1000 km. fever now also in OZ!!!!!!Happy 2009!!!

Alphen aan den Rijn

 The Christmas man was good for OZ. He had 11 presents on boxing day for 11 pilots flying from Corowa airport. After David Jansen flew a few weeks ago, the first 1000 km. [goal] from Benalla, now Corowa was the great place to be. 11 Pilots flew their 1000 km flight.
Lots of them flew the jo-jo up to the North East and back , via Temora and West Wyalong, but a few p.e my friends Harry and Pepe took the more difficult way out and flew an FAI  triangle. Harry just missed out on a 1000 but made his longest FAI triangle ever in a 15 m. version ventus. Great job. By the way he has several 1000 km flights already.Pepe added another 750 km. to his long list. Also he has already 1000 km flights in the pocket .
A few golden heights completed a real merry christmas in  Corowa!

 But the Christmas man had also a first 500 km for Mads flying from Tocumwal.Great effort!
I remember now too,a 1250 km. flight at Christmas with Gerrit Kurtjens flying on, not the best looking day, this distance from Tocumwal a few years ago! And a flight in an LS 4 from the gorgeous looking blond German lady. Se got lost landed somewhere far from Toc and too late to pick her up. Her husband was not amused but survived Christmas by himself, but of course WE were all there!
 The farmer who “found” the lady on the road, was excited: An angel had come from heaven!!She stayed overnight with him and his family.I still think it was his best christmas ever!
Christmas in Australia,why not!!!???

Mac [from Japan] nearly made another 1000 km flight from Narromine airport.He flew in a 15 m. ASG 29 version 957 km!Alan Barnes flew 890 km in an LS 1f. GREAT effort!!!

So the 26th of December can go into the “great-day-books”. If you look at the OLC 35 pilots flew over 800 km both in Australia and Africa. And…who knows how many do not care about OLC and fly their 1000 also! Congratulations to all of them!

So ” hammerweather ” finally in Australia too and I hope it continues. Normally they have cycles in Oz building up in one week from ok to superb!!!Of course we have had here the shortest day, over there the longest. But still till the end of january days are long enough to fly 1000 km flights , only of course , when you are interested in being part of the 1000 km fever.

It is lovely to see how all friends “spread over” the world to fly in the off-season. I heard Maurizio from Italy is in Gariep Dam now and Roy from the UK in New Zealand. Robert from Sweden announced a few days ago, his departure to Bloemfontein, to fly at our mutual friend Dick’s place;I wish them all enjoyable times. He straight away flew a nice 500 km.

We are in a “winter-period ” here now too. The next week will be between 0 during the day and up to minus 7 every night. This is pretty cold for Holland and for quite a long time we have not had freezing temperatures for more then a week. So….all skates are out of the “fat”/grease to be used on artificial skating rinks till the REAL ice is there! So “we” have practised before it starts!
And when there is natural-ice, they start dreaming straight away of the famous “11-steden-tocht ” in Friesland, visiting on skates 11 towns  over ice. That’s another sport-fever! And……The first meeting has been!!!!!!!
 And..the first “race” on natural ice has been hold today on saturday the 27th.

Happy people everywhere on skates on ice and in the air in gliders and…just at home at the fire with a nice glass of red , waiting till 2008 slowly moves on to 2009.I know this world looks small , but  I know there are lots of unhappy people too, sick or abused,lonely or very poor.

Time to wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe 2009.

Cheers Ritz


Alphen aan den Rijn           21-12-2008

Only 4 days to go and ….it is Christmas! So to everybody in this whole wide world; Merry Christmas!
I was also very much impressed with the many birthday wishes from ALL over the world!! Thank you and I am still trying to react on the e-mails I received. Phone calls from friends flying in Pokweni and Gariep Damm touched me, as they are busy flying in the best season ever there, it seems and they still made time to call or sms.

Last week I told you we had minus 7 with the windchill factor. Straight away I received an email from my friend Art in Canada; Sunday december 14—Minus 26!!!!!!—with the windchill factor MINUS 42!!!!!!Luckily the rest of the week in Carberry was sunny but….temperatures from 23 till 28 …yes minus!!!!I will not be carried away anymore, Art!It is by the way today 10 dgr. here ,PLUS!!!

I am carried away however with the results in Africa. My goodness me, what’s happening there. It rains 1000 km . plus -flights. Good friend Daan flew 5 in a row in an ASH 25 with friend Jos.
When he was in command Daan flew a 1000 on December 15-17-19 and all with a speed of over 120 km/ph. Jos flew in command a 1000 km on December 16 and 18!!!!What exceptional results!!! And ….yes the weather is there, so being on the right place at the right spot……. I just love it!
Another great flight was on December 14 in Australia, when Greg flew after his very first 750 km. flight an 800 km flight in the standard cirrus!!Welldone!
When we talk great flights, what about David Jansen. He did the Grand Prix first in Narromine, moved to Benalla and set himself a goal flight to Dalby; 1154.9 km.
He just missed out on reaching the goal [ he landed on the airfield of Warwick  120 km. SE of Dalby]but flew I think the first 1000 km this season in OZ with a distance of 1118 km. 
That is what you can do in Australia, fly from south to N.E over MORE then 1000 km. and still be IN Australia. You do not have to try that from a Dutch airfield, as you will pass several borders!
By the way, David flew in the ASG 29/18m.

And what about Guy in Bitterwasser. He is from Luxemburg, spends most of summer in Fuentemilanos , where I met him and part of the winter in Africa. Yesterday he flew 1261 km. with a speed of 140 km/ph.[ASH 25 EB 28] WOW!!!!!!!

 I finished in these hectic times, my 500 -words- article in time for the Gliding International Magazine. It will be out just after Christmas.[www.glidinginternational.com].With help of my friend Jo , there will be also an article about the vintage gliders and the opening of the hangar a few weeks ago in Bacchus March.

Looking forward to receive a DVD from the World comps in Rieti. A Christmas present ,[ I heard from Marina ] from Leonardo!!

Still no word from Graham about his first place in the GP in Narromine. Sorry!
Will check with my friends from Belgium about their experiences in Bitterwasser and the 1st 1000 km. flight from Bert jr.

So keep reading on the next sunday! A VERY busy week waiting!No worries I am used to that. In the past it was the busiest time in Tocumwal at Sportavia with lots of guests. Organizing Christmas and New Year for all our guests and friends from town and keeping an eye on the office, the motel and restaurant was inspiring and kept us going from the early morning to the late evening[night].A REAL life-style and as said before I miss that.
This Christmas will be different, but with my daughter and her husband and my grand children , so what do I want more.I will spend the beginning of the new year by myself on my own request! After all those hectic years I started to appreciate a bit of silence now for one evening and I like my own company for a change!

Great to see and hear that ALL my soaring friends , who are spending their winter in sunny conditions gliding, are truly happy.
Specially for all of them who were our guests in the past and enjoy flying now still in  Australia or Africa;Merry Christmas from Ritz.

To all friends at home and to all readers I do not know; MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Joey glide and Gariep Dam!

Alphen aan den Rijn        14-12-2008

Last week the junior National comps for Australia were flown in Benalla. Unfortunately they did not have the very best weather, but they had good winners.Out of the 7 days they flew 4 days.
Nathan Johnson from NSW , winning 2 of the days flying an LS 4 was in the end the winner with a 350 points lead over runner up Andrew Maddocks from Queensland in a Discus 2.
14 Competitors in total with 4 overseas pilots.[Canada, the UK and 2 from NZ]
As the youth has the future, we look ahead at the junior worlds in Finland , flown in the last 2 weeks of June and the first week of July 2009 in Rayskala.

The weather-gods have been very good to Gariep Dam last week. Nearly every day was a good one. Look at these best results of lastweeks days;
Monday         924 km in DG 808C/18m.
Tuesday        1000 km plus by 8 pilots
Wednesday   restday
Thursday      restday but………. great day in OZ good flights from Corowa
Friday           985 in ASG 29/18m.
Saturday       1000 km. plus by 14 pilots 

Beautiful FAI triangle by Hans Wiesenthal from 1.126 km. in his DG 808B/18m. I lost track of how many 1000 km. he has flown!!!!! 

Another great result last week was from a pilot who flew his 750 km badge from Western Australia airfield Southern Cross. Great achievement as you see he flew it in a Standard CIRRUS!!!!!!!        

Cold here in Holland. Yesterday we had minus 7 but that was including the windchill factor! I really had to scratch ice from the windows of my car. Today is better with 7 dgr.+  

First invitation for a Christmas reception this year was from the KNVvL , the Dutch gliding association. It is on a saturday January 10 but I normally work on that day. We’ ll see. It is always nice to catch up with the top pilots , the coaches , TC’s and the “blue blazers”.

Off to Amsterdam now as my grand daughter Indya , who just turned 5 will swim for her first diploma A. A big day for her , her parents and…for oma.

CU next week, have a good one!

Congratulations Graham and Bert jr.!

Alphen aan den Rijn       07-12-2008

With 19 participants in 18 m. class, from whom I know 17 from good to very good, the Qualifying Grand Prix in Narromine is over! Great winner; Graham Parker!Good runner up Ricardo Brigliadori and a nice 3d place for Butch [John Buchanan].

What I heard from several sites was, that it was a smooth and well ran organisation with very disciplined pilots! Luckily the weather co-operated, so no day was waisted.The finals will be flown in Italy in 2009.Hope you enjoyed Jo’s blogs which I got on my laptop every morning and before going to the gallery I put the blog on soaring.eu
Good co-operation!THANK YOU JO!!! Well done !

Some people forget about the distances. Graham lives in the neighbourhood of Adelaide and that is at least a 2 day drive for him to travel home from Narromine. Tony and Jo normally make a stop over in Tocumwal and even Michael Sommer stopped there on his way home to Benalla/Melbourne.

Another friend , Simon Holding from Alice Springs[ a mature law student and a great guy!] , send a nice reaction on the Eagle-incident with Tony Tabart.I just want to share it with you too.

“Our client is in fact a run-out Chicken Hawk (in poor feather) as

opposed to the purported Wedge Tailed Eagle that has been described.

Your pilot Tony Tabart in an 18 metre glider, in poor feather (the pilot looked as

though he needed refinishing) flew aggressively into our client’s patch,

and then proceeded with some temerity to loiter. Judging by the speeds

achieved there was no intention to merely transit through this patch.

Accordingly, our client’s well being was put a risk due to his honour

bound duty to act to defend his patch. As further and better particulars

come to hand, we will clarify our position. Until then we strongly

advise your pilot to stay off our client’s patch – you have been


In between the great weather in Africa continues! My friends Bert sr., Hilde and their “kids” Bert jr and Tijl spend time in Bitterwasser this year. Did mum and dad fly in the past with us in Tocumwal, with great pleasure, they had to find another place for winter, so last year they moved to Bitterwasser flying I think on the last day their first 1000 km.

Yesterday young Bert flew HIS First 1000 km in an ASH 25 26 m. and young Tijl in a DG 800B/18m. a great 841 km.They defenitely are on the right spot on the right time and both young but very good and skilled pilots.Last week Bert flew witd dad as co-pilot in the ASH25 26m , they really seem to like, another great flight;905 km with a speed of 120 km/h.

Australia has very nice weather too with distances flown up to over 800 km. Some Danish friends [Ib, Ole, Stener and Morten] have had nice long flights from Corowa, but had not forgotten about Sportavia where they flew in the past several Danish records and visited the old WW 2 airfield. Ingo flew in his discus from Tocumwal a nice 672 km. flight and Pepe flew from Narromine 711 km., while Benalla had some good flights too.

Uwe Thiele added another 1000 km flight in his logbook flying from Gariep Dam in a nimbus 3 D with a speed of 124 km/h. Hans is still going strong in the FAI-OLC championship as winner , so wherever our glider-friends are in the world they enjoy their off-season- flying to the fullest.Hope this upcoming week is another good one for all who are there and for all of us at home.

Cheers Ritz

Final day in Narromine!

Alphen aan den Rijn      06-12-2008 Birthday of sinterklaas!!!!

Last news about the last day. Will be back tomorrow with more!!!

Here is Jo!

briefing Comp Day 7 – final day – Sat 6 Dec 08

Day 6 double-seater winners were Ross McLean & Mark Rowe with an average speed of 102.3 km/h over the 255.5 km for 3 points; equal first were Peter Summersby & Mal Bruce with an average speed of 98.4 km/h; the bonus point for being first to Mullengudgery gave Mal & Peter a total of 3 points for the day also.

Overall leaders in double-seater class after 6 days are Peter Summersby & Mal Bruce with 14 points, followed by Ross McLean & Mark Rowe with 11 points and Shinzo Takizawa on 9 points.

Day 6 18m leaders were again the ASG 29s – Riccardo Brigliadori with an average speed of 129.0 km/h  for the 255.5 km task + the bonus point for being first to Mullengudgery giving him11 points total for the day. 

David Wilson was second with an average speed of 127.1 km/h for 8 points then Graham Parker with an average speed of 126.1 km/h for 7 points.  4th was Hank Kauffman at an average 125.9 km/h for 6 points.

It’s a very close race for the lead in 18m class.  Graham Parker is on 39 points closely followed by Riccardo Brigliadori on 38 points – Ricky is flying Brett Buchanan’s new glider, straight from the factory.

Michael Sommer was 5th on day 6 in a Ventus 2cxT with an average speed of 120.4 km/h giving him 5 points for the day and placing him third overall at 26 points.

John Buchanan in his new ASW 27 is close behind on 25 points and then Terry Cubley in Danny Kilgariff’s Ventus 2cxM on 24 points.  Mac Ichikawa and Hank Kauffmann, both in ASG 29s, are tied on 22 points.

At day 7 briefing, Henk Meertens stressed safe finishes.  He emphasised that careful scrutiny will be given today to traces into the bonus turnpoint.

Weather – although totally overcast, there is a window of opportunity today; we are crushed between a trough and an approaching front, with a small area of blue sky showing on the satellite photos between the trough and the front.  Winds have gone around to the south.  Cu may go to 9,000′ but will depend on temperatures; Narromine maximum is expected to be 33 degrees.  The first bit of activity may happen around midday.  There will be an increase in high cloud at about 4.30pm and the day will be dead by 5pm.  If we get 33 degrees, then we’ll get the 9,000′.  A quick start and a short task is planned.

Task A:  Gilgandra, Nevertire, Microwave – 236.8 km – a bonus point for first to Gilgandra; first launch 1230 hours, estimated start gate opening 1330 hours.

Task B:  Nevertire, Eumungerie, Microwave – 197.8 km – a bonus point for first to Nevertire. 

2pm – Comp Day 7 – final day – Sat 6 Dec 08

Final day start gate opened at 1400 hours, max start height 4,500 QNH, task A – Gilgandra, Nevertire, Microwave – 236.8 km – a bonus point for first to Gilgandra.

Some blog about the leaders:

Peter Summersby is an airline pilot with Tiger Airways with 350 hours gliding.  Peter began gliding in 1982.  Best moments:  “My first solo on winch at Central Mangrove, shortly followed by winning a day in the national sports class at Leeton in 1985 with my late friend Bob Smith flying a K-13 and averaging over 100 kph.  Next best was my first 300 km flight in my beloved open Libelle, also at the national sport class competition at Leeton in 1986.

“My first job in aviation was in 1989, towing for Southern Cross gliding club followed by several general aviation night freight jobs.   My first airline job was in 1984 flying for Ansett Australia on the Boeing 737-300 and then Qantas and Virgin Blue.  In 2007, I was offered a direct entry command flying an Airbus A320 for Tiger Airways as part of their inaugural operation in Australia.

“Now having over 15,000 hours of commercial flying, I find myself back where I started and feel most comfortable strapped into a beautiful Duo Discus with amazing performance, thermaling over the spectacular countryside of Narromine and central New South Wales, competing against mother nature and yourself to better your times and distances to make it home at the end of the day. Always flying safe and enjoying one of the best sports aviation has to offer.”

Graham Parker is a 54 year old anaesthetist from Adelaide, and the father of 4 girls.  He has around 3,000 hours gliding and has been flying for 30 years – he has always had a love of flying.  Graham has represented Australia at 2 world championships- Mafikeng in 2001 and Lusse in 2008.  He has won Australian national championships in 15m, 18m and club class. 

Graham “loves flying in the New Zealand mountains because of the spectacular scenery and the challenges involved”.

Michael Sommer is current World Gliding Champion in Open Class, having also won the previous world championship in Open class.  Michael has lived and worked in Australia for the past 5 years for automotive industry supplier, Siemens VDO.  Michael has been gliding for 20+ years and was introduced to the sport as a teenager through his family:  “I started gliding when I was 14.   A colleague of my dad was the president of the gliding club. As I was doing RC model flying already, he asked my dad to bring me over as soon as I was old enough.  From my first flight, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.

“I have lived in Melbourne for the last five years and have been able to experience what a great gliding country Australia is. I am really excited about Narromine’s bid for the 2012 15m, 18m and Open WGC.  I am very confident that if Australia is successful with the bid, then the gliding world will not regret travelling to the end of the world! 

“I love gliding and as long as it stays that way, I will continue doing it.”

John (Butch) Buchanan is an aeronautical engineer who began flying in1960 and has around 8,000 hours gliding.  Butch has been winner of Australian national competitions in open class and standard class at Waikerie, Narromine, Benalla, Kingaroy, Horsham and Tocumwal and has many second and third places.  He has represented Australia in world comps at Chateuroux, France; Rieti, Italy; Hobbs, USA (3rd place); Weinner Neustadt, Austria; Uvalde, Texas; Bayreuth, Germany (4th place); Luesse, Germany; Omarama, NZ; and Saint Auban, France.

One of his most memorable flights was “along the Rockies from El Paso to the 9,000′ high airfield (highest in the world) at Teluride.  Dodging fierce thunderstorms and racing along the 12,000′ high mountain peaks into places totally unknown is an exhilarating, adrenalin-rushing experience.  The flight was a distance of 850 km and included deviations to other famous landmarks along the way.  I was in company with other Nimbus 4 gliders and we pushed each other all the way”.

Terry Cubley is a training manager with car manufacturer, GM Holden and is based in Gawler, South Australia.  He began flying in 1968 and has around 5,000 hours gliding.  Terry is twice Australian national champion and has competed in 7 world championships; his highest place was 13th.  He is a gliding instructor and coach and is involved in GFA administration at national, state and club level.  Some best moments in gliding:  “final glide on my 1,000 km flight – 9 hours in the cockpit; contest director at the world comps at Gawler in 2001; ridge running in the French Alps and New Zealand and Italy”.

(blog by Jo Pocklington)




4.30 pm – Comp Day 7 – final day – Sat 6 Dec 08

First across the line at 1552 hours was David Jansen closely followed by (in no particular order) Graham Parker, Ricky Brigliardori, John Buchanan, Hank Kauffmann, Thomas Gostner, Michael Sommer, Bill Hatfield, Terry Cubley, Bruce Taylor.

Final results will be posted on the website by our very-hard-working scorer, Wayne Hadkins as soon as traces are verified and data checked.

A blog about the pilots:

David Jansen is an airline pilot who began flying in 1972; he has around 3,700 hours gliding. David was 9th at the WGC this year in Lusse Germany, and has flown at Worlds in Uvalde, Borlange, Sweden, Omarama NZ and St Auban France.

Best achievement:  “My first 1,000 km flight, flown out of Narromine in December 1982. It took 9.3 hrs at 112 kph – it was No 10 in Australia and No 42 in the world”.

Hank Kauffmann is a retired yacht designer who lives in Queensland.  He began gliding in 1986 and has around 5,000 hours.  Hank has achieved “numerous seconds and thirds, but has never won an event!”.  Hank’s background is sailing; he has recently designed and built a 42ft wooden sailing yacht.   At 64 years old, Hank is still competing successfully.

Bruce Taylor is part glider pilot, part farmer.  He and his wife Anita “produce superfine wool for the Italian market, and beef for everyone else”.  Anita is the daughter of Lorraine & Hank Kauffmann.

Bruce began gliding in1984 and has approximately 4,700 hours.  “I have flown 6 traditional pre-Worlds and World comps and two Grand Prix World Comps.  I still can’t seem to force my way on to the podium, but I have some years left. This year I flew the Rieti Worlds and finished in 13th place in standard class.

“I love mountains and have been fortunate to spend time flying from some of the best sites in the world; that is Rieti, St Auban and Omarama.  These are my most special moments in gliding, although I still really enjoy any flight from my home airfield here at Kentucky in New South Wales.  I used to play cricket, but kept finding myself staring up at the sky and missing the ball!  I also enjoy riding my motorbike and if I could only find the time I’d love to read a book…..”.

Thanks to Rex Regional Express Airlines for their sponsorship in promoting the event and thanks to all involved in creating a successful and safe event.

We’ve had an average 18,000 hits on our website each day – thank you all for your interest and support.

(blog by Jo Pocklington)




Latest GP News

Alphen aan den Rijn        05-12-2008

More blog news from Jo. Here you are;

Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Narromine, NSW, Australia

briefing Comp Day 6 Fri 5 Dec 08

Henk Meertens announced that provisional double-seater winners on day 5 were Ross McLean & Mark Rowe with an average speed of 107.2 km/h over 243.5 km – they won the bonus point for being first to Trangie, giving a total of 4 points for the day. 

  Peter Summersby & Mal Bruce are overall double-seater leaders with 11 points.  Ross McLean & Mark Rowe are tied with Shinzo Takizawa on 8 points each.

  It was once again a very tight competition for the 18m leaders.  Provisional 18-meter winners for comp day 5 were Riccardo Brigliadori in an ASG 29 – 10 points; equal second place – Bill Hatfield in his LAK 17 – 8 points and Lars Zehnder in his Ventus 2c – 8 points.  Ricky’s average speed was 118.7 km/h over the 243.5km; Bill and Lars each averaged 118.6 km/h.

In 4th place was Brad Edwards in his ASG 29/18m at an average 118.4 km/h, followed by Thomas Gostner in a Ventus 2c with an average118.3 km/h, Mac Ichikawa in his ASG29 at 118.2 km/h and Terry Cubley in Danny Kilgariff’s Ventus 2CXM at 118.0 km/h.

Graham Parker won the bonus point for being first to Trangie.  John (Butch) Buchanan is having logger problems and has not submitted a valid trace.

Provisional overall leaders after 5 days are all flying ASG29s – Graham Parker on 32 points, Riccardo Brigliadori on 27 points and John Buchanan on 25 points.

18m day 5 winner, Riccardo Brigliadori is 40 years old and graduated from the University of Bergamo in Business Administration.  Ricky is married to Francesca, has one little girl, 4 years old and a boy of 17 months.

Ricky is 7 times Italian Champion and was 5th at the WGC in 2008 at Lusse (Germany).  He is co-founder of the new Gliding Aeroclub in Alzate (Como). Ricky is General Manager and CEO of a company involved in aircraft and glider maintenance and repair, situated on the airfield of Bergamo (Italy).

Ricky was co-author with his father, Leo of the book ‘Competing in Gliders’.  Leo is crewing for Ricky at the Grand Prix.

“My best gliding moment was when I landed my first solo and my uncle gave me a little slap.   I dreamed of coming to Australia for a long time. Now it’s the time!”

Weather for comp day 6 – the thick high cloud is predicted to clear our area; thunderstorms to the north, but not in our general area.  Temperatures are expected to be 36 degrees at Trangie and at Narromine about 32 degrees.  Pressure will fall as a trough moves closer.  Thermals will be sheared once again.  Heights will be improving by 3pm and around 7,000′  by 4pm.  At 2pm there will be no cu, but 4pm should have some cu with heights dropping by 5pm.

This was Jenny Thompson’s last weather prediction for the Grand Prix as she needs to return to work tomorrow.  Henk Meertens expressed a sincere vote of thanks from all pilots for her excellent predictions this week.

Today we have A and B tasks set; the bonus point is the second turnpoint for both tasks.  First launch 1300 hrs, estimated start gate opening 1400 hrs.

Task A:   Collie, Mullengudgery, Microwave – 255.5 km

Task B:   Collie, Nevertire, Microwave – 199.5 km

Our website is receiving 16,000 hits per day!

(blog by Jo Pocklington)


Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Narromine, NSW, Australia

5.30pm Comp Day 6 Fri 5 Dec 08

The start gate opened at 1440 hrs; the first gliders were across the finish at 1638 hrs – Riccardo Brigliadori, David Wilson, Graham Parker, Hank Kauffmann, Michael Sommer, Terry Cubley, Lars Zehnder, Andrew Georgeson, Mac Ichikawa.

Andrew Georgeson:  “Weather on track was patchy.  Clouds weren’t working in general, but the odd good looking one really worked 7 – 8 knots.  Final glide was disappointing – the track home overdeveloped with big flat-bottomed cu, but it just didn’t suck.  There was a fair bit of sink coming in”.

This could be David Wilson‘s first points for the Grand Prix!  David began gliding in 1963 and has about 3,800 hours.  An Australian, David went solo in England during a scholarship to Cranfield University.  He has been a member of the Victorian Motorless Flight Group since 1964 and is currently head coach for Victoria and a level 2 instructor in the VMFG.   David acquired his ASG 29 about 18 months ago.

David has taken a keen interest in weather forecasting for gliding and has developed a computer model of the atmosphere which – given a local temperature trace – can predict the start of thermals, the height they reach and the end of convection.  David has assisted with weather forecasting at many Australian competitions over the past 10 years.

David has been a regular competitor at Australian nationals since 1970.  He took part in the Grand Prix in South Australia in 2000.  He has occasionally won a day, and his best placing is 7th.   David was team captain for the Australian team to the world Club Class Championships in Norway in 2004.

(blog by Jo Pocklington)



Day 5 Grand Prix !

Alphen aan den Rijn    12-2008

Sorry…No Pressrelease today but the blog’ s from Jo.Just to keep you informed.

Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Narromine, NSW, Australia

briefing Comp Day 5 Thu 4 Dec 08

Henk Meertens announced day 3 18m winners – after very careful scrutiny:  equal first Graham Parker and Riccardo Brigliardori and third Michael Sommer.  Graham Parker achieved the bonus point for being first to the first turnpoint, Eumangerie.

  Provisional double-seater winners for day 4 are tied: Shinzo Takizawa and Peter Summersby / Mal Bruce winning 3 points each – Mal & Peter achieved the bonus points for being first to Trangie.

Overall winners after 4 days are Peter Summersby & Mal Bruce with 10 points.

Shinzo Takizawa has 6 points; Ross McLean & Mark Rowe are on 4 points.

  Provisional day 4 winners in 18-meter class were:  John Buchanan with 10 points, Brad Edwards 8 points and Graham Parker 7 points.

Andrew Georgeson scored yesterday’s point for being first to reach the first turnpoint – all agreed that he demonstrated “extraordinary skill and daring!” – Andrew reached the point at 1,500′ then pulled back up to 2,000′ and found 6 knots.

Provisional overall leaders after 4 days are: Graham Parker on 29 points, John Buchanan 25 points and Michael Sommer 21 points.

Henk Meertens emphasised the need for safe finishes and asked non-competition pilots to stay out of the way of the competing gliders.

Jenny Thompson reported that today’s weather will initially produce easterly winds, swinging around as a trough approaches.  Winds are all over the place, but less than we’ve had for the last few days; variable down low, but kicking to the west higher.  There’s varied information on expected temperatures, with the Narromine anticipated maximum ranging from 26 to 32 degrees.  Thermals will be easy to work and similar strength to yesterday.  The high cloud will move in from the west as the trough approaches but is not expected to have a significant effect on the day’s flying until much later.

Day 5 task for 18m:  Trangie, Eumungerie, Tullamore, Tomingley – 317.9km – bonus point for the first to Trangie.

Day 5 task for 2 seaters:  Trangie, Microwave, Tullamore, Tomingley – 257.5km – bonus point for the first to Trangie.

All gliders will start at the same time today – midday – estimated start gate opening 1330 hours.

Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Narromine, NSW, Australia

1pm Comp Day 5 Thu 4 Dec 08

The day did not heat up, so launch was held and the day re-tasked.  Both classes – Gilgandra – Trangie – Tomingley – 243.5 km – start time 1405 hrs – max start height 4,500′ QNH.

The bonus point for the first to Trangie remains.  Pilots desperate for a point questioned the necessity to first fly to Gilgandra – the contest director reinforced that requirement!

While the launch was delayed, Nikki Douglass, comp IT manager, took the opportunity to synchronise the spot trackers and pilots activated them at the same time.  The aim is to have the trackers update simultaneously, giving a better idea of where they are in relation to each other on track.

(blog by Jo Pocklington)

Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Narromine, NSW, Australia

5pm Comp Day 5 Thu 4 Dec 08

First across the line appear to be – no particular order – Riccardo Brigliadori, Brad Edwards, Bill Hatfield, Lars Zehnder, Terry Cubley, Mac Ichikawa, Thomas Gostner, Graham Parker and Hank Kauffmann.  We need to wait for the traces to be sure!

There were some good thermals on track, then big large areas of shadow from cirrus.  One of the best climbs of the day was 7 knots in shadow: “a real 7 knots all the way around and smooth”.

Tony Tabart experienced several incidents with a wedge-tail eagle.  He was approaching Trangie in the 7 knot thermal and decided to go for the1 point; he went through Trangie at about 1,000′.  The eagle attacked east of Trangie as he was heading out to the sunshine. 

Tony had found a good core on the edge of the shadow, did one turn and then the eagle hit the canopy – “he had his claws out, was flapping and screaming and was very determined”.  Two turns later, the eagle had another go and slipped over the wing, brushing it.  Tony was worried about the eagle hitting the tail plane so he moved half a kilometre, found another weak core and within a couple of minutes the eagle was climbing up under him, and attacked several more times.  This thermal was only one knot, so it took a while for the eagle to outclimb the glider.  Each time the eagle got above TT, it again attacked.  Tony decided to fly as far away as possible, which put him really low and he ended up at 800′.  He was heading back to Narromine but found 6 knots, so continued on task.

Tony Tabart noted the high standard of airmanship at this competition – “the first gaggles post-start from 2,800′ AGL are very busy with everybody searching for a core.  Once found, it becomes pretty crowded but everybody is very well mannered in the thermal, lettings others in.  Quite unlike some of my world competition experiences!”

(blog by Jo Pocklington)





Day 4 from the Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Alphen aan den Rijn     03-12-2008

This is the blog from Jo and next you find the official press release by Kylie Dorsett. Look for results and more on


briefing Comp Day 4 Wed 3 Dec 08‏

Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Narromine, NSW, Australia

briefing Comp Day 4 Wed 3 Dec 08

Henk Meertens announced that the provisional double-seater winners for day 3 were Peter Summersby and Mal Bruce with 4 points, including a bonus point for being first at the first turnpoint; Mal and Peter also lead the class with 8 points.

There’s 1 second between the 2 leaders in 18m class – all traces will be reviewed during the day and the winner announced tomorrow morning.

Day 4 weather – Jenny Thompson reported that there is a trough to the north of the task area, making it a blue day.  Associated with the trough will be some high cloud which is expected to recede during the day. Heights are expected to be around 8,000′ with average climbs around 5 knots.  Overall, the day is very similar to yesterday, except a little weaker and lower.  Yesterday was tough; today will be a bit tougher!

Day 4 task for 18m – Trangie, Warren, Collie, Eumungerie, Microwave – 207.7 km – one bonus point for first at Trangie.

Day 4 task for double-seater:  Eumungerie, Trangie, Tomingley, Eumungerie, Microwave – 299.9 km – one bonus point for first at Eumungerie.

First launch 1300 hrs – estimated start gate opening 1400 hrs.

The Narromine News paper today features a front page story by Patrick Billings titled “World’s best gliders take to the sky” with a colour photo of Old Bill Hatfield (BH) finishing in his Lak 17A.  Part of the item reads:  “…..Sunday’s first day of competition was dominated by the international set but Monday was an all-Aussie affair….. 

“Former world champion Joe Brigliadori, who won the title in 1985 and is here to watch his son Riccardo compete, said the ability to make high-pressure decisions was the key to success.  “It is not about instinct, it is about intuition which is a product of experience…. Gliding is the sport for managers. The market is the sky, thermals are offering opportunity and the gliders are like your business competitors”.

“….. Not only are Narromine’s vast, flat plains ideal for the sport but the current wheat harvest is proving to be a benefit as the brown paddocks release the hot air pilots seek.”

(blog by Jo Pocklington)

correctionLeo Brigliadori, not Joe – the newspaper got it wrong and I just copied it!

Australian Qualifying Gliding Grand Prix

Narromine, NSW, Australia

4.30pm Comp Day 4 Wed 3 Dec 08

The first nine finishers (not in order) were John Buchanan, Brad Edwards, Graham Parker, Hank Kauffmann, Terry Cubley, Mac Ichikawa, Lars Zehnder, Michael Sommer and ??? (dodgy radios!).

Terry Cubley reported that the weather on track was “a bit better than predicted; I averaged 5.5 knot climbs.  I didn’t get above about 6,000′ but some were getting higher.  There were a few gaggles today – they didn’t stick together for long, but were constantly reforming.”

(blog by Jo Pocklington)

Press release by Kylie Dorsett

Day 3 saw a balance of Nationals and Internationals on the leader board. With one second between Italian Riccardo Brigladori and Australian Graham Parker, First place is still in question as the referees check the flight logs. German Michael Sommer was a close 30 seconds behind.
The overall leader board holds 3 pilots in first place: Michael Sommer, Graham Parker and David Jansen. Todays task of 207km may seperate the three for a clear winner. All public is welcome to watch the race on the Spot live tracking system at the Narromine Aero Club Auditorium from 2:30pm today.