I wish you a HAPPY, HEALTHY and SAFE 2008!

Alphen aan den Rijn

december 30 2007

When I am back on line it will be 2008 , a new year with high expectations. With the risk to get you totally bored , I HAVE to write again about all those 1000 km flights in Africa. Good friend Daan flew as far as I have counted already 7 1000 km flights in this season.Fabulous!! He will be back home soon , so I HAVE to check with him about his impressions. But the 1000 from Mario and Jean Luc, from Sigi , Walter etc just great , what fun THEY must have!!!

Another of my “high horses” is and remains Tocumwal. I was SO pleased to see several flights , great good long flights, on the OLC. Good old Ingo flew 900 km in his discus a great triangle set to the west where the weather was great looking at the 1000 km flight from Gawler with Peter Temple, flying it in his DG 200!!!!!!WOW!!!!And …another great flight from Terry in his DG 400! Lots of good flights were flown also from  Corowa ! What a year!!!!By the way the new hangar at Toc airport is nearly finished and Eddie and Cheryl can look from the first floor of the still excisting yellow hangar over the field.

 A bit in a hurry, so;



Not funny!

December 25 2007


I was not planning on writing but have a few spare minutes before my familie arrives for my first Christmas dinner in my own home in Holland. Time to open champagne and to just relax and let things happen as Rodger , my daughter Inge’s husband is doing the cooking.

The GRAND PRIX in OMARAMA is over with a wellknown winner, Sebastian Kawa from Poland. How can it be different as all pilots competing are famous top pilots.Yesterday was the last flying-day and Sebastian Kawa of Poland was this years winner of the FAI WORLD GRAND PRIX GLIDING CHAMPIONSHIPS, after 5 days of intense racing. He won with 30 points, 5 more then the runners up, Uli Schwenk and Mr. Flewit. 4th was Steve Jones with 24 points, [ close ]and Peter Krejcirik and Michael Sommer were 5th with 17 points.

Every day had a different winner and Pete Harvey managed to win the last day. Due to the very tragic accident of Herbert Weiss, one day was a non-flying day out of respect for their/our  friend/fellow-pilot.

The New Zealand Air Games start on Thursday with gliding as ONE of the 10 sports.

This news from Spain  from Fernando Correa, which I received today is not funny, but very serious, though still unbelievable. First I thought it was a joke , but it IS NOT! The original news is from the UK and send on December 12 by Hannes Zimmerman. Thank you to Fernando and on behalf of him also ‘ Feliz Navidad y buenos vuelos!

 I give you the message as I received it.

” Someone stole an ASH 25 EB 28 in England [ on December 10] and cut the fuselage up to steal the cockpit and engine. We are sure it was stolen on order!!! I ask for concrete reference which can contribute to the clearing-up of this unbelievable theft.” So far this message. IF you know something, or somebody offers you and engine,please let them know. Email adress from Hannes Zimmermann  [ ISS- AVIATION] is


Phone;+49 [0] 7171 931862

To me this is weird, unbelieveable and does NOT belong in our soaring world! But it has happened!!!

Back to Christmas and my family. Hope you enjoy your Christmas evening too. Wishing the owner[s] of the ASH 25 all the best. I do hope they find the ones  who did it and I really hope they are not glider-pilots!

Merry Christmas! Ritz

Hammerwetter in Bitterwasser!!!

23 December 2007 Alphen aan den Rijn

 Yes it WAS Hammerwetter in Bitterwasser with a new world record over an FAI triangle from 1250 km. flown by Lazlo Hegedus who flew with a speed of 151,6 km p/h. The old record was in hands of Steve Fossett, who is still not found after he got lost flying from the Baron Hilton Range to……             Steve flew with a speed of 149,2 km in the past.

Also 16 more 1000 km flights were made on this 19th of December 2007 in Bitterwasser.  I got lost counting how many 1000 km have been flown in Africa this season. Another  fabulous day. I congratulated already my good friends Bert and Hilde Schmelzer from Belgium. They are the mum and dad of Tijl and Bert jr, both flying the World Comps in Rieti in 2008. Their very FIRST 1000 km together in a nimbus 3D. They must have been over the moon!!!!

It pleases me more then I can say, how many pilots now fly again a set task and FAI task . It is not only “eating km”  anymore, where the weather is the best! Great!

 Also some bad / sad news. During the Grand Prix in Omarama in New Zealand, 59 year old German pilot Herbert Weiss died after his glider crashed 55 km north of Wanaka over a hillside.I wish his wife and both children a lot of strenght to live on without him.

The competition was cancelled for a day to pay respect to Herbert but today they were flying again and it was a good day for Aussie top pilot Bruce Taylor. There you see how close sadness and happiness lay together.

Another tragic accident in Gariep Damm, a few weeks ago, when a father/son -combination in a nimbus 4DM “just fell out of the sky” after a wing fell off /broke off. Investigation will sort out, how the 51 year old father and his 31 year old son, found their “end” while doing what they both loved to do ; SOAR! More sad family and friends I feel deeply for them!

Nearly 20 years ago [ Januari 3] I lost my own son flying a retrieve in a Bellanca Scout from Tocumwal to Jerilderie. Finley, the place in between was the tragic end of his too short life!Only 18 1/2 !!!! And…ONE powerline on the way!!!

I wish you all a safe and merry Christmas.


Just a short note!

Alphen aan den Rijn  december 17 2007

Just a short note to say a


Thank you so much for your calls, sms and emails. They came from 5 continents, of course Australia where I will have friends FOR EVER! But also from Asia, [Japan, Hong Kong], from Africa {Bitterwasser, Pokweni and Gariep Dam] from Canada, [where it is -37 , so I better be quiet with “my” -5 ] and from all over Europe.

I feel blessed and grateful, to have met in my life so many nice great friends  and….to find out , I STILL have them, though I live a more or less anonymous life nowadays.


Love Ritz

A bit earlier!

Alphen aan den Rijn 14 -12-2007

Due to the fact that I work tomorrow and celebrate my birthday on sunday , I write this post a bit earlier.

Do you enjoy those 1000 km flights as much as I do??? I love to see them and I “feel” the good weather. Great circumstances both in Africa and Australia. And don’t only look at the distance, but also to the speed, some are beyond believe, so it must be real ” HAMMERWETTER”.Congratulations to Bent who flew in Corowa his 1000 km. Well done Bent!!!!Good friends Bert and Hilde are this time in Bitterwasser and after a 600 km flight on their first flying day they NEARLY flew 1000 km in the nimbus 3D; 972 km. Great effort for this lovely couple.

I heard that Ken , good friend from Japan, ,yes the pilot with those ” beautiful old flying machines ” is back in Tocumwal flying even cross country in his Alpin . More or less an out and return from 163 km. with a speed of 55 km.p/h. Fabulous!!!!!!

We also look ahead at next year . Heard from Teresa that the Swedish Nationals called  ” the Eskilstuna open” or [the famous]  Eskilstuna International open is from the 18th to 24th of May 2008.Entries for all classes will be open soon and they reserve some places for European pilots outside Scandinavia.Keep an eye on their homesite which will have the news in the beginning of the new year. www.efk.nu

The club also celebrates  their 70thiest anniversary.So reason enough to go for a great soaring holiday to Sweden, for a change. I remember the world comps overthere as if it was yesterday. Had a fantastic time ! Very nice people too!!!

Practise starts in NZ where in Omarama the Grand Prix will start on December 19. All toppilots have arrived for “their race of the year”. Anxious to find out which “topper”  will win this time.

Will keep you informed! Surely all those pilots avoiding the cold and rain in Africa and Oz , will get tired from all those kilometers they fly.It must nearly feel like “work” ! Poor pilots!!!!!Just joking!!

Here it starts to get colder too. We have a bit of frost [minus 2] during the night, but today we had sunny circumstances and 4 dgr. during the day. Well my first winter since 1984 is not TOO bad till now, but they predict that Januari will be REALLY cold. Let’s wait and see!

Cheers Ritz

2 km.

Alphen aan den Rijn

December 9-2007

Only 2 km. short on a 1000km!!! Yes this happened to Daan in Pokweni last week, but…..no worries, yesterday he “DID ” it again with a 1110 km . in his ventus 2. A few great soaring days over there in Africa, with many just under 1000km flights during last week and yesterday another 6 real “THOUSANDS” shared by Pokweni and Bitterwasser.

In between some of my friends travel to New Zealand to prepare for the GRAND PRIX over there. Giorgio Galetto, Pete Harvey and Michael Sommer have qualified for this exiting and very interesting race in Omarama. They fly together with some more top pilots, between december 19 -24. Good luck to ALL of them and safe flying. If you are interested look at ;www.gpgliding.com

By the way, the NZ Nationals will be held in Matamata in February [4-15].

The multiclass Nationals in Australia will be held in Temora in Januari from 14-25 . They have 65 entries the absolute MAX and a waiting list for late pilots. I saw 4 overseas pilots as well on the list.

Enough flying overseas, not yet here in Europe or you have to go to the mountains for height -flights. Here in Holland , it ONLY rains; I nearly get crazy from it!But some dry days with minor frost and FINALLY NO WIND, are predicted. With a bad cold , I better go back to bed now. See you next week Ritz

1000 km season has really started now!

december 3 2007

Alphen aan den Rijn

The metereological winter has started here , which means summer on the other sides of the world. And YES summer has started in Africa and Australia with great weather and atleast 16  “1000 km” flights on December 1 and 47 flights between 693 km in a “small” ventus cm 15 m and 1043 in a Nimbus 3 DM.

I know the feeling of happines going with the achieving of that still magic distance of 1000 km. Also the tension, “ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE IT ” ???????????And when I see that Hans and Uwe have flown another one[ they must have lost count on how many they have over the years!] , I KNOW they still feel that special touch in their gliding heart and that they still feel happy with it. They move temperarely from home ,  family and friends to achieve long flights  ” chasing their dreams”, in other parts of the world and luckily thye weather is great at the moment, so they can make them.

 Which means that pilots who are not yet that far to fly a 1000 km distance, enjoy great weather too, with special first long flights for them. Is n’t gliding great!!! ???I specially love the long declared tasks and FAI distances as this proofs even better the quality of weather [over a bigger area], glider and pilot.

Winter here has started with storm, heavy rain and dangerous gusts of wind! We had the exposition -highlight of the year 2007 in the gallery, with a lot of guests, neglecting the bad weather but complaining about it, after arrival. ARMANDO , our best Dutch after-war painter, arrived through the bad weather, to see lots of guests and enough buyers to make him and us happy.

Tocumwal has a new website and you can find all their news  on www.sportaviation.com.au

The club , with Ingo as instructor, at Toc. airfield had a discussion about buying a double seater for instruction before they had their annual BBQ with a visit from Santa Claus yesterday on sunday.

Still tired, so next week more news and I keep an eye on all flights and love to see  AND feel happy, that most of “our” guests found great places to fly after the demise of Sportavia.

Cheers Ritz