A bit of this….a bit of that!

Alphen aan den Rijn       March 30 2008

They were n’t wrong with their weather prediction last weekend here in Holland. We GOT the snow with EASTER!!!!!!! And…it was interesting to see how lots of people suffered from just 5 cm of snow on the ground [on some places], snow and hail storms and just when these showers happened no view, just a grey mass!!
On tuesday morning we had “our -morning-spits”, which means heavy traffic after a weekend. A disaster for the cardrivers but just a fantastic day  for those who make statistics, as the morning traffic jam was 888 km that morning!!
You should be in it!!!
To make it even worse with the new navigation toys as Tom Tom , they found out that, when they were not only looking at the jam on the highways but also at the secundary roads “we” had 1250 km of traffic jam. Hurray for Holland!
Only one day in 1999 was worse with nearly 1000 km. in the morning.
Am I glad I just have to drive 5 minutes to the gallery !
But the good news is , that this was the last twitch of winter!

Enough of the weather, though last weekend between the showers they managed to fly in Eindhoven [Southern part of Holland-Phillips_PSV ]on Easter sunday. They made a few starts I heard from Peter and even reached 1600 m., but they were more or less frozen!

George , no not Lee, but my ex Schuit,mentioned that my guess of 2 world titles was not correct. Thanks!
So…George Lee won 3 titles in open class;
first one in 1976 in Rayskala in Finland, in open class in an ASW 17
second  one in 1978 in Chatauraux in France in an ASW 17 and
third one in 1981 in Paderborn Germany, in a nimbus 3.
Lee flew in those years for Great Brittain,but lives now in Australia and as I mentioned, has his own airfield with his name!He flies for fun, no “hot-shot-worldcomps for him anymore.

Talking about “hotshots”. I was wondering last time, if there would be a pilot to be the successor for Ingo Renner, being  still now, the one and only 4 times worldchampion. And….I “found” one. It is just my very own expectation, but I reckon Michael Sommer has it in him, to do so. He won already last comps in Sweden, is a potential winner in Luesse [advantage of playing at home, though he lives at the moment in Melbourne] .Of course he still HAS to win there, but won the pre-worlds for whatever that counts. 
He is also young enough to fly more world comps.He  has the guts, ambition  and willpower to win. Another point is that Tassilo Bode,  another top pilot from Germany will fly with him in open class and both will push each other to big heights. My expectation!We will see in  the future if I am correct.

Grietje and Francesco with little Frank, have closed the doors from their Corowa -gliding-operations, to open them in the next season again. Enough work for them here in Holland too, as the containers have to be unloaded and the preparations for the containers for the next season , have to be made.
Only minor point in this for them very busy and succesfull season is,  that they did not get the possibility to organize the bid for the 2012 world comps. They were really hoping to do so, but the place to make the bid is Narromine. With Beryll Hartley there, I am , to be honest , not surprised that they got it. IF Narromine gets the honour , and IF I am still in good health and IF I can afford it, I will be there!!!!

Some nice [wave] flights over the mountain ridges last week in the USA. On March 25 a flight was made from Minden {Nevada } from 1400 km in an ASW 17 , with an  interesting speed of ; 154,10 km/h.One day later good old Jim Payne, flew also an O&R [ with Minden-Truckee as turnpoint in the N]this time 1726 km.His speed was;150 km p/h. His very interesting comment , if you are interested in this flight , can be read in the information  on the OLC site.You can as well look there, at his flight and height.

If you are interested in vintage planes. In Tocumwal Mike Burns and his team have nearly finished a CONDOR. The [Japanese] owners will be there for the first flight , scheduled on April 29.Ingo Renner has been involved in this project.

That’s it for now. Enjoy your week and I will be back next sunday.

Cheers Ritz

I ‘m dreaming of a white Christmas ,NOT Easter!!!

Alphen aan den rijn             Easter Sunday 23-03-2008

Yes, same with you?? At least if you live in Europe.
Not that we have snow already here , but close by in Germany , in Belgium and Luxemburg , they have snow. And….it is March 23, even spring which started on March 21 had a cold day with hail, lightning and lots of rain.For tonight and tomorrow snow is predicted here in our region.

Here in Holland we have the coldest Easter sinces 40 years. A pity for all the flowers in the greatest flower show “keukenhof”, which was opened by Prince Willem Alexander a few days ago, as we expect up to minus 7  for this night. “My poor pink blossom”.
Thinking of blossom, I remember the great atmosphere during that time in Japan. Also for Japanese glider pilots the season starts. When I visited 3 gliding fields in the Tokyo area, a few years ago, I was not only impressed by the way they have to fly from pretty windy fields on the side of  the river, but also by the great view of thousands of pink and white flowers on the trees.

Places to fly at this moment are, even if it sounds contradictional; THE MOUNTAINS. Also snow there, so all pilots enjoying , Gap, Vinon, La Motte, Sisteron, Saint Auban and other good places, do not only fly but enjoy skiing as well.
That’s what I did in 1968, when the boys flew in wave over the Aosta Valley and we enjoyed skiing over the pistes from Pila. When it was time for the apres ski, the boys flew fast and pretty low over the piste to announce that our skiing and their flying was over and the “ebo-lebo” was waiting. Just a warning if you have never had it and want to try;Don’t drink that, when you are tired, you just fall over!

In the UK they have made their first flights. Good friend Hugh mentioned a nice first flight in his duo-discus, from Lasham, 385 km., with some help of the South Downs Ridge.

George Lee, who has now his -own -after -him- named -airfield in Australia, on the East side, still makes nice long flights in their autumn. Was n’t he 2 times world champion? Like Ingo , who was 4 times world champion [will there be somebody to ever break this record?] , he still loves soaring and remains good in it!

I got some info from Rieti, how they are going to visualize the world comps over there in July and I was most impressed. When I have ALL the details , I will share them with you. One more week and those who are interested, can start thinking of who will be going to win in either Luesse or Rieti, as the defenite entries will be known on the 31 of March.

One of the early-season-comps is the one on Hahnweide which starts on the 25th 0f April. This competition is for st. class, 15 m and open.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter, wherever you are!



Alphen aan den Rijn                             March 16 2008

Everybody realizes that we have to do something to keep this world in good condition. No need to tell you , that the weather has changed. And it might happen every 1000 year or so, nothing new, as some people claim,but just looking outside or even worse on TV, you are confrontated with it daily.
A hurricane trough the heart of Atlanta is not something that happens every year. Most people can not even remember a day that such a storm with up to 230 km “hit ” a town, but with the CNN head quarters damaged, we are fully informed. Sad enough that so much is damaged and that people happily waking up in the morning, die unexpectedly on such a day. And…more hurricanes are expected in the USA.
What about Australia? They “suffer” from 41 dgr. in Melbourne and the first Grand Prix , won by Hamilton , was a very unusual one due to the fact that the circuit “heated up ” to 50 dgr.
Some cars did not like that! Then a crash in the first curve , some more incidents , perhaps due to the dehydration and only 7 cars make it to the finish, 15 from the 22 had to go back to the pitch, by theirselves or with some “help”.
But Heidfeld and Rosberg, won’t complain about their 2d and 3d place!
In Holland they plan on building whole new towns in the future, on 5 meter high levybanks, to avoid flood when the water would rise .As you know half of Holland is BELOW sealevel.And…today we can ,again, expect steady rain .

So no gliding in Holland today, though the season has started with annual briefings for ALL club members, to inform about the rules for this upcoming season.
Some of the clubs move to their spring camps and they mostly visit the mountains in Saint Auban , Gap Tallard, Sisteron or Vinon for wave and if possible thermal flying.

2 More weeks and we will know the final entries for both world comps! 31 of march will be the deadline! As you know I visit as editor Rieti again and to our social drink with a nice bottle of red, more and more people join in. The parents ,[ both glider pilots and very much involved in gliding, ] of the Dutch TC Maaike, will visit us for a few days. Some pilots will visit as well, you will read it when they have arrived.

The TC for the UK is appointed. Good friend Hugh Kindell [ he will join in with the social parties ] will have the very busy job! Why so busy? His team counts 7 members!!!!Very special is, that there are 2 women flying in this team and not “just” women , as both are the reigning world champions in their class.On top of that world champion Leigh Wells will fly in Rieti as well. Here are their entries as far as I got them;
Standard class;Leigh Wells , Richard Hood, Jay Rebbeck and Sara  Kelman.
Club class;Pete Masson , Gee Dale and last but not least Jill Spreckly. Her husband Brian will be there as chief-steward.
A VERY strong team, as ALL of them flew already in World comps and….they are still so young. As I am not sure if I know Gee Dale, I can’t tell you if he was already performing in a World competition.

Only found out today that between all the spam and nonsense in the comment -part of this blog, were 2 good ones. Sorry to Zdzislaw Borawski, who commented on the nice long flight from Jelinia Gora,already on February 7 2008. He added to that story that this flight was NOT a thermal flight , as we already expexted, but one in wave , still a good one though. They hope one day to fly 1000 km from this field in autumn or winter. As I can’t read his email adress, it is too long and the final part is missing I just want to say thank you to him.

Other comment was on Tocumwal. Noel Brittoner from New Zealand wrote already on November 13 2007, that he is very much interested in the WWII airbase “Mc Intyrefield” , the airport of Tocumwal. I will quickly write him back with some more news.Thanks!

On March 9 Terry Cubley , another good friend,flew , in his LS 3, 622 km in Adelaide [Australia]. And….it is already MARCH!!!!Good practise for him as he is one of the participants in Rieti.

That’s it for now. Just booked my ticket and I will arrive in Rome on July 1. Time to write already about the practise week ! Really looking forward to those 3 weeks. Good weather, lovely people in Rieti, great airfield, LOTS of good friends from all over the world, great food and a nice glass of perhaps even bubbles! What do you want more!? Yes…a fantastic and safe competition with the best pilots of the world in these 3 classes !!!

See you, Ritz

Newsy news!

Alphen aan den Rijn                     sunday March 9 2008

While I was sitting in the storm last week, good friend  Art from Canada send me his pictures from a load of snow around their club house in Winnipeg. Sorry I can’t show you pictures on this site, but IT IS a load–snowbanks he calls them!!!
Still 34 dgr. MINUS 0 ,over there, but……measured with the wind chill factor.

They start their gliding season somewhere in the beginning of April. If the snow has  melted then , they start  their operation on a remote-airfield. They look ahead as they store their tugs and trainers already away from the club.Why?
Their field is part of a swamp/lake- bottom, flat as a pancake,  so when the huge piles of snow start melting they “suffer” from flood. But….no worries, they just move to a hard   topped airfield nearby, generally , as said, the second week of April.

Also a way to start your soaring season. Thanks Art for this information.
Art will be in Rieti as “helper” , so we will meet under a blue sky again in July, for a nice glass of wine.

Europe had some nice days with blue skies , sunny but cool conditions , but while sitting outside , in my winter jacket, I could already feel thermal activity . It was nice to look at the clouds, moving with great speed and getting higher during the day.

 The IGC meeting in Rome was a success. What I heard was that the Annex A is 100% OK, but the code sportive gave some problems and one of the members  ,Ross, will keep an eye on it and it will be back on the table next year for voting. There was not so much discussion this year as in other years and as expected it was a good time for all in Rome. Vice president Fladimir Voltkin resigned and Peter Platzer from Austria took over. All other members kept “their places”.

In the French mountains , places as Sisteron and Gap Tallard ,  they already flew over 300 km. flights. But as I look on the OLC ,I am amazed to see that distances of 0ver 600 km are still flown in Australia. Terry Bellair still has not given up his “kilometer-eating” and added this distance today on his already respectable list of long and good flights.

Corowa announced that the list of gliders for the containers  for the 2008/2009 season is nearly full and they might have to build another container for next season . That will be container number 5. Not bad and good for Australian gliding!!And …..as a more or less “Aussie” ,I like this!
In Tocumwal they are going to say good bye to Dieter, better know as Tocumwal-Dundee. After 6 months his “overseas-period” is over. Not that he is still gliding, eye problems keep him on the ground,  but he still loves the soaring season in Toc.  All different Japanese glider pilots have found their way to his mobile house and even managed to cook Japanese.
Judy and Ingo Renner prepare a nice farewell party for him this week, before he travels back to Europe.

Argentinian pilot Damian will be flying in Luesse during the World Comps. He is a young pilot with a huge fanclub. If they start a “meet -and- greet -site ” in Luesse, it will be loaded with messages from his Argentinian fans. Nice young man! If he wins ONE day, like in Sweden, the world will be too small.

That’s it for now. Cheers Ritz

Spring / autumn 2008

Alphen aan den Rijn                                                                                       March 2 2008

Yesterday the metereological spring has started here, so autumn has started in Australia. It might have looked sunny on this first spring day  here in Holland, but we had a terrible storm and at 8 in the morning on saturday, I was trying to save my fence from falling down over my just sprouting plants in the garden. Not a good idea with gusting winds up to 119 km p/h. My neighbor saw me, he was also the one who “built” the fence and  rushed out to help. One part was broken, so he took that part off and another part , to let the wind play. What violence wind can be!!!!So more autumn here then spring at this moment.
While in OZ Terry Bellair , who really had an amazing good year, still flew a 569 km flight from Raywood.For me he was the best Australian OLC pilot this year !

In Rome the IGC members had their annual meeting. Last year when I was in Rieti, Marina Galetto was already very busy to organize things as accomodation etc.In the end they had some problems with the place for the meeting room , but all ended well in the Crowne-Plaza-Rome St Petershotel. The plenary meeting was held between febr 29 and March 1 2008.
The IGC is responsable for FAI Gliding activities in particular World Records and International Competitions with the excemption of glider aerobatics.
Looking forward to the results. You can find the news on the IGC site.

The Murray Border Flying Club , a social club situated at the airfield of Tocumwal has a brand new site. With Ingo Renner as their CFI, they fly mostly in the weekends, have once in a month a meeting with a BBQ and if you are interested in their news you can find them on, www.mbfc.org.au

The more commercial club from former Sportavia CFI Eddie Madden is very busy to built up their new business and for their news you can look at  www.sportaviation.com.au Next season they will be ready to go, though they had quite some guests already this season and there are still some Japanese pilots!!

Corowa has flown 500.000 km this season, I mean of course the pilots flying over there and ended as runner- up in the race for best airfield in the world, according to the OLC information. For sure they were the best in Australia. Good friends Pepe and Roger were the last flight to leave the airfield, flying  the duo discus back to its home field, Benalla.

Bitterwasser [NA] was the best field  and they claim 147 1000 km. flights!! and nearly 600.000 km of flying by their pilots.Gariep Dam[SA] was a good 3d.

End of this month we will know who are the participants of both world comps, as the deadline of the final entries is set on March 31 2008 for both comps in Italy and Germany. The Dutch pilots are already in full training to be “just good”. Baer Selen, 2 times world champion and Ronald Termaat , the current European champion are heavily involved in this.

Well hopefully your gliders are ready , or nearly ready for a European season. When the weather co-operates ,we surely will have a busy soaring season. I try to keep an eye on “things”. For all the real hot news you can of course see the different sites and read the gliding magazines, I just try to inform you on a low-key-base, but hopefully in a pleasant way about what’s going on as far as I see , read or hear.