45 years ago!

Alphen aan den Rijn       february 24 2008

In this “in-between-soaring-period “, not a lot of gliding is happening. Of course you can still enjoy gliding in Oz and in the beginning of Februar still some nice flights were flown in Africa, but in Europe we can see on a few places, the same nice flights though in a little colder circumstances. Waiting is a nice practise for patience! Spring will be early this season, I just hear on the radio, so let it be!

The first “green ” flight will be made today from Londen to Amsterdam with a Virgin 747 which flies with 80% kerosine ans 20% bio-“fuel”. At this stage it is not sure if this “fuel” is made from palm oil or from algae. I am sure there will be a news-item about this somewhere on internet.

Something totally different.
This week I had 2 very unexpected meetings with 2 “guy’s ” I have not seen for 45 years. This was really interesting. It had nothing to do with my “soaring-life” but with my highschool time. One young blond highschool kid, you could not really oversee, specially while he had such blue eyes, did not change at all when I met him again after 45 years. He was only grey now.
I visited a storing place for art to select paintings for our next exhibition. The president of the foundation keeping an eye on this art, looked familiar, but not more then that.In the end when we were leaving he wrote his name on a card and that triggered it all. He was that highschool boy. He took us for lunch and we got all memories on the table. That was very nice and it was  45 years ago that I saw him last and since never even thought of him.
In the same week, I had to visit an opening of a exhibition from our TOP artist Armando in Amersfoort. The director of the the theater was ALSO a high school mate and good friend of my brother. Never saw him since 1968!!!

Well in Luesse and Rieti they work very hard to make life perfect for the pilots and crews visiting the World comps. In Africa and OZ they clean and repair and make improvements for next season, for sure another busy one!
In Tocumwal they will be ready next season too. The hangar and a brand new caravan park will be finished during this winterperiod. It pleases me highly that Toc will be back on the soaring map. I spend a lot of very good years there and a lot of you too. For sure I will be back there .

In Corowa they are preparing their bid for the 2012 World comps for open ,18 and 15m class, another very interesting devellopment. It would be great to see another world competition in Australia. The last one was in 1987 …….TOO long ago!!!

Well, that’s it for now. Will keep my eyes and ears open for you.

cheers Ritz


Alphen aan den Rijn                       February 17- 2008

I think it was the Dutch winter of 1984/1985, when 2 top pilots Kees Musters and George Schuit, tried to beat Ingo Renner on his home field in Tocumwal Australia. I said,”tried”.
When the Dutch team met the Australian team in the summer of ’84 during the pre-worlds in Rieti [Italy] , a longtime friendship started and still goes strong!
That same summer Kees and George had a few in the bar of the Dutch Gliding Center Terlet {Arnhem} and after they “made this world a better one”, they decided to go to Australia and fly there, which also was a training for the ’87 World Comps in Benalla not far [about 100km. S. ]from Tocumwal.They were both going there.
At the bar was another Dutch pilot Jan, listening and he said ……if you are going to do this , can I come too? No worries!

In their innocence the boys organized TWO containers, each container filled with ONE glider IN a trailer, open class of course!In one container was also the fuselage of one glider in the other the wings, as indeed Jan , the guy on the bar “took a lift “to Oz.

An unforgettable holiday and years to follow with summers AND flying in Oz.
Beating Ingo on his home field?????
Well, on one of the days they thought they “had ” him!! They both really had a great and fast flight and they were a bit more used to the Ozzie weather. So happily they were discussing their flight on the way back to the hangar, nowhere one glider to be seen, so they must be first in. Hurray!!
BUT…………IN the hangar was Ingo, already finishing the cleaning of his glider after an even faster flight .So…they did not beat him, but altleast they were faster then the other overseas guests, practising for the World comps.
Kees was of course World champion in Hobbs, but sadly died in 1987 in a hanggliding accident in France.

Why this story? You might have seen the Corowa site with the pictures of the gliders in the different containers. NOT ONE IN A TRAILER, but 5 or 6 depending on the seize in ONE container.A cheap and safe way to fly your OWN glider overseas!They do a great job!

Containerpacking, means the end of another season and the beginning of the European season. So we are a bit in an ” in-between-period”. We do have fantastic weather here and sometimes you can feel thermal activity on the ground. No clouds at all but…a bit cold. We had minus 10 last night in some places and plus 4 during the day. My bulbs in the garden peak their little heads out of the soil and I hope they are strong enough to survive.

Time to have a little look at the statistics!
Good friend Hans Wiesenthal is with a huge marge the winner of the ALL_FLIGHTS_OLC_FAI_2008.With nearly 22.000 km flown in Gariep Dam  in 34 flights, he has had a great year.
Good friends Pepe, Bruce, Harry and Daan are within the first 10 of this list.The best FAI_flight in MY opinion was, the flight from Gawler in an LS 4 ;1021 km.For more info please look at the “onlinesite “.

An opening of an exhibition today so I better leave you, to dress up for this occasion. Cheers , see you next week,


Preparations in full swing!

Alphen aan den Rijn on Sunday Februari 10 2008

Yes ,preparations are in full swing for both World Comps in Europe this upcoming summer.
The organizers of the 30thiest World comps in Luesse close to Berlin, are very proud on the huge amount of preliminary entries, but it is also a bit of a worry as there is a limit of pilots which can enter.At this stage 163 pilots have send their forms with another 49 waiting as reserve . A total of 46 countries will visit Germany, in any case if they can all come! Sometimes these numbers change due to lack of money, time or just not having a glider [specially for pilots who have to come from far!] If you are interested and would like to see who is flying at this stage, please look at www.wgc2008.de , the new bulletin 2 is out to with lots of info. The comps in Luesse are from August 2 till 16.

I am trying to find a glider for an Australian friend, Bruce Taylor. He flies in Rieti and would like to fly an LS 8. If you know something or if you can help him , please let me know and I will forward your mail to him. [ritzdeluy@hotmail.com] 

Rieti , the place where I will meet all pilots for the club-,standard and world class have also their bulletin number 2 on line. As Germany ,Italy is proud of the many preliminary entries. They have 103 from 5 different continents and 26 different countries. Who said gliding is on its retour!!???

More and more gliding in Europe at the moment!!! We had a splendid day here today with 10 to 15 dgr. ,blue skies and SUN! Lots of sun , I was even sunbaking in my garden. And…we are still in WINTER!!!!!Not that winter is over here, we still go back next week to 4 dgr and minus 2 during the night, but days like today and yesterday are giving already a real vitamine-boost.
To be honest, we did not really have a winter here! A few more weeks and the first one-day-comps will start and of course the pilots going to the big comps are preparing to be in the very best condition.

Slowly containers will be packed in Africa and Australia and then another overseas-season is over. Not a bad one, I think, but I ewill hear lots of stories soon !


Carnaval in Holland!

Alphen aan den Rijn  on February 5 2008.

Sorry that I was a bit late with my post this week. Yes in the far-away past I loved CARNAVAL. I even was a member of a carnaval club and we celebrated from 11-11 till the the last possible celebration day.
This weekend I visited my home town and had a “few” with my brothers. Great fun! I even looked at the procession and though I did not know all the actual news, I could laugh a lot about many jokes.

Yes, yes , I started talking about gliding in Europe last week and some pilots made some nice long flights already. World-format-pilot Rainhard Schramme made a nice flight over 500 km. in Germany and yes of course I know he is an excellent pilot but it is still very early in the season and the fields are TRULY wet!!!
This week somebody flew over 700 km. in Poland and that really amazed me. I studied his track flying from  the field of Jelinea Gora, which is SE of Klix and he flew up and down to the W and E of his field up to 6000 m. in a Ventus 17.6 m. The pilot flying in his SZD 50 Puchacz did a great job too, flying nearly 400km. .
So …we can soon enjoy great soaring all over Europe again.

I heard that some of my Tocumwal friends visit Europe too now. Instead of flying in Tocumwal Hiroko travels to Saint Auban now. Mac visited Toc and his old mate Ingo and he flew in Corowa , where they still flew 2 1000 km flights on February 1. Great effort as I know the days are getting shorter already then.
Other great friends Mikiko and Shige are having their first baby in a few months. Quite a few of you remember surely their wedding under the tree in Tocumwal.I am sure I am talking for all of you when I wish them well.

Toc. is by the way going strong and Rudolf, Jochen and Hans have arrived for some flying there. They just love their flying and are not racing or chasing high targets.
It was nice to see that Chad , who was one of “our” USA guests in better times, still came over to fly in OZ and made his choise for Corowa, which is only 85 km from Toc.

This upcoming season I will try to visit more gliding fields in Europe, time permitting ofcourse, as I have a rather busy job in ART!!!

That’s it for now, sorry for the delay and enjoy your week.

Cheers Ritz