Extreme low pressure in Holland!Great weather in Benalla!

Alphen aan den Rijn         25-01-2009

We had an extreme low pressure last friday;960 hectopascal! Since they started recording, the pressure here in Holland,  was only once lower in 1989 with 956 hectopascal. Result lots of rain and strong ,to very strong wind.
Not as bad however as in parts of France [regio of Bordeaux] and Spain [Nord] where severe wind up to 160 km p/h ., gusting to 192 km/h.,  hammered on buildings and  blew over trees and roofs . In total atleast 16 people were killed all over Europe.

No worries however in Benalla where the National championships were held with extremely good weather. What about Tom Claffey who flew with a speed of 159.9 km/h. over 498.8 km?????The SLOWEST in that class flew 128 km/h.
Out of 11 days 8 days were flown in 3 classes and 7 in open class.
Glorious winner in standard class was the number 3 from the World comps in Rieti; Peter Temple with nearly 600 points ahead on the number 2.
In 15 m. John Buchanan was an even more glorious winner. In 8 days of flying he “got” 7942 points, meaning he nearly won every day.

In 18 m. class it was another win for Graham Parker. Great pilot and great results this seaon. It is clearly HIS year. Strong pilots in this class with David Jansen and Bruce Taylor, wellknown WGC pilots, as runner up and number 3.
In open class good old friend Paul Mander won before Dion Weston and good old friend Gerrit.
On day 2 Gerrit had an airspace violation before start, loosing the day; zero points. He won however 4 days was one day 2d and on the last day 7th.

For the full story see below, as Jo was quick and efficient as ever. Thanks again Jo!!!

I was very pleased to see Jan and Stefan in Tocumwal. Jan is a real km. eater even when he flies an LS 4. He flew 857 km.!!!!!Stefan flies every year his own glider in Tocumwal and he knows how to fly long distance too, not afraid of having NO engine!!
 VERY pleased also with the 1000 km flight from Neil from Toc airport.
 And what about “mate” Daan…. He added another 1000 km flight from Corowa.Yes Australia finally has in January its REAL OZ weather!!!!!So it should!!!!

Still good in Africa too. Hans has made already 42 fights till now and is clearly leading the FAI OLC class with  22.252.95 points , flying 27,3334.88 km.
Both Hans and Pepe flew in the past in Tocumwal. Pepe also made 41 flights till now in Narromine and Corowa and  has flown 13.478.97 km.Both pilots are very satisfied over the places where they fly now, which is great to hear!

In Santiago in Chile , the Grand Prix Qualifying is on with 3 European pilots in the top 3.
After 6 days out of 8 , Uli Schwenk is leading before Tilo Holighaus and Thomas Gostner. I heard a fatal accident has happened but I could not find any proof of that till now. My source is very reliable, so I guess I should be sad over 2 fatal accidents during the GP over the last years.[New Zealand and Chile].

Then better some good news before I leave you to Jo.
I know my readers are mostly also my friends and a lot of them live in Australia.
From October 13 till November  12 2009 , I will be back in Tocumwal and I am very excited to go back again. From November 12 till 19 I will spend some time in Cairns before flying home back to Holland.

So enjoy now the story from Benalla by Jo!

47th Multiclass Nationals
Gliding Club of Victoria, Benalla
12 – 23 January 2009

Practice Mon 12 Jan 09

55 pilots entered the Nationals – Standard 19 pilots, Open x 8, 18 metre x 12, 15 metre x 16.  41 pilots launched on practice day, several resting after the Vic State Comp last week.

Cu was predicted over the distant mountains and to the north-east, with max temperature around 34 degrees, moderate instability and some thermal distortion.

The day turned out to be blue and there was less cu on track than predicted; there were 7 or 8 knots at 7,000′ but it was difficult below 5,000′ and conditions weakened at the end of the task.

Standard:  Tobias Geiger  (LS 4A) at 117.1 km/h over 328.1 km
15m:  John Buchanan  (ASW27) at 121.8 km/h over 315.2km
18m:  Bruce Taylor  (Ventus 2cT) at 120.8 km/h over 363.2km
Open:  Gerrit Kurstjens  (Nimbus 4T) at 114.4 km/h over 348.5km
Day 1 Tue 13 Jan 09

A day of extreme fire danger and a total fire ban is declared in Victoria.  A slow moving pressure system is situated in the Tasman Sea and a low pressure trough over the Bight will reach south-west Victoria late today.  Cu over the distant mountains and to the north-east is predicted with a max temp of 38 degrees and slight-moderate instability with some thermal distortion. Max height DALR 9500 ave lift 6-8 kts max 10+.    

6.30pm Day 1 Tue 13 Jan 09

The temperatures mid-afternoon were down a bit and there was not as much cloud as forecast; the day was basically blue.  Pilots reported varied experiences – some found great lift all day and lots of gaggles to hop across, others found sink around the last turn.  There was one outlanding, about 18km from the finish.

Day 2 Wed 14 Jan 09
Provisional day 1 winners:
Standard: Peter Temple (LS 8) – 123.9 km/h – 380.1 km
15 m: David Pietsch  (ASW 20) – 120.8 km/h – 381.2 km – “I’ll take luck over skill any time!”
18 m: Graham Parker (ASG 29) – 131.5 km/h – 487.4 km
Open: Gerrit Kurstjens (Nimbus 4T) – 119.1 km/h – 487.4km

Another total fire ban for most of Victoria.  A slow moving pressure system is situated in the Tasman sea and a trough will move over the contest area today, estimated to be at Benalla at 1700 hrs local time.  The day will be mostly sunny with scattered cu and isolated CB. Max temp expected 42 degrees, with 36 degrees to break to 4,000′.  There will be moderate instability with some thermal distortion.  Max height DALR 13-14,000′ average lift 11-12 kts max 14.   

Racing tasks were again set for all classes.

Michael Sommer, who lives in Melbourne, saw that it was to be a good day and has come up to Benalla to fly a Nimbus into the mountains.

11.10am day 2 Wed 14 Jan 09

Pilots’ meeting called on the grid. 
Day not starting as early as predicted and cirrus is moving in.
A & B racing tasks canned; task now C task – a shorter AAT for each class.

3.15pm day 2 Wed 14 Jan 09

6 club gliders launched at 10.30am to capitalise on the 36 degree trigger temperature, but there was unanticipated inversion over the top.  Feeble lift was contacted 7 km to the north of the field but conditions slackened towards the Warby range.

Non-competition pilots, English visitor Bob Nichols in his Ventus 2 scraped northwards whilst Michael Sommer in a Nimbus 3 and Graham Garlick (competition weatherman) in an ASW20 polished the Chesney rocks.  Graham Garlick succumbed to a smallish paddock to watch Michael Sommer scrape away in feeble lift.  Bob Nichols and Michael Sommer are aiming for a thousand.

In trying 40 degree heat, there was a change of runway as the wind had moved from north-easterly to a westerly, and launch commenced around 2.30pm. 

The AAT was brought back to 2.5 hours with a change to the first circle for Standard – 30 km to 50 km:  Boree Creek 169.2 km (30 / 50); Deniliquin 159.3 km (70); Glenrowan 152.5 km (15) – 319.0 km / 709.8 km (502.1 km) – Standard 282 / 745 (502.1).

At 3pm, 18m competitor Hank Kauffmann reported 7 kts climb to a cooler altitude. The heat on the ground prevails; the Wagga Wagga trace predicts 12,000 ‘ in the direction of the task. 

7.30pm day 2 Wed 14 Jan 09

Last on the grid, Open class gate opened at 4.15pm.  It took a while to break through the inversion, but the day turned out to be good in the air and very fast – strong reliable climbs, which dropped off a bit at about 11,000’. 
11am Thu 15 Jan 09

Yesterday saw Bob Nichols, visiting English pilot, complete 1,030 km – his first thousand.  Michael Sommer did 1,137 km; back at work today! 

The winning speeds for day 2 were fast:
Standard:  Tom Gilbert (SZD 55) – 144.2 km/h – 381.5 km
15m:  John Buchanan (ASW 27) – 142.9 km/h – 379.0 km
18m:  Graham Parker (ASG 29) – 158.9 km/h – 406.8 km
Open:  Gerrit Kurstjens (Nimbus 4T) – 137.3 km/h – 343.2 km

Today, a trough lies to the north-east and a cold front will cross Tasmania. A high pressure system will develop over the Bight.  There is a south-westerly stream with some subsidence, with the temps increasing as the high moves to the east.  There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon with a max temp of 32 degrees.  Lift will be unstable; max height DALR 6,000; ave lift 4 kts max 8 kts with a late start – 1730 hrs.  Visibility will be good but reducing in showers.  Hot temps are forecast from Sat onwards.

Today is cancelled because of the overcast conditions with low convection.

2pm day 3 Fri 16 Jan 09

Contest Day 3 has started, with gliders doing an area task of 200-500 km.  Weather was forecast to be cool and blue, with strong south to south-westerly winds.

A westerly wind change didn’t happen as predicted.  Instead the wind strengthened from the south and caused problems during launch because of strong crosswinds.  Standard and 18m were launched on a 3 hour task, and 15m were regridded and launched on a 2 hour task.  Open Class, who were at the rear of the grid, was cancelled because there was not enough time for them to do a task.

11am day 4 Sat 17 Jan 09

Day 3 provisional winners:
Standard:  Tobias Geiger  (LS 4A) – 91.3 km/h – 274.6 km
15m:  John Buchanan  (ASW 27) – 94.1 km/h – 194.1 km
18m:  David Jansen  (ASG 29) – 102.6 km/h – 312.0 km
Open:  day cancelled
There were 5 outlandings.

Graham Garlick predicts that today will be less grueling than yesterday, though the tasks are longer.  The high has moved in, with temps similar to yesterday and weaker winds.  
The day will be blue with some cirrus and cu over the distant mountains and an (optimistic) max temp of 29 degrees.  Lift will be slightly unstable in the lower level with some subsidence.  Max height DALR 7500 ave lift 4-6 kts max 10 start 1200 hrs cut off at Benalla 1800 hrs.

Racing tasks are set for all classes, with Open on the front of the grid.
7.30pm day 4 Sat 17 Jan 09
Last on the grid, 18m was altered to the Standard class task, a shorter racing task, because the day started low at Benalla.

Out on track it steadily improved to the north with some thermals 7 – 8 knots to 7,000′ AGL.  The day slowly deteriorated towards the south and the Mildura River, but then improved slightly on the way home to Benalla.  “It was a better day for golf than gliding.”  5 outlandings so far.
11am day 5 Sun 18 Jan 09

Yesterday, Jay Anderson outlanded at Corowa airfield; he took an aerotow and then landed 16 km from Benalla – another aerotow.

Day 4 provisional winners:
Standard:  Tom Gilbert (SZD 55) – 108.7 km/h – 410.7 km
15m:  John Buchanan  (ASW 27) – 101.3 km/h – 385.4 km
18m:  Graham Parker (ASG 29) – 115.3 km/h – 375.6 km – “thanks to the standard and 15m gliders for creating a trail of plastic for me to follow on the first 2 legs!”

Day 3 provisional winner:
Open:  Gerrit Kurstjens (Nimbus 4T) – 104.1 km/h – 470.5km

After calling in back up loggers, Tim Shirley will finalise day 2 scores incorporating airspace infringements today.

A high pressure system will move across Bass Strait and advance towards the Tasman Sea.  The day will be blue with some cirrus and cu over the distant mountains.  Max temp expected 33 degrees.  Lift will be moderately stable; max height DALR 7000; ave lift 6 – 7 kts max 10+.  Start 1100 hrs cut off at Benalla 1800 hrs. 

Indications are that the day may be slighter better than originally predicted with a northerly tendency bringing higher temperatures. 

AATs have been set in all classes. 18m is first on the grid, Standard, 15m, Open.
6pm day 5 Sun 18 Jan 09

The day was similar to yesterday, but a bit better.  Climbs were very broken, average 6 knots, improving towards the end of the tasks.  For once, many pilots were pleased to be getting south of the Murray River and back into Victoria where, today, lift was better.
There were no outlandings.

Spot tracking devices are being used in this competition. Spot is a small (mobile phone size) internal battery powered device that has a GPS for position and communicates back to base via satellite.  The device reports a position every 10 minutes.

Tracking is being displayed at the Benalla clubhouse on a big screen and is also available on the internet.

The Club has 10 spots available through the Gliding Club of Victoria and 10 units compliments of New South Wales Gliding Association.  Additionally, a number of pilots have their own spots.

With 19 gliders in Standard class, 8 in Open, 12 in 18 metre and 16 gliders in 15 metre, the Spots are being placed in one class each day + leaders in other classes.

This is proving a great way to provide interest to those at the competition but left on the ground, and to let the rest of Australia and the world know what’s happening at the Australian Nationals.

To access Spot, use browsers Firefox or Safari – not Internet Explorer.

See also:

11am day 6 Mon 19 Jan 09

Day 5 provisional winners:
Standard:  Peter Temple (LS 8) – 112.8 km/h – 347.6 km
15m:  Peter Trotter (ASW 20) – 115.5 km/h – 348.8 km  
18m:  Bruce Taylor (Ventus 2cT) – 122.9 km/h – 442.7 km   
Day 4 provisional winner:
Open: Gerrit Kurstjens (Nimbus 4T) – 114.3 km/h – 345.1 km 

There is a high pressure system in the Tasman Sea and a trough of low pressure will cross western and central Victoria.  The day is blue but there is a possibility of cu mid afternoon at Benalla!  There will be cu over the mountains and to the north-east.  Max temp is expected to be 37 degrees.  Lift will be unstable; max height DALR 10,000; average lift 7 – 9kts, max 12+.  Start 1100 hrs, cut off at Benalla late.                  
Graham Garlick launched around1100 hrs and was going through 5,000′ at 10 knots, so his prediction of a good day seems correct.  First competition launch midday – Standard, 15m, 18m, Open – all racing tasks.

7pm day 6 Mon 19 Jan 09

Today turned out to be ‘real gliding weather’ – strong thermals that worked, but some found it difficult to get a decent climb around Urana.  The day was blue – fine and sunny with no cu around Benalla at all!  There were 2 outlandings.
11am day 7 Tue 20 Jan 09

Day 6 provisional winners were the same as the previous day winners in each class:
Standard:  Peter Temple (LS 8) -126.7 km/h – 504.8 km
15m:  Peter Trotter (ASW 20) – 125.0 km/h – 519.2 km   
18m:  Bruce Taylor (Ventus 2cT) – 133.2 km/h – 490.3 km   
Day 5 provisional winner:
Open: Gerrit Kurstjens (Nimbus 4T) – 126.2 km/h – 477.9km  

Leaders after 6 days of flying are:
1. Peter Temple – LS 8 – 5648
2. Tom Gilbert – SZD55 – 5540
3. Tobias Geiger – LS 4A – 5296
4. Lisa Trotter – LS 8 – 5025

1. John Buchanan – ASW 27 – 5941
2. Peter Trotter – ASW 20 – 5525
3. Miles Gore-Brown – LS 8 – 5341
4. David Pietsch – ASW 20 – 5188

1. Graham Parker – ASG 29 – 5714
2. Bruce Taylor – Ventus 2cT – 5680
3. David Jansen – ASG 29 – 5678
4. Tom Claffey – ASG 29 – 5411 

There is a protest meeting tonight regarding day 2 Open Class scores.
Today there is a total fire ban in Victoria and south-western New South Wales.  The day is difficult to predict.  A high pressure system is in the Tasman. Benalla surface wind 340/15.  Max temp predicted 41 degrees. Lift unstable; max height DALR 12,000; ave lift 7 – 9 kts, max 12+. Start 1200 hrs, cut off at Benalla late.

Graham Garlick predicts that it could be very very good because a trough of low pressure near western and coastal regions is moving north-eastwards into the task area. Cu is already popping over the mountains.    

An AAT has been set in each class – Mount Beauty (50), Euroa (40), Coreen (50), Glenrowan (10).  15m has 3.5 hrs; all other classes 3.0 hrs. Grid 15m, Standard, 18m, Open.   

5.30pm day 7 Tue 20 Jan 09

The day turned out to be spectacular and dramatic.  Heavy rain to the east and the north; most only touched the first circle because of low cloud base and rain.  There was good cu for the rest of the track, and overdevelopment with exceedingly strong conditions in the north sector.  Lift was variable, as predicted.   According to Andrew Georgeson “the thermals were square”.

3 outlandings:  Tim Wilson and Jaroslaw Mosiejewski at Porepunka, Peter Trotter at Moyhu.

11.45am day 8 Wed 21 Jan 09

Peter Gray, contest director, thanked the tuggies and pilots for such a good performance in difficult launch conditions yesterday; the pilots loudly applauded the tuggies.

Provisional day 7 winners:
Standard:  Lisa Trotter (LS 8) – 145.1 km/h – 469.0 km
15m:  John Buchanan (ASW 27) – 146.2 km/h – 552.0 km
18m:  Tom Claffey (ASG 29) – 159.9 km/h – 498.8 km – “my fastest speed in a competition by far”.

Provisional day 6 winner:
Open:  Gerrit Kurstjens (Nimbus 4T) – 145.6 km/h – 441.4 km

The low pressure trough will weaken over north-east Victoria today; the day will be either blue or become cloudy, with isolated showers and thunderstorms.  Today will not be as good as yesterday; max temp expected 38 degrees.  Lift will be unstable; max height DALR 10,000 ave lift 6 – 8 kts max 10 +.  Start 1100 hrs, cut off late, but earlier if thunderstorms develop.

The same AAT has been set in all classes – Standard and 18m 3.30 hrs, 15m and Open 4 hrs; launch Open, 15m, 18m, Standard.  First launch midday, but the day is slow to heat up and the wind has gone to the west.  Cu is forming to the north.       

6pm day 8 Wed 21 Jan 09

Greg Schmidt:  “I got more than 100 kph so it was a good day; that’ll do me!  I’ve had 132 kph and 120+ kph and my aim was to break 100 at this comp, so I’ve done that.”

John Nicholls:  “I found it mixed; slow on the first leg, then came good.  On the second leg, after the cu, it slowed right down so I was conservative and made sure that I got home.” 

Andrew Georgeson:  “A bit of a tricky day – thermals like triangles – but I blasted home, but then probably everyone else did that too.”

Kris Kauffmann: “The day was better than expected, but tricky – raging to the north of the river; I was worried that it would be dead on the way home, but it was a lot better than it looked.”

Geoff Brown:  “It was an interesting day.  The weather changed quite a bit – from going fast to slowing right down.  I’m having fun.”

Ross McLean:  “It was an excellent soaring day, regular strong thermals, high cloud base, some cu and challenging because conditions changed north of the river – it was stronger compared to south of the river.”

11.15am Thu 22 Jan 09

Day cancelled.  A cold front is moving through, bringing variable winds gusting to 45 knots on the ground.  Chance of thunderstorms with rain later in the day.  Humidity is 64%.  Pilots are securing their gliders and trailers.

noon Thu 22 Jan 09

Leaders in each class going into the final day are:

Peter Temple – Adelaide Soaring Club – LS 8 – 7636
Tom Gilbert – Temora – SZD 55 – 7065
Tobias Geiger – Gliding Club of Victoria – LS 4A – 6964
Lisa Trotter – Kingaroy – LS 8 – 6809

Explaining his move into standard class, Peter Temple said:  “I enjoyed club class, but I did a flight in Lisa Trotter’s LS 8 at Kingaroy on a no-fly day and fell in love with it”.

John Buchanan – Kingaroy – ASW27 – 7942
Miles Gore-Brown – Kingaroy – LS 8 – 6976
David Pietsch – Temora – ASW 20 – 6816
Bill Hatfield – Kingaroy – LAK 17 – 6606

Graham Parker – Adelaide Soaring Club – ASG 29 – 7683
David Jansen – Kingaroy – ASG 29 – 7507
Bruce Taylor – Kentucky – Ventus 2cT – 7443
Tom Claffey – 2 Wing AAFC – ASG 29 – 7333

Paul Mander / David McManus – Narromine / North Queensland – ASH 25 – 6645
Dion Weston – Cudgegong – ASH 25 – 6211
Gerrit Kurstjens – Darling Downs – Nimbus 4T – 5744
Mick Webster / Graham Rock – Hunter Valley – Duo Discus – 5640
11am day 9 Fri 23 Jan 09

Yesterday’s cold front brought violent torrential rain and 145 kph winds to Benalla.  There was a lot of damage on the southern side of town with trees down and rooves blown off, but gliders and trailers at the airfield were secure and undamaged.

Another cold front will approach south-east Victoria later today. Cu is expected over the task area.  Max temp 35 degrees.  Max height DALR 10,000′; ave lift 6-8 kts max 10+. Start 1100 hrs, end 1800 hrs.  Visibility will be generally good but with areas of smoke. 

Racing tasks have been set in all classes – 15m & Standard – 430.3 km, 18m & Open  – 452 km.  Grid:  18m, Standard, Open, 15m.

1.15 pm Fri 23 Jan 09
The day is blue – not heating up sufficiently – temperature only 28 degrees on the ground at Benalla – Tony Tabart just launched as a sniffer.

1.45 pm Fri 23 Jan 09
Temp 29 degrees on the ground.  Tony Tabart reports only getting 1.5 knots and nothing above 3,500′; weak broken narrow thermals.

1.53 pm Fri 23 Jan 09
Tony reports 1.5 knots to 3,800′ – “there seem to be an inversion – milky air, but clear above it”.

2 pm Fri 23 Jan 09
Tony reports from north of the lake in the hills – “below 3,000′, haven’t got anything yet – thermals very few and far between”.

2.03 pm Fri 23 Jan 09
Peter Gray announced that the day is cancelled.
Final night diner, Fri 23 Jan 09

Peter Gray, contest director, welcomed everyone to the final dinner and presentations for the 47th Multiclass Nationals.  He thanked all pilots and crew – “this is your competition, I especially want to thank the pilots for making this a safe competition and applaud the professional and high quality of airmanship displayed over the last 12 days.  I trust that we at Benalla have made your stay one to remember and we invite all of you to return at any time to enjoy the fantastic flying from this site.

“I have enjoyed being your contest director, even though I’ve had to make some hard decisions through Penalty and Protest Committee Meetings, and also some out on the field.  This has been a learning curve for me; I have now learnt not to put my hand up at the wrong time!

“This comp would not have been such a success without the first class crew that have done all the hard work and supported me.  First and foremost, I wish to thank my good friend – your Operations Director – John Switala for many hours of work and phone calls over the last 3 months.  He and I were at the point of answering to such things as ‘hello sweetie’ and ‘goodbye honey’, much to the amazement of our wives. 

“Next I would like to thank our weatherman, Graham Garlick, for his usual top job – well done Graham for your accurate interpretations each day which assisted us in getting the best possible launching and tasking.  Please thank our task setter, Max Kirschner, who managed to get the best out of each day with challenging tasks.  And the man who efficiently and safely lined you up each day and then sent you off, our launch marshal Phil McCann (Phil is from the Bendigo Gliding Club and has given his time to assist us here at the GCV).   To keep you all in line and safe, our safety officers did a wonderful job – week one, our visiting Pom instructor, Bruce Cooper and week 2, CTO/Ops Kevin Olerhead.  Thanks also to pilot reps – Lisa Trotter, Geoff Vincent and David Jansen.

“The team that put you in the air each day in sometimes difficult conditions, thanks to our 15 tug pilots including Ziggy from the Geelong Club, Jeremy Thompson from Queensland, Sophie and Chris our midweek tug pilot, plus many of our club tug pilots – led by tugmaster Bruce Salter.  We must thank all the team that launched you in very hot dusty grueling conditions – the rope runners and wing runners – Lulu, Vivienne, Geoff, Andrew (the masked bandit), David and many others – thank you all.

“One man we couldn’t do without, our very dedicated scorer Tim Shirley, whose competition experience over the years has been invaluable in many areas.  Tim’s dedication to duty kept him in the air-conditioned office for the whole competition!  The ladies who took your registration, recorded take off times on the grid and took outlanding reports – let’s hear it for the girls in the office – Rhonda Gelletly and Sue Kirschner.  Also our scrutineers, Bob Fox and Louis Preiss – thank you both for your dedication in trying conditions.  For making our delicious lunches each day – thanks to John Millott and Louise Preiss.  Leigh Hall and the team in the kitchen for preparing top quality meals – voted excellent by the pilots and crew who ate at the club each evening.  We all thank Gerry Hogan for keeping the bar stocked and for purchasing water and ice for the helpers during the launch.  Laurie McKinlay and Ron Grant did a great job in establishing the watering points in the tie down areas, thank you.  Paul, our firefighting chopper pilot, for his wonderful display of water bombing – thanks Paul.

“Jutta Goldmann and Kah Chong took some fantastic photos, thank you.   And working hard in the background putting our news and photos on the web and compiling our report for Soaring Australia, thanks to Jo Pocklington.

“To all those that I haven’t mentioned who also helped in small and different ways, many thanks to you all too.”

Peter Gray presented trophies:

Doc Heydon Trophy – Standard Class Champion – Peter Temple
15 Metre Champion – John Buchanan
Roger Woods Trophy -18 Metre Class Champion – Graham Parker
Dr Mervyn Hall Trophy – Open Class Champion – Paul Mander / David McManus
Best Performing State Team – South Australia – Graham Parker, Peter Temple, John Nicholls
Sir Donald Anderson Novice Award (first or second nationals) – Kris Kauffman
Best International Pilot – Benny Orrsater (Sweden)
Fun Teams – Mafikeng Maruaders – Graham Parker, Tom Claffey, Lars Zehnder

For scores, tasks and more photos go to Gliding Club of Victoria website
www.glidingclub.org or www.soaringspot.com/austmulti2009/

(diary by Jo Pocklington with thanks to Graham Garlick and Tim Shirley)

That’s it for now. CU next sunday!

Cheers Ritz

USA[irways]hero very experienced glider pilot!

Alphen aan den Rijn         18-01-2009


 Lots of stories today, so just relax and enjoy!


When I zapped last week from program to program as nobody seems to offer good TV nowadays, I ended up for a few hours looking at CNN with their “breaking-news” ,covering a story about a “crash” in the Hudson river by an Airbus from US Airways.What ever flies always gets my full attention, so I got stuck on a loud shouting reporter, asking more or less stupid questions to a ” poor” frozen guy in a t-shirt getting rid of his first reaction on what happened to him.
Through the story I got first totally amazed of seeing people standing on a wing of an non-sinking plane at that time,in the middle of a deep river where normally cruise -ships pass by, then a bit angry. In my opinion this  was not a crash but an emergency landing in a safe and specteculair way by an “elderly ” [57] pilot, called Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, straight away called by the passenger [s]  “HERO”.

Later during the night I thought this guy must be a glider pilot, flying without power of engines and landing a big plane like a glider on water, so beautiful with the wings horizontal !! And …yes he is!!!! And it seems a very experienced one. Not that he has practised outlandings on water, but for sure he knew what he was doing. Of course it could have gone wrong, only a minor touch of the wing tip could have been a disaster, but that did NOT happen. The pilot send his plane , as he said to the river as he was too low and had no power to fly to an airfield and did not want to take the risk of “falling on the crowded town”.YES , for me and the world, this guy is an HERO too.


And ALL people involved in the very quick rescue as the crew [only3!!] and several boats and ferries, deserve a huge THANK YOU!!



Gliding was excellent last week in both Africa and Australia. Several 1000 km flights were flown .So reason to say “HAMMERWETTER”, also in OZ. They had to wait a bit but this week is was there!

All pilots enjoyed their flights, though Kari , flying in Tocumwal, would have loved to fly his set “out and return “from 1000 km. in his 15 m LS 6. But …as he said ” I  was too slow in the morning  and run out of time in the afternoon”.885 km. is still a pretty impressing flight , knowing that you have NO engine!!!
Friends Harry and Daan flew from Corowa. Corowa had another day , on jan. 14, with 10 pilots flying their 1000 km. Daan added in a flight up to the N.N.W. his 7th 1000 km flight for the season. As you surely remember the first 6 he flew in Pokweni .One of his TP ‘s that day, was Ivanhoe, a region were you find nothing!!!The real “outback”!He still loves flying far!!!

The first 100 km. he had to fly in the blue , later nice cu’s up to 3000 m. with 3m./s.The thermals ended earlier then expected, but …he made it back home.
Harry had enough from flying to the N.E. and set a  triangle, via the W. N. and E. back to Corowa.In his mind was to make this an easy going day!
Friend Daan declared him “crazy”, but he tried. In the beginning he thought ” Daan was right”, he had to fly against the wind in the blue and he saw 100 km to the E. clouds at 3000 m.
He started late, yes a real day of leisure, had no water, even more leisure, but then realized that he had to WORK, to make the day! With 2 low points in his flight, once saved by a willy-willy, he made it back home. He tried to fly more south to make it a 1000 k day , but the south had already “leisuretime” too, no climb -possibilities anymore. A VERY HARD WORKING restday , Harry called it, but whataday with 919 km!

Pepe, Peter Zander and Rudy Herzog, all former guests from Sportavia, now happy at Corowa for several years already, added 1000 km to their logbook. Congratulations to all!

Also to Josef, the director of the Prievidza world comps in 2010. He flew a 908 km flight.

Another friend Michael  Sommer flew from Benalla his 1137 km in a nimbus 3T.

Klaus Ohlman topped the day of 14 january with a 1806 km. flight in Chapelco [Argentina] flying the Ranges up and down in a DG 400, wit a speed of 122 m/h. I admire not so much his distance but more his stamina to race up and down in nearly 15 hours sitting in a glider and not the fastest one!


The 47th Australian Nationals are on day 5 today , with 1 day cancelled in 3 classes and 2 days in open class. Look for results on www.soaringspot.com and click on the OZ Nationals.
I did not know that SEE YOU is behind soaring spot . Thanks George, for telling me!

Great site from Andrej and his friends. Look for www.Naviter.com for what they all have done and still do!I complimented Andrej already this week to this way of communcation between glider friends. He told me it started already in 2007 with the junior worlds in Rieti and that he had told me!!! Something else must have been on my mind as I never looked at it, as I did not know about it till Jan 1 2009.MY fault!

I know however that pilots love to fly, like to talk about it , even if neccesary, with hands and feet, but not particular like to write about it.

But the Naviter boys are great!What would we have done without them and “see you“!!!!!THANKS GUY’s!!!


Diana found the dream-job for me! This morning she has send me an article from the Cairns paper in which they invite a blogger to come to Hamilton Island and write a weekly blog !!!!! and ….they pay 150.000,- OZ dollars for 6 months!!!What about that! Writing, holidaying on a dream island , promote it and just relax. Thousands have reacted already and I saw on Dutch TV yesterday , that some good looking Dutch girls are willing to go.If I was younger , I might have  tried, [ not that I pretend to be a good blogger, but only an easygoing enthousiastic one]but now I just promised the organization in Finland , to be their editor for the JWGC in Rayskala. And to be honest …I like Finland and the juniors too!


Not done yet, more to read! Tough it is not my blog, but Jo has worked hard on a story about the Victorian State Comps. THANKS JO!!
So enjoy what happened there seen through the eyes of Jo. A bit of a worry her eyes as she had a laser- operation on one eye due to a torn retina. I know that she is doing well now, but it was of course a bit of a shock to the system. Get well soon Jo!!!!!


Here you are;


Victorian State Gliding Championship


hosted by Gliding Club of Victoria, Benalla

Sat 3 – Sat 10 January 09

The 2009 Victorian State Competition attracted 31 entries, some pilots taking advantage of an ideal practice opportunity for the Multiclass Nationals which immediately followed.  Everyone again appreciated the excellent facilities and hospitality provided by the Gliding Club of Victoria.

It was a testing competition.  Weather person, Graham Garlick summarised:  “The days were generally blue in the task areas, which presented challenging conditions”.

The week started with a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea extending a ridge across southern Victoria and temperatures in the thirties.  A weak trough of low pressure lingered near northern Victoria during the early days of the competition, followed by a cold front moving through mid-week.

Saturday 3 Jan was declared a practice day for both the pilots and the organisers. It produced a great day’s flying, and set the scene for the whole competition.

Monday 5th unexpectedly produced classic Benalla conditions with cu to 10,000′ and Mike Durrant describing the day as ‘a blast’, with a beaming smile.

Wednesday 7 Jan was cancelled on the grid with forecast isolated showers and a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. The day turned blue with feeble and distorted lift; overnight temperatures fell to around 15 degrees.

Thursday presented some subsidence with wave which suppressed convection, creating another day with distorted and broken thermals, and the winners in each class achieved very low average speeds:  John Nicholls in his Discus 2cT won Standard at an average speed of 80.8 km/h over 209.6 km; Peter Trotter in his ASW 20 won 15m at an average speed of 79.6 km/h over 204.5 km; and Bill Hatfield in his LAK 17 won Open with an average speed of 86.5 km/h over 221.7 km.

Friday was weaker than expected given the forecast and turned out to be similar to Thursday; the tasks were brought back on the grid. A high pressure system in the Bight gradually moved across Bass Straight and the easterly flow fed moisture over the area to the north of Benalla.

Final day, Saturday 10 Jan, was anything but blue and a cliff-hanger.  There was a low over the airfield and weather in surrounding areas was difficult to predict, with a threat of afternoon thunderstorms.

At the start of the final day, Lars Zehnder (Ventus 2cX) and Graham Parker (ASG 29) were leading Open class with a score of 4684 points each; Bill Hatfield (Lak 17) was third on 4028 points. 

Peter Trotter (ASW 20) led 15m class with 4600 points.  Jenny and Jeremy Thompson who shared their ASW 27 were competing for second position – Jenny on 4085 points flew the final day, with Jeremy on 3834 points.  Because they were sharing a glider, they received their average in points on the days that they did not fly.  If Jenny did better than her previous average, then she would increase her score; if not, then her score would decrease and her husband may beat her by simply not flying.

Going into the final day, LS8s held the first 5 positions in Standard class.  Peter Temple led on 4924 points; Lisa Trotter was second on 4233 points; andMiles Gore-Brown third on 4087 points.

Graham Garlick predicted that the final day could do anything, and it did – it turned out to be a cracker.  There was wave at the start and a lot of pilots got wave above cumulus to 10,000′ and more. 
It was possible to stay in wave for at least half of the first leg into wind, which got the pilots over the river into New South Wales.

Lars won 1000 points for the final day and pipped Graham by 0.50 points.  Lars flew100 metres further and covered 336.9 km in 2 hrs 29 mins 28 secs while Graham flew for 2 hrs 25 mins 13 secs and covered 336.8 km.  Both had an average speed of 134.7 km/h. They did not see each other for the whole flight.

This was the second time that Lars competed at Benalla and he commented that “it’s a vibrant busy social club with very helpful members.  I’ve enjoyed being here and the good battle in the air with Graham Parker in challenging blue weather – not my favourite conditions.  Tasking has been great all week given the conditions.  This is my third competition in my new Ventus 2cX and I’m still getting used to it; it’s a very good glider”.

Jenny Thompson said that she and Jeremy “got sick of the rainy months in Queensland, and seeking better gliding weather somewhere had planned for several months to pair-fly these comps.  The competition weather didn’t live to our expectations and we had day after day of blue conditions, something we are not used to.  Nevertheless, the conditions have been very challenging and we were happy to get home each day.   “Like most couples, we can’t fly together without serious argument!, but happily pair-fly and enjoy the low-key rivalry.  Up till the second last day I was leading Jeremy by 251 points, but on the last day I slipped behind, putting Jeremy ahead by 44 points in the final scores. We hope to do battle again somewhere in another state comp.” This was Peter Temple’s fifth time at Benalla; previously in Club Class for 3 competitions and a Squad Training Week.  Peter said he is “getting used to my new LS8 – it’s only my second comp with water ballast and I did my first 300 km flight in it during these comps.  This was a very friendly atmosphere and all the club members were very helpful.  I’m looking forward to getting into the mountains during the Nationals”.  For Peter Totter:  “Getting back to my familiar club at Benalla for the Victorian state comps was very enjoyable.  GCV is energetic and friendly, and the boost to the number of entrants due to the nationals following on from these state comps ensured plenty of competition and fun flying.  “The weather which Benalla produces at this time of year allowed tasks every day but one. The early part of the week gave blue days of varying height, wind and difficulty. However the last day was particularly interesting. With a trough passing through, it looked at one stage as though we might not even get a task in.  However, the day was very interesting with wave to ten thousand feet overhead the airfield and on the first leg, followed by very nice cu with 8 knot climbs resulting in a number of finishes in the 130 to 145 kph range.” 

Contest Director, Phil Henderson said that he was “pleased that the contest went so well without incident.  Thank you to GCV members for their support, John Switala for organising the whole event, all the tuggies and tugmaster Rob Pugh. Tim Shirley for his usual impeccable scoring, Graham Garlick for providing first class weather briefings assisted by Max Kirschner, Peter Gray and all tasksetters – thanks Max and Sue for all your help in various areas and Rhonda Gelletly for your unfailing support in the office. 

Thanks to Brian Amey and wing runners for organising the grid.  Special thanks to Gerry Hogan for his bar skills, providing water each day to the ground crew and being there to assist when needed”.

Tim Shirley summed the competition up as “very friendly with a good atmosphere and spirit and very good humoured organisation”.


Standard class

1. Peter Temple  5726

2. Lisa Trotter  5156

3.Miles Gore-Brown  5124



1.Peter Trotter  5600

2. Jeremy Thompson  4662

3. Jenny Thompson   4618

Open class

1. Lars Zehnder  5698

2. Graham Parker  5689

3. Bill Hatfield   4688

(The final aggregates are influenced by pilots taking lay days and the scores for those days being averaged.)

For scores and tasks go to the Gliding Club of Victoria website www.glidingclub.org.au

(Jo Pocklington)

Enough news for this sunday,see you next week
cheers Ritz

-20 / +38

Alphen aan den Rijn        11-01-2009

I have now finished answering all emails and post cards I received over the festive period. Great to remain in contact with so many!!!I will share a few words with you about the more then 100 I received
Shige and Mikiko from Tokyo, send me their wishes and also from their gorgeous daughter Chihiro. Yes , a few of you remember for sure their wedding in our garden at Sportavia. Now they are the proud parents of a darling little girl. A pity I can ‘t show you pictures !!!One of their witnesses at the wedding was Mel from the UK and he and his wife Jan visited Tokyo and Shige and Mikiko in december.
Johnny and Corinne came to visit me . Johnnie worked as tuggie for us at Sportavia for about 2 years and Corine helped where ever a hand was needed! Both are driving a bus now here in Holland. Corine  a small one and Johnnie the big one. They now have a lovely 3 year old daughter Marylou.
Marianne , another tuggie flying for us, is in Florida at the moment. She is an instructor at a Dutch flying school preparing young ones for their CPL in two years. As the weather in winter is not good she moved with the students and collegues to Florida. She loves her job and for the moment Florida.
I do understand her as we are “sitting” here in -16 to minus 20. This has not happened for 13 years. So on thursday the first National Championship marathon skating was on  and skating-nation as we are, “we” all participated and could share the feelings as it was  live on TV.
Former Ozzie top pilot Bruce  is now as parent in Colorada keeping an eye on his very good looking daughters Belle and Brooke. Belle is now in the WORLD top of snowboarding. Keep an eye on her, she seems to be really good. The family is good friends also with Woody , who is not in Colorado at the moment, [he lives there] but he flies great flights in Bitterwasser.At this moment Ralf even is the FAI-OLC champion.
Brutus, is back from a holiday with friend and Dutch toppilot Rob in Africa, not flying but travelling and just started a nice new job.

While we “suffer ” the cold, I received an email from Judy {Renner}from Tocumwal that they would love a bit of our cold over there. On Jan 6 it was 38 dgr. and 2 of her airco’ s had given up. Daan had arrived in Corowa the evening of the 5th, so he could straight try to fly another 1000 km. But….He had to built in his instruments first , otherwise for sure he would have done it, as he still flew 607 km. after a late start. It was a blue day in Corowa with wind picking up in the evening but still 2 pilots managed to fly an FAI triangle of 1000 km. [ one valid, the other still 1000km!]Lots of other pilots had great flights!
Mac was in Narromine that day and he flew a 1038 km flight with a speed of 107 km p/h. Finally great weather all over Australia too!

The Benalla State Comps of course had great weather too, so good flights.Most interesting flight from Benalla was from Tobias Geiger who flew 958 in an LS 4! Great effort!!!!!
 The beginning of January was good for both Africa and Australia. As it is still more or less quiet in Europe at the soaring-scene, I jump from Africa to Australia and back, as it is there were the action is!Though from John I heard that New Zealand had great weather too.
On the 6th  of januari again great flights in Africa, both Bitterwasser and Pokweni with more 1000 km flights.Though quite a few pilots JUST NOT made it home, missing out on 50 k!!!!! What a pity!!
On the 8th another 18 1000 km flights were flown in Namibie .What about the flight from Martin Kroke in his Antares;1173 km.One of his TP’s was Rostock Ritz, I like that!!!!Winfried , who I have’ n’t seen for ages, flew in his ASH 25 a flight from 1263 km with a speed of 131 km./ph. Nothing wrong with that either!
 Africa was so lucky with the weather this season; it is always good there , I know, but this year seems extremely good is what I hear.
Unfortunately the African Nationals in Welkom were “hit” by several storms but they still flew  9   days out of    13.
Club; Andries Bester
15m/standard; Oscar Goudriaan
18m/open;Uys Jonker

Congratulations to all pilots!

The Benalla State Comps are over too and now they prepare in Benalla, busy, busy, for the 49th Nationals. Some of my friends flew over Tocumwal while practising and mentioned , they think of me when the fly over. Is n’t that nice?!
Winners in Benalla [State comps];6 days out of 7!
Standard class ;Peter Temple , in LS 8, the number 3 from te WGC in Rieti!!
15 m.;Peter Trotter in ASW 20
open class;Lars Zehnder, in Ventus 2 TC JUST ahead of Graham Parker who won the GRAND PRIX earlier in Narromine.5698 and 5689!!!!!!VERY CLOSE!!!!!

 As I said earlier Europe is in the grip of an icy spell. Clearly KING FROST has a grip on us. Very unexpected snow in Spain [Madrid] and Portugal, so much snow in France and Germany ,[ over 40 cm. in a day ]that they had to close airfields [Marseille] and roads as they were not able to clean them quick enough. Munich had minus 33 not the worst ever as this was 43 I heard!!!
ONLY in Holland “we” used 90 million kilo’s of salt to keep the traffic on the high ways “going”.In Holland 18 highways have been damaged so badly, that they need reparation straight away, so lots of traffic jams . As they can start already now, but only repair when the frost is over , “we” all have to be patient.
Then all of us “race” to the skating tracks where ever they are announced! Over 100.000 people were registered yesterday only and they think that nearly ONE MILLION people visited natural ice!! A hype or not??!! I like it.
The bad site is the many fractures from falling, but if you look at the TV , those people sit in hospital with a gloryfying smile on their faces; atleast since 13 years they have been on natural-ice again!!!

Yesterday good friend Kari flew a great 750 km triangle from Tocumwal in the LS 6. Great effort. The weather was clearly good in the WNW, as kilometer -eater Terry Bellair added another nice long flight in his DG 400/17m. to the ones he flew already! 808 km.
From different sites I hear that they expect a few good days , so GO FOR IT!!!!

This afternoon I visit the beach town Scheveningen. At 4 o’ clock, the Dutch pilots and crews from the WGC in Rieti catch up for a walk, luckily the sun is shining and the temperature around 0 over there. After we are having dinner together in a pizzeria on the beach, for sure the fires are on and the hot chocolate will be delicious!Maybe even Gluhwein!!!

That’s it for now . I will keep an eye on “things” for you and if Jo can keep me updated day by day during the Nationals I will be back in between. Great to hear from Gerrit Kurstjens today, that he is participating in the Nationals. For sure he will do well as always, though he is not so much involved in competition flying anymore! See you next week.
Cheers Ritz


Alphen aan den Rijn         04-01-2009

The first blog in 2009! I hope 2009 will be a fantastic year for all of you personally and for soaring. You never know what’s around the corner! I found out in 1988. After a great world championship [1978 Benalla!] in open class in a nimbus 3 D flying as the first father/son combination in a world comps ever, we lost our son Dennis on January 3 1988 due to a tragic accident in the Belanca Scout while on a retrieve to Jerilderie 50 k north of Tocumwal. He was exactly 18 1/2 years old and had just finished his pilots training in Holland. He had a fantastic, but too short life; 21 years ago now , but never forgotten!

In Welkom , the South African National Gliding Championships 2008/2009 are flown.
After 4 days of flying, with the 4th day finishing difficult to bad storms causing out -landings and landings for finishers on other places, the 5th day was cancelled. Well known names competing are of course the WGC pilots for years, the Goudriaan brothers Oscar and Lourens, 2 more pilots who are flying World comps , Sven Olivier and Andries Bester and father and son Dick and Douglas Bradley both flying and involved in WGC and JWGC . Of course the Jonker brothers are well known for both soaring and ” their” glider the JS 1 [with the very caracteristic wing tips,] causing some commotion during the last WGC.
Was the idea of the fuselage “stolen”?
And…competition director Herbert Martin from the Luesse WGC flies in an ASH 25 with Natalie Lueben.

The comps started on December 28 and are going till the 10th of january.
After 7 days, the last ones were weatherwise not the best ones ,the overall results  are;
Club class Andries Bester in ASW 20 with 4765 points.
15m. /standard Oscar Goudriaan in ASW 27 with 4394 points.
18m./open class Uys Jonker in the JS1 with 4919 points.
About the weather I quote Peter Wyld the editor of the Nationals;
“The view from the scoring office window is becoming depressingly familiar.Sky blackening to the South -Bloemfontein  area -[ this is where  Robert from Sweden is flying!] followed by some flashing and banging followed by the sky becoming red from te dust and the slamming of windows and doors as the storm hits us.
Some gliders have made it back before the storm , we wait to discover the fate of the rest”.
So far the editor on the site of the Nationals. Hammer weather and storms , I know all about it!The 2 worst ones I remember were in Narromine , years ago, where a tree with a diameter of nearly one meter just cracked like a match and one of the sheds just collapsed hurting one of the soaring-staff.
Tocumwal had once a down draft coming so quickly that one glider was not back in the hangar in time and had damage while due to the heavy rain the veranda of the sunroom collapsed . I do not like violent weather , but we all know, sometimes it is part of the super weather!

Last week I wrote about the 1250 km. flight from Tocumwal with Christmas. George remembered well too and added that this day was probably the best day Toc. ever had, though it did not look like it. Not even in the morning at 9 when Gerrit was “hanging around ” his glider not knowing what to do. Only when Ingo and George,  flying together in the duo discus,  had said over the radio that the weather was great ,that they headed without problems to Jerilderie after being launched at 9 AM  and urged him to start too,  he “hopped in” and flew this big 1250 km. distance.

 On the last day of 2008 another 6 1000km. flights were added to the Gariep Dam list. 
From Benalla [ Australia], the flights from Michael Sommer are remarkable, he really is a great champion [ 800 km in an ASG 29]. But what about Tobias Geiger? He did very well in his LS 4 flying 714 km.
In between the Victorian State Comps have started in Benalla with 34 competitors. First day [03-01-2009] was a nice one with a 3 hour AAT with 3 cylinders ; 159.9 km/416 km. 
3 classes fly; club/standard–15m–18m./open.
Best speed in open class by Graham Parker in open class; 365 km. with a speed of  121.8km/h.[ASG 29 18m]
The comps will end on Jan 10. Will keep you informed. For the Australian Nationals later, Jo will keep us updated!

I have started as I told you with “Ritz’s newsy news ” in Gliding International and I have only done that because I REALLY liked the magazine,  when I got it in Rieti for the first time in my hands.
So I finish with the message that new subscribers for the Gliding International during January and February will receive a complimentary copy[pal format] of WINDBORN the world’s biggest selling gliding DVD. This copy is limited to the first 300 new paid subscribers.
New subscribers can enrol via the secure website www.glidinginternational.com
Price for Europe; Euro 36 for 1 and 66 for 2 years.
For Australia; Aussie dollar 64 for 1 and 120,- for 2 years and for
Canada and the USA; US dollar 56 for 1 and 100 for 2 years.
South Africa ;Rand 340 for 1 and 640 for 2 years.
The january issue is out now full of news . I quote a few words from the magazine, when John asked Tilo , if there was any news on the Schempp-Hirth front.

“New products,YES!!!! We are working on a completely new project!It will be called  “ARCUS” -a 20m flapped two-seater. This will be a very nice and “handy” alternative to the large and heavy open class two-seaters.It will appeal to the growing world-wide 20 m. two-seater contest community. We will offer it as a glider, a turbo-version but also as a self launcher. A novelty here too; beside the existing well operating SOLO-2625-2 version, we also offer an electric version installed by Lange Aviation. We are trying to get the ARCUS in the air during 2009- and that possibility looks promising.”
So far a short part from the interview between John Roake and Tilo Holighaus, for the full story  you have to read the magazine. Sorry, but you will find it really is good and the price is nice too!!!!

That’s about it!Thank you for the many good wishes for 2009 I received! You are all great mates!

Cheers Ritz