Vuelos de la muerte ! Sydney back to normal ! The “UIVER “!

Alphen aan den Rijn     September 27 2009

It really had an impact on me, this behaviour of an airline captain here in Holland with a Dutch and Argentinian passport, flying as a marine officer in the 70/80thies in a Lockeed Electra . He knew that enemies from dictator Vileda were thrown out alive [but drugged] , from [t]his plane. 
It all started when our crown prince Willem Alexander got engaged with the Argentinian lady Maxima, a lovely girl. But….her father was in the government of this Vileda. Hot discussions started in Holland and  also between the pilots and J. said that the Dutch did not understand any of this , that it was war, that he was there and that he did those flights, [still ] believing  he did the right “thing”.
Some of his colleagues were really upset and fed up with this bragging and so the ball started rolling.
This was the last flight before his retirement , but maybe also the last flight in his life as, when it is proved this all has happened,  he will be for the rest of his life in prison. 1048 years!!!
As said justice should triumph, but to be honest, Holland does not win the “beauty-prize” for the way they dealt with it.

Sydney is back to normal  with sunny conditions and blue skies. Car-washers made “gold” and hospitals were busy with people needing extra support to breath. Brisbane had the same great “red blanket ” but not as bad and it seems that about 5 million ton of red sand has been moved from the heart of the continent. This is not normal according to weather-specialists. Normally it stays in the inner-land and does not reach the coast, but after the wide spread draught and the climate changes –  Australia is very vulnerable there- it reached even to Sydney.
Spring has started with temperatures up to 30 dgr. in Sydney , then back to 20 and in other parts from NSW there is hail and storm. They predict more , so I hope it all stops on the 15th of October when I will arrive in NSW.
Last Friday, this red air had reached New Zealand, 2200 km.  further , passed by and went on !!! Weird!!!

Jonny and Corinne visited last week  and have taken a big decision to leave Holland before the end of this year and go back to French Guyana. After living there all their life before visiting us for 2 years in Australia , they do not feel happy here [ 3 years now] and move back “home” with little Marylou. I wish them well. Jonny hopes to go back into flying in Suriname, Corinne is and was a great masseuse and nail -and -beauty -consultant .
Talking about the past of Sportavia ; Happy birthday Brutus , Ross, Andrew and Peter!!!!

The 2 glider pilots killed in a double seater  were on a soaring-camp from their club Schinveld. The 2 instructors from 66 and 39 had just arrived with 3 other club members and made their first flight.
Condolences to their families and friends.
Yesterday Schinveld had a an in-memoriam day for their pilots and friends to remember the instructors known by all of them so well . All clubs in Holland got an invitation to share this big grief.

Then I received this message from Australia.  I really liked to look at the great plane in Albury, when picking up or bringing guests to the airfield.

Don’t miss Albury’s premier civic event as we help mark a famous day in history.

Uiver 75th Anniversary Gala Dinner – Friday 23 October 2009

The historic event of the landing of the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ‘Uiver’ in 1934 is one of the most famous stories in aviation as the plane ran into trouble during the London to Melbourne air race.  Lost in a fierce storm, the aircraft was guided to safety by the townsfolk of Albury.  She continued to Melbourne the following day to take out handicap honours in the famous race.

A special radio play performance re-enacting the event will be presented at this very special occasion on Friday 23 October 2009.  Add that to a 25 piece show band, drinks and nibbles airside (with just a little aviation magic thrown in) and you’re sure to enjoy being part of this most momentous evening.

Click here  to view the invitation and booking information or call AlburyCity Events for further details on 02 60 238 176.

Kind Regards

Bianca Wighton
Executive Assistant

Till this upcoming Tuesday, we will still enjoy real nice after-summer-weather and with the better visibility, pilots made great flights here in Holland over the last days, even this late in the year. With 356 and 313 km …not bad, not bad at all! And in Germany a pilot in an ASW 24 flew 358 km . from Braunschweig.
Yesterday Bert , who worked for us in Tocumwal, flew a very nice 356 km. in a St. Libelle from Diest in Belgium  and Holland had a 442 km flight in a Ventus 2 CT from Soesterberg.
The last young German pilots have now left Vinon as well. Great  and clever young guy’s making their comments in rhyme!!! We have to wait for their visit to  Chile in November to read more of that. Not a bad life they have!
A lot of pilots in Austria, the UK, France , Holland , Czech Rep , Germany and more countries are happy with their late -season- great -soaring- weather and express those feelings on the OLC as a comment. This system is really used more and more. Great!
And what about the glorious morning glory flight  from Burketown -North Queensland in a PIK 20 E with a speed of 144.16 km/h.[388 km.] and..a great flight in Africa from  Orient , not so fast but 416 km. flying an Astir CS. It’s all starting and happening there now.

Off now to the closure of the soaring-season 2009 in Holland. Patrick will pick me up and the party is at the farm from the new European Champion in club class Rene!

Cheers Ritz

Sydney turns “orange / red “! Delay ! La Motte !

Alphen aan den Rijn      September 23 2009

Another wonderful day in Holland , nice sunny , warm , just the most pleasant autumn weather.
Not such a good day for one of the Dutch airline pilots flying already for over 20 years for one of the 100 % daughters from KLM; Transavia. He flew to Valencia yesterday , his last trip before his retirement and was taken out of the plane in Spain by the military police on request of Argentina.
It seems, that is the accusation,  that the pilot with a Dutch and Argentinian passport, has flown in the early 70thies for the junta, flying planes where opponents of the junta, were thrown out above sea. What a  horrible story, but …it has to be proved first that he indeed did this….hopefully they listen very well to him in Spain , before extradition to Argentina, as he might have been forced to do so when he was young , [not that I do agree with it then,but I  can understand that a gun on your head makes you fly … !].
It is all a bit weird as somebody with a crime-sheet is not even allowed to carry a badge to enter Schiphol airport!!!! Let’s wait and see and let justice triumpf.
The plane arrived back in Holland with quite some delay, as a new crew had to be flown in to Valencia.

Orange is a great colour, specially when you are Dutch, but I guess most people in Sydney were “flabbergasted”  this morning, when Sydney turned orange after a real dust storm.
From Tocumwal [NSW] I got already the news that they had “finally” some heavy rain, but this cold front , reached Sydney with lots of desert-sand after the very dry period.
Most people over there, had never seen such phenomena, but it seems that this has happened about 70 years as well. Not good for the planes which could not land as there was no view at all, not good for people with breathing problems , not good for the ferries which stayed “home”, but great for photographers.
The meteo has warned for more very heavy [thunder]-storms, may be causing severe damage! Not good !

More sad news as 2 Dutch glider pilots have been killed yesterday in France in the mountain-soaring-center La Motte, where Ingo Renner in the past flew with  ” his” German guests.
Both pilots are members from a club in the South of Holland. The French have started an investigation but not yet more news as not all family has been warned.VERY tragic!!!

Pilots still fly with the good weather  and even in the UK  a nice flight , specially for the end of September, was made from Dunstable ; 338 km with an ASH 25. Slowly the Australian soaring places take over the top of the OLC list, before the African places will follow. The East from OZ is normally good first , with  places as Jondaryan and Kingaroy, not long and the first comps will be held over there.

That’s it for now. This sunday we will have the reunion / closure of the 2009 season,  of the JWGC and EGC pilots , crew and officials , here in Holland, so more news about that next week, but will be back on Sunday morning.

cheers Ritz

Great autumn weather , but not for soaring!

Alphen aan den Rijn    September 21 2009

The family weekend was great! It is good to touch base with the whole  family once a year! I do realize on such moments as well, how sad the 3 families are from the 3 Dutch young pilots who died in Portugal , while training to be a pilot. I read that one of the boys was Dutch/Australian and…that maybe the piper Seneca had exploded!! They found wreckage over 4 km., but it is better to wait for the investigation.

Holland belonged this weekend  to the area with the highest temperatures. We played farmers-golf on a huge field with 26 dgr., but for soaring it was a bit difficult as the visibility was pretty poor.Looking at the OLC  I could not find any flight in Belgium or Holland because of this bad visibility , but  clouds were definitely there.
The USA enjoys still great weather with a 705 km flight in an ASW 24 from Warner Springs, up and down over the mountain -chain!

The next weekend on Sunday the Dutch top pilots  come together to look back and celebrate the good results from the 2009 season. Specially Rene and Tim the new European champion in Club class and the runner up Tim , will be cheered on. It will be good see everybody, as the Rayskala juniors will be there as well . I will have an interview with Rene and Tim  both participating in the JWGC and the EGC.

It seems Airbus has no problems with the recession. They expect to sell over the next 20 years about 25.000 planes! They base their statement on the fact that low cost companies are growing and that there will be more “huge towns”, so more companies to bring people from A to B. They claim that  passenger-transport will grow with 4.7 % and freight/cargo with 5.2 %. Hope for them that this is correct.

The Corowa containers are packed and ready to “send” to Australia. In Rotterdam the Priviedza container is already waiting after a trip by train from the Slovak Republic, so all of them , 5 in total, can go on the same ship to Melbourne. A huge job, but Francesco and his team are very experienced. I heard Grietje has not been well, so I specially wish her an extra lot of  “power”, as the new season  over there in good old OZ, will be  pretty heavy again. On October 15 I will be in Tocumwal for 4 weeks and hope to see with my own eyes, that the over-seas season starts with good soaring weather.

That’s it for now, off to Amsterdam , see you on Wednesday!

cheers Ritz

NLS !Vinon !

Alphen aan den Rijn    September 17 2009

Just brought Gina to Schiphol Airport, so I have a bit of time to write.But…world-wide the soaring is slowing down at this moment. Only around 40 flights on mid-week-days, not many.Good to see Belgium pilot Joachim Aerts flying a duo discus in New Zealand. Nitra had some nice weather and also pilots in Sweden and Denmark enjoyed nice late summer conditions.
In Vinon the young German pilots with Alexander [ 3d place JWGC in Rayskala] amongst them,had the time of their life flying great flights in the mountains finishing their stay with 485 km flights. They are a nice bunch of young ones ,even making their comments in rhyme!!!Grateful as well to the people who made it possible for them to fly over there and getting such huge new experiences!!!
We have very nice after summer weather as well, with temperatures up to 23 dgr.

It was a bad week for the aviation world. In Germany a Fokker 100 was lucky enough to land without too much problems on a foam-bed , as the wheels did not come out. The pilot was called a hero!Only one person slightly injured.
 Then 2 pilots of a YAK 52 had to make an emergency landing on the gliding-field “Langeveld” here in Holland. They had engine problems but landed safely. Dutch authorities are investigating why the plane had to make an emergency landing.
Worst of all, the crash with the Piper Seneca in Portugal, with 3 Dutch pilots. One the 25 year old instructor with 2 of his students, 18 and 21 years old.
The NLS is one of the big sponsors from the Dutch Gliding Nationals and known as a good school for young people willing to be pilot. They do their theory in Hoofddorp , close to Schiphol airport and because of the weather and the more quiet flying areas they do their flight training in Portugal.
The weather was good at 22.27 yesterday evening when the plane disappeared from the radar, in good weather circumstances. They crashed between Faro a very well known holiday place, mid- south of Portugal and their home base Evora. Tragic!!!!

See you on Monday as I have family-weekend on the 19th and 20thiest, enjoy your weekend as well!!Good luck to all the people packing the containers –this weekend–from Holland for Corowa!

Cheers Ritz


Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday September 13 2009

” It must be your lucky day “ ,was just written on my comment site after deleting the last nonsense. We are up to 10.471, so it is slowing down.
Had a few busy days with my Tocumwal guest and she has seen a lot from Holland now. Sight seeing is pretty tiring  Gina thinks, so do I!
No gliding fields this time, as she is not so much in gliding, but for sure got to know a few pilots while visiting Sportavia in the past.
Today we were in touch with some of them, Maria and Dieter from Munich by phone and at noon Jonny and Corinne will be here for lunch to catch up. For sure you remember that they worked for us in the past as tow pilot and lady of all trades. They visit with their daughter Marylou.

In the USA they are still happily flying up to 805 km.  in an ASW 27. But also Europe still enjoys after summer weather and Germany , Spain, France , Italy and Finland had some good flights over the last couple of days!
In Germany pilots will meet at the annual glider-pilots-convention,  ” the 68th Deutscher Segelfliegertag”  in Bremen in the big fair complex on Saturday October 31 2009.They expect about 1000 guests. There are lectures [in German] and several types of gliders will be on display! Guests from outside Germany are welcome! A pity I will be in Australia , as I would have loved to be there.

Some people in the suburbs from Brussel  in Belgium are “getting crazy” from the noise from the helicopter of [Crown] Prince Filip from Belgium who loves his flying .He got a training as fighter pilot, but enjoys flying his helicopter on good-weather-days, making the same tour , sometimes 10 times on an afternoon,  around his palace  , can image some frustration in such a case.
Our crown prince is in New York, even visiting Barack and Michele Obama on his visit to celebrate 400 years NY and the liaison with Holland.

See you maybe on Wednesday, another busy day otherwise as soon as I have time. Sorry about that!

Cheers Ritz


Alphen aan den Rijn    Thursday September 10 2009

Sorry, but I forgot all about my blog yesterday and as I travel up and down through Holland at the moment with Gina, my friend from Australia, there is not a lot of time left to write.
Places as The Hague, Amsterdam and Maastricht were on the to-do-list and we travel by train; timeconsuming but relaxing as well.

German Junior Alexander Spaeth is still in Vinon, enjoying his soaring and mentioned that “only mountains could give so much fun with blue thermals”. I remember that Ingo Renner loved blue thermals as well and flew a 1000 km. in only “the blue”! It is great to read how Alexander really enjoys his flying there and forgets about the more difficult moments and just sees a great gletscher as “a high”! Great young pilot!
It is more or less the mountain areas which are still good to fly and Europe still has flights then over 500 km. in a standard cirrus. In Germany [Munsingen Eisberg ] somebody even flew a very nice triangle in an ASW 19 from 579 km.via a few well known gliding places as , Klippeneck, Musbach, where the next JWGC will be held , Bruchsal and Hahnweide.

Next week on Wednesday the first containers  will be packed and pilots move their gliders in this case to Corowa in Australia. Unbelievable how quickly a year “flies”! These containers hope to arrive in Melbourne on November 2 and I hope to see the first gliders go up in Corowa on the 8th , when I am in “the neighbourhood”.

See you on Sunday, hope you don’t mind this is a short one! Greetings Ritz

International Gliding ! Airbus !Still enough soaring in Europe ,but it slows down!

Alphen aan den Rijn      Sunday    September 6    2009

After 2 days of REAL autumn weather here in Holland,  with heavy rain and wind and  a long thunderstorm [3 hours ] over Alphen on Thursday evening/night, we luckily go back to a nice after-summer-period with temperatures up to 25 dgr. on Tuesday.
This is good news for my Australian friend Gina, who will visit me next week. Though she visits Ireland first [at this moment] and …they have about the same weather as we do now.

Yesterday I received the September issue of International Gliding.On the cover page is written ” we are the best in what we do!” and to be honest I totally agree. It is a human, easy to read magazine. John Roake is the “boss” , it is “made” in New Zealand but the news is totally INTERNATIONAL.
Robert Danewid from Sweden, about wave flying in Norway.
A portrait of Spanish pilot , competition director, FAI jury member etc Angel Casado.
The ARCUS by Jochen Ewald !!!!
The jet-powered ASW 20 , the PW 6!
A short story about my friend Manfred Radius from Canada,  who did a great evening-display with his “Salto” with the jet sustainer motor at Oshkosh!
Manfred was our guest at Sportavia for many years and before performing at the Avalon airshow, [Melbourne] he practised over our airfield making all our guests and half of the town Tocumwal, as happy and excited as possible!An amazing pilot!!!!
A story about the 18 m. Nationals in the USA [Ephrata] by Bill Elliott , who flew his JS1 to a 3d place ,which makes him fly in Szeged in Hungary in 2010 in 18m. class. By the way , as I told you Andy Davis won in the UK the 18 m. Nationals, but…I forgot to tell you he flew an JS1 as well.
News about vintage gliding, “vintage pilots ” Joachim Keuttner who celebrates his 100th birthday on September 21 and the progress of the first home-built PIK27 [ Finland ] in Australia by friend Bob Ward.
As you can see , enough news , also about instruments as Spiderwatch [a major advantage on ELT ], which gave me yesterday a very pleasant afternoon of reading and catching up.

The young German pilots are still having a lot of fun in Vinon.  3d Place winner in the last JWGC , Alexander Spaeth , in his young enthusiasm wrote as text with his 661 km. flight :” I hate the valley from Barcellonette”, but for sure he had a great run!
In Australia they fly through the year in Jondaryan , but now with the beginning of the spring the kilometers  are growing…..and…. 350 km is a nice beginning of spring. Today they even flow 438 km. with an LS1f.
In Holland we had rain in Amsterdam but good flying in the SW part of Holland, flying distances over 300 km even with the Standard Libelle. A day on which they just could fly straight on for kilometers, without thermalling , as they said !!!!
My friends in Israel had a great day as well as Rafi flew 367 km from their airfield Beer Sheba Teyma. And in Germany , former World Champion Reinhard Schramme, flew in a duo-discus 482 km. Don’t forget it is already late in the season and the days are really getting shorter!!

Airbus top man Thomas Enders said in an interview  in the French paper Le Parisien, that they study possibilities to replace the black boxes  with the flight information in the future, for direct satellite connections. They found , in the end, the black box from the crash close to the Comore Islands, but the other one over the Atlantic Ocean ,has never been found. To improve the safety of flying ALL information should be available after a crash, but….when you do not find the box , you have a problem. So this might be a great solution.

Quick action in India, where a Boeing 747 ready to go from Mumbai to Riyadh, on the taxi-way to the runway got fire in one engine. The fire was quickly put out and all 200 people  left in a flash via the security doors and slides. No injuries and all people travelled later on Friday to their destination, maybe a little more apprehensive.
Less lucky were the 5 passengers including the pilot, from a small plane in the USA [Oklahoma] , hitting in heavy fog , the cable of a high mast, killing all of them including 2 children. Very sad!

That’s it for now! I am negotiating 3 different jobs in PR/ writing/marketing, in 3 different parts of the world which have been offered recently, so it looks all very exciting! But… and my contribution for Gliding International STAND!!!

Cheers Ritz

Ely !Sweden ! Dunstable !

Alphen aan den Rijn     Wednesday September 2 2009

Looking back at Europe’s weather last Sunday,  I think I was pretty right when I said we had a good soaring-summer, BUT….as I just heard this does not count for SWEDEN. Unfortunately it seems the weather for soaring was not too good over there  even, “the worst for many years!!! as I heard from Robert and since July 1 , he has only made one over 500 km flight!! Sorry to hear that, but….Africa and Australia are waiting…….for those who want to fly more and long-longdistance  and ……can afford it!
Still interesting that countries as Sweden and Finland , in the Northern part of Europe AND neighbours ,have such different weather for soaring. What great weather we had during the JWGC in Rayskala and also later when the pilots over there started complaining that it would be over now, some pilots really flew nice long distance flights from Rayskala.
Feel sorry for my  Swedish friends!!!!

Then back to the good weather! John Roake from Gliding International, the KIWI Magazine [ which issue of August should be out now! ] , called after the WGC in Rieti, this place , the Mecca for gliding! The day before yesterday they still flew 500 km . from Rieti airfield.
 In the September issue of SOARING, the USA Magazine I just read a story from Wilfried Krueger, he might be the son from Hardy Krueger, who flew in the past every season in Tocumwal, that ELY in Nevada is ” a paradise for glider pilots”. In June-July 2008 this pilot flew 7 flights over 1000 km. the longest 1330 km. and the fastest 167.5 km/h. over 1246 km.
From friend Daan Pare I heard already how good ELY is. Now I read,  that Ray Linskey was still till last year, one of the frequent flyers there as well. Sorry, that this will not happen anymore as Ray died after a short illness a few weeks ago. Indeed Ray was one of those pilots never claiming his flight on the OLC, a bit of a pity as nobody can “learn” from how he flew.
Wilfried writes that 30 % of the pilots flying in ELY never claim their flight on the OLC!!!!

Knowing Nevada a tiny little bit, as I was there in Minden during the Pre-WGC in ’90, I found it a very pleasant area. We had to move in the end to Uvalde in Texas for the WGC as Minden could not guarantee that the flying -fire -brigade ” would not work ” as finishers arrived home! You might know how terrible the fires can be in those areas, so everybody understood. For us Uvalde was good as Baer Selen got his 2d world title there.
Still good weather in Minden at the moment as the day before yesterday a pilot flew 796 km in an ASH 26E.

In the end the Junior Comps in the UK had 5 flying days,  so Will Ellis who also flew in the junior WGC in Rayskala was the winner and UK champion. He was 47 points ahead on JWGC-mate Mike Collett, both very talented young men.
The last competition of the season in Holland is the ” Vergulde Venturi ” and…another JWGC participant won in club class; Frank Hiemstra. Only one of the 2 days was flyable.In the combi-class retired  KLM pilot Hein van der Linden won and in open class Peter Batenburg with nimbus 4 T [101.3 km/h over 256 km] , with Daan Pare [ Ventus 2CM and 88.2 km/h] as runner up!
More young pilots are having fun in Vinon, with “Divine” flights as Alexander calls it.

That’s it for now! I have decided to NOT take my laptop to Australia, so you will not have a twice a week update in , as I know I have some possibilities to write there as well. But ….this is all  “only” from the middle of October onwards till the end of November.

cheers Ritz