later tonight…. “a few days ago I flew really well, fell in a hole and came just about last…. today I never made a decision and came third!” Not quite true, but a ridiculous reflection of how the comp has gone.

Bruce relaxed with a nice cool beer. DESERVED!!!
As shared by Taylor’s Gliding Page.


The comment on the last day from John Good, TC from team USA
—–“The final day of WGC2017 was also the weakest, lowest, bluest and slowest – and the one with the fewest total finishers.  It was a serious test and thus perhaps a fitting way to end what has been a very challenging contest.

15-Meter pilots were first to launch, and thought to be in need of a true challenge, to compensate for having achieved only 5 scored days. And they got one, in the form of a long area task with a first leg into the eastern hills.  As has been the pattern, nearly all pilots waited until very late to start. (When you start a 3.5-hour task well after 3pm on a day when lift is predicted to be weak by 5:30 and dead by 6:30, your return home may be in jeopardy.)

In all, 13 pilots failed to complete their task.  Those who did turned in notably low – bordering on pitiful – speeds.  If this morning you had told Sebastian Kawa he’d manage just 81.5 kph, he’d have been sure his quest for yet another 15-Meter World Championship had failed.  Yet this speed was good for first place, 1000 points, and a comfortable win.

In view of the 15-Meter class struggles (which were apparent well before the full class had been launched) the “long winger” classes had their tasks scaled back to semi-reasonable distances.  Yet we still saw 8 outlandings in 18-Meter class, and 7 in Open.  Speeds in these classes were a notch or two above pitiful, but still quite low (easily the worst of the contest).

In 18-Meter class, Killian Walbrou of France had little trouble holding his first-place position: he won the day (at 98 kph) and with it the championship.  In Open class, results were not so straightforward: all pilots standing in the top three overall  had uncharacteristically poor results.  Michael Sommer managed to beat Russel Cheetham of Great Britain – but by only 12 points, which was not enough to overtake him, so Russel is the new Open Class champion.  (Here again, had you suggested before the flight that 91 kph would keep Russel in first place, you’d have earned some strange looks.)

This contest has to be seen as a triumph for Jonker Sailplanes.  Thirty-two of their models were competing here; they took first place in both Open and 18-Meter classes, and their brand new JS-3 achieved notable results on several days in 15-Meter class.  Another new model here was the 18-Meter Ventus 3; by taking 3 of the top 5 places, it has begun to establish the sort of reputation that the Schempp-Hirth factory was hoping it might.


The hard working jury without the president Rick. They look”old and wise”!

As shared by Rick.

“A family affair”

And a few from the past, just nice pictures to share the 1987 feeling from our family, we had a great time, I still have a good feeling.

Very fancy: Our Dennis flew to Tullamarine with his instructor John Williams to pick me up.

Our daughter Inge went solo ,[ just turned 14 in November when it was too cold to go solo,]  in Tocumwal in the weeks before the WGC.
Mum is a bit  “scared/worried” , as brother Dennis was the tuggie ,so 2 kid’s in the air, dad and Kees only can smile. Dad with flowers.


 our Inge, gorgeous from the inside as well as the outside. And still….
Asked her permission to publish this picture. No worries!

The last couple of pictures tomorrow,…. I scanned 75 already!!!
More news in part 2 and the 2017 prize giving.
Cheers Ritz

January 21, 2017

Benalla..last day part 2!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 10:56 pm

To good for words!!
Richard Geytenbeek,…thank you!!!

Not a lot happening with the scores now ,so there might be a point more or less but here is how it looks;

15 m.
1.  Sebastian Kawa from Poland  in the Diana 2 …..5417 points and WORLD CHAMPION!!!!!!
2. Mac Ichikawa from Japan in the Ventus 2a  ……….5261 points and vice world-champion.
3. Lucasz Grabowski from Poland in the Diana 2 ……5212 and winner of the bronze
just 7 points  ahead of Lourent Aboulin. So that changed .
And,.. a very impressive spot from Belgium pilot Andre Emmanuel Litt , not Baudouin sorry!!, on spot 5 [5153] The rest of the pilots was in the 4000 range.
The brand new “raptures”  were on spot 11 and 12.

18 m.
1. Killian Walbrou from France in the JS 1 ….6607 points and one more day of flying.WORLD CHAMPION!!!!!
2. Mario Kiessling from Germany in VENTUS 3T……6513 points.
3. Mike Young from the UK in ASG 29e……6477 points. 30 years ago crew member now on spot 3 for the bronze. Well done.
Matthias on the “nasty”  spot 4 had 6439, Boerje at 5 with  6432 and Wolfgang on 6 with 6409.
So  4 brand new Ventus 3 T gliders  were in the top 7 a great result!!!

open class
1. Russell Cheetham from the UK in the JS c  ….6562 points and WORLD CHAMPION.
2. Michael Sommer from Germany in the EB 29R….6549 so only 13 points difference, but a good vice world champion.
3. Andy Davis from the UK in the JS 1 c…..6520 points
Good old Oscar Goudriaan was on the 4th spot.[6455]

Peng Du flew 60 km. on this last day , but he can say he flew a WGC!!! He finished on the last spot [1378] even with 2 pilots NOT flying over the last days!!

So all in all great results for the UK with 3 team pilots in the top 3’s taking a gold, and 2 bronze medals home , Poland and  Germany ,  each good for 2 medals ;  Poland with gold and bronze , Germany with 2 times silver.
Well done to Mac and Killian , for taking gold  back to France and silver to /for Japan .

The South African pilots straight away started packing the containers for the long trip home.
I guess the South African team is a bit disappointed ,they  had hoped for more ,as many others.


Back to the last day of 1987!!!!

The chase for the title was in each class between 2 pilots.
In open Marc and Ingo with 171 points difference in favor of Ingo.
Mike Opitz was on the heels of Markku 185 points in standard class .
Brian was only 97 points ahead of Holger in 15 m..
It was a good LAST day, strong blue but up to 9500 ft. So tasks were long for a last day but close by . The whole task was close around Benalla ,a band direction East and West.
Open had 572 km,..Standard 538 and 15 m 570 km. With such distances “Things”  can still happen ,….good or wrong.

On top of , that part of the task went into the mountains  and nobody liked that as it was” miserable flying” there  as they found out earlier.
A lot of talking before about tactics.
But in the end in open class Marc won with 118 km./h so 1000 points and Ingo was 3d with 989 points. Janusz Centka was in between. So that was good enough for Ingo to World Champion AGAIN…his 4th WORLD TITLE.
1. Ingo Renner Australia in ASW 22B …….11.019 points.
2.Marc Schroeder from France in ASW 22b…..10.895 points.
3. Bruno Gantenbrink from Germany in Nimbus 3….10.770 points.

Ingo on his way to receive the 4th gold medal .

In 15 m. Our Dutch world champion from Hobbs in New Mexico was 3d for the day, his mate Daan 4th. But it was all about Holger and Brian and also Doug Jacobs, who  tried with a “coup” together with Eric Mozer to maybe reach the top if the others would fail.
They did not as Holger won the day with a speed of 121.5 km./h. Not enough to beat Brian who was 2d for the day with 120 km./h.
Doug got himself in trouble over the mountains,he was ahead but when there was no lift to be found he had to go in survival mood and hanging around on not much,  the gaggle with Holger and Brian passed by,……..

1. Brian Spreckley from the UK in LS 6 with 10.314 points  WORLD CHAMPION!!!
2. Holger Back from Germany in LS 6a with 10.254 points
3. Doug Jacobs from the USA in LS 6b with 10.077 points.

with from left to right. Jacques Aboulin Mike Opitz and Markku Kuittinen, from standard class
Ingo Marc and Bruno from open and
Brian and Holger from 15 m.
Between Bruno and Brian Wally Wallinton and another official.

standard class .Another daily win for Leonardo who flew around with 105 km./h on the clock.[1000 points]  Andy Davis was runner up  [ 987] and Markku  “only” got 925 points . But no worries for the first time in history a FINNISH world champion. They celebrated till the morning.
1. Markku Kuittinen from Finland in DISCUS A with 10.536 points.
2. Mike Opitz from the USA in DISCUS B with 10.393 points
3. Jaques Aboulin from France in DISCUS with 10.281 points .His mate Alain Delylle had 10.163 on spot 4.

AND all of them again now also with Doug Jacobs to the right.

There were 12 days and the weather was like this year not as it should be , but at least they had many more days.

THE PRIZE GIVING WAS HOT 40 dgr.C. AND ” BOTHERED” and everybody was tired, some even fainted….

The Dutch team with a flag as shadow, on the first picture you see how somebody had fainted from the heat.

Kees [spot 4 overall] and Giorgio Galetto on spot 28. This year on spot 27 in 18 m. class.


one more  parade and off we went all home again….

Australia with Ingo and crew Peter in front and the Italian team.


The Dutch Team


The German team and many more

Cu tomorrow with some kind of epilogue and pictures from the prize giving. And on request some extra pictures from 1987!
Cheers Ritz

Good evening, Benalla and friends down under, good morning Europe! LAST DAY!!!Updated all the time!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ritz @ 6:32 pm

Shared by the organizers.

Had a long conversation yesterday evening with Bruce, who was on his way to Benalla. He will hand over the Bruce Brockhoff Trophy to the pilot with the fastest speed during this WGC during the prize giving ceremony.
We are both sad about this weather.

January 21 2017 last flying day in Benalla ;
Point was ,…would they fly?
It was all not so good with this weather this season  , UNFORTUNATELY, but NO WORRIES they did!!
But,…it was not an easy day not at all. After launching some pilots re-landed and some thought seeing those big gaggles again, this is it, it was OK not more for me!!
Tasks were set and changed again for 18 m. and open to B. They even had to re-grid.
A day on which you can loose a lot or gain a lot. Water was dumped at departure so empty or nearly empty gliders but against the blue skies this looks great as you can see on the picture shared by the Dutch team.

As shared by the Dutch team.


15m. 3.30 AAT  on day 11 with task 6;
Well it looks pretty clear now that Sebastian Kawa is the new WORLD CHAMPION. He won the last day as a good champion should , with 311 km. in time 3.49 with a relative late start at 3.06. Stefano in the VERSUS started 10 minutes earlier but still was runner up for the day with 288 km. in 3.36. At this stage Belgium pilot Emmanuel Litt was 3d for the Day.
Where is Mac the number 1 overall??? He flew 300 km. in 4.13 and was one of the early starters at 2.58. His day showed a 19th spot and that means that Sebastian has passed him and moved from 2 to 1 overall.
Mac at this stage is on a silver spot and I think this will stay like that, as Louis finished as number 6 for the day. He will be 3d overall. .
Still all very preliminary!!!

Sebastian by FABIO. From my archive.

18m .Racing task 281 km. on day 11 with task 7;
The scores for 18 m. were in first and it looks like French pilot Killian won the WGC  and he won the last day as well. Good on him.All results of course preliminary at this stage.
German pilot Mario was runner up today and though he started about the same time as his mate Matthias [3.11 for 3. 14 PM]  he was faster ,must have had a better run and Matthias lost some time/ points.[About 100 on the number 1 and as scores were SO close in this class it costs!!!
Result Mario will get the silver jumping up from spot 4 overall and Matthias drops from 2 to 4 just behind Mike Young from the UK who looks as number 3 for the bronze at this stage. Mike was 4th today just behind Wolfgang, who will be 6th overall after a good 2d week.

A very moving moment for Killian and his TC Eric [Napoleon] Both a class apart!!!


Open Racing task 302 km. on day 11 with task 8;
Interesting last day!!!! Ricardo flew himself and his glider to a 2d daily win, [103.8 km./h.] but not enough to make a difference in the overall scores.
More interesting was also the daily spot for Michael Sommer  on 16 and Tassilo Bode 26 after an out landing after 294 km. So close by!!!
Russell was only 19th for the day and Andy 21st. When they started this day it was Russell, Andy and Michael, it looks now Russell as WORLD CHAMPION, Michael good for silver and Andy for bronze. Great results for the UK.
Several out landings in this class, Laurens and Tassilo ,Antti and Bill. Not nice on a last day!!

Russell and Lisa who did a great job as reporter.
As shared by team UK.

Definitive results later!
BUT it looks like we have 3 new GREAT WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Killian from France in 18 m. , Sebastian from Poland in 15 m. his so maniest WORLD TITLE and Russell from the UK in open class.

A thank you from team UK on this last day:
“A number of local shops and businesses are supporting individual countries taking part in the World Championships. The British Gliding Team would particularly like to thank #Specsavers #Benalla for their support in providing two of the Trackers.

More later, In the end the early starters had a better day ,as in the end the day collapsed totally.


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