A glimp of spring!

Alphen aan den Rijn
Sunday Januari 27 2008

What pleased me most this week was the fact that good old friend Gerrit Kurstjens won the open class nationals in Temora in Australia. I KNOW he is an excellent pilot, cause I was his “boss” [TC] in many European and World comps, but he gave up competition flying a few years ago and….still seems to have not lost his “touch”. Great effort and congratulations to Gerrit!
It was a strong class too , with good friend , Paul Mander as runner up. I met him already in 1984 in Rieti during the pre-worlds , when he unfortunately broke his glider, but also Paul is a very good pilot. They are over 60 years old now, but still gowing strong.
Look for all results [ in 4 classes!] at the site, if you are interested. Congratulations to all winners!

They flew 7 out of 10 days and though they had 3 days of rain, this gliding-season has been really good for Australia, which also pleases me a lot. So I am a happy person. And I think …all pilots who visited Oz for their overseas-soaring have been happy as well and will leave with nice long flights in their log-book and great memories of a good time.

While I am writing this , downstairs the TV is on with the match between Djocovic and Tsonga. As I really like tennis too, this gives me also great pleasure! To see 2 unexpected players in the Australian Grand Slam final is good for tennis, though of course Federer still is an “ace”.

We had a glimp of spring this week. Blue skies and nice high clouds, though a bit broken. Still around 10 dgr. here, but one day I really had to look at the skies and thought ” yes spring is coming ” , gliding will be back soon in Europe. Nitra and and the UK had already some over 100 km. flights , so the beginning is there.

Not so warm in Canada. Art send me the temperature last sunday , which was -36 and with the wind chill factor -46. What a difference. Am I glad I am here in Holland!!!

Lunch with a artist today and a few minutes to look at the tennis. That’s my day, busy enough, so see you next week.



Alphen aan den Rijn on Sunday January 20 2008.

Well it seems to rain everywhere!!!! Even here in Holland, though the nice site is that we have 13 dgr. C.
The last 3 days there was no way they could continue flying during the Australian Nationals in Temora. Rain, rain, and more rain. A pity! Did you find them on the site!?

Quite a lot of very wellknown and very good pilots , certainly in 18 m. and open class!
A few little mishaps while towing out to the grid and on the grid, caused some minor damage , but except for one, all pilots will fly on Monday again, weather permitting. I know from experience that after a few days with a low pressure system,  the weather will built up again to good, better the best!!
Speed on the first 3[2]  competition days was impressive!So that’s already something!

In between pilots still travel from their cold home town in Europe, to places where they can fly. This year seems to be an excellent year for all different gliding resorts, with lots of guests. It is good to see that from nearly every country, guests fly overseas during winter. Hopefully we will have a great summer in Europe, so they can continue with high standard long distance flying , at home too.

 We had a good week in the gallery. Yes we got the predicate “ROYAL” as the Dutch queen visited us. It was great to find out how “normal” she is during such a visit. She is a good artist byherself making sculptures hacked in stone. I have had several different and very interesting guests during my stay in Tocumwal and here in Holland it continues, which is lovely. Having an afternoon glass of wine and a good talk with the queen….not bad! Though I realize that all people have someting special, that’s why I love people so much! But PR -wise, it was perfect for our gallery!

In between you can find the prelimenary entries for the 30thiest World Championships in Rieti [Italy] on www.wgcrieti.it click on entries!
It is just great to see how many  , wellknown pilots , crew and TC’s, will meet again to compete and have fun. At this stage 24 different countries will send pilots! Under them a few female pilots as well as  a few former World Champions!

Soon we will see which pilots will fly in Luesse in Germany for the World Championships for the “BIG SHIPS”. Will keep you posted.

Cheers Ritz

National Championship Temora [Australia]

15-01-2008 Alphen aan den Rijn

I mentioned  last sunday,  or did I forget, that after the State comps at Benalla the Australian Nationals  were due and after one official practise day , we had day 1 which  started with great tasks and results.
Good friend Gerrit Kurstjens is one of the competitors and after day 1 he was 2d behind Tomas Rendla [CZE] in open class.What great speed and what great flights!!!!
Tomas flew in his ASW 22/BLE an AAT  between 280 and 553 km.,in exactly the 3 hours which were requested ,with a speed of 137 km p/h over 411.3 km.
 Gerrit flew over 374 km a speed of 124.9 kmp/h.

And what about Mac!!?? Yes Makoto Ichikawa! Our Japanese friend flew in 18 m. class an AAT between 280 and 553 km. in 3 hours over 414.8 km. in his ASG 29. His SPEED: 138.1 km.

In 15 m. class the best speed was 122 km.p/h over 384 km also an AAT in 3 hours and in standard class another AAT with 3 hours and a speed of 125.6 km over 392 km. Good, very good !

Great results on day 1 from Temora airfield in NSW [Australia] .
Look for the next couple of days on; www.soaringspot.com/ausmulti2008/
Jo will give us later a detailed coverage of these comps.

Enjoy it! Ritz

State comps and who will be best behind Bitterwasser!?

Alphen aan den Rijn 13 januari 2008

 A LONG story , so take a cuppa, to keep in the Australia slang-language and enjoy the State Comps in Benalla, former place for the World comps in 1987. The story is written by Jo Pocklington, partner of this years winner Tony Tabart and winner of many competitions and pilot who flew in many different world comps. Not the youngest pilot anymore but for sure still going strong.

What mostly pleased me this week was the 1050 km. flight of young Dane Dickinson in Omara in a standard astir. An out and return with the start on one leg and that in NZ!!!!Fabulous !!!!And a strong speed too with 144 km p/h, just unbelievable.Dane was a member [the only one, as I remember well] from the World junior team in Rieti last year, had his dad as his crew, won a day and is in my eyes a future winner!!!!!!! Excellent young pilot!!!!Well done Dane!!!!!And  he IS goodlooking??????

The competition to be the best airfield in the OLC competition with the most points  is of course a bit “subjective” as it not only depends on weather but also on how many pilots fly from such a field. But for people who like statistics it is great to see that Corowa in Australia and Gariep Dam in Africa are in a  close race who will be number 2 behind Bitterwasser. Last airfield will be the glorious winner with the spectecular weather over there.

But nothing wrong with Corowa, number 2 at the moment, where they fly long distances nearly every day too.  Not so many 1000 km flights but what the …… it does n’t have to be every day 1000 km. and I really love to see how many of “our ”  Sportavia pilots found and enjoy Corowa [only 80 km from  “my field” Tocumwal, where they flew before the still sad demise of Sportavia ] Absolutely great weather in OZ too, but not everywhere as Queensland and the northern part of NSW had heavy flooding after BAD weather beloninging to the last cyclone.

Well enjoy the story from Jo. Thanks JO!Finally you read perfect English on soaring.eu and you get a good and inside  look on a smaller competition.

Victorian State Championships, Gliding Club of Victoria, Benalla

Sat 5 Jan – Sat 12 Jan 08


Day 1 – with the possibility of unfavourable weather and smoke from bushfires descending our way, Contest Director Phil Henderson decided that as all pilots who had registered to compete had arrived, there would be no practice day – straight into competition.


Because there were not enough entries in Sports to run a competition in that class, Sports class was combined into Standard to a total of 6 gliders; being a ballasted competition, Standard class handicaps as published in the multi-class handicap list were applied.   5 pilots competed in Open class with Max Kirschner and Bob Fox sharing 11, a Ventus 2cT.  7 gliders competed in 15m class.


It was a blue day; thermals were from weak to occasionally moderate and for racing, topping out at 4,500′ AGL.  Local air was ‘tired’ after many weeks of above-average temperatures.


Day 1 task was a 3 hour AAT Corowa (30km), Euroa (30km) and Cheshunt (30km) – min 143km max 488km.  It was hard work and produced 3 outlandings from 15 competitors on the day.


John Switala, Pre sident of Gliding Club of Victoria, presented Day 1 prizes to Tony Tabart, Open Class winner who flew Danny Kilgariff’s new Ventus 2cxM at 103.8kph “with difficulty, especially in the mountains, which was quite difficult on the last leg – I was above the ranges with not a lot of height – I thought that everyone would be going over the top of me, but they obviously didn’t”.


15 m winner was Tim Wilson in his LS6c at 93.9kph who flew “very conservatively”.


Standard class winner, Allan Barnes flew his LS1f at 109.2kph:  “I thought it was going to be worse that it turned out to be – 3 hrs sounded like an awfully long time.  I had a good run past Corowa and went past the end of the first area, which was a good move because I had a struggle at Euroa.  I got below 3,000′ five times on the flight.”


Phil Henderson announced that he was giving everyone a chance by flying the Duo Discus with the wheel down for the first 2.5 hours: “so my 62kph average may improve over the next few days!”


Day 2 weather at morning briefing – David Wilson reported there was “a lot more sub sidence yesterday than I anticipated.  Day 2 is very difficult to forecast.  There is a change coming through and the timing is elastic – some time between and the wind will go around from the north-east to the south-west.  It will be a gradual transition from north-west to west then to south-west.  This will kill the lift dramatically.  Hopefully we’ll get a new air mass for tomorrow.  No temp traces are being flown, but with different air masses arriving, that wouldn’t have made much difference with forecasting today’s weather.”


A 2 hour AAT was set for day 2 – Rand (40km), Yarrawonga (25km) – min 159km max 356km.


Just on launch at about , the trough came through producing very good lift – the day was much better than expected – no outlandings. 


Day 2 winners (handicapped speeds):

Open – Tony Tabart (Ventus 2cxM) – 129.3kph

Standard – Allan Barnes (LS1f) – 130.8kph 15m – Graham Garlick (ASW20) – 128.1kph 

Day 3 – David Wilson, morning weather briefing – “the trough is to the east but the prediction is that it may return later in the day.  Basically, southerly winds for the day, curling around so that this area will have lighter winds, but with cool air continuing to be injected at low levels.  Max temp expected is 34 degrees if no further cool air comes in, but it probably won’t get that hot here.  With this morning’s air, the maximum height expected is 4,000′.  The cool air will slow down any rate of improvement.  On the basis of the weather forecast, a task was not set for day 3.  The prospect for the next 3 days looks quite promising – north westerlies are expected, which bring the best soaring in this area.”


Competition day 3 – conditions turned out to be better than forecast, and the morning forecast was for conditions a little better than yesterday.  An AAT of 2.5 hours was set covering 72km / 448km – Peechelba East (35km), Cheshunt (35km), Euroa (35km).  There were 2 outlandings.


Competiton day 4 – morning briefing – traces from the day 3 winners were put up on a screen and each pilot spoke about his flight yesterday:


Tony Tabart (Ventus 2cxM) – 103.5kph

“I expected to find something at the Warbys but there was nothing; I decided to turn and went straight down the valley over Wangaratta; apparently, it was a much better run west of the valley along the Warbys.  There were very good glides in the King Valley ridges into cloud and running across towards Mt Buller; I then had a straight glide to Euroa, trying to find lift.  I was 200′ at Violet Town and finally climbed away at 1 knot and got home.”


Graham Garlick (ASW 20) – 103.6kph

“I did pretty much the same as Tony – a straight glide out.  Tony was above both me and Toby at the first turn.  Toby and I flew west of the valley and Toby was about a thousand foot above me.  I followed the ground at 60 knots and it took a while to get a climb.  The best climb I got was 5.5; my average was 3.8.  I got a couple of good glides where I lost a couple of thousand feet at 50kph.  In the Euroa circle I went for the highway and picked up a final thermal at about a thousand feet and came home.  We were all outclassed by Toby yesterday.”


Toby Geiger (LS4a) – 108.6kph

“I spoke to Phil Henderson before the launch about a plan – go as deep as possible into the second box and just touch Euroa; we were expecting cooler air from the south-west.

The hills were working before the start so my plan was to go into them as much as possible.  We all turned at Peechelba, back into the Warbys, where I got a very good climb and then a couple more – generally 6/7 knots.  Just at Glenrowan there are some hills that worked like a treat – it worked to follow the ridges.  I’d planned to take a climb at Mt Samaria which works really well usually, but there was no cloud there.  I dumped my water, took a couple of knots and got home.  The trick was to go into the mountains where there was some lift.”


Competition day 4 morning weather briefing by David Wilson:  “today is going to be much better than yesterday.  A north-easterly stream is developing which is good for gliding at Benalla.  The air where we are going is probably a little bit moister than where we are.  Wind expected is variable 15 knots at all levels except surface which is estimated 8 knots.  The bureau predicts 38 degrees for here, but I calculate 35.7 for Benalla; it will be hotter further north.  Rain is expected for Sat so we may not get a day.”


Task for comp day 4 – 3 hour AAT 293km / 592km – The Rock (45km), Jerilderie (45km).


Phil Henderson, contest director, expressed his concern that “the circles around the turnpoints today are 1.1 km greater than my average speed yesterday”.


Competition day 5 – morning briefing – day 4 winners:


Open Class – David Wilson (ASG 29) – 130.6kph

“I was full of water yesterday and I think that was a factor compared with the day before when I flew with partial water.  I had a very good run north – started at 6,000′ and was at 6,000′ at the north end of the Warbys; ran into a 7 knot climb which took me to 8,500′.  Then it was a matter of flying from cloud to cloud in very good conditions.  Going out to the west the clouds still looked good, but it was hard to find the thermals under them.  It was a matter of pushing on and staying in the best lift without losing height.  I had no way of calculating the best time to finish because my PDA had failed.  I kept fairly well north and got to the last cloud that was there, and found a weak thermal and climbed up.  It said on the Cambridge that I was 4,000′ below final glide so I decided to dolphin along.  Suddenly at Yarrawonga I gained about 2,000′ and had final glide.  Got in 8 minutes over time.”


15 m – Garham Garlick (ASW 20) – 123.2kph

“I’m not sure that I sure should be here alone – Bruce Cowan should be here with me.  We both did 123.8 (raw speeds).  I went a little further and a little longer, so it was very close.  Bruce was beaten by a wingtip because of the glider’s handicap (Ventus b with tips).  I had a good run on the first leg.  I went to the west of The Rock and averaged 150.8kph.  Pushing on further north, the cloud collapsed and I lost a bit of time there.  I got low from Urana and was operating between 2,500′ and 4,000′ but someone ploughing a paddock got me 5.5 knots.”


Standard  – Allan Barnes (LS1f ) -125.6 kph

“I had a fairly good start that helped my flight a lot.  I got up as high as I could under good cus and drifted back to the start, so I started at cloud base.  Had a good run to the Warbys then found a flat patch and got down to 1,600′ so was starting to feel nervous.  Then I hit 10 knots which got me back to cloud base.  Had a good run towards The Rock; turned 20km before and had a fairly mixed run on the second leg.  The clouds weren’t working that well, as David said.  Some of the best climbs I got were in the blue.  The clouds themselves weren’t good indicators.  I was planning originally to just touch the second area but this would have got me in 10 mins early, so I just carried on towards Tocumwal.  I turned 10km in side the area and headed home, still not having got a climb.  I hit 8knots near Yarrawonga and came in at about 130kph, so that was a nice fast finish.”


Comp day 5 – David Wilson, morning weather – “it is a total fire ban day in Victoria but not in NSW.  The main feature is that there is a high in the Tasman so there is a northerly airstream over us.  The trough line has disappeared but the air coming in from the north is con siderably more humid than we had before – probably not too different from what we experienced yesterday under the clouds.  We will certainly have clouds today.  There will be the odd thunderstorm over the mountains.   There will be north-westerlies in the area that we are flying.  It will be a late start; we’ll get to 3,000′ at around but it will stay at that for some time, until about .  The forecast is for even stronger winds tomorrow.  There is a low developing just to the north, bringing thunderstorms and interesting weather.  It will reach 38 degrees in Benalla today.”


A 3 hour AAT was set for comp day 5 – 172km / 530km – Yarrawonga (40km), Deniliquin (60km) Shepparton (30km).


Competition day 6 – morning briefing – day 5 winners:


Open – David Wilson -137.7kph

“Before the start I got right up to cloud base, as did a lot of other people.  It was rather hairy scooting around those wisps of cloud amongst other gliders, so thought it a good idea to start early.  I also thought that it would over-develop.  Didn’t have a good run going north; just 7 knots at the north end of the Warbys.  When I got into the Yarrawonga circle, I went fairly close to Corowa and decided to turn – there was a good looking cloud street in the westerly direction.  Got under those clouds, found 7 knots and started turning.  Moved to another glider above me and found 11.5 knots – thank you, whoever that was!  Got to cloud base and just flew along, going to the extreme western edge of every cloud and found consistent 11 knot climbs.  Had to go to the north edge of the Deniliquin circle as I was ahead of time.   Had a similar sort of run coming home; it got soft before the river, but once I crossed the river into Vic, got 8 knots and got to 10,000′ in drier air.  Had a fairly fast run home.”


15m – John Switala (Ventus 1) – 127.4kph

“Off tow I was struggling at 2.5 knots.  Then I saw Toby 200m away and went over, but that was worse than what I left.  We both headed off in different directions after 2 turns.  I was thermalling and struggling, then I noticed that everyone was above me.  I then found 7 knots.  The north wind was drifting us all and it drifted us over the start line at 7,000′.  Got an 8/9 knotter in the first leg.  I thought I was slow and came in a bit ahead of time, but I did it!”


Standard – Allan Barnes – 131.9kph

“The start was as John said – a bit tricky.  I managed to find something reasonable at 3 knots which got me to cloud base as the start opened.  Like David, I was keen to get going as there were a lot of gliders about in poor visibility.  I was heading to the east of the first box; got just in and saw some amazing clouds going to the second box, so went right in.  I had a reasonable run but wasn’t feeling that I was getting the best – certainly not 11 knots.  I turned in the second box with the WinPilot telling me I’d be 25 mins over; on the way back it got to 8 mins over and I was only half way back, so I diverted into the Shepparton area to use more time.”


David Wilson – morning weather briefing – “today is a total fire ban in Vic and southern NSW.  A trough line to the west is going to come over us and by 6/7pm the wind will go to the south-west.  Ahead of the wind change, there is a significant band of rather moist upper air with thunderstorms embedded.  Somewhere around the course there will be the odd thunderstorm; a higher probability over the mountains, but we’re not going there.  Ahead are fairly strong north-westerly winds.  The winds will gust to 20 knots on the ground, increasing with height to 30 knots at 5/7,000′.  Locally around Benalla/Shepparton the lift might die quite early.  Typically in these north-westerly conditions, there’s not very much nocturnal inversion – need a high temp to get things moving; 35 degrees will give 4,000′.  The weather bureau is forecasting that thunderstorm bases will be at 10,000′.  One of the difficulties of forecasting today is the cloud, and how much sun will get through.  It is possible that we may have a good day tomorrow.”


Comp day 6 task – 2 hour AAT 147km/336km – Berrigan (30km) Corowa (30km).


– day cancelled – increasing cloud blocked out the sun’s heat which caused a fall in temperature.  The Melbourne temp trace showed 45 knot winds at 2,000′ resulting in little chance of completing any task.  Tomorrow – final day – looks promising.


Competition day 6 – take #2


With one day to fly, the contest was very close in Standard Class with Allan Barnes on 4753.3 points and Toby Geiger on 4659.4 points; Peter Gray was third on 4122.8 points.


Graham Garlick was leading 15 metre class with 4453.2 points, Bruce Cowan had 4291.5 points and Tim Wilson had 3992.1 points.


Tony Tabart led Open class with 4840.1 points, David Wilson was second on 4394.0 points.  With 2 pilots in Open class sharing one glider and a minimum of 3 days flying required by each pilot, third position was up for grabs; Max Kirschner was flying his third comp day in the Ventus 2cT that he shared with Bob Fox.  Phil Henderson challenged: “it’s painfully obvious that I’m coming last, but today I have a special weapon in the Duo Discus, so look out – eat our dust!”


David Wilson – morning weather briefing – “the trough line which went through last night is now in NSW.   Today’s forecast is dependent on how much rain there was yesterday and last night – in the areas where it was heavy, it won’t go high, but areas that missed out on the rain will be better.  Not much cloud is affecting us in Vic.  Alto-cu and alto-stratus cloud around here will thin out during the day.  Later in the day in the south west they are talking about redeveloping alto-stratus, which won’t affect us.  There is a light southerly at the moment, but at about this will go around to the north-west;12 knots on the surface increasing with height to 40 knots at 14,000′.  Under those conditions there is a possibility of thermal wave, which will be a bit hard to find in the blue.  The temp is rather critical as to whether we get cumulous or not.  The areas where it’s been raining will stay cooler.  There may only be 4,000′ thermals in the wet areas.  Max height is a bit over 6,000′ at .  Forecast is for some thunderstorms in the north and east.  It looks like the trough line is going to hang around and give us good soaring at Temora next week.”


Contest day 6 task – 2 hour AAT 158km/313km – Rennie (20km) Tocumwal a/d (20km) Dookie (20km).


Launch was delayed until ; it was a very tough day – weak and thermals were not going high.  There was wave at the start up to 8,500′ but after that, conditions were mainly weak with low climbs to about 4,000′.  It was a mixed day with some pilots reporting the odd 6,000′.  There were 5 outlandings.


Frustrated with always coming last, Phil Henderson employed a secret weapon in the Duo Discus – world champion pilot, Michael Sommer.  Phil reported that “Michael was invaluable ballast, which is why I managed a second for the day”!  (Actually, Phil had declared a lay day.)


Day 6 winners were David Wilson (84.9kph), Bruce Cowan (75.4kph) Allan Barnes 76.1kph).


Overall placings for the competition (day scores averaged):


Open class

1 Tony Tabart 929.0 points

2 David Wilson 888.6

3 Bob Fox 871.14 Max Kirschner 633.35 Phil Henderson  

Standard class

1 Allan Barnes 947.6

2 Toby Geiger 932.8

3 Peter Gray 791.6

4 Simon Brown 566.6

5 Gary Allbutt 541.2

6 Louise O’Grady 283.9


15 metre class

1 Bruce Cowan 886.6

2 Graham Garlick 881.0

3 Tim Wilson 757.6

4 John Switala 713.2

5 Gary Stevenson 687.9

6 Laurie McKinlay 642.9

7 Geoff Vincent


It was Phil Henderson’s first comp as director and he thanked all the pilots for being professional and cooperative in difficult hot conditions.  Phil acknowledged the vast experience of the whole team, without whom it wouldn’t have been such a smooth and safe operation – tuggies, weatherman, task setters, safety officer, marshals and the scorer, Deniz Ture.  He thanked John Switala and the Gliding Club of Victoria and everybody associated for the excellent facilities and assistance.  Phil said that he “could never have even con sidered taking on the job without the enormous benefit of Colin Turner’s mentoring during previous competitions at Benalla”.


Jo Pocklington

13 Jan 08

A year full of soaring-news ahead!

Alphen aan den Rijn

January 6 2008

First a little correction . The Eskilstuna Open is NOT the National competition for Sweden for 2008; it is a very wellknown and highstandard comps for all classes.

In Italy and Germany they prepare for the Worldcomps. In Italy the Aeroclub Centrale de vola di vela, will give all competitors who want to practise in the area before the world comps, the possibility to fly. Look for their news  and conditions on their site ; www.wgcrieti.it

In Germany ,the prelimanary entries are expected on Januari 15 and in the end of januari we will receive their 2d bulletin with news!!All very exciting!!

In between pilots DO NOT STOP, flying 1000 km in Africa and why would they, when the weather is so good! I am sure this season will be on every pilots lips in the future!Even for Australia, where they did not fly every day a 1000k but where they could fly nearly every day with good to very good conditions. And…as said not every pilot is interested in such a distance, they just want to fly, when it is more or less impossible in Europe!

In Bloemfontein in South Africa, the South African Nationals have started on januari 3 going until januari 12. They started with rain and later heavy rain and strong winds, but I am sure they will have some good African weather too. Yesterday they missed one pilot. Search and rescue was informed, but…..no worries the pilot was safe, so was the glider [except for the engine] only a bit of a lonely night.

The clubs here in Holland, in fact in Europe, are very busy to prepare their gliders for the upcoming season. A day like today makes me look at the sky . Not yet white fluffy , black bottomed clouds, but already SUN and nice blue skies with 8 dgr.

Soon some of my friends arrive back from their overseas soaring holiday , I am sure full of great stories and I am looking forward to see them here and talk with them about their great flights.

Take care, not much more to say,

Cheers Ritz