A bit more news!

Still Sunday november 25

I always enjoy 1000 km flights . Not that I not recognize a first 300 or 500 but a 1000km+ is and remains special.

I noticed on OLC that Hans Wiesenthal flew another beauty in Gariep Dam,to be honest I lost track of all his 1000 km flights! Lots of 1000 km flights over the last weeks in Africa and now also the FIRST one in Corowa Australia. Congratulations to Rien Bastiaanse from The Netherlands , flying their brand new ASG 29/18 . A good beginning of a hopefully long and splendid carreer for this glider.

Hope you enjoyed reading the story about the first big overseas competition from Simon Holding from the Alice Springs gliding club.

A huge week with a huge art exposition on December 2, so busy busy and not back on sunday the 2d due to this vernissage, but….I will keep you informed! Cheers Ritz

The Dutch Gliding Day!

Alphen aan den Rijn

25 november 2007

Yes the DAY , was a great day! I did not know that I knew such a lot of glider pilots and to be honest I was amazed to see how many more know me and a few times I had a problem to find out who they were. But in the end I could place ALL of them!

VERY nice  to see was how many of the 300 guests have been in Tocumwal in “my” Sportavia period!!Lots of young ones, who worked for us! Sorry to hear that some got married and split up not long after. A bit confronting:You clearly see that you really are getting older, but what’s wrong with that.

We were welcomed with ” vlaai “, the real Limburg traditionel baked round flat cake,[ more or less,] with rice or apricot or prumes. Just yammie!!! After the opening words a very intertesting item about safety  presented by Belgian pilot, flight instructor and examinator, Rik Moons. He spoke in a very open , direct and honest way about Human factors in flight, the pilot and his restrictions. A full hour of things to learn from!

After that there were parallel sessions  and with applying you could give your perference. I decided for ” Coaching ,a succesfactor with a European or world competition. ” This time it was about the Europeans were Ronald Termaat won the title coached by Baer Selen former 2 times world champion. Of course I knew as TC a lot about it , was even pleased to see that a lot I started was /is still used. Great story  by both.

Time for lunch and time to talk with Leonardo and Ricky who were going to present their story in the afternoon. My friends from Belgium were there all 4 Schmelzers and happy . They just heard last Tuesday that both Tijl and Bert jr are selected by the Belgium authorities to fly in the 2008 World comps in Rieti. The Dutch are hopefully going with 4 now, as I found out that Bas Seijffert will fly too.Only “minor” problem, he needs a few days off.

The afternoon I selected a meeting with the people involved with the new European rules. EASA is busy with new rules for licenses , medicals maintenace etc all in ONE European regulation. Interesting, it should be all working in another 4 years and it starts slowly in spring 2008. I was impressed by Matthias Borgmeier.

Then another interesting item ” Competing in gliding-Winning with your mind” , by father and son Brigliadori who both wrote the book with the same title. They spoke about their experiences in gliding, with winning and even compared gliding with a business ; how to manage, how to anticipate. Great story.

After prizes were given for the OLC winners in Holland and the clubs. Also prizes for the best pictures made by amateur photographers and all published in de “Thermiek” , the best Dutch gliding magazine!

After a drink with many, even Eric who lives in France now ;he still flies KLM and was runner up in Sweden during the World comps. He told me he was leaving today for “his boss” to Africa and was going to pay a visit with Boudewijn to Dick Bradley in Bloemfontein. Of course he took my best wishes for the WHOLE Bloemfontein team! My Belgium friends Bert and Hilde move to Bitterwasser soon and Daan has left for Pokweni….and I am still here, sitting in the rain!

Back home after a 2 hour trip, at 1.30 AM after a fine dinner with nice friends, including the Brigliadories. At least 2 world champions on ONE table. Baer and Leonardo.

Enough for now, cheers Ritz

An interesting story by Simon Holding from OZ




I was fortunate to be offered a position on the Australian Team to fly in the Pre Worlds in Rieti. Others have covered the blow by blow flying of the contest. I thought I would attempt to write about some of the ‘feel’ of an international contest (now that I have been to one).

Why would anyone want to spend considerable money and effort to go to the other side of the world and fly in a gliding contest?


Because you get to live in another culture, and be accepted by the people – and they were wonderful. We met people whom we never have encountered otherwise. We flew over countryside, and saw the back blocks of Italy from a perspective that few will ever see. We flew in the company of the Gryphon Vulture – priceless. We flew over castles, ruins, mountains, ancient towns. We flew low through picturesque valleys, hoping to never see the terrain from that perspective again, ever. We encountered weather that left us in awe, and in touch with our own insignificance.

The pilots flying at the standard of the Pre Worlds generally have a positive can do attitude. They were a fun group – highly motivated and proper talented. It was a great experience to mix with people where there was little class distinction. Just to be at the event meant that there was an assumed ability, and we were treated as equals.

As I had an Italian license I was able to hire one of the local club’s DG505 and take some of our crew for a quick tour of the Rieti site. This was a privilege for me, as it was an opportunity to give some of our team a taste of what we were experiencing as pilots in the contest. What I quickly discovered was that non pilots make far better passengers – the pilots know enough to recognize the potential danger – and squealed. I was astounded at what a few days of desensitization had done for my willingness to work the lift in the hills.


Early in the week the girls in our crew had voted the airport fireman as the most arrogant, personality devoid individual on the planet. Big call, given that he didn’t speak a word of English. Clearly his body language was not up to scratch. Lisa Trotter during our coaching had told us it was important to try to get on with everyone – it has measurable contest benefits. So, setting the bar high, I set myself a goal to win the fireman over within a week. It was with great pride as I walked down the taxiway smoking a big cigar, and although I conceded the habit was disgusting, this cigar was special. Smugly I told the crew that my mate the fireman had given it to me. Mission accomplished….

Not every day was perfect. The end of my contest came when I got caught with no lift in a steep valley with limited landing options.

I landed the glider on a steep hill, and came to rest undamaged. My face developed that surprised (really surprised) look when the glider rolled backwards about 50 metres (31 kph on the trace), coming to rest in a dry creek bed. The result of this backwards inglorious trip was a broken rudder, ailerons and wing root.

I climbed out, shook myself off, and assessed the damage. The mobile phone was working so I reported in, and set about exploring my new found environment. About 100 metres up a very steep hill stood a huge man with his arms crossed, looking mean. I smiled, told him my name was Simon, that I was from Australia, I didn’t speak Italian, I was sorry to land in his paddock, and shook his hand. Thank Christ he smiled. Trouble was, he spoke no English, and I spoke no Italian.

Mario was greatly confused as to how the glider had got to where it was, backed into a creek. We walked together back down the hill and I did a bit of pointing and miming to demonstrate my flight path, and showed him the wheel marks – up, and down, the hill. At this point he was mightily impressed and pointed at me declaring ‘numero uno’.

Alessandro (the CFI) back at the club that owned the glider would more likely consider me from the aspect of a number two rather than a number one, after what I had done to his aircraft.

Mario was most concerned that I was not hurt, and I managed to get that idea across that I was fine. Then he was upset that I would not be found by the crew. Despite showing him our coordinates and trying to indicate that the crew had GPS, it still required another call to Franca (our Contest Director) to explain in Italian to Mario that all would be OK.  A couple of hours later, Tim Shirley (my crew) was not so sure. When ‘Bitchin Betty’ inside the GPS announced to him in the car ‘you have arrived’ he admitted after, that he thought I was either dead, or he was in the wrong valley – there was no where here to land. He was a bit disturbed to drive around the next corner and find Mario and I.

During the wait for Tim and my wife Margot to rescue me, Mario and I sat on his verandah drinking wine and enjoying the sunshine. Looking across the valley at Mt Terminillo in the distance framed by a saddle in the hills, I laughed out loud and saluted Mario with his glass of wine ‘to life’.

Despite us sharing no language, Mrs Mario explained that she had two grandkids one 600mm and the other (a boy) an 800mm version. Their cat was called Katerina. She was very proud of her son, who I gather works in IT. I admired their magnificent vegetable patch, and we compared the difficulties faced with growing tomatoes back in Alice Springs.

Damaging the glider put me out of the contest at that point. Tim and I did have an opportunity on the last contest day to help retrieve Bruce Taylor. At 4 pm we set off to collect his glider 90 km away. We got to the presentation at midnight…..


Our work was not quite finished. Margot and I had to deliver the glider that I had injured to hospital up near Bologna.

We delivered the glider to a repair shop in the North of Italy, and then spent a week traveling around and enjoying ourselves. Paul Mander assured me that touring the Amalfi Coast was the best way to recover from damaging a glider, but Italy was in the grip of a heatwave, and so we stayed in the cool North. Food, wine, white water rafting and just plain relaxing was kind of neat, but reality called, and we had to head off home.

On the way back to Rome we dropped in to Rieti to say a few goodbyes. Early in our stay in Rieti, I tried a few times to engage the publican in some mimed conversation. It took the gruff Carlos a few days to ask me in perfect English what I was doing in Rieti? He was pleased to find out that we were flying in the contest. When I asked why he had not spoken to me before in English, Carlos said he couldn’t be bothered talking to tourists. Apparently I had been promoted up the ladder from tourist in his eyes, and we became friendly. We got inside running on the gossip about the piazza, and a great insight into how the locals interpreted events around them.

The local festival of St Antonio was deemed a far more important topic than the crippling garbage workers strike over in Florence. Local police were held in poor regard. The Mayor was popular. Planning laws are not. We agreed that my problems back home were about similar – with small variations. Carlos told us not to say good bye – he and his wife are coming to see us in Alice Springs.

Anyway, the point of all the above, is to illustrate how wonderful the experience of contest flying is. Getting an Italian perspective that few would, from the air (sometimes close up!)  Meeting the people not as a tourist, but accepted as a guest in their country. Finding out about your own limitations, and how we react under pressure in different arenas.

Six years ago when I started gliding, it never occurred to me that it would be possible to compete offshore. But within the Gliding Federation we have such a generosity of spirit, a knowledge base and a willingness to give people an opportunity that a remarkable experience can be had in contest flying. If presented with the opportunity, I would urge everyone to give contest flying a go. Who knows what tomorrow brings?

Newsy news! Edition 100!!!!!

Alphen aan den Rijn

november 18 2007

A great sunday morning here in Holland, full of sunshine and a bleu sky, a morning to just feel happy. Specially cause I do not have to scratch the ice from my carwindow. It’s my day off!

Still have to get used to scratching ice from windows and to be honest I am NOT good in it and too impatient. Don’t forget that I had no winters since 1984!!!!! I surely will get used to it.Though I heard that there is a “magic bottle” ;spray the stuff from the bottle on the window , use your wipers and the problem is solved!!! Have to buy such a bottle immedeately.

Never underestimate Klaus Ohlman , THE best long distance pilot in the world. In Argentina he made a few nice long ones again. Also Bitterwasser pilots flew long distances and OZ had great weather too.

I am more then pleaesed with the very good flights from Terry Bellair from Bendigo in Victoria Australia.He flew several times in our Tocumwal-Outback-Shootout and was eager to fly the longest distance. He never won , but I see that he still improves and flew another over-700 km flight this time from Narromine in his DG 400 17.I am really impressed and pleased!!!!!

This afternoon the young Rieti team from the junior World comps meets in Noordwijk on the beach for a beach walk and a nice dinner in an Italian restaurant.Looking forward to catch up with them again. One of them, Bart , will fly in 2008 in THE WORLD COMPS, together with Jelmer and Robbie , as said in an earlier post all junior world pilots! Maaike , yes good looking always smiling Maaike, will be there as TC and she has got some practise now too. She was my assistant in Hus Bos and did the job by herself last year in Rieti and….she did a good job. Pilots are mostly a bit jealous on the dutch team , because of their dedicated TC s’. Yes we have a few good ones here and Maaike ‘s mum is a great ,very experienced TC too.

Talking about World comps! The first bulletin of the Luesse world comps is online.[www.wgc2008.org] since november 15. 130 Pilots are max. allowed to fly or 50 max. per class.Lufthansa will be the main sponsor, more to follow ofcourse  and nice news is that ” under circumstances special conditions may be available exclusively for ALL_LUFTHANSA _flights.

Next week is the Dutch Gliding Day and all 300 allowed guests got a ticket. Even some have to wait on a waiting list.Will give you the news after. Read in the papers about a special English meteo-prof.  who predicts that around that day, between november 24 and 28 we can expect extreme weather in the NW part of Europe touching Holland too with 12 b. wind and lots of rain. The Dutch meteo says “nonsense”, waiting anxious now who is correct.

Last but not least ! I was wondering where the Japanese pilots have gone after the demise of Sportavia, but I saw that Yoghi is back in Toc and flies with the Sportaviation team in Tocumwal. For sure Junzo is there too then!

Eddie and Don are very busy building up the new center and their website is under construction; www.sportaviation.com.au

The club in Toc has their annual Christmas party on December 2 with a meeting before with as main ” item ” to buy yes or no a glider for joy flights and instruction, which they lease now.

Just saw that this is POST—- ONE HUNDRED—- . Not too bad, is it?

That’s it for today Cheers Ritz

Soaring in Oz and Africa REALLY started!

Alphen aan den Rijn                  November 11 2007

After the demise of “our” own gliding paradise Sportavia Soaring Center in Tocumwal, it is great to see that our many guests/customers/friends have found their ‘new homes” in Africa and Australia.I worried about it a lot, but it all looks fine! That pleases me more then I can say!!! I wish all friends great flights and good times. I write a bit about them!

Great flights already in Gariep Dam were Uwe flew nearly his so maniest 1000 km. flight in his Nimbus 3DM. But also very nice to see that Lothar flew in a DG 600 some nice long flights from Tocumwal airport. The Murray Border flying club is active there with Ingo Renner as their instructor.

In Corowa they have had the first briefing and good old friend Harry has made a few real nice flights already in his own ventus and I know how special this is for him now. Great Harry!!!!!Also Pepe has arrived there and made his paella as ever before and …already a great flight;FAI, yes that’s what he wants!!!!Good on him!

Terry who always flew the “OUTBACK-SHOOTOUT -comps” from Toc is as  busy gliding , but now from his home field Raywood [Victoria ], where they have great weather too as he made a   789 km.  flight in his DG 400 [17m].Super Terry!!!He is a “go-er”.

From the 8th of November onwards,  we will see many long flights from Corowa as the gliders have arrived in their containers, after a short delay ,so pilots had a a bit of a forced rest but could go straight up in the air after , under good circumstances.More good friends will arrive there over summer!

But even my friends in Israel are doing well. Rafi , who flies at world comps, made in his own area , some nice long flights. We had of course many, many Japanese guests and I have to find out what happened to them; were have they gone for flying!

So keep an eye on the OLC [On Line Competion] if you are interested in the longer flights this summer overseas. But be aware that NOT everybody wants to be on it and some pilots only want to fly with FAI rules, which makes it more difficult , then “following the weather” to make the longest flight.

 Art, another guest from Canada, will be in Rieti to help out on the technical site. Great news! Keeping in touch with him, brought me back to another “old” friend, Jos , who flew in the same club as we did , 40 years ago .He moved to Canada and I never heard from him again. Now we are on “writing terms ” again. Is n’t gliding great for friendships!!??

That’s about it for this week!Absolutey appalling weather here in Holland with storms, rain , hail , thunder and lightning, so be happy if you are somewhere in the sun. If not ……enjoy life anyhow,  as I do!

Cheers Ritz

Vintage gliders!

ALPHEN AAN DEN RIJN  6  november 2007

Just received this news from good friend Bruce from Australia and as a “fan ” from vintage gliders , I share it with you, Ozzie readers. Hope you all recovered from Melbourne Cup Day! Efficient was superb , so was his jockey Michael Rodd. Yes, I keep an eye on things!

 A bit of a pity; but I could not copy and paste the pictures on top and bottom, so there is a bit of space left between the writing.Bruce was one of the pilots we met in Rieti for the preworlds in Italy in 1984 and due to him and his mates , we moved later to OZ to live there.You see gliding can have a lot of influence on your life! I found out!!!!!!

In other countries during my soaring-trips as TC , crew or editor I met lots and lots of people, also Canadian pilot Art Grant. A hard-working  glider -freak, if I may say so, a really nice guy and a responsable help on a field during a competition. He has offered his help in Rieti for the technical team, during the world comps in 2008, so I hope to meet him there . One bottle of nice red and lots of stories from the past!!! I see it already happen.

Gliding was very good in Canada last summer,specially in the mountains but according to him the plains were less good!He even met good friend Daan there, who picked up his glider to put in store for his next American summer. Daan leaves for Africa this winter.

Soon  young pilot Bart,his  crew and coach from the junior world championships in Italy [Rieti] will meet for a drink and nice food,in Scheveningen on the beach.Will be there too on invitation, which is really nice. Maaike, the very goodlooking TC from the juniors will be NOW the TC for the Dutch team in Rieti-2008. 3 Young pilots from my HusBos Junior team will fly in the WORLDS now. Great achievement in such a short time.Robbie, Bart and Jelmer are preparing already to WIN!

That’s it for now. See you Ritz .                                                                                Below the Vintage invitation.Good old Bruce is doing a great thing there, in donating money for the GFA gliding museum ,for a building for old donated gliders. Would Bill Riley former owner and founder of Sportavia have donated one of his vintage gliders??? Will find out for you.

“The Australian Gliding Museum was incorporated in December, 1999, mainly to
establish and operate a public museum in which gliding is to be featured, to
encourage participation in gliding, to restore, display and fly vintage
gliders , and encourage greater participation in the adventure of flight.
To date we have been given approximately 30 gliders. These include 2
Primaries, Schneider Club 2-seater, Slingsby T31 and T35, Dunstable Kestrel,
Olympia, Coogee, LO150, HP-14, Grunau Baby 3, Slingsby Skylark 4, Hutter
H-17, Altair, Open Cirrus, Flying Plank, Schleicher Ka7, Schneider ES52
Kookaburra, Schweizer TG-3A, and IS28B2.In addition we have major components
of Bocian, Mucha and Gull 4 aircraft and a number of other aircraft have
been promised when we have suitable storage facilities. These aircraft are
located at different locations around Victoria so unfortunately they will
not be available for viewing at the November 10 function. We have an active
refurbishment program underway and, apart from painting, close on half of
these aircraft have been refurbished to display standard. In addition to
aircraft, we are also accumulating considerable archival material so that we
will eventually be able to present a comprehensive history of gliding in


is pleased to invite You 

To Bacchus Marsh Airfield 

At 11 am on Saturday, 10th November, 2007 on the occasion of an  

 Important Presentation by Bruce

 Brockhoff to the Museum

and the Rollout of the Slingsby T31b

and possible demonstration flight

 Barbeque Lunch  RSVP Graeme Barton, 03 9802 1098 

The Australian Gliding Museum Inc. Annual General Meetingwill be held after lunch 


www.wgcrieti.it is online!!!!Bulletin 1 is on!!!!

Alphen aan den Rijn 4 november 2007

Finally I am settled in my new house and to be honest I am very pleased with it. I like to be at home nowadays. It has cost me quite some time, to get used to living back in Holland, but also that problem is solved.Of course I will NEVER forget the great years in Australia and the fact that I had the opportunity to run with a few people the gliding resort in Tocumwal, with great succes and lots of guests who became friends through the years. After 20 years with NO winters , I see ” COLD” as  my biggest problem here,  but with lots of “sunny ” stories from friends who are back, I will survive! Life goes on!

Talking bout Australia; Mr. Bones married last week!!!!You remember Ashock???? Yes our tow pilot for many years in Tocumwal. As a very young pilot-to-be ,he arrived many years ago from India in Australia. He was a very experienced tuggie. Nowadays he flies on a Mallard for Paspaley Pearls up in Darwin. Congratulations Bones!!!

For sure you will find more news about Australia in wintertime as that is together with Africa , the place to be in European wintertime! Though I saw last week on the OLC that a 1000 km flight was made somewhere in the USA.

In HOLLAND the gliding world will meet on the 24th of november for the   ” Dutch Gliding Day”. This year the aeroclub of Venlo is organizing the day . They celebrate their 75th anniversary. There will be different sessions to participate and to listen to stories about safety, technics, European rules for the air and the airspace, a pretty hot item.

Pilots as Baer Selen and Roland Termaat, the new European Champion in 18 m. class will talk about gliding on top-level and Leonardo Brigliadori and his son Rick will talk about ” Competing in gliders-Winning with your mind” . Last year the book with this title came on the market and it is a very pleasant. informative and readable book. What can you expect else from pilots with their HUGE experience!

Speaking about Leonardo. He will be  the director of the Rieti 2008 world championships for “the smaller ships , meaning standard class, club class and world class. The new 2008 site has just been put on the internet with the first bulletin!

The World competition in Luesse for open, 18 and 15 m, the bigger ships and in Rieti will be the 30thiest World Competition organized by the FAI. A fact to think about!!!

I wrote already the first article for the Ritz corner and I hope you are all going to read the stories again in 2008.

Finishing off this post, with 2 sites where you can look to vintage gliders. They are in Dutch , but even if you can’t read it, it is still worthwhile to look at.One about the PH 58, a Grunau Baby; the history and restoration.


And one site about a KA 7 privately owned flying 3 times a 300 km [ one 367!!]in August. The site is called; Gliding is fun and you can find it at


That’s it for today. Have fun this coming week and enjoy reading and looking at the different sites on this Sunday. Will be back next Sunday. Cheers Ritz