Norway ! 1000 km in mountains !Grand Prix -Melbourne ! Iraqi Airways !

Alphen aan den Rijn        Sunday March 29 2009

And…the day  of the opening of the Grand Prix season with as usual ,the first race in Melbourne.
Sorry but I have to start with this as it was just fantastic to see this first race.
Jens Button from the UK was the winner and for half a year,  he thought he was out of business when Honda , due to the financial crisis in the world gave up.
Ross Brawn, the guy behind the 7 world titles from Michael Schumacher bought it with “some help of his friends-one is Virgin , with Richard Branson!] and called the new team Brawn GP.
With Rubens Barrichello as team mate in runner up position , this BRAWN GP team wrote history, to win as new team, in remarkable one-two-style its FIRST Grand Prix.
They drive with a Mercedes Benz motor, so they deserve credit too!!!!
In the end the numbers 2 and 3 Kubica and Vettel,were fighting for best place behind Button, collided, tried to continue but had to give up loosing a certain 2 and 3 position!!!
” I am a fool’, was what one of the drivers cried out loud on the radio!!
The race ended behind the safety car,but even with that it was a spectacular first race of the season.

Great fun also for pilots  who went to the wave camp in Norway. One of them Robert Danewid , director of the WGC in Eskilstuna.
He went to this Vaga Wave Camp in Norway and just had a fantastic week.
He was so kind to send me some of his pictures and I will share them with you; it looks VERY cold to me , but it seems to have been  super!
look at ;  for info about the week and to  for the pictures! Thanks Robert!

Wave in the mountains  is still fantastic, all pilots seem to be happy with it.
Another 2 1000 km. flights were flown by 2 German pilots last Thursday from  Vinon. 
Both flying a Discus 2/18m. one with turbo, setting their task up North passing places as Saint Auban and Serres la Batie.

Luckily still some flights  in warm areas too,  as Australia , far in autumn, stilll enjoys good soaring on the East Coast with great triangles up to nearly 600 km in an LS 1 f.
Even the “good old Mosquito” made a very nice triangle of 554 km. from Jondaryan.
But…also South Africa still enjoys good weather with a 371 km flight from Orient flown in an Astir CS.
Those “oldies” still do a great job.

For the first time  in 19 years a plane from Iraqi Airways has flown to Europe. It flew from Baghdad via Athens to Stockholm.
In the future they seem to start a co-operation with Air France-KLM.

The sun is shining,  the rain has disappeared , huge white …and some dark clouds in the sky, time to enjoy some fresh air on this sunday.
Still a bit tired from the time difference, ONE HOUR, so I better be careful the next 5 days. You remember heart problems and accidents!!!???Just be careful too!!
 Still NO news from the EAC!!!

Cheers Ritz

EAC !”Bumpy” spring weather!Finland ! Sweden !

Alphen aan den Rijn      March 25 2009

Would you be AS unhappy  and sad, as the members of the EAC,  when you would hear , absolutely unexpected, in the beginning of the season , totally ready to go-and-fly, that you are NOT allowed to do so????
I received from one of my friend ‘s Peter, member from the club [ thank you, Peter!] a copy of an article in one of the papers on Monday morning, in the Eindhoven regio.
It says that a team from members of the Aeroclub and Defense are going to investigate if gliding still “might “be possible. In the article the president of the Aeroclub Ben Zwaga said that the negotiations were ” constructive and profound” and the lieutenant -colonel van Wieringen says,  that they try to find solutions  ” in good consultation with the areoclub “.
So I hope there is still HOPE for the 144 active members from the club !!!!
They just unfortunately,  missed out on some nice Spring days here in Holland as the thermal activity was even “crazy and bumpy” on the ground, as I personally could feel!!! Table cloth, cookies and pillows went with the wind and then…it was silent again and I could start cleaning with a smile. Last Sunday afternoon the clouds were “running around like hell” , I observed it and it really looked interesting-wild and some of them had some kind of lenti-tops.

My young Belgian friends  Bert jr. and Tijl Schmelzer had a good sunday too, flying 350 and 330 km., from one of my most favourite airfields,  Keiheuvel in Belgium not so far over the Dutch border.  Good practise for Tijl for the JWGC in Finland and  Bert jr . who will go to the Europeans and I even think Tijl will go too when the JWGC is over.
More young pilots happily flying as German pilot Patrick Gai, had a nice 330 km. flight from Serres la Batie .
It is great to see that so many young pilots, flying or having flown the JWGC are so active already and eager to fly in the beginning of the season.
Even better to see is , that still enough young people like gliding!! The Bayerische Meisterschaft der Junioren in Ansbach from August  12-21 2009 has already 45 competitors in 2 classes! Several young ladies amongst them. Cool!

Finland has 2 very interesting competitions BEFORE the JWGC; the Vesiveemah open from Mai 16 till 23 , which is called the beginning of the Finnish season with several top pilots attending . The airfield  is 100 km. East from Rayskala and 130 km. North of Helsinki.
The other competition is just the week before the JWGC from June 13-18  in Rayskala and called Jannen Kisat.
From both competitions you can find more info on and the respectively home pages announced there.

Just received a mail  from my friend Teresa from Sweden. While we are sitting in the rain, combined with hail, tough wind and thunderstorms, the Swedish friends around Stockholm have -10 dgr C. and this morning 2 cm of fresh snow. You have to be a real Swedish optimist and I know Teresa is such a person, to see the BEST in it; “..the snow came yesterday from some nice fresh looking overdeveloped cumulus..” , so the new season is nearly ready to start in Scandinavia too.
 By the way the WWGC are in 2011 in Arboga 30 km. West of Eskilstuna. Teresa will be one of the competitors!!

Talking about Sweden,I just read in the paper that Swedish professors have showed that , with the change of time here from winter to summer, which will happen this weekend, [ we are going forward one hour , down under they go backwards and of course from summer to winter ] , the rate of heart infarcts increases with 5 % in the first week. So be careful and ” do not belong to that group ” in the first week!!!!
It also says that a Dutch female professor in chrono-biology is against changing time for this reason, she claims it is unhealthy, but also causes traffic accidents due to the fact that people are out of their rhythm.
Another professor from Groningen , investigating the 24-hour rhythm by people and animals says , that specially evening-people have problems. Lucky I am a ‘morning-girl! ”

So looking ahead at an interesting weekend. I must admit that I do have problems with that 1 hour difference!!
See you on Sunday with hopefully good news about the EAC. I heard another meeting will be tomorrow!
Cheers Ritz

“Down under”!Ingo Renner !EAC ..only 77 years??!

Alphen aan den Rijn       Sunday March 22 2009

It seems soaring is not yet over Down Under, as pilots still manage to fly great long distance flights in autumn. “Good old ” Terry Bellair,made a wonderfull 4 TP flight , looking more like a big triangle, from 624 km. over places as Deniliquin, {in  NSW} a lovely town N.W  from Tocumwal, Swann Hill {NSW}a bit more “empty” with scrub and more to the W. and to S. from Raywood {VICT}his home-airfield. I have written more about Terry, a lovely guy who loves his long distance flying in his DG 400/ 17m..This year he flew from Raywood [close to Bendigo] ,Narromine and he was one of the lucky ones flying in that very good weather period in January in Corowa. I think this was his first time in Corowa, so for sure he has good memories on that time. Terry just missed out on 1000 km then.
George Lee made , on the other site of Australia, a good triangle  from his own, after him called airfield;614 in a nimbus 4DM.
One of the ladies flying at Sportaviation in Tocumwal , Sigrid from ShangHai ,is loving her time flying ultra light [FOX] and LS4 for a week. I remember she loves swimming in the Murray River as well and not to forget swimming at Ulupna Island in the same river, where the koala’s check on you. A real OZ holiday! She was a frequent flyer at Sportavia in the past, great to see her back in Toc!!
From friends not involved in gliding , I heard that the temperature in Toc is still 33 dgr and it looks good for the upcoming week too.

Still no good news  from the EAC. The gliding club from Eindhoven [Holland] for 77 years , has triggered all kind of people to write in the local paper, to support gliding, but till now it has had no result. We can only wait!
Well known European editor and book writer Ary Ceelen , he must be in his eighties now, even mingled in this writing, asking when the field really has to be closed , where the alternative is to start flying NOW, as the season starts. Other writers  support gliding, a sport they do not do ,but look at as a safe and “green ” sport.

Ingo Renner  and his wife Judy are on a well deserved holiday in Tasmanie! They never had time to do something different then visiting an airfield wherever in the world. This is their first holiday NOT at an airfield and I wish them a lovely time!!!
Ingo normally visited before he retired a couple of years ago , Oerlinghausen in Germany, Sondrio in Italy and La Motte in France, but this was not a holiday but work for him as instructor for Oerlinghausen. Maybe a working -holiday!?
In between the job as secretary for the Murray Border Flying Club goes on for Judy , as I just received a tax invoice to renew my membership for 2010.

This world unfortunately  has more and more weirdo’s. What about the “lady” from Samoa, who got a baby in the toilet of a plane while flying to Auckland. One hour after the landing in New Zealand , the baby was found by the cleaners in the rubbish bin from the toilet !!!!Tragic in ALL ways!!!!!

Spring is really” visiting” Holland and parts of Europe. The blue skies invite to sit outside and just enjoy the nice weather, but temperatures are still low as in 10 dgr. , but out of the wind in the sun it feels like summer.I even felt thermal activity while sitting in my garden this afternoon. They might fly here in Holland on this Thursday. And yes they did!!!!
It is good to hear and read that wherever they fly , pilots are very pleased with their first flight of the season.
Hope this is an indication for the rest of 2009/2010!!!
The astronomical,{ is this the correct word?} spring has started yesterday on March 21 and we could feel here and see it all over Europe , as for the first time this year more then 200 flights have been added to the OLC list. To be correct,  yesterday 462 flights all over the world. So soaring has really started and a lot of pilots do not even  “use” the OLC , but still fly  with pleasure, without bothering about reading loggers etc. It means it was busy in the air!
But….no flights from Eindhoven…….a bad sign!?

Emirates flight EK 407 on its way from Melbourne to Dubai with 225 passengers  was less lucky hitting with the tail of the Airbus A 340 the tarmac of the runway. He started   ” a bit ” to steep! After dumping the fuel , the plane landed safe, however with smoke in the cabin but nobody was hurt.[source ;]

Today is the last [ 5 in a row ] of the very nice sunny days here in Holland, tomorrow we will have hail and wind and rain and only “a bit of sunshine”. Spring is coming,  but not yet totally here.
In 3 months I will be in Finland and I know the TEAM is working very hard to make the JWGC an unforgettable one!
In Mai the Dutch Nationals will be flown with many top pilots and this year I can go there!

See you on Wednesday
cheers Ritz

“Poor” guests! Driver lessons on runway!Fuente and Rieti are ready!

Alphen aan den Rijn       Wednesday March 18 2009

Slowly more wellknown European destinations for cross country soaring wake up from their winter-sleep. Fuentemilanos and Rieti showed the first nice cross country flights and in a few weeks/months, it will be pleasantly busy there again.I know several people who are ready  to go to either Fuente or Rieti, some have been in Fuente for over 20 times!!!Most pilots ,specially in Fuente, stay for a longer time , as 1, 2 or even 3 months, to not miss out on any good soaring weather. For sure lot’s of 1000 km flights will be flown again and lots of other first achievements! I will keep an eye on it.

This week the famous  and very wellknown Art and Antique Fair TEFAF is held in Maastricht in the south of Holland. From all over Europe people fly in with private jets to visit,  even in these difficult economic times.
Yesterday was for some guests a bit more difficult then they planned. Due to , what they say a ” steering-failure”  from the pilot of a Cargo Lux 747-400 while taxiing , the nose wheel , did not stay on the tarmac but ended up in the grass on the site, meaning the plane was stuck and the airport closed for several hours.
After unloading 100 tons of flowers and vegies from Kenia, they brought it back with some “help from friends” on the runway then to the hangar for a check, luckily nothing was damaged and later in the day, they could still depart.
The “poor” guests arriving in their jet had to go to a small airfield over the border in Belgium and their taxi had to drive a bit further then planned.

Several European pilots, most of  Germany however, enjoy [wave] soaring in France at the moment. All well known places as , Saint Auban, Sisteron,Vinon, Serres la Batie, La Motte  [where Ingo Renner started the season in the past with club members from Oerlinghausen] Fayence and Gap have their guests.

A very weird story  today in the Philippines where a plane with 44 passengers and  busy to land on the runway, had to make a touch and go, as….a car was driving on the runway. A young man , son of an airport-official, [ read the airport-director!]was teaching his girlfriend how to drive a car!!!!!!!!!!!!

A very bitter pill for the EAC,the gliding club from Eindhoven in the south of Holland, where I was a member in the past, after being a member of the ZES, the Eindhoven student aeroclub where I learned how to fly in a Rhonlerche and went solo in a Grunau Baby!![1967]
The EAC is a  very nice club and investing since years, a lot of time in cross country flying.
2 Years ago they celebrated their 75 th anniversary, they have about 150 members ready to fly and last week , THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, they got the message that gliding was immediately prohibited for as they claim, safety reasons by the commandant of the airforce department!! Nothing ever happened ,as in unsafe at the gliding strip on this military part of the field and the club invested a lot of money in making things even safer now that Eindhoven Airport, which is more or less connected to the military base,  is a more busy airfield in Holland.
Negotiations are still going on, but even I can’t believe this!!!Will investigate it as this is not good!!  But….as I just heard from a friend, it does not look too good!!!!CAN’T believe it!

Just to inform you, as I think this is very important for you as computer-user. I just received this message from one of my Australian readers [thanks!!!!], so it is recent news!

See you next sunday, Ritz

Tel   +61(0) 7 32221347  Ext 17347  Fax  +61(0)  7 32221219 < >
Emails with pictures of Osama Bin-Laden hanged are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it!
If you get an email along the lines of ‘Osama Bin Laden Captured’
or ‘Osama Hanged’ don’t open the attachment.
This e-mail is being distributed through countries around the globe
Be considerate & send this warning to  whomever you know.
You should be alert during the next days:
Do not open any message with an attached filed called
‘Invitation’ regardless of who sent it.
It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which ‘burns’ the whole hard disc C of your computer.
This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts.
It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.
If you receive a mail called ‘invitation’, though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.
This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever.
This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.
This virus simply  destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where  the vital information is kept.

Rampage in Germany!Vinon-Aosta-Vinon !Minden [Nevada]!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday March 15 2009

Did you discover that I write a midweek blog now too? If not just continue after reading this blog! Of course only when you are interested!
I have a bit more time now that I have retired, so another blog is easy enough now ….and I still like writing.

Last Wednesday I lay down in a nice hot sun …but with factor 10 on my body. Yes I know the dangers! The skies looked great for gliding and yes in the evening I saw that Soesterberg was active again with soaring in Holland. It is not active anymore as an American military “airfield”. It was closed not long ago with a solemn ceremony. This week I saw in the paper the new development-plans for the area and…I heard that gliding fits in the plans , which is great for the Amsterdam Club of Gliding.
In the past the medicals for lots of pilots have been done at Soesterberg.

Same day Vinon-Aosta-Vinon was flown by Tobias Welsch in a discus 2T; 1.117 km. A jo-jo with 5 TP’s. Great! From France to Italy over Switzerland and back home, WOW!
Nice speed with 105 km.p/h. but he was high up to 6000 m, must have been awfully cold, even with hot clothes and boots [ hopefully with electrical heating in them????] and……. with those oxygen masks you never know if the face around the mouth freezes. For sure he said WOW too, but I hope he was comfortable during those 10 hours and 34 minutes!!!!
I loved Aosta, not so much for the flying that time, the boy’s did their thing, flying in wave as high as the could gaining their 3000 and 5000 m. [ and came back with a frozen mouth!] and the girls went up high to Pila for some good skiing or sun-baking! When the boy’s were ready they flew “low” and fast over “our mountain ” , to tell us it was time for apres-ski. This was in the 70thies!
Several clubs have a [wave-] camp now in Vinon , Saint Auban , Sisteron or Serres La Batie.

Talking about Uvalde brings also back memories on Minden. In fact the 1991 WGC was supposed to be flown in Minden, ” we” all practised there. But fires in that area and the possibility for the huge planes from the fire brigade to ALWAYS be on duty while a fire was burning, stopped the glider-pilots from going there. A temporary closed airfield during a final glide was “impossible” for a WGC!
We all moved to Uvalde in Texas and had a great time there too.
By the way I was told that Soar Minden ‘s owner Tony Sabino is trying to find a silent or active business partner; look at or email to Tony at if you are interested. Great place, nice people, high mountains , wave , thermals , so a top location! If you always wanted to be part of the organization of a wellknown soaring place, go for it, this is your chance!

It is nice to see that the USA has a real competiton for “oldies”! Yes in Seminole Lake the seniors are having a ball flying good distances with good weather. Different gliders, different clubs, it is all happening in Seminole Lake and what great stories they will have after flying in the bar!!!That’s the good thing from soaring, you can still belong to the best long distance flyers in the world when you are 70 years old. In fact many of my friends are 70 and + and they still love it and ….in my eyes they are not OLD and do not look old!!!!!!!!! But most of them have flown nearly all their life, so they are very experienced.On the other hand some have given up because of their age or a “problem” like diabetes. It is all very subjective.

Don’t worry about the “Pound” [1.12 Euro] for the toilet in the Ryan Air planes. They now claim “it is a joke”! I don’t see the point of it, but I found it weird!!!

And then ….after writing about 70 year old pilots I receive this message from OZ. Is n’t it wonderfull!!!! I am very proud on him too!

Jondaryan has great autumn weather, flights up to 600 km. are still flown here on the east part of OZ. Several of my friends are members of the club at Jondaryan and I feel happy for them that they have such a long season. In fact you can fly all year around from this airfield.
It is very sad however that on the same East coast this terrible environmental disaster with spilling oil happened after a Chinese ship lost , in the big storm, some containers with ” dangerous goods”,[ they have not been found yet ] and 250.000 liters of oil. Lot’s of people try to help the animals covered in thick “ugly looking” oil , specially the pelicans who are living on Moreton Island.

Shocked as most of you I presume, I was with another waste-less attack on innocent people by a young “derailed” person. This time in Germany where a 17 year old young man, went back to the school where he passed his exams a  year before, went into the class rooms killing 9 ,14/15 year old students [8 girls and 1 boy] and 3 female teachers. On his way to escape to another town he killed another 3 people, is then shot by the police in his legs and commits suicide…..!!!!!
And then you think as parents, that your child is in a safe environment at school…!!!!

Well, as I love nearly ALL sports , I was very pleased with the great results from the Dutch ice-speed- skaters in Richmond {Canada}, close to Vancouver where next year the Olympics will be held. It was a late night , I looked till 2.30 AM , so as the sun is shining brightly, I go and do some more sleeping outside! Feels good, SPRING IS REALLY coming now!

Enjoy your week, see you on Wednesday. Ritz

Retired!Wrong!Uvalde and Chavez in 2012! Fatraglide09!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Wednesday 11-03-2009

Now I am retired I have some more time to write, so when interesting “things” come up , I will write twice a week, but the Sunday remains. It pleases me that so many people all over the world, keep reading , to be honest I did not expect that, but it feels good,  so I continue! Thanks!
 It is nice to receive a comment straight away after the decision Uvalde got the 32d WGC, from a reader in the USA with the message; ” I hope you come”!

I was not totally correct last sunday.
First ,indeed the weather in Holland was nog good for flying till about 11. After lots of rain during the night , it cleared around 11 AM and a nice soaring window appeared, so one of the Dutch young talented pilots had a great first flight for the season from Soesterberg, nearly 200 km.
After those “nice” hours we were hit by rain , gusting winds , hail and thunderstorms during the night. Yes March brings gales!!!!!
Just spoke with Maria from Munich and it is STILL snowing there. They wait for a bit of sunshine , hopefully this sunday and a day without cleaning  the snow from the car before driving.

And what about the results of the IGC meeting; Next morning  already, on monday I could read that Uvalde got the 2012- 32d -FAI -open, 18 and 15 m class -WGC with Roland Stuck as chief steward and as expected Argentina [ Adolfo Gonzales Chavez-SW of Beunos Aires] the 32d standard,club and world class WGC. Brian Spreckley is appointed to help here with the organization as chief steward.
So …..not too slow [ apologies!] and….. the most important decisions , not only the places for the WGC , were right there on the next day!
Very interesting choises  for the WGC in 2012 by the way! I feel sorry for Narromine, would have loved to go there, had already my invitation to edit there, but I know it is far…! But…it remains a good airfield for the next time, as it is since 1987 that Australia had a WGC. Toooooo …….long……….!!!Is there not a rule that Australia should have it before 2016??????
The WGC in Uvalde will be from 04-08-2012 / 19-08-2012 and the WGC in Argentina from 09-12-2012 / 21-12-2012. Now you are totally updated!

In  1963 Argentina had organized already a WGC in Junin,  200 km.  West of Buenos Aires and I just heard  that one of the Dutch pilots , Arie Breunissen, went with big speed over the startline  in a Skylark 3 and ….had to bail out as….he lost a wing at that moment.
 Holland made name in gliding that year, by this incident , [ BOLS , the advertisement for Dutch jenever on the fuselage “stood” even after the crash!] but also with the inverted flights from Ed van Bree in the Sagitta, showing how great the Dutch -made-glider flew.
Not so much by the scores as Ed was 31th , Jan Selen with a KA 6 35th in standard class and Arie 22d in open class in the Skylark 3.
Unfortunately Ed died in a fatal powerflying accident, I think about 25 to 30 years ago.
Such a “thing” as bailing out, happened to Baer Selen too during an  EC in Italy. He had to jump while on final glide to Rieti as his Vega was “hit” by severe flutter….and broke.
 If you are interested in the story from Junin and the pictures, please read and look at the very special site “found ” by George, thanks !!!! 

Tibor , from Slovakia, asked me to bring to your attention the next spring competition, which I love to do.
 Sorry that I am a bit late with it, as he send me a message  already on January 3  , which I missed as …I did not read the comments-box!!!!MEA CULPA!!!!!
It is called FATRAGLIDE09………is between Mai 1 and Mai 10 2009 in Slovakia at Martin Airfield. At this stage 45 pilots in different classes have entered their names, under them Henrik Breidahl from Denmark and Vladimir Voltin from Slovakia, both WGC pilots.
Here is more from Tibor;

It is called fatraglide09 and it is 9th year we are doing it. It is spring gliding comp in our home airfield in Martin, focused on mountain gliding, and we get more and more international participants. Web is here:  it is all in english including briefings etc…

This year there is EGC in Nitra and next year WGC in Prievidza, virtually same area for practice.

About fatraglide: we offer free entry for best pilot, woman and junior as on IGC ranking and free T-shirt for every participant. So look at our site!!!!

That’s about it, the sun is shining, ONLY today, so I go outside and enjoy a bit of warmth after the cold winter.
CU next sunday!

 Cheers Ritz

First report on Turkish Airlines! Europe wakes up!IGC meeting!

Alphen aan den Rijn       Sunday 08-03-2009

Last Wednesday we heard the first results of the investigation of the crash with Turkish Airlines. It seems that the lefthand instrument,  a radio-height -meter was failing ,so a technical problem…….but the crew reacted TOO late on that problem, so …..a combination of a technical problem and human problem it seems. You can read the  details on several web sites, if you have n’t done so already.
That instrument had failed before,…was repaired but during the last 8 flights which are “visible” on the black box , it failed according to the investigation, twice again!
Boeing had send ,as far as I have read, a memo on Februari 11 2009  to “tell” companies flying the 737-800 about this problem[ it can be rosty due to humidity they say] with the message DO NOT FLY on the automatic pilot , but by hand , if such a problem occurs.
Yesterday there was a ceremony at Schiphol airfield attended by 750 people, among them lots of survivors,ambassadors , recue- workers and politicians,  to remember all 9 victims , 5 from Turkey [ including the crew; captain , 2 co-pilots and one steward ] and 4 passengers from the USA [ 2 people employees from Boeing!]. All aircrafts and trains at Schiphol took head of 2 minutes silence.
23 Survivors are still in hospital, ONE still fighting for his life at intensive care.

Slowly Europe wakes up from its wintersleep. The first nice flights have been made in Germany with wave but also THERMALS  [Bruchsal,Hahnweide], the mountains from France [Vinon —Sisteron]  wave and ….from Dunstable in the UK.
In Holland the season opened for most clubs on March 1 with an annual  meeting about rules and regulations for the new season. The weather is not too bad but not good enough for flying at tis stage.
Also the USA wakes up from wintersleep, with lots of nice flights from p.e. Seminole Lake, even with good thermals!!
Australia still enjoys great autumn gliding weather and good old former world champion [x2] George Lee, flew from his own airfield yesterday a very nice 764 km flight in a nimbus 4 DM.
A bit more south,at Jondaryan,  Allen flew a 623 km set task in his LS1f, great effort. And….what about a Hornet flying 619 km…..same task, same airfield.
But also  in Benalla, in the south of Australia pilots flew over 300 km in an LS 4 [370 k.] and Standard Cirrus [336 k.].

Great to see Bob Ward is flying again!!!! A couple of years ago he had a really nasty accident with his glider, we were even very worried for his life, thought he would never fly again,  but….he is back,FANTASTIC!!!!!! Good on you, BOB!

It is weird, but on saturday [March 7] they flew , as said, on the East coast in Queensland great flights also from Jondaryan, while a bit higher but also in Queensland the  category 5 tropical cyclone Hamish passed by over the ocean ,tracking parallel to the East coast with wind up to 285 kp/h. It is not expected to make landfall within the next 24 hours but a warning has gone out for the NE parts. That is where my daughter and her family are on a holiday right now!!!!!!Cairns!!!But.,..everything seems to be OK there!!!!
Not so much for the Whitsundays , Fraser Island and Hamilton Island. They prepare for the worst. By the way 2 Dutch girls belong to the last 50 [ from 3500] for the “dream-job” on Hamilton Island. Hope the winds are not TOO destructive, so the “beauty” on the island and under water remains! Hamilton seems to have cyclone-proof resorts, but still….!!!
The cyclone is heading south to the Central Queensland Coast and might even hit in the next couple of days Brisbane as a category 4.
” Poor” Australia , it has been hit hard this beginning of 2009, by the elements of nature ; terrible fires, huge flooding and now a cyclone categorie 5, with lots of rain and savage winds.
Look for  the latest on

 This weekend the plenary meeting from IGC has been  held in Lausanne, on Friday and Saturday. One day earlier, on  Thursday the stewards, jurors and IGC delegates have met.
Will the WGC for open, 18 m. and 15 m. 2012, be held in Uvalde [ Texas ] or in Narromine [ Australia ]. I know both airfields well, so though I hope with my Aussie heart for Narromine , I can understand the vote for Uvalde.
For club, standard and world class only one bid is received at this stage; Adolf Gonzales Chaves Airfield in Argentina. Never been there!!!Would love to go there! The IGC is always a bit slow with their minutes, so till now I have heard nothing. Will keep you informed, as many more items wil have been discussed!
[look for news at]

One of “my” Dutch team pilots , Baer Selen, won gold in Uvalde when I was his team captain. I remember the great weather , the draught, the heat and  …….the parties at the Hufstuttlers, if I spell their name well after so many years .Was it 1991?? It was Baer’s second world title after Chatauroux in France .
This year Baer will be coach for the young and very talented team from Holland participating in Finland. So look out young -under -25 -pilots!!!!!

Sorry, but I did not look at the comment box for ages !!!! The box is filtered but I still  received 23 comments and 7 were good, the rest totally nonsense, that’s why I do not look. In the past I got up to 300 nonsens -comments so, the boys “keeping” my site in good order,have put a spam filter in. It still gives rubish, but luckily not as much anymore. Thank you for the comments and I will get back on to them.

That’s it for now, you are up to date! Enjoy your week, so will I.

cheers Ritz

Turkish Airlines!Dream job ‘s!Lausanne!Africa vs Australia!

Alphen aan den Rijn      March 1 – 2009

Our metereologic spring starts today with 13 dgr. C. Not bad!
Our winter was cold , the coldest in the last 12 years with an average temperature of 2.1 dgr. instead of 3.3 dgr. , but dry, 135 mm instead of the normal 194 mm. The lowest temperature was minus 20.8 dgr. THAT WAS BAD, fr Holland!!!!!
According to the news nature here is slow this year, nearly spectecular slow , up to 7/8 weeks. Not very normal and as they say, not so much due to the cold winter, but more because the winter before was a “soft one”, so a huge difference!

Biggest inpact in the news this week was the crash from Turkish Airlines flight TK 1951, which just crashed short of the runway in a field which was just plowed,[which might have saved lives,] at Schiphol-Amsterdam -Airport. 9 People got killed including the Turkish crew from 3 pilots , the youngest only 28 years old and busy with his configuration to this type.
As the plane fell just out of the sky, the “poor” crew was crushed in the cockpit, by  the instrumentpanel behind them. Many people broke their back after the huge impact and at this stage still 6 people fight for their life. The plane dropped and broke in 3 parts, the tail was totally loose from the fuselage. It’s there and in the front were the dead and badly hurt people were found.
135 People including the crew of 7 were on board.
At least 2 from 4 employees from Boeing were under them and died. They were in Turkey for business and on their way home to the USA via Schiphol Airport Amsterdam. One is still in hospital .
I saw the plane inside, on the news a few seconds after the crash. One of the passengers made a video with his mobile. I t was not nice and even less nice to hear. Amazing that so many people survived. Just amazing. Maybe wednesday we will hear what happened!

Ryan Air wants to ask money for going to the toilet during their flight???!!!!Only 1 euro but if you can “fight” with it , the 100 million Euro loss from last year……?????They also want to close all check -in – desks, so lots of ground personal will be sacked!

Something totally different now; I have to admit it; Carnival last weekend, was great fun again. With my medallion , received in 1968 for “being a fanatic carnivaller” [I made with 3 girl friends the special carnavals- flag which was hanging for 5 days every year on the balcony of the town hall ], proudly on my breast ,I even went in a huge swing mill, ……after 2 beers.
Last time I did that was in 1968, with my friend Hans at 11 PM after more beers then 2. He looked very pale, I remember that VERY well!!!!!!
Hans is the one who brought me in contact with gliding. Without him nobody in the gliding world would have ever known about me! Not that this is very important for all of you, but for me it is.I lost a lot due to gliding , but also got a lot back in return.
Sadly enough Hans died after a fatal accident in his DG 400 on a club camp, a few years ago!

35.000 people have send a reaction to the Queensland bureau of tourism to apply for the 6 month  “blogger job ” on Hamilton Island.Under them 151 people from Holland!! Indeed a dream-job. It crossed my mind, but …I prefer Finland for 2 weeks!!

I was most impressed with the nice ridge flights over the Appalachians [ up to North and south from Marion-County Brown] in the USA by the JS revelation [18m] , the ASW 20, the LS 3 , LS 8 and Schweitzer SGS1-26A. The pilots , one flew 2x a 1000 k. were excited about the amazing spring weather . Gaining your diamond in a Schweitzer is pretty special too !!!!

Sadly enough fires are treathening again some of the suburbs from Melbourne.
Jo asked me to tell you that during the Horsham Week an amount of 1300,- A. D. was collected as a donation to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. Fantastic!!!

Former tuggie at Sportavia, Cameron Bodey , announced his engagement to Pan, a Thai young lady and stewardess at China Airlines. Congratulations!!! They are going to live in Thailand. Cameron is the son of Ross and Glenda Bodey , our former partners in Sportavia. Cameron’s life is a bit as ” a dream come through” in a boys book. He was asked to learn first and fly then, for Comores Airlines as co-pilot on a Boeing 747. They flew between Marseille and Moroni and  since then Cam is on the “rails”. He is a co-pilot now at Air Hong Kong, a cargo airline owned jointly by Cathay and DHL.
More or less the same happened to ” Bones ” [Ashock],another tuggie, who “ended” as captain on a Grumman Turbo Mallard , a water plane , flying employees  for  pearl- company Paspaly to open sea,[ the pearl-farms]  from Darwin. He started on “our” Grumman Albatross, an amphibian, which was flown from the USA [Nevada] to Australia [Tocumwal ]. Not a lot of young men, have the opportunity in their life  to learn how to fly such a big water-plane !
When talking about former tuggies, Simon, who is an airline pilot now in OZ, is going to marry on June 13 2009.

In Lausanne will be on March 5 2009, a meeting for ICG jurors and stewards. I was invited but had to apologize for personal reasons.
On the agenda;
1.Experience from 2008 WGC from the Chief stewards.
2.Stewards and jurors relationships and responsibilities.
3.Chief stewards role before the event.
4.Training and qualification for stewards and jury.
5.Any other business.
For sure all pilots flying ECG’s or WGC’s will benefit from the results of the discussions by having the best informed jurors and stewards.I put my opinion on paper and have send it to Peter Eriksen,{IGC secretary} who will take care that “my word will be spread”.

Interesting was the opinion from Woody Woodward in the International Gliding. He flies “for ages” in Bitterwasser. In the GI he writes; ” Contrary to what readers may have heard -we have had the worst weather for glider flying at Bitterwasser [and all of Namibia] since 1999. Very wet was the season opening with standing water everywhere. This is a very explosive situation, just add heat and you have a thunderstorm with lightning and rain and sometimes very heavy rain and high winds.”  Woody flew his new EB 28 and was more then happy with it. Read for more news International Gliding -issue March 2009.

Jo, is visiting Woody this week, so I am anxious to know more, as I had the feeling from all the stories from friends that Bitterwasser and even more Gariep Dam in S A were “hot” . Bitterwasser was as best airfield, 2d behind Corowa and Gariep Dam number 3, so TOO bad it can’t have been.What I just heard from friends was that Gariep Dam had super weather! No worries over there!
Some pilots doubt at this stage if they go to the 2009 / 2010 S.A. season as elections will be held. They first look what is happening, which seems to me a very good idea!

I just received some interesting statistics from one of my readers. THANK YOU!!!!!
He compared the OLC flights from Australia and Africa , based on the data from the 4 main soaring fields.
I give them to you as I got them and comments on his conclusions are welcome.
Here you are;
Africa in order of number OLC flights   #   km.
Bitterwasser                     747       648
Gariep Dam                      639      686
Pokweni                            369      642
Kiripotib                           108       565
TOTAL OLC FLIGHTS                         1863

Africa in order of average length of OLC flights   # km.
Gariep Dam                       686
Bitterwasser                      648
Pokweni                              642
Kiripotib                             565
                                                   AV km.

Australia in order of number OLC flights    # km.
Corowa                                901        557
Benalla                                 677        397
Narromine                          234        369
Tocumwal                           127         413
TOTAL OLC FLIGHTS                           1939

Australia in order of average length of OLC flights.
Corowa                                 557
Tocumwal                            413
Benalla                                 397
Narromine                          369
                                                   AV km.
TOTAL KILOMETERS FLOWN [Australia]   909.816        469
His conclusion;
Africa and Australia are AS BIG as winter-destinations with about the same amount of flights.
Africa shows MORE longer flights; 30% average more!
Australia has better outlanding possibilities.
Namibia dominates the African market and Victoria/NSW the Australian.

In his opinion Africa is better for European guests , less far travelling , no time zone and Australia for guests from China and Japan.

These are statistics, I DO NOT  DARE to tell you were to go, of course you decide for yourself! But ….it is interesting.

Received a mail from the AIRBUS VISIT SHOP! [Toulouse Blagnac]
” To the occasion of the 40thiest anniversary from the first CONCORDE flight the AIRBUS shop  sells a special edition of a t shirt.” [m-l-xl-xxl]
A real collectors item. Price 22 Euro. Available from MARCH 1 2009. Look for more information at

Last but not least; Peter “PIP” Borrman died in a tragic and fatal accident at Shepparton Airport last wednesday. I did not know Pip very well ,I only met him twice, but saw him in his nice red “machine” fly over Tocumwal many, many times. He was an outstanding aerobatic performer. We lost another great pilot!My sympathy goes out to his family and friends and…I know he had many!

Enough, ….. the sun is shining, time to go outside…..see you next week.
cheers Ritz