1000 km.plus races in Namibie!Air Hong Kong!Virgin Atlantic! Lake Keepit!

Alphen aan den Rijn    November 29 2009     ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

The race to fly 1000 km. tasks is continueing in Namibia. I counted 32 till last wednesday morning and I could add another 11 on Thursday morning !!!! And a lot of them over 1.100 km. , one even 1.300 km from Walter Binder in “his” EB 28. Not bad. Alexander seems to be still not tired and added another great flight to his already impressive series; 1.272 km with a speed of 138.42 km./h. In his comment he writes that tomorrow [so Friday] defenitely  will be a rest day, let’s see!
Another 7 pilots flew over 900 km. not yet reaching that magic 1000, but so close to it. The 995 and 996 km. made me , even feel a bit sick in the stomach! Most of the flights are nice big triangles as well, so a huge area of really fantastic weather.

Good to see that Andy Smith  flew a great 857 km. task on November 25 during the Narromine Cup in Australia, breaking the hegemony of Africa a bit. The last couple of days both parts of the world had great weather with 957 km for Corowa, 619 for Tocumwal , 763 for Narromine and 512 for Benalla, while Bitterwasser had another 1026 km. and Pokweni a 1016 in an Antares!
Good to see Ralph [KYO] and Stephan back flying in Tocumwal!And…Anders, Stener, Max and Carla in Corowa.

Talking about Australia, Jo has written a little summary of the Lake Keepit Club and sports class Nationals and here is her story; Thanks Jo!!!
The November 2009 Australian Club & Sports Class Nationals at Lake Keepit, NSW were a definite test for a champion in each class.  The days were hot – many in excess of 40 degrees – and there was no time off from practice to the final competition day – 12 straight days of flying. 

Conditions varied from low and difficult on the flat country to high and fast under towering cu, with climbs of 12 knots and good streeting and occasionally c/b and lightning.  

The safety committee decided to fly on, with no rest day declared unless there were mass outlandings.  Towards the end of the competition, several pilots opted to stay on the ground for a day or two, not feeling up to continuing.  There were many trips to Tamworth to replenish oxygen cylinders. 

Club Class winner, Peter Trotter said that “the competition showcased Lake Keepit, which has some of the most varied and interesting terrain including Mt Kaputar, the lake itself, the Pilliga scrub and the flatlands in the valley between.
“This year the weather excelled with day after day above ten thousand feet and tasks every day of the competition, which kept the competitors and the organizers occupied for the whole two weeks.
  “The full roll-up of nearly sixty competitors guaranteed strong competition in both club and sports class right through till the last day. Competition gliding in Australia is alive and healthy with pilots coming from five states and strong representation from juniors and women.”
The competition was well run by the Lake Keepit team: 
Contest director – Jenny Ganderton, club midweek manager, instructor, tuggie. Competition organiser – Dave Shorter
Tugmaster – Ron Cameron
Safety – Vic Hatfield.
Task setter – Bruce Taylor.
Weather – Harry Medlicott.
Chief marshal – Jim Staniforth
Registration – Peter Sheils.
Scorer – Chris Carr assisted by the Club’s Finish tuggie, Juho.
Catering – Wendy Medlicott
Bar – Robin Walker.
Results:  Club  
1   9909 IIC Trotter Peter – Kingaroy – ASW 20A
2   9651 GAK Mander Paul – Narromine – Libelle
3   9629 GMF Barnes Allan – Darling Downs – LS 1 f
4   9542 FQM Codling Mike – Darling Downs – Hornet
5   9232 EAT Collings Craig – Lake Keepit – ASW 19
6   9131 XKD Kauffmann Kris – Kingaroy – Discus CS
7   9021 VWV Crowhurst Jim – Kingaroy – ASW 19
8   8891 GWR Woolley Adam – Kingaroy – LS 1 f
9   8039 GWL Davis Jo – Darling Downs – ASW 19
10 7878 GZZ Peitsch David – Canberra – ASW 20

1   10446 IDJ Jansen David – Kingaroy – ASG 29E
2   10106 ZKT Taylor Bruce – Lake Keepit – Ventus 2cxt
3   9818 XTK Claffey Tom – AAFC Warwick – ASG 29
4   9279 XGK Kolb Greg – Kingaroy – Ventus 2cxt
5   9196 YHK Kauffmann Hank – Kingaroy – ASG 29
6   8681 PNL Trotter Lisa – Kingaroy – LS 8
7   8589 ULZ Zehnder Lars – Darling Downs – Ventus 2cx
8   8407 ZDW Wilson Dave – Victorian Motorless Flight Group – ASG 29
9   8355 VTT Tabart Tony – Corangamite – Ventus 2CM
10 8296 VIT Teese Ivan – Kingaroy – ASG 29 E

Did I tell you that our former tuggie Cameron, son from Glenda and Ross , is a captain now on an Airbus A 300-600F [=freight] flying for Air Hong Kong. He received his 4 bars from Captain Maddox, AHK director flight operations and…..a dvd from the Hitchkock film THE BIRDS . This award seemed appropriate as it recognises Camerons ability to have achieved the most expensive bird strike in the history of AHK, during his upgrade training.
What happened? Cam had a bird strike at 50 feet out of Bangkok on his second last day of training and was in the air for only 20 minutes! 5 Fanblades bent from what they think was a duck.
Cam joined AHK in 2008 and is the 27th first officer to be promoted to the rank of captain, since AHK began his JV operations in 2003.
[Source…..thanks to Ross ;]

Received a comment on the story from the bio-fuel. Here it is and thank you to Mr Bones to tell me. SEE you next week. I am off to Munich and Salzburg now WITHOUT laptop.Back next sunday evening, so CU on Monday!!!!
Just a short note to mention that Virgin Atlantic had already done a bio fuel flight demo with their 747 early in 08’…. http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/gb/allaboutus/environment/biofuel.jsp

The difference appears that Virgin used 20(bio) 80(Kero) whereas KLM used 50-50. Also KLM appear to be the “pioneer” to carry a select group of pax on such a flight.

A good effort by both parties though.

“Blue” KLM flies “green”! New book about gliding in Vlaanderen!1.375 km in Kiripotib !

Alphen aan den Rijn      Wednesday November 25  2009       ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

                            BLOG 250

Welcome dear friends “on” blog 250. Another “little” milestone! It was an interesting story/flight, is n’t it from David!? Hope you enjoyed being part of this first FAI triangle over 1000 km  in Queensland!

KLM is the first in the world to fly on “green energy”. A Boeing 747 from KLM went up in the air, partly with “plants”, some kind of canola in an engine ! They had a world wide “scoop” as the 747 flew with one engine filled with a mix of  bio-fuel Camelina, made from plants  and fossile-kerosine. The flight powered by biofuel took one hour and was called by the World Nature Fund; pioneering!!!! Still a lot to do before all planes fly on biofuel, but the beginning has been made!

After the very hot weather in parts of Australia, thunderstorms arrived with lots of rain to get the dust away and a new weather cycle will for sure bring nice soaring weather back. That shows today already with a 764 km flight from Corowa.
In Narromine , the Narromine Cup  is busy with some nice flights from some nice friends! This is always a very pleasant competition! Today they even flew over 700 km in an LS 8.
Africa  [ Namibie] has the better soaring -weather at this stage with several 1000 km. flights , I counted 32 over the last couple of days, in Bitterwasser, Kiripotib and Pokweni! Lot’s of those flights are FAI triangles!!!!
And what about this Alexander Mueller , who flies his ASW 22 BLE from Kiripotib???
Here are his last 5 flights; He must be tired by now !
November 20—- 645 km. speed 114k.0/h.
November 21—-1096 km.speed 140.6 k/h.
November 22—-1199 km.speed 140.5 k/h.
November 23—-1195 km.speed 133.41k/h. and yesterday
                November 24—-1375 km.speed 150.47k/h.
One of my Australian readers is wondering WHEN the first 1500 km. with thermal conditions will be flown in Africa?
Great to see as well that Herman Hamm [Germany]and Ralf Woodward[Woody from Aspen in the USA] are back in “their” Bitterwasser and flew over 700 km. , both are not the youngest pilots anymore!
Heard that even Canada  has “warm ” weather. The club from Art closed the doors from the hangar mid October due to freezing spell, but since then it was quite nice and they wished they had waited a bit longer. No snow either at this stage and non in the forecast either , BUT they are promised  a White Christmas , as there has been ONLY ONE YEAR in the last 100 year that there was a “green” Christmas. Let’s wait and see what happens with the 2009 Christmas over there!
Here in Holland  we have rain, lot’s of it and severe wind!!
The Belgium coast  really suffered last Monday from the wind with quite some damage and the poor UK  is worst off, with severe flooding and with bridges collapsing after very heavy rainfall and it is not over yet!!

The Belgium family Schmelzer is well known world wide. It is a flying family, where both Bert jr and Tijl, the sons belong to the top of the soaring world even on their young age. Dad Bert sr. and mum Hilde, fly as well , not on world level, but ..they travel the world, [Australia in the past , nowadays Africa, ]to fly and enjoy soaring to the fullest. On top of that they travel with their children as TC [Hilde] and crew to all EGC and JWGC and WGC’s.
Bert sr. has written a book about gliding in Belgium ,more specific in Vlaanderen. The book is written by him and by about 10 other pilots/ soaring experts telling each their story. ALL the profit from the sold books, will go the Liga of Flamish Gliding Clubs to support via a fund Flamish juniors to defend their flag/ country during FAI comps. A very good idea!!!!
If you are interested to buy the book please contact one of the email adresses under here. The invitation is in Flamisch /Dutch, but if you want to know more , please contact ;

Bert.Schmelzer@Belgacom.net           or       boeken@hangarflying.be 

The book will be presented on February 6 2010 on the annual Belgium Flying Day in Oostmalle. Prize till December 30 2009 is 36 Euro , after 39.50 euro.

Bert Sr. Schmelzer

Zweefvliegen in


Een fascinerend avontuur in stilte

Samen met een tiental zweefvliegexperts schreef auteur Bert Sr. Schmelzer een boek over het zweefvliegen in Vlaanderen. Voor het eerst werd de rijke geschiedenis van het zweefvliegen in onze kontreien zo compleet en deskundig weergegeven.
Diverse schrijvers brengen in hun eigen stijl het authentiek en meeslepend verhaal van “hun” zweefvliegclubs. De auteur zocht vooral naar niet eerder uitgegeven foto’s en kreeg toegang tot archieven als deze van de familie van Suzanne “Suzy” Lippens en Albert Massaux. Nooit eerder werden handige lijsten gepubliceerd over de resultaten van het wedstrijdvliegen. Uren interviews met zweefvliegers van het eerste uur werden verwerkt in eenaantrekkelijk boek van circa 352 bladzijden.


6 februari 2010

Het zweefvliegen was voor 1940 een Belgisch verhaal maar na de Tweede Wereldoorlog polariseerde het politiek landschap en de samenleving, ook de zweefvliegerij ontsnapte niet aan die trend. In België ontstond na de federalisering een Franstalige en een Nederlandstalige zweefvlieggemeenschap. Alleen de wedstrijdpiloten  bleven in nauw contact. Het Belgisch verhaal werd zodanig complex dat de auteur besloot om alvast het verhaal van het Vlaamse zweefvliegen in het Nederlands neer te pennen, uiteraard met regelmatige verwijzingen naar de Franstalige vrienden. Het Vlaamse verhaal zou immers onvolledig zijn zonder het pionierswerk van vele Franstalige piloten.

De auteur wenst de winst van de verkoop van dit boek over te dragen aan de Liga van de Vlaamse Zweefvliegclubs. Daarmee moet een fonds gerealiseerd worden ter ondersteuning van wedstrijdvliegende Vlaamse junioren, die op FAIkampioenschappen de kleuren van ons land verdedigen.

Intekenen :

Door storting van het overeenkomstig bedrag op bankrekeningnummer
BE72 0015 9844 5216 met vermelding van uw naam en “zweefvliegboek”.

Gelieve 9 euro verzendingskosten bij te betalen indien u het boek thuis wil ontvangen.

Verschijning :

Het boek komt uit op 6 februari 2010.
De intekenaars ontvangen een uitnodiging om die dag hun exemplaar af te halen op de jaarlijkse zweefvliegdag in het Provinciaal Vormingscentrum te Oostmalle.

Voor info : Bert.Schmelzer@Belgacom.net of boeken@hangarflying.be

Auteur Bert Sr. Schmelzer is een bekend en gerespecteerd gezicht in de  Vlaamse zweefvliegscene. Komende uit een zweefvlieggezin, verzamelde hij gedurende zijn 44-jarige vliegcarrière meer dan 4.000 vlieguren. Door zijn intensieve deelname aan wedstrijden kent hij het (inter)nationale zweefvlieglandschap als weinig anderen. De fascinatie voor het stille avontuur met de thermiek is dan ook op elke bladzijde intens voelbaar.
rijs van 36 euro. Na 30 december ; 39.50 euro.


DeThaSorr namen van de voorintekenaars worden in het boek vermeld.

First FAI triangle over 1000 km in Queensland! Lake Keepit!Airbus A380 !

Alphen aan den Rijn     November 22 2009

Back home ! The trip back was good,  easy going and enough to look at. I have visited Brisbane twice, though it was not planned! First Virgin cancelled my flight from Melbourne to Cairns and changed it in a Melbourne-Brisbane to Cairns and now Cathay changed last week their flight Hong Kong to Cairns to Brisbane first. So I had a good look at the national and international transit halls from Brisbane.
Flying from Brisbane to Hong Kong showed us the great Barrier Reef from 11.km high. but still superb. Also , but not so superb, I counted about 50 smaller and bigger fires, between Cairns and Brisbane only!!!! The biggest up the top of Australia NE. Due to the smoke of burning trees we flew for a moment through the grey mass of extra clouds. Incredible to see fires on high mountains just burning in the middle of nowhere. No fire brigade in those areas! As I told you already Australia suffers from heat waves all around. Tocumwal had 41 dgr. and as I heard from Dieter it was no fun! On his balcony  out of the sun it was still 46 dgr.

Here we have also 10 dgr. above the average temperature! A pleasant 17 dgr. yesterday with sunny conditions! Tough wind today however [7 b. at the sea] and rain!

The first Trans Atlantic Air France-KLM flight from an Airbus A 380  2 days ago, had 538 passengers. 380 Guests had paid for their chair through an auction and 300.000 Euro was “collected” for several charity destinations as projects in India, Brazil and Madagascar. The “maiden”- flight was from Paris to New York.

The Lake Keepit Nationals for club class  are over and had 11 days of flying. Winner was Peter Trotter in the ASW 20 A, before Paul Mander in a Libelle. After 11 days flying in Sports Class the clear winner was David Jansen with 10.422 points , runner up was Bruce Taylor with 10.102 points.Look for more news and more results on www.keepitsoaring.com

This weekend Ingo and Judy Renner are in Sydney. Ingo is rewarded a place on the WALL of FAME in the Olympic Stadium . Great to see also glider pilots achieve such great recognition. Congratulations Ingo!
This is the message they got;
It gives me great pleasure to officially advise that you have been selected for inclusion into the New South Wales Hall of Champions at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre in recognition of your impressive sporting achievements.”

Last but not least the story from Aussie top pilot David Jansen. Yes,…the winner in Sports class in Lake Keepit! He was the first pilot to fly a 1000 km FAI triangle in Queensland where the days are not too long. Enjoy it, as it is a great story!

The first 1000 km FAI Triangle in Queensland

By David Jansen

On the 10thOctober at the Kingaroy morning briefing people asked me what I thought of the weather. RASP showed a south easterly airstream off the Queensland coast turning to a north easterly crossing the coast line. The thermal prediction showed conditions being almost un-flyable over Kingaroy by early in the morning whilst inland and moving further west throughout the day conditions were predicted to boom to better than 10,000’ with Cumulus.

None of the soaring prediction software actually reconciled with what we could see out the window as well developed cumulus were forming by 0900 and it didn’t “look like” they were going to go away!

I’d been flying the ASG29 empty since returning from the pre-worlds in Hungary earlier this year in preparation for the Sports/Club class competition at Lake Keepit in November 2009 and as the day was predicted to fall apart I didn’t change that, however I did have an idea to try for a 763km triangle from Kingaroy to Thangool (near Rockhampton) to The Gums (south west of Tara) and return.

Well, the day didn’t die. Cumulus went to in excess of 10,000’ with 8-10 knot climbs, and the flight was completed in 5hours 32 minutes at 138kph from a start at 1046 with an obvious 2 hours of convection available before I even got airborne! And this occurred on a day when we considered that we may not even be able to fly!

Eight days later on the 18th October 2009 exactly the same picture appeared on the prediction software.

The day before on the 17thOctober, I had been flying in the coastal air mass with a flight from Kingaroy to Wattsn Bridge to Gympie, Ban Ban, Chinchilla and return. There was a lot of coastal moisture and cumulus until returning inland where conditions dried out and became blue from Ban Ban to Chinchilla and back to Kingaroy. Late in day a strong NE sea breeze arrived and undercut the local cumulus that now had bases in excess of 9,000’.

I was restless that night as the possibility of a good day on Sunday kept me thinking of what might be possible.

I was in the hangar by 0630 filling the glider for the first time this season to the 600kg weight limit and looking at options on SeeYou for possible tasks. I stored two 750km options and two 1000km “dreams” and set the Altair up for the requirements of an FAI flight claim, something I’d neglected to do the previous week. I listened to the Kingaroy AWIS, the temperature was low, the humidity was high and the wind was light.

By 0800 I was towing to the flight line and shortly thereafter I was in a ditch with one wing on the ground, water running out of the left wing, the tow-out gear distorted and twisted sideways on the back of the glider and no one around to help. This is the joy of a partial water load and uneven terrain that raised the wing with the wing towing gear attached, above the level of even! A quick intervention got the towing gear off the car and the wings back to level. Thankfully there was no damage to the glider and I was able to re-address the ditch straight-on and park the glider in front of the club house.

Time was ticking away and the sky was filling with cu! “Was there a tug pilot available for an early launch?” I asked of everyone in general as I entered the club house .As everything was being organised “on the fly” no tuggie had been pre-arranged so I was very thankful when Greg Kolb immediately volunteered. It was 0820 and I asked for a launch at 0845. I suggested that the 1000km flight might be on, but the only way to tell if it was going to be possible was to have a go!

My wife Lesley had joined me by this time so whilst Greg readied the tug, I had a quick breakfast and Lesley prepared a light in-flight lunch consisting of a jam sandwich an apple and two snack bars. I’d previously added some electrolytes to my drinking water so we were all set to go….so….which way?

The turn points for the 1000km flight are Dululu 331km to the NNW and Muckadilla 348km due west of Kingaroy. The options of going to either turnpoint first were stored in the Altair flight plan data base so all I had to do was choose the “right” one (and declare it electronically, just for fun!).

There was very promising cu to the west; lots of them and good solid looking bases. This also appeared to be downwind, an advantage in the weaker early part of the day.

The tug arrived, I made my choice, declared it, and with a kiss from Lesley I was on my way.

According to the FAI Sporting Code I can only lose a maximum of 1000m or 3,281’ between my start height and my finish height on a speed task. Kingaroy is around 1,500’ amsl so if I want to finish low the maximum start height can be no more than 4,781’ as I cross the start line or leave the start observation zone (whichever is the most to my advantage). Cloud base is 5,000’ and I stay on tow until 6,000’ in smooth air.

My ASG29E has a small turbo (not self launching, just enough power to keep an empty glider in the air) and the terrain on some parts of this flight is very forbidding. I want to give the little motor a run before I start the task, just to get some re-assurance that it might fire up if the day falls apart and I need it to get home. The motor can never be considered a resource that will be available if you get into trouble over bad terrain and a flight should never be flown with this option as your last resort!

The motor starts and I run it for only a few seconds before shutting it down and stowing it. I dive towards the start line and cross it at 4,757’.

The time is 0904 and I’m on my way north to Dululu.

I can’t say why I chose north to begin. It didn’t look like the best direction in the sky. I just guessed it would work OK and I was hoping that the western sky would work later in the day on my way home.

The glider is a different beast after having flown it dry for so many flights. It races away to 95kts and the nose attitude is noticeable higher.

0911 – I’m down to 3,400’ (2,041’agl) and the first climb averages around 2kts to 4,900’. The second climb averages 4kts to 5,300’ and there are cu everywhere.

The high humidity means the sky is changing fast and there is a very real threat of overdevelopment even at this early stage of the flight.

1013 – I’m 140km out from Kingaroy between Mundubbera and Eidsvold. 2,500 agl and the sky seems confused.  There is overdevelopment everywhere and whilst the sky is full of cloud the climbs are difficult to find and the track has to be carefully chosen. This is a period of transition as the early morning development gives way to the higher dryer part of the day.

1115 – 70km from Dululu. Hmmm..I wonder how low these airspace steps into Rocky go? Fortunately I have the latest terminal chart on board, they are not going to be a problem at these altitudes. Stay on track.

1142 – I reach Dululu. The climbs are going to just over 6,500’ and the sky is opening up again. It’s taken 2 hours and 39 minutes to reach the first turn averaging 125kph.

It’s easy to get these exact statistics post flight however in my mind I’m thinking 2:45 for the first leg, hopefully the same for the others, that means if I can make Muckadilla by 1430 I can be home (or close to it) by 1715. Yesterday went until 1700 and the last 100km could be final glide…..I’m in with a chance, keep going. What time does the sun set at Kingaroy? The Altair tells me 1800….

1236 – I’m approaching the edge of the Expedition  National Park which covers 130,000 hectares of land with sheer sandstone cliffs over 100m high and 100% terrain cover. The park straddles the Expedition range between Rolleston, Bauhinia Downs and Taroom and is largely inaccessible, except by properly equipped and experienced bushwalkers. A trough has formed, and it’s raining ahead with cumulonimbus and overdevelopment. To make things worse, smoke from bushfires is obscuring the sky in front.

I can’t tell if the development is local or part of a broader weather change that has obliterated the sky on track and also back to Kingaroy. I can’t use the motor in the rain even if I want to as it will destroy the propeller. I have to be conservative and make safe choices. I’m over 300km from home in a straight line and I’m flying to Melbourne tomorrow and then taking the QF93 to LA (operating) on Tuesday. I need to stay high! The mind is busy.

A diversion to the west is the only safe choice as I track along the storm front keeping sunny ground in view further out. This is where the Altair and the XCSoar software really shine. The glide range display shows me all the airfields I can reach from my current height and the safety margin. First Arcadia is available so I can stay closer to track than I might otherwise visualise. I can get around the storm and the visibility starts to improve, I can see sunshine ahead and what looks to be shadows from the cumulus. Heading more on track now and taking weaker climbs to maintain a safe height I fly over the un-landable terrain knowing I can escape to a safe landing if needed.

I carry a spot tracking device on every flight. Lesley later told me she was very aware there didn’t appear to be many roads around during this part of the flight (she was monitoring my progress throughout the day). I also drew some comfort from knowing she would have a place to start looking if I didn’t get back.

1324 – 9,000’. Injune is within easy reach 50km away and the country is starting to open up again. The national park gives way to isolated fields and what looks to be natural gas exploration. The air is drying rapidly and I reach cloud base at 10,000’ with the last cumulus about 70km from the second turn at Muckadilla. There is one more climb in the blue and then the glide…

Apart from the blue, something is different. The wind is now a south westerly and the air whilst bumpy isn’t producing good thermals. I take a couple of 4kt climbs but they fall apart after 1,000’. Take it slow, get around the turn and then try for the cumulus again another 90km out on the 3rd leg home.

1418 – Muckadilla west or Roma 5,600 agl. Not a lot to see out here. Where is that farmer stripping his crop, what other trigger sources are available? The country is featureless and there is no one in the paddocks. There aren’t any fires. It’s blue and quite. I’ve made good time but it’s a long way back to the cumulus.

1434 – Overflying Roma 3,600’ agl. Still nothing that gives an effective climb.

1436 – 2,600’ agl and I can see the Qantas Dash 8 coming in from the east for an approach into Roma. I’m well clear but getting lower. The whole day is about to fall apart then….

7.5kts takes me back to over 8,000’ the air has come alive again but I’m still in the blue. Those cumuli are another 70km away but there are hints in between. Little puffs of cloud that indicates the convection and the road home.

1535 – Passing Miles now well established under the cumulus and 164km from home. I listen to the Oakey ATIS. The wind is 050/10-15kts with scattered cumulus at 11,000’. I haven’t been that high yet but if I can get there soon I’ll have the last 100km of final glide home for free.

Caution now the last cumulus might be undercut with cool sea air and whilst looking great they are actually not connected to a thermal source. There is a convergence line in front of me, heading sort of across track and sort or towards Kingaroy. There is lots of overdevelopment and whilst there is generally good air, no great climbs.

I’m not looking for speed; I just need to get home. I listen to the AWIS at Kingaroy. It’s blowing an easterly there as well. I’ve still got a SW at altitude but where will that change into a headwind?

1610 – I’ve stopped in 5kts 96km from home. I want to take this as high as possible. I can’t see through the convergence line but I can see isolated rain and I suspect there is nothing on the other side in the Kingaroy valley.

1613 – 11,200’ and a 30:1 glide back to Kingaroy. There is still that convergence to get around and the bottom is falling out of the cu. I work my way around the descending cloud, get a little rain and then fly into the clear but overcast sky. I can see the Bunyas have a cumulonimbus over them and it’s raining heavily. I’m glad I didn’t divert that way and Kingaroy should be in easy reach. I’m 2,500’ over a 5kt final glide on the Altair with a fully loaded glider….I should have felt very comfortable but the enormity of what I was about to achieve for the first time solely in Queensland weighted on my mind.

1633 – 20km out, 3,600’agl. I call on the CTAF and get a response from Foxtrot Delta Tango – The flying doctor is conducting a practice NDB approach from the north and wants to know when I’ll be in the circuit area? I give him 1639. There is a call from Kingaroy ground wanting to know if I have enough height for a “speed finish” and where I will cross the airfield. “Afirm” I reply.

I start getting rid of the ballast and cross the finish line at 16:38:25.

The Altair says the task is finished amid congratulatory radio calls from the ground, but I stay high in the circuit and cross the line again high before landing just in case I messed up the start height calculation.

This late on a Sunday most of the club members have usually gone home so I am overwhelmed by the number of people who have stayed behind to welcome me back. A bottle of amber fluid is thrust into my hand, a kiss from Lesley and there are pictures all around.

I hope the logger has worked OK?

At the end of the day I flew 1023.8km in 7hours 34 minutes and averaged 135.26kph

The speed exceeds both the Open and 18m 1000km triangle records and qualifies for the 18m 750km triangle record as well.

All in all….an interesting day out.

THANK YOU DAVID!!!! Good luck in Szeged!
Cheers Ritz

Tjapukai ! Skyrail Rainforest Cableway!1000 km. fever as started!Lake Keepit !

Cairns    November  November 18   2009

Wow, the world is bigger and more interesting then I knew and….I thought I had travelled and seen so much already.
This Aboriginal Culture Park , we visited on Monday, was a most inspiring experience.We were guided to all the most important events. First there was the Dance Theatre with the real Aboriginal dances performed by 5 in their own tribe- painted -colours with music from the wooden boomerangs clapping together and the great sound of the didgeridoo. That guy  really could  play it. The live performance showed us the traditional corroborees and songs.
They showed as well how to make fire with sticks , turning/moving them between their hands as quick as possible on a bed of dry grass. Then picking the grass up , blowing and “waving ” it and ……red flames showed up.
After we walked to the lady who was a cook/medicin doctor. She explained about all the bush food, how to cook them, how to use them to save people  and how to use them for craft.The wisdom of those aboriginals we met was phenomenal.
Back to the didgerido by it self now and we got the explanation how to play it. If you do not have a “real” under lip, you best go to get some botox-injections, if you really want to play it  well!
After it was exercise with throwing spears, [nobody could reach the speed of the 3 traditional performers] and boomerangs. Both George and I were good in it and we got applause from the rest of the people.
There I could see that listening to the owner of the little boomerang factory in Barooga and looking at how he did it, must have stayed in my brain. Was there many times with our guests!
Listening to the history of the Aboriginals in the History Theatre made me a bit sad. The audio visiual presentation retold the effects of modern man’s impact 0n a 40.000 year old culture.
In the Creation Theatre , the performers showed us the traditional beliefs of the Tjapukai people.
Last but not least the Magic Space; An artspace futuring artifacts and murals retelling the stories of the DREAMTIME.
A day I will remember! Specially when one of the family members of this tribe came to talk to us. He was 33, but had the simple clear wisdom of a 100 year old. We spend over half an hour listening to him. It was he, Trevor, who taught little Indya last year, with great patience for an hour how to play the didgerido, with as a result that  she wanted one for her 6th birthday and she got one and it was not an easy job to find one in Holland.
Go to  http://www.tjapukai.com.au/ for more news and to listen to their music!

Tuesday was the day to “fly ” over the rain forest,  another great and unforgettable experience.I saw the biggest and longest trees in the world. Never realized that trees could grow so high!!! All the trees, ferns, palms ,etc.  grow on rocks , no soil. They “fight” their way up and the toughest survive. We looked at the waterfalls over the rock area, saw the little train “tjook” through the forest and learned that this forest is 120 million years old!!!!! The oldest in the world. To ensure they are protected and preserved for the next generations, they were added to the International World Heritage list in 1988. Indeed they are ” remarkable natural wonders”!!!
114 Gondola cabins fly around over 7.5 km. , hanging on cables between 33 tower-points. The tallest tower is 40.5 m and the highest point is at 545 m.
An unforgettable flight!
Go to www.skyrailfoundation.org or www.skyrail.com.au to read and see more about it. I can advise  you all  3  web sites.

What’s more? Of course Tiger  won the Melbourne trophee at the famous golf club. It was interesting to see that Neil Cathels ,our tax accountant from Sportavia, appeared to be the president of that club and was allowed to present the great looking glass globe to the famous winner.

In between pilots have started the 1000 km attemps everywhere. In Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Was impressed with the speed of Dane Dickinson [told you last how good he is and still young, so a bright future in gliding!] while flying his 1000 km. in wave from Omarama; 1.108 km with a speed of 177.72 km /h. in an LS 8.
Kiripotib had it’s 1000 km.  with Bernd Dolba in an ASH 25.
Rumour is also that Bernard Eckey flew in South Australia,  where the heatwave has hit hardest, a 1125 km task.
In Lake Keepit the club class Nationals are still on till November 20. At this stage after 7  days of flying , Peter Trotter leads before Paul Mander in club class. In Sports class David Jansen [ ASG 29 E] is a strong number ONE with more then 400 points over runner up , at this stage Bruce Taylor [Ventus 2cxt]! David has a fantastic season till now!!!! Tony Tabart will find out of the 1000 km. he recently flew , was the first one ever in Queensland only!

Happy birthday to the Cookes. Tim celebrated on Monday and Bracey today! Time to say goodbye now , as  departure is tomorrow morning early. A HUGE thank you to ALL my Aussie friends in the Tocumwal area and here in Cairns. I had a fabulous time. Next story will be on Sunday from Holland. One more trip to Munich and Salzburg with German friends Maria and Dieter in the first week of December and that finishes the travelling for 2009.
Hope you enjoyed being part of this trip.
Cu from Alphen aan den Rijn.
Cheers Ritz

Dornier 328 ! Belfast / Titanic !Cairns ;a really holiday destination !Tiger !

Cairns            November 15 2009

Sorry that the stories now are “look-alikes” of “twitter” ! Haven’t got time to really research the gliding and flying world,….but as you know , you are free to share with me the experiences of this Australian trip…..or not!

Yesterday we visited Cairns. Before that Diana showed us around in her world! The world of Search and Rescue! First we had a look at all the stores from inflatable boats to big de-watering pumps. Then we had a look in the different offices. Never knew that there were so many people involved only in this Cairns department , about 21. They are captains, co-pilots, mission coordinators, drop masters and observers.
The Dornier 328 was much bigger then I expected and I was very impressed with the mission-management -system, TV, forword-looking-infra red, beacon detection, search radar and the special dropping door. Nice colleagues, she had as well. One of them was Tim who showed us the system and who started already very young in his life with State Emergency Services. He seems to be an ACE in this field.
Diana started at midday , was back at 7.30 PM just finished her dinner, was called and ran off, before I even noticed her absence. So quick they are ,those rescue people and very devoted to their job.
Only this morning I heard that the reason for the quick departure was a possible person overboard. He was saved!!!

After we looked at the Belfast. This is the second larged turbo prop in the world. George flies this huge plane occasionally. There were 10 of them, this is the only one “left-over” and I was amused to hear that the manufacturer was the one who built as well the TITANIC. I could not even make a picture from the whole plane , so big is it!
Then quickly a picture from the great looking , brand new hangar of the Royal Flying Doctors Service on the Bush Pilots Avenue and that was the end of the airport tour, which I really liked.

Off to the beach in Cairns and the Lagoon walking along the Esplanade and along the Marina. Still enough money in Cairns as the biggest smart looking ships were moored. The Lagoon is a beautiful swimming pool with grass to enjoy summer to the fullest. Even with all the skin-cancer-scares, there were a lot of sun bakers,nearly no place on this Saturday afternoon to lay down, but we did not want that anyhow.
Lot’s of great looking hotels here in Cairns, nice shops and a partly covered shopping centre. Enough to see and to buy here in Cairns. Even visited a big Aboriginal  Art Gallery which nice jewels , great paintings and different seizes didgeridoos.
Mountains full of  green trees “board” the valley where I live now. It is very relaxing here!

Sky rail is still on the schedule; “flying in a cabin ” over the tropical forest, as well as an Aboriginal  Culture Park, with the slogan” we have been rehearsing for 40.000 years to bring you this show”!  Will keep you informed!
Also interested in golf where TIGER has his last round today with equal points as 2 Aussie players. There is a REAL Tiger-mania here in Australia , specially in  Melbourne where guests, more then ever ,  walk with Tiger along the fairway.
cheers Ritz

Cairns !

November 14 2009

Hello from Cairns, where I arrived without any problem , even on Friday the 13th! Must say Virgin Blue is doing a great job. They were very friendly , had very good -looking 737-800 Boeings and no empty place left, so they seem to do good business as well. Sorry to Ernest and Steffi, I was stuck in the transit at Brisbane so ….very sorry I could not see you! But….I met Kate at Tullamarine for one hour.

The flight along the ocean over Fraser Island, Rockhampton , Hamilton Island and MacKay was absolutely superb. What great islands and what a beatiful shore! Have never been higher on the East Coast as Noosa!!! Temperature here is as on The Antillian Island Curacao, where we lived for nearly 2 years as well. Always around 32/33 and a bit lower during the night. The house and pool from Diana and George felt “homey” straight away and I will enjoy every of the 5 next days here! Understand now as well , why people love Cairns;it is a great holiday destination!

It was pretty sad to leave Toc again, but I enjoyed every minute of my stay. Margie made me feel very welcome in her house, my friends felt “if I had never left” and though the visit to the airfield was difficult , I have been able to give it all a place! THANK YOU TO EVERYBODY !!!!!! The last week every minute was filled with visits, but I just loved to see as many friends as possible!

Great to see that the “overseas-soaring” starts in Australia with fabulous weather. Hot and clouds everywhere! The heat wave in Victoria and NSW was pretty tough but as you all know , I do not mind the heat! Pilots love it as well. Fire brigade is on high alert however and close to Deniliquin at Mathoura , they had a big fire already. All those days the danger was EXTREME!
The Nationals in Club class at Lake Keepit have had 4 days and good old Paul Mander is 2d in his libelle. Great job.
In Africa Hans is flying again all those huge distances from Gariep and for sure will top the OLC FAI list again this season. Other friends enjoy Bitterwasser!
Tiger Woods is “hot”  in Melbourne and with one day to go he is ONE!!!!

Have to leave you now, more to do!
Cheers Ritz

Last news from Tocumwal!

November 9 2009    Tourist Information Centre

It’s only spring and we are in the middle of a real heat wave! It is “bloody hot” , not nice! We expect up to nearly 40 dgr. here in the shade! Melbourne has a forecast of 34! The weekend had nice weather again for gliding. November 7 , Inge’s birthday ,[happy birthday from all your Aussie friends, Inge!!!] John Nugent arrived early from Melbourne to catch up with me and also with Dundee. We decided to visit Beechworth as one of my to-do -things on the list. We were lucky as the Celtic Festival was on , with lot’s of River-dance-acts by young and old. Of course we visited the famous bakery, only however to the door ,as it was FULL in there!

On the way back we visited Corowa were everything is ready for another BIG season. We just missed out on Anders, as he was coming back that day from the annual inspection service on his glider in Temora. All containers however were lined up for inspection by quarantine this morning, so as I write they are unpacking and from now on we will see Corowa flights regularly topping the OLC list.It was good to see Grietje and Francesco and their children and they were pretty relaxed at the beginning of this 2009/10 .

Lot’s of flights at Tocumwal airport as both the club and Sportaviation had several flying guests. The young highschool “kids ” had their day of flying as well. It was good to see Neil and Glenda Burns. They are here for a month of gliding. While having lunch with Tony and Jo at Friday noon, we saw this “magic -solar-look-alike car” very low to the ground towing an old trailer with a glider. We had no clue who that was , but we found out that this was the car Neil was building  over the last 10 years.His own design all “his own”. Great looking car!

On Sunday I was delighted to see Daffie and Ralf Keller. They brought their friends from Denmark and I remembered straight away Bjoern and his wife with her twin sister. They visited us in 1996 and this was the first time after , they were back. Ralf flew with the ladies at Eddie’s and Bjoern flew an LS 4. They stay for 4 days in Tocumwal. After getting back some great memories we all said farewell again , but then Ojars flew in. He visited a FLY -IN in Deniliquin, catching up with Don there and heard that I was in Toc, so he decided to fly over for an hour. More nice memories and then I really had to leave as I had to prepare a meal for friends. But….I had met Grant before as well as Greg . Greg has put his caravan on Eddie’s CP so most of the old Sportavia -caravan -owners are back at the airfield now, which is great!

As said the last days here are busy, maybe hectic ,so I won’t have time any more to write from here, but I will reflect on 4 weeks Tocumwal ,when I am in Cairns. Let it sink in first!!

Glider pilots are pretty happy with the weather here and the South West parts of OZ have this huge and steady HIGH with causes the heatwave. Nice flights and one nice one is the Mosquito flight from Jondaryan yesterday, that is East ok, but a great flight from 584 km. Good old Terry Bellair flew in his DG 400 a triangle adding a few kilometers in the end; 715 km. .Also good to see that Max is back in Benalla as every year. He flew up North just between Toc and Corowa for a quick first flight.

You see, it is all happening again in Australia, no doubt Africa will follow soon. Pilots will be HAPPY!!!!!Safe flying this season for ALL!!!!
See you from Cairns. Cheers Ritz

Great weather!Newsy news!

Tocumwal November 6 2009     Tourist Information Centre

The weather is just great here today! Clouds were popping up at 11.00 and more are forming on a nice height. Temperature is around 28 dgr. at 12.00. In half an hour I will have lunch with Jo and Tony [Tabart]. They are on their way to Lake Keepit for the Club Class Nationals and stay for a short visit as they hope to reach West Wyalong tonight, which is another 500 km past Tocumwal.Very glad they make time to see me!

Yesterday Dundee’s caravan was moved and though he has been very happy in Ingo’s garden, he has a very nice spot now between the gumtrees at Sportaviation’s newly opened caravan parc, with the use of his own toilet!!!It took me a day to organise everything last Monday , but it is all perfect now as well for Swiss Chris and the Misselhorns who also got help from Peter, who did the removals.
 It was verey interesting to meet Peter. He was , as I found our talking to him on Monday, the brother of Vanessa and it seems that Dennis was good friends with her in the time before he got his tragic accident in January 1988. So I got her email adress and for me it is very important , even after so many years to hear something about the last days of his life!!!

Yesterday I also caught up with Tove , Corey and Hanna. They all looked VERY well and happy. We got to see their new built house and Corey who looks the spitting image of daddy Grant, showed us the green speedboat they use on the Murray River and Hanna was proud to show us her beautiful girly pink room.

Congratulations to Sarah [Sarah worked in the office for us a few years ago!] and Kim who had their first born last saturday all being well. Little Madeline Piper looks healthy and gorgeous so does the new mum, as the proud parents of course showed us the pictures on Melbourne Cup Day.
Great to hear that Scott who was a tuggie in the past has 2 children now and lives and flies in Hong Kong.Found out that Curt is NOT flying the mail anymore , but is an airline pilot as well flyinbg Virgin from Brisbane. As a former owner of a nice life-style business it is good to hear that all who have worked with and for you are OK!!!!
Jonny has moved yesterday to French Gyuana , so he and Corinne are back home now!

Some other news I read in the paper;
Six seconds of confusion in Jetstar cockpit–Airbus black out probe!!
A jetstar plane may have last week suffered the same malfunction that brought down an Air France jet ovewr the Atlantic, killing all on board 5 months agoAt 1.30 am on October 29 the pilot of the jetstar Airbus 330-200 reported an instrument black out as the jet carrying 200 passengers passed through storm clouds. At that time the automatic pilot malfunctioned and fluctuating readings were transmitted by one of the 3 airspeed indicators.

You remember the 2 USA pilots flying too far while “discussing the world”m here in OZ 2 pilots from Quantas forgot to put down their wheels before landing and had to make a quick go-around!!!
I am a tiny little bit more worried now flying around with all these pilots who forget!!!???

Good to see that both OZ and Africa [850 km in ASH 25]are having their first guests to fly!And what about Dane , who I met during the  JWGC and WGC in Rieti, who had such a great flight in his home part-of-the-world New Zealand;581 km in the LS 8. Very nice young man, good looking and a great and very dedicated pilot! 

Agenda is over-full this upcoming week; will leave TOC next Friday for Cairns, but if possible I will be back. Cheers for now!Ritz

Melbourne Cup Day !

Tocumwal   November  4 2009   Tourist Information Centre

Just some time left to tell you that the weather for gliding has been great. Specially on Sunday! Monday was just too HOT! It was 37 dgr. in the shade and 40 in the sun with even 46 in the car[no airco!]
Lothar left on Monday after a great flight in the UE [ DG 600] flying 604 km. One day earlier the last day of October Alan flew his LS 1 from Jondaryan to another great 757 km flight.
A nice flight as well in Africa from Kiripotib with 660 km in an ASH 25. It is starting there now as well. Corowa has their first guests for the season as well as some staff members. Will visit them soon maybe on Friday!
Yes “the overseas season” is ready to go and at this stage the weather is really good, specially for spring!!!
Yesterday with Melbourne Cupday we were back to 19 dgr. so it is still really spring weather. Not normal those very high temperatures over the last days! Cupday was great as ever and I even managed to win 15 from my 20 dollars back!!!The race which brings the nation to a stand-still, except of course for the horses who happily run as fast as they can, was great joy for lot’s specially the trainer , jockey [first win] and the owners. It remains something special. I love it!!!
New Zealand is “over” and will be due to lack of time moved to next year . Will keep you informed

Time is gone, so much more to do , to see and to visit. See you next . Cheers Ritz


November 2 2009    Tocumwal Tourist Information Centre

It is Melbourne Cup weekend  and a lot of Victorians have a long weekend which means it is pretty busy in town here and on the river. I even had to wait to cross the road today , …for a moment I thought I was back in Holland.
As I told you Sportaviation’s  Caravan park is open now and a nice bunch of friends from Eddie and Sheryl had some bubbles and good steak on the BBQ last Saturday evening. A big job was done first by Bracey and Laurel, getting/lifting  all the “left-overs” from the builders as wood and plastic , tiles and more,  from the concrete where the BBQ was on. Margie and I swept the floor after [ it was 36 dgr.!!!]and we all felt well to have contributed a bit . Other people have done much more and as Eddie said,” many hands make the work lighter”. Compliments and congratulations to Ed and Sheryl!
Rolf the instructor joined in as well, but young Jake had to babysit. I found out that Jake is Neville’s son and I baby sitted him, when his dad was flying about 10 years ago. He was 4 then and  walking around with as it seemed at that time an “always running nose”.He is a good looking 14 year old young lad now and his goal in life at this moment it to take over Eddie’s business when Ed is old and he ready to go for it!! Atleast het gets the best instruction now and is eager to do some gliding when hew turns 15!

Some friends from Horsham  flew and drove in and it was nice to meet them. Got some info from Tony Brand the Chief engineer and managing director from Horsham Aviation Services, agents for Eurofox. Eddie bought his EUROFOX from him.  Bracey has his Mooney with them for maintenance.
A nice little “toy” this Eurofox is. Eddie uses it for towing and lessons. It has a large cabin I noticed when Terry {PC} came out after a flight before the 2 men flew it back to Horsham [about 2 hours] and the girls drove back.[about 5 to 6 hours!]
I was amazed to read that the wings can be folded in less then 10 minutes by one person.It also has a very short take off as I noticed myself, as well as a landing ground roll.It has a FITI Competition propeller and a 912 ULS Rotax 100 HP or 912 S Rotax 80 HP.
A beaut plane! [www.horshamaviation.com.au]

First caravans found their spot in the parc  and Ray and Tim and Laurel were the very first. Swiss Chriss and Dundee will follow soon. Prices are OK, though I found prices for young backpackers travelling around with their back pack, passing by the MECCA of Tocumwal gliding and willing to try it, a bit high , so I will try to convince the owners for a special price for them and their little tents!

In between the Sportaviation guests are happily flying. As said 3 pilots from China who also do some powerhours with Don and 3 from New Zealand. David flew , so did  Terry and the weather was great with some lenties in the morning and 39 dgr. later in the day! A “bloody hot day”, best was to stay inside in a cool room.

Waterrestictions will have stage 4  the next 3 days. That is pretty bad. With the heat here , even these high temperatures in spring, it is difficult with water here. Stage 4 means that ALL outside watering is banned during those days. The reason for that is that the council has engaged a contractor to replace the clear and back-wash tanks at the Toc. water treatment plant. Next week another 3 days will have stage 4.

The BUSH MARKET on Saturday was great and as busy as in the past. A place to meet lot’s of people so it took us some time to walk around there. Some of you surely remember the olive-oil business at the airport. They are doing well, I had a talk with the owner. Though he does n’t know any of the names of the planes flying above his estate, he knows all the colours and even told me that the DOVE has flown out just a few weeks ago.Talking about the “past” it seems that the old WW2 hangar will be used again. NOT the hangar itself but the briefing room and sunroom. Abour 30 “to-be-pilots from Malaysia and India are going to have lessons here. They come from Bankstown [Sydney] with their instructors. So a bit more action here at the airfield of Tocumwal.

Not more time as the hour has “gone”. See you later, still not sure if NZ will happen on November 5-6-7-and 8. Greetings Ritz