FCC in Prievidza ! Unterwössen !24 dgr.C in Holland today!

Alphen aan den Rijn      April 28 2010    ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Great weather here in Holland  and more countries around us. With temperatures up to 24 dgr C. today, we are 10 dgr. above the average for this time of the year. Yesterday looked , while sitting outside fabulous for soaring here in Holland and a quick look on the OLC this morning showed that pilots were happy as well. 25 Of them went for a flight and the weather was in some parts less good then expected in other parts better; most kilometers were flown by Alfred Paul, 629 in LS 8,  who has flown with us in Tocumwal, in the past,  in a duodiscus , practising cross country  flying with Ingo Renner. As winner of the Dutch Junior Nationals in that year, he received this as the first prize!!
Alfred Paul will fly the Nationals in 2 weeks.
Today no clouds here and blue skies , but lot’s of high cirrus….but that temperature……!

Yesterday was as said good in several countries  and “good old Alexander Mueller” added another 1000 km flight to his long list . In his ASW 22 he flew from Bayreuth , the former WGC field, a nice 1044 polygon with 5 TP’s . Guy Bechtold, I met him in Fuentemilanos, is another “1000 km. -eater  “, but in his Ventus 2CM /18m. ,he just could not make it; 933 from his home field in Luxemburg Useldange.

The weather  last  Sunday, was also really good in Prievidza, so long tasks were set to “divide the men from the boys”. Mixed had a race task from 471 km. and club 408 km. That is pretty good for these classes in a competition!!!!
On the end of the day , the men were still the same men. Sebastian and Ge [for Gerard] are still on ONE overall.
Great to see Lubor [Kuvik] flew so well in his  ASG 29. He was fifth on that great Sunday. Lubor is OLC champion 2010 for Australia  flying in Corowa during our winter, so he has some practice. Tibor is the great organizer behind the Fatraglide at Martin Airfield. These comps will be flown in May and as I said already , I will inform you about it. Tibor and his wife and some friends have flying in the past in Tocumwal with us.
I am also very pleased to see Dane from NZ flying so well. The last couple of years I met him as a great and enthusiastic junior, now he is preparing for the WGC. Good on him. He is 7 th overall, at this stage.
In club class UK pilot Gerard Dale is as it looks “not to stop”!!! He won another day, flying the 408 km. with a speed of 107 km/h in his ASW 24. Boris Zors won a few days as well and is doing a great job in his DG 101.He is 231 points behind Ge on the 2d spot.

Last Monday  they had a 330 [mixed] and 306 km. [ club] racing task  to fly. Before the strong wind arrived all pilots were back or counted for, one  a Polish pilot, really at the last moment, as I could read on their online report in 2 languages,  but very short in English. A pity! No changes in the top.
On Tuesday  the pilots had an AAT again ; 3 hours and 210/425 km for mixed and 205 /396 km for club, also in 3 hours.
3 Polish pilots in the daily top 4 and on 3 “my young friend “Vitautas from Lithuania! Good on him!!!
Best distance  in mixed class was 327 km with a speed of 109 km./h. In club class ;263 with 86 km/h.
Today Wednesday  is the last day of the competition with another nice task set; 332 km race task for Club and 404 for mixed class. Sebastian and Ge are still on top, when they start their last day, hope they don’t get nervous!!!! For sure Sebastian is experienced enough, don’t know too much about Gerard !
For sure the many pilots had a great time and the competitors for the next WGC in Prievidza had a great training time.For the organizers of the next WGC, under the inspiring leadership of Jozef Snirc, this was great practise as well!!!
 Final results on Sunday or when you want to know it earlier ; www.soaringspot.com or www.plachtenie.sk

Unterwössen ,” just on the other site of Austria “, is the airfield  were a few of my German friends  [ Dieter, Güstl and Hans]  fly with great enthusiasm. They had, also last Sunday   “hammerwetter” with distances up to 776 in LS 8. I was there a few years ago  and I was very impressed to see the gliders, simply said,  move in front of the “mountain”  [hang] to get higher and higher to fly over the ridges , to where ever  they want to go.
Heimo Demmerer , who flew last year the CIM in Rieti , had the longest flight last Sunday from Maria Zell [Austria]  895 in Ventus 2. Heimo is a real nice guy with a lovely family.
That whole area in Switzerland, Austria and Italy has SUPER circumstances this year  for soaring. Giorgio flew another very nice flight from Bolzano; 880 km. in a Ventus 2c /18m. and an LS 6 pilot flew from Innsbruck 805 km.

But also the French Alps gave good wave. A few of my friends are flying there. Roland Wurbs von Bülow [DE]  from Serres La Batie , where a few thunderstorms were “disturbing” the atmosphere and Mike Young [UK]  from Grenobles;852 km in ASG 29 with a speed of 124 km/h. Roland learned how to fly with us years ago in Tocumwal and Mike we met in 1987 first at the WGC in Benalla. All our kids became friends, now they are all in their late 30thies/early 40thies and though the contact is not close , when they meet they start talking where they stopped last time. Mike flew several comps also as a  WGC and EGC pilot for the UK.

And then this;
—–For the first time in 20 years a commercial flight has been flown between Baghdad and London Gatwick. From now on there will be  2 times a week  a flight; from Bagdad with a stop in Sweden and to Baghdad direct!
—–From tomorrow on there will be a new rule in the USA , designed to prevent planes on domestic routes , from “sitting “on the tarmac for more then 3 hours with passengers on board. Fine; US dollar 27.500 per passenger, in the worst case  !!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s it for now, you are up to date, so see you on Sunday

cheers Ritz

Super Spring Conditions! FCC gliding 2010!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday April 25 2010     ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

After all the hassle of  ” the ash cloud “,  we go back to soaring again as the spring- weather is just great in the middle part of Europe.
As far as I heard, all gliders have arrived home safely after a long trip on  container ships from Africa and Australia. So those pilots from different spots in Europe are for sure happy with the good soaring-circumstances and could start flying straight away. Thursday- afternoon was fantastic again for soaring,…but still very cold, which creates great circumstances for the pilots and even for me sitting out of the wind in the sun and looking at those great skies.
Belgian friend Tijl flew in a  Ventus 2ct a beautiful thermal- flight from Balen – Keiheuvel, a lovely airfield,  to the NE far into Germany;822 km!!!! And from Holland , Terlet, a nice 667 flight was made in a Discus BT, also to the East far into Germany. Pretty good for our flatland countries!  
On Wednesday Lasham [gliding club of London]  had a super day with flights up to 650 km.; I was pleased to see that some of my friends over there had really nice flights.
The super weather from Lienz in Austria  has moved a bit south and Italy had with that great weather a day later; Calcinate had 4 flights over 800 km. one over 900 in a Nimbus 4M.
Yesterday with over 1000 flights on the OLC was not the easiest day , pretty blue, but most pilots as I noticed were happy, even after using their engine.

The FCC  in Prievidza, had last Wednesday  another AAT  speed task with 2.30 [ 218/430 km] and 3 hours time [ 216/414 km] . Fabulous practise for the pilots who do fly the WGC there between July 3 and 18.
Sebastian is still number one overall after this 3d day. Half of the pilots outlanded in this mixed class. In club class Ge Dale is back on the top-position , winning day 3 with 286 km in 3 hours and 3 minutes! He flew about 40 km. MORE then the rest and was nearly back “at the dot” [-3 min.] .Also here about half of the competitors landed out, but …they had a 1000 point day!
On Thursday  the weather expectations were even higher and another AAT was set;
for mixed an AAT in 3.15 with a distance between 242/523 km.
In Club class ; 3 hour and 30 minutes and between 215 and 448 km.
On Friday  not an AAT but a short racing task 192  for mixed and 183 for club. In the end this day was cancelled.
Saturday  was a great day for flying! Short , but  the weather turned out better then expected.;192 km with 125 k/h. for Sebastian     ” earning” 414 points and 113 km/h over 183 km for Ge “earning ” 448 points as day winner in his class.
After 5 days of flying no changes in the top; Sebastian and Ge are still the best, each of them won 3 days.

Only 17 days to go before the Dutch Nationals start. I can only hope for the same weather as we have now! You can read all about this CAE NLS Dutch Gliding Nationals in this blog and for pictures and scores you can look at www.nkzweefvliegen.nl

NOT because of  volcano ASH, a United Airlines 767 had to make an emergency landing at a Portuguese military airfield.On its way from Washington to Moscow , a Belgian passenger told the captain a very bad/sharp smell came out of the cockpit. The captain told him that one of the engines was not working and that for that reason there was no electricity aboard. According to the Belgian media the plane flew over the Atlantic Ocean , with 179 passengers and dumped  most of the fuel before making , as a precaution ,a  landing at the Azores. All went well!

Talking about “ASH” our Scandinavian friends have closed some of their airports again last Thursday in Sweden and Norway.  Also Finland was closed for a day. Due to a turning wind they got into problems again. Even helicopters flying from and to oil platforms were not allowed to fly. Denmark is OK as well as the rest from Europe.
Due to a webcam millions of people have looked at the eruption of the volcano in Iceland. On eldgos.mila.is  , already 4 million people looked from 150 different countries. This is a record for an Icelandic site!!! I can imagine that!
Through the year a web cam is there for the police and scientists to keep an eye on the volcano.
Yesterday and today Reykjavik is closed, so Iceland itself has no incoming or out going flights.

Ready to enjoy the 23 dgr. which are fore-casted. CU next Wednesday

Cheers Ritz

FINALLY……Flying again !2010 FCC Gliding !Ash-Damage bill….1.3 milliard Euro!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday April 21 2010   ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

When something is for bidden , you long for it more! You remember when you were small? Sunday the skies were open again for glider pilots here in Holland and they went for it!! Flights into Germany and all over Holland, the day was blue but better then expected and all loved their flight . After 4 hours flying , even no grey dust on “their nose” or wings and nobody had seen “ash”. 27 Dutch pilots felt happy to be in the air and flew distances between 57 and 406 km [LS 6]

Still no commercial flying here on Monday but negogations on high level ! European ministers had a video meeting on monday afternoon to see how to continue with this “Ash”, as more people get angry/impatient. The German and French have like the Dutch president of their airline made test- flights without problems. So hopefully they will look now at better/ more flexible  ways to deal with this.Last Sunday some KLM freight was flown from Schiphol to Asia without problems.
Safety first , that ‘s what we all want and expect, but, when the evidence is there that is is possible  , the authorities should allow flying within the possible marge’s.

On Tuesday morning the first passenger flights  were a fact here in Holland but also in other parts of Europe. For every flight the company needs permission, but al least some of the stranded passengers come home , or go home after 5 days of waiting.
The UK is not so lucky. A new cloud is on its way to them. A huge UK Marine frigate has moored in Bilbao – harbour to take 2000 passengers home over water. 3 More ships are on their way as well.
 Hurray… Holland is more or less “ash-free”!!!! Today ???!!!! But…. it is not over yet with this volcano with the too difficult name, it “spits”out of 3 craters, lava now, but that is not so bad for Europe , only unfortunate for the people in Iceland.
Agrarian farmers here are happy with the ash as it is a very good and “for free”  fertilizer. So at least a few are happy.Not the ones in Iceland as it is a too thick layer over there.

German carrier Air Berlin cancelled some  flights  on Tuesday not because of the ash but…because passengers did not show up !!!!!They hope within 3 days to be back to normal, with all stranded passengers back home.

According to a diplomat, who wants to be “unknown “,  a few F16 planes from the NAVO have been badly damaged by the ash. So it seems not all “a bed of roses “.

This morning most European airfields are open, pilots happy to fly and stranded passengers happy to finally go home wherever they were. Night flying is allowed as well and the volcano has worked hard enough , has slowed down and might need time now to think how “he” can hit again one day.
  It will still be a bit of chaos , which is clear when 90.000 flights have been cancelled, but with extra flights and all planes back on their base , this chaos should be over soon. Well that was a volcano outburst, we will not quickly forget this one!!!!
According to IATA it has cost the international- aviation-world 1.7 milliard dollar which is 1.3 milliard Euro!!! “A disaster” they call it!Striking!!!! The question will always be; was it necessary to close ALL airspace!?

It is great to see that so many glider pilots have flown great distances  so early in spring. Last Monday 88  flights have been entered on the OLC over 500 km. NOT BAD!!!!!!
Some of them Dutch glider pilots practising for the Nationals. Really hope this good weather continues !!! Nationals are from May 13 till 23.
So not only wave or ridge flying , but also thermal flights!!!!
Hans Werner Grosse gave “his ETA ” a nice run ” in Germany from Lubeck Blankensee;619 km.
Former WGC director in Bayreuth   , Walter Eisele tried his luck in Lienz with a nice 753 km flight in a Ventus CM 18m. and yesterday a “just not” 1000 km.; 988 km.
Yesterday another 1000 km flight was flown from Lienz Nikolsdorf in Austria by a German pilot in a Discus 2 T/ 18m. . This place for sure has put its name on the map.
And what is the best news; Europe is going to more sunny , nearly summer – weather according to the meteo. The SW wind will bring glorious weather  for the weekend. So go for it glider friends!

Wonderful to see that a Japanese pilot topped on Tuesday the OLC list. From Nagano he flew up North and back; 686 km. in a DG 505 M/22 m. A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting 3 glider airfields in Japan and was amazed to see how they have to fly. Nothing wrong with their [grass] runways but they are mostly on windy spots on the beds of a river. Japan has a few very active clubs and the most well known pilot from Japan is Mac [Makoto Ichikawa.]

Preparations for the next WGC in Prievidza can be done during the 2010 FCC Gliding. In 2 classes, mixed and club this competition will be flown from April 17 til 28. After the first  day Sebastian Kawa is on top in the mixed class and in club the first place is for  UK pilot Ge Dale , who just won the Pribina Cup. He is “hot” and will be a pilot to look at as he has lots of practise in the area now. In this class 52 competitors, under them also female junior pilot Nathalie Hurlin from France  and in the mixed a great amount of 68 pilots have entered.
 Sebastian also won the 2d day , yesterday. Good on him! He flew an AAT with 2 hours [ 167/396 km. ] in 2 hours and 6 minutes and 237 km.in his Discus 2 A. Who will /can stop him during the WGC ?????
 Ge was 7th and is after 2 days number 2 total with 9 points less. A difficult day with a 2 hour AAT between 120 and 309 km. Todays winner Boris Zors is also leading in this class now.
More days to come , so you can read more news here as I keep an eye on it.
By the way FCC stands for Flight Challenge Cup Gliding 2010 and the 121 competitors are from 12 different countries.

Take care , enjoy your soaring ,
cheers Ritz

Volcano eruption creates chaos in Europe !Another Earthquake !Red Bull Race in Perth !

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday April 18 2010     ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

A phenomena hit Europe last week with a giant impact. An active volcano erupted in Iceland ,– a very heavy eruption –and a huge cloud full of dust and ash was on its way, with the NW later E wind to “attack” Europe on Thursday. Airfields in Scotland, Norway , Sweden and Ireland have been closed and from Schiphol there were no flights to Scandinavia and the UK, and all flights to the USA were diverted , creating delays. All the dust and ash is very bad for the engines of the planes, they even stop them,  so they will be not allowed to fly through it. As the cloud went from N to S more airfields were hit which meant more airports were closed and the disruption of the traffic created chaos.
The volcano erupted  under the Eyaflallajokull glacier, making a hole in it and forcing authorities to evacuate hundreds of people. The lava is not the biggest concern for these people but flooding is.
 There have been smaller clouds like this , but never from this magnitude! You might be still able to see the cloud at ;  www.flightradar24.com
At 7 PM that Thursday Schiphol Airport closed totally. The sunset was absolutely fantastic, but I guess the more then 2500 people , sleeping on beds brought in by the Red Cross  at the airport were less happy. All hotels were booked, so a small bed was the best they could get. At-least better then the ground or a chair. Even kings and queens were in trouble. Queen Margrethe from Denmark, celebrated her 70thiest birthday and our Royal family had to go by train. Other royals did not go at all.

On Friday slowly some Scottish and Irish airports started flying again. With the cloud moving to the East,  Germany got more into trouble. In 12 countries NO flying was possible. That is a HUGE impact!!!! In the end NO flying on Friday! Stranded passengers are either angry or resigned;what can we do? With 20.000 from 30.000 flights cancelled you can imagine this will cost!!! Estimated is 5 to 10 million  Euro PER DAY,…ONLY for the KLM!!!!!!! And ….airliners have , with the recession , already problems enough!!!!
Saturday morning  still no action and when you live , like I do not too far from the airport you really notice the Silence, pretty weird! But I would not like to miss the the noise of air-plane-engines.
Extra trains all over Europe are brought in to help out and hotels are booked till far from the airfields. Rich people just grab a cab to drive from Oslo to Brussels; cost 3800, -Euro!
Experts say that this is not yet the end of the eruptions from this volcano, and what if the cloud just remains on the same spot???!!!
!!! We can only hope the wind changes to another direction, but then maybe others will get into trouble.
As the Dutch airspace is closed  gliders, balloons and ultra lights are limited admitted,  as long as they can fly visual. When they fly , they do so on their own risk.
One motor-glider in Holland  , however , neglected the law  and will be traced by the aviation -police!!!!! Yesterday gliders in France, Germany , Austria, Italy  and Switzerland were flying; 490 were entered on the OLC. Friday and Saturday…no glider-flights in Holland.

Sunday morning with the latest news; The volcano is still spewing ash and rubbish! The UK and Germany will NOT fly till 8 Pm today .France and Denmark are closed till Monday and Finland till Monday evening!!! As the cloud is moving to the East, also Bulgaria has closed the airspace. KLM is going for another test flight and the Dutch airspace will be closed at least til 2 PM. I hope no airliner will “fall over”after these very unexpected hitches.

Yesterday evening , still with daylight, a 737 from KLM went up , with the KLM president. He wanted to see how it is to fly on a lower level. The plane has been checked during the night and MAYBE today , they are flying again after 2 o’clock. They went up to 13 km. first and checked also the lower levels later, saying without ” any problem “. President Hartman has critic on  European Air Traffic Control, saying “planes are grounded for too long”! He thinks the problem is not every where the same and those problems should be solved more adequate.
I received another critical blog from Frank Versteegh. He was our one and only Red Bull Racer and gives amongst other things, lectures about aviation as guest speaker or on TV programs. He is a real ” insider “.
Here is his opinion;
—-For many years I have been trying to explain that our government and our civil servants seriously suffer from the HEV syndrome.
HEV stand for Hercules-Enschede-Volendam. Three disasters we had in the Netherlands.These disasters paralised our society. The reason is that nobody in this country has the guts anymore to take responsibility.
Our government just took the decision of keeping our airspace closed for everything.
From hot air balloon to glider.
Of course we all know that the air intake of gliders is very sensitive to dust. The engine in the glider (OOPS, gliders have no engines) …

So, the nose of the pilot is very sensitive to Vulcanic ash of dust. Serious sneezing can be side affects.
In the backyard of my house I rescued thousands of Nile Geese who were sneezing and coughing. An environmental disaster, the Geese are grounded, Storchs just came in for the last landing.
Our aviation experts from the government decided to also ground hot air and gas balloons.

The burner of the balloon will re-ignite the  vulcanic ash and the result will be that we have people on Mars much earlier than President Obama promised us
Fantastic, to see shooting stars launched from The Netherlands direction to Mars. I am so proud of my country. We did it.
A small step for men, a giant leap for mankind.
Finally we show the World that Dutch people have brains and spirit. The old VOC mentality is back.—-


The replay of the investigation from a British Airways plane showed us this week what can happen, when you really fly through a cloud. That 747 in 1982 entered such a cloud full of ash and the pilots had no clue what happened to them. They “lost”engine by engine and the pilots tried hard to start them. Without engines the plane of course went lower and lower, and …when they were under the ash-cloud they could, to their huge relieve start each of the 4 engines again. When they had landed they could not believe their eyes. All paint was stripped from the plane and the glass in the windows was sandblasted!!!Amazing !

In Apeldoorn they found a Messerschmitt  which , as they found out, crashed in 1944 on January 30. The remains of the pilot were still in it and with the identity number found on him , they hope to find out who he is and inform his family. The body will be hand over to the German Embassy in Holland.

One of the readers sent an email and wrote; ” Has anyone noticed that earth quake is a bit frequent today. Does climate change have anything to do with these earthquakes?” I also thought, with the last one in China, what’s going on, another one !!??. That whole circle of earthquake areas has been hit more then the years before. So …if there is somebody who knows more about this please share it with us. Thanks!

Continuing on these global problems,the meteorological institute NOAA in the USA , announced that global seen March was the warmest month ever since they started in 1880 ,with 13.5 dgr. C. This was most felt in Africa, South Asia and Canada while N and W Europe were colder then normal.

No problems for the glider pilots in Lienz, who are still enjoying the best spring circumstances you can wish. Flights up to 918 km in a discus 2t/18m. and DG 600 /17m. from 887 km. Holland had on Wednesday again some flights from over 400 km. A pity the Nationals are not flown now in this great weather period, but maybe the weather between Mai 13 and 23 is even better, let’s hope! The infra structure at Twente-Airport  is SUPER , with a real motel, restaurant and bar and for  “military”prices. Not bad , not bad at all! I look forward to the CAE NLS comps.

Today will be the funeral from the President of Poland and  his wife. Both died last week in that terrible accident in the fog. Lot’s of dignities will be attending and even President Obama and Medvedev will be amongst the guests. That means….if they can fly in!

The Red Bull Race practise in Perth  started  with an incident as one of the pilots , Adilson Kindlemann from  Brasil a former airline pilot, hit with the wing the water and crashed . There were gusts of 20 k [37 km/h]  wind, when he was practising.
 No harm done to the pilot, only minor injuries, but the plane “looks” like lost.
Kindlemann is a rookie and the first South American, to fly in this Race. He has 11.000 flight hours as an airline pilot and
1200 hours in aerobatics. This is the first “crash”in the 7 year history of  The Red Bull Races .
For weeks Perth is ready to welcome the Red Bull Racers and the spectators with huge billboards along the road. From Perth I received some messages  from Vanessa, about the race and this is one of them;
—–Perth has had a large number of heavy showers (more than 60mm) and strong gusty winds over the past few days and for a while the forecast for the weekend was looking bleak. I can see patches of blue sky outside my window and although there are still a few showers expected today and Friday, the forecast for the weekend is sunny and around 27 degrees. It will be interesting to see how wet the runway is – as you probably know it is a large grassed park between the city and the river, once Perth airport many moons ago. Should be OK – Perth is on sandy soil and usually drains quickly.—–
And; Pilot ok, plane looking a bit sorry;
—–You have probably already heard the Brazilian pilot’s practice didn’t go according to plan today – an unscheduled dunking in the river. Emergency services were to him pretty fast and they’re keeping him in hospital overnight for obs, but from all reports it’s just a precaution. Know you’re not keen on accidents, but I’ve attached a link to the ABC site with video from about 4 different angles in case anyone is interested. —–
More from Vanessa:
Apparently all the talk among the pilots is not so much the race but how are they going to get home! Qantas has cancelled all inbound and outbound flights to Europe, and I guess other airlines must be doing the same. It must be chaos there and it doesn’t look like the ash cloud is clearing up anytime soon!
I wandered down to check out the practice on Friday and it was all very relaxed, if slightly confusing. The skies seemed very busy with 4 planes “warming up” over Melville Water (the confluence of the Swan and Canning Rivers at the Kings Park end of the course), one plane in the course and another two flying about over Burswood waiting to land. All that plus two helicopters – I’m glad they all seemed to know where each other was because I was having trouble keeping up. They had highlight clips on the news that night and I pointed out to my son the one I liked the look of (thought the livery & upturned wing tips were pretty funky). I was informed  that it was Nigel Lamb, he finished about 5th in 2009 (6th actually, I think) and had a near miss in Death Valley last year. Where does he get this information from? He knew it was Lamb because of the sponsorship on the plane – proof that branding does work, I guess. I think Lamb has the smartest livery from a marketing point of view, anyway.They have been so lucky with the weather. Although it was only 25 degrees yesterday it was very warm by the river as there wasn’t a breath of breeze. As I’ve mentioned Perth is notoriously windy – an easterly in the morning and then between 12 & 3pm it swings to a south westerly sea breeze – although April is usually our kindest month. Yesterday the smoke from the planes was just hanging over the course and the river was very glassy. Rumour was that if the winds had been like they were on Thursday they would not have flown. I’m still going for Lamb, just because I like his plane, and he finished OK yesterday although he was unhappy to get penalties on one of the gates in his second run.——Enough news for today. Hope it is not too much, for you!

Poland !Canada !Great thermals in Holland and Belgium!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Wednesday April 14 2010     ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Last weekend we really had nice gliding weather! From our National Soaring Center Terlet, Jeroen Kole flew 539 km. in his discus bt . He flew a polygon to the far South, into Germany,.. nice flight with great spring conditions! Specially Saturday “showed” great looking and hard working clouds. 48 Other Dutch pilots flew around as well , with distances between 64 km and 539 and 534 km. in a Nimbus 4 D.
Our Belgium friends had a great Saturday as well, with flights between 138 and 423 km. Good to see our former “Sportavia-righthand for the season “, Bert van Eycken still flying his Libelle; 356 km. They “used”parts of Holland  up North and then South , deeper into Belgium. And….this is all “soaring by thermals “!!!
In Europe,  also Austria and Italy had fantastic spring weather with flights from 881 km by Giorgio Galetto.
Last Friday the BIG day was for Lienz Nikolsdorf in Austria with 2 x  1000 km. flights [wave] in ASW 22 BLE, one from….you guessed already ???… German pilot Alexander Mueller, who flew those 15 magnicifent flights in Kiripotib in Namibia. 
Also Prievidza , where in a few weeks the WGC will be flown had good weather with flights up to 670 km. in an LS 7. Would n’t it be great if they would have this weather for their WGC??!!! Good luck,  Jozef !
By the way over 1000 pilots entered their flight on the OLC on April 10!!!

Poland is still in deep shock.  When you imagine to loose so many dignitaries in your own country , you must feel sad , if you like your head -of-state  or not. They have one full week of mourning. The first lady arrived “home “yesterday and again a big crowd turned up to watch how she was driven to the presidential palace.
 President Putin from Russia is the leader of the investigation team and both , experts from Poland as from Russia where the Tupolev is built,  will look at the flight data recorders, which seem in good condition. In any case they informed the world already that no technical failure had happened!! So why did the for sure highly experienced pilot  try 4 times and did not divert to another field as other pilots did? As said , even if he was forced, by the president or a general, …he still was the “boss” aboard! But…we can only wait for the correct conclusion from the investigators. And…..what would you have done …… when you would have been in that situation ….????

Canada , I heard, started their flying season last weekend  and as so many they are TOTALLY ready to fly, after their not too cold winter, as we could see during the Olympics. Some places even had the warmest winter in years.
It is nice to see Willem Langelaan on the list of compititors for the WGC in Hungary for open class. He flies for Canada is born Dutch , flew as I remember well as a glider pilot for the EAC and lives for ” ages ” in Canada.
Great to see that father and son Schmelzer Tijl and Bert sr. from Belgium , will fly in this open class as well.

In Cairns the rain season seems to be over.  Now they might be “dry” till January or so. Since January 1 they had 1.637 mm of rain and on 73 of the 100 days it was WET !!!
Unfortunately the paint under the Chinese ship had some kind of poison in it and by pulling it away the reef seems badly damaged and has to be cleaned. It copuld have been worse when thje ship would have been broken. Luckily THAT did not happen.
Talking about Australia; A new baby has been born. Happy dad Simon Close our former tuggie and now proud air line pilot, happy mum Jess and the rest of their families. Oliver Jeffrey was born on April 11 .Congratulations!!!!

Though the wind was cold, I spend some time at the beach yesterday. It feels so good to see moter gliders flying not too high,  with the coast line. Different planes and even a helicopter enjoyed the sunny but fresh conditions , so with every different noise of an engine my head went up!
I noticed that our Danish friends are back in the sky as well and in Spain in Ocana the first guests have arrived for some nice soaring over there.It’s all happening!
Not more to say , cheers Ritz

“Kupi,kupi “! Pribina Cup ! Great Barrier Reef !Poland !

Alphen aan den Rijn                 Sunday April 11        ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Kupi,Kupi,Coober Pedy Gliding Club inc.  Ever heard of it???? No….???? Well this must be news for you then !!! AND….it is news!!!! I heard about it for a long time ago. The rumour was that Peter Buttler was going to fulfill his dream to start his own soaring field at Coober Pedy, where most people live under the ground , as it is very hot over there. It looks a bit like a moon landscape with little “towers”, to give air for the under-laying houses, restaurants, swimming pools and hotels!  At-least that is how I saw it on the many pictures I have seen from Coober Pedy. I had many possibilities to go there but,…..there was always something which I thought was more important. Of course the famous opal mines are the most well known reason to visit this town, with colourful people.

The most interesting news about it is, that the field will be “on holy ground”! This means that it is owned by the Aborigines and last week the paperwork between Peter and the Aborigines has been signed and the new club can start soon.
First they are going to level the field, then 2 asphalt runways will be made in a cross, so you can come in,  or go away from all 4 directions. They will have a winch and 2 gliders, a Blanik and a standard jantar and there will be , if necessary more gliders on line.
They also have some accommodation with 4 sleeping rooms built in a hangar!
Further on there will be a shower and toilet, a kitchen , a briefing room and a workshop for repair of gliders. Close by is more accommodation available and town has of course hotels and motels.
Don’t rush to go there now!!! It is all not yet finished but it will be and it could grow into a great new and weather-wise interesting place for soaring. I will keep you updated and when their site is on I will give you the details.
By the way, the name Kupi Kupi means “willi willi”; you know them when you have visited Australia and if you see these fast turning and moving little twisters , the weather is definitely GOOD!

The Pribibina Cup started again in great spirit after one cancelled and one official non flying day.
Open class even got a 500 km task ! Russell is climbing back to the top and Wolfgang just stays there by winning 2 days till now. One with a speed of 132 km/h over 351 km.
Good to see Swaantje flying so well in club class. She lived for a while in Australia. The UK boys continue to go strong, great to see.
In 15 m. Tomasz Rubaj in the Diana is proving he is still a topper and young Vitautas is not yet constant enough , but wait till he has more experience!!!
In 20 m class the 2 German pilots are steady defending their first 2 places in the duo discus!
Yesterday, the last day of the competition,  all classes got an AAT with 2 hours and a minimum task distance of around  100 km. to make it a valid day. The wind was tough , 8 mps at the ground with gusts up to 18 and the party in the evening already early  at 7 with  free goulash and beer, so a good reason to race over the area in 2 hours and NOT more!! First launches were planned at 11.30!But…..after launching 3 classes, they decided to not let the open “boys” go and then the day was cancelled for all. The price- giving moved forward to 5, with after the promised goulash with beer.
So the winners are known and after 5 days of flying we see;
Club class; “G” Dale in ASW 24 from the UK with his mate Ian MacArthur as runner up. Great practise for the WGC !!!
15 m. class; Tomasz Rubaj and Lukasz Wojcik both from Poland. They might not be in the mood for big celebrations.[see further on] UK pilot Jay Rebbeck was a good 3d .
20 m. dual; 2 German pilots , Andre Weidlich @1 ,Michael Sickert @2and  from Belgium Wim Akkermans @ 3d place.
Open class; Austrian airline pilot Wolfgang Janowitsch seems ready for maybe another WGC title! Pavol Cherny [Slovakia] @2 and Werner Amann [Austria] @3d place. Russell climbed back from 11 to 5!
Congratulations to the winners !

So you were a tuggie at Sportavia in Tocumwal and then you are the co-pilot on a flight with the Prime Minister!!!That happened to Diana! Last November I was in Cairns  and I told you how Diana  flies for Search and Rescue in the top-end of Australia. One of her  flights last week, for Marin Environmental Protection  was to Rockhampton to observe a ship which departed from Gladstone and had stranded at the Great Barrier Reef at Douglas Shoal and maybe was going to create a main environmental disaster when it would break.
 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wanted to see with his own eyes  this Chinese ship , Sheng Neng , with 975 ton oil aboard , so he flew with Diana and the rest of the crew,  in the  plane, same one as  I got the by Diana and her colleagues very interesting guided tour in  , over the ship and he spoke by radio to the observers from Marin Safety Queensland aboard the ship. Luckily not a lot of oil has been spilled, so the great scare for a disaster is a bit over as they are pumping the oil into other ships. After his flight he made a statement to the press , took time to be on a picture [ a very nice one! sorry I still can’t show pictures!] with the flying crew and left again.

With a signature the alliance between British Airways and Iberia [Spain] was a fact last week. In the next future they will be after KLM-Air France and Lufthansa the biggest company, having 400 planes and 200 destinations! Headquarters will be in London and they expect to carry 58 million people.Over 60.000 people will be working in this 3d biggest airliner in Europe.

A disaster yesterday in Russia where the Polish President died  in a crash while landing [ the fourth attempt!] in heavy fog with high guests and his wife with the government -plane  at Smolensk. The Toepolev- 154  crashed while landing about 1.5 km. in front of the runway, with 96 people dead according to the Russian press-bureau Tass, including 88 of the delegation! He and this Polish delegation were on their way to remember the 22.000 Polish prisoners of war , most officers and intellectuals , killed in the 2d World war in 1940 by Stalins secret service. Part of the ” elite “was killed then and now more or less again.Bizarre !
Amongst the high guests ; the president of the Polish Central Bank,  the chief staff of the Polish army, RC  bishops , some people from the Euro Parliament and the top of the armed military forces as generals , an air-force  commandant  and the vice admiral of the Polish Marine.
Now , it is maybe easy to wonder ,why so many high placed people flew in ONE plane, and 26 years old,  with a not too good name and a not too good reputation.  For sure the investigations will show us soon what has happened , as this accident has not only shocked Poland in the heart,  but also Europe and the world . So we better wait,  before taking over the quick conclusion, that  this is maybe a mistake from the pilot, who was advised to not  land there, but at Minsk . It seems the air-traffic controllers were NOT allowed to refuse the landing of a presidential plane, they could only advise. The 2 black boxes have been found, so we surely know quickly what has exactly happened and if it is correct,  that both the president and maybe for that reason , the pilot  definitely only wanted to land there , so that the delegation would be in time.
The story is, according to a Polish aviation expert, that this president in 2008 forced a pilot to land on a place the pilot thought was not safe,  so he refused and as a captain he had/has the right to do so. With that incident the president had to continue by car, no worries ….but what is worse is that the captain  was later reprimanded that he did not obey orders from the president ???!!!??? Was the captain today not a match for the President!?
From this place I would like to send my condolences to all my Polish friends,  if they were “fan”of Lech Kaczynski , or not , is not important now.

The Frenchman who wanted to be the first to cross the North Pole  in a balloon , succeeded in his mission, and arrived back safely yesterday, not  due to snow storms,  in Alaska, but in Siberia. After 121 hours and 30 minutes AND 3631 km. and lots of tests,  he must have been glad to feel some warm temperatures , in a house on earth.

And then this………
—-In Switzerland a small plane has made the first test flight using ONLY sun energy!!! It flew 2 hours at a height of 1000 m. De wings of the “Solar Impulse “are covered with 1.200 sun panels. The goal according to this source is to fly around the world . Wing span is as big as from a passenger plane , but it only weighs as much as a passenger car.
—-Ever heard of a “Space jump”; Steve Truglia from the UK seems to be a well-known stuntman, but is also a “daredevil”.  He wants to jump from the site of the atmosphere,  out of space , back to mother earth! He wants to go up in a helium balloon to 40 000 m. jumps out and “quickly”  [ within 15 seconds] falls through the sound barrier , pulls his parachute at height 3000 m. and is back “home”. He wants to renew the record from Joseph Kittinger, who “jumped down “from 31.300 m. When you have seen the TV program Fith Gear you have seen him doing stunts there as well!
—-Never ever before, so many women were flying around in space. 3 American and 1 Japanese lady made history, by flying together in one of the last Space Shuttle flights.After this flight only Japanese, European and Russian Shuttles will continue!
—-Julio Poch the captain who ended up in a Spanish prison, while flying his last flight before retirement for a Dutch Company will be extradited to Argentina , his home country after living for years in Holland. He is accused of flying Death flights for the Junta long time ago, in which they threw opponents from the regime out of the plane into the sea! Hope he gets a fair trial, as I am not so sure, reading and hearing all the stories,  he did this! At-least the Argentinians promised the Spanish court, that when Julio would have been wrong he will be  NOT put in prison for life!

CU on Wednesday,

Pribina Cup !56 pilots for Dutch Nationals!Torino Cup!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday April 7 2010   ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Easter is over and so is the bad weather. The sun is shining and the world looks bright. At 12 yesterday [11 suntime]the clouds popped up and it was for a few hours looking great for soaring.In the end only here,  as not a lot of pilots went flying here in Holland.
The bad weather did not matter too much for  the foreigners visiting Holland, as they still came, about 800.000,but…. not as many as last year, [we had 50.000 less ] , when we had the warmest Easter in 25 years. Attraction parks however were satisfied! Inside attractions as Madame Tussaud and the cinemas here in Holland and as I heard in the UK , had a great time , with 50.000 guests more this year in Holland , then last and 3D movie Alice in Wonderland topped the list.

The Pribina Cup had a difficult 2d day , with several outlandings and an AAT of 2 hours set . Not a 1000 point day but at least a valid day for all classes! A “bad”day for Russell who outlanded in open class and  ” dropped ” from spot 1 to 11 overall, which made Wolfgang 1 , after 2 days! Only 13 from 35 arrived home! This is soaring too!
In 20 m. class 7 from 12 ! In this class  2 DG 1000/20m. are flying and the rest is duo discus!
In 15 m. 21 pilots arrived home,  all the rest [22] out-landed.
In club class 18 gliders back home, from 42!
The 3d day was cancelled due to rain.
Yesterday was the 4th day but as the weather had not improved the day was officially announced as a non flying day.
So let’s hope they fly today. Easter is very early this year!

No Easter thoughts for a huge group of Apple-lovers. While waiting for the shop in New York they spend  their thoughts and money, about 499 dollar , for the new long awaited iPad and hopefully it makes them happy! 300.000 were sold on the first day!!!!
Easter Saturday had rain for the Formula 1 drivers in Malaysia, but on Easter Sunday they had nice race-weather with finally Vettel as winner. Twice , he drove upfront,  but his car gave up, this time it all ” worked out well” for him and his team!

The final date to enter the Dutch Nationals was on April 1  and 56 pilots have entered! I am sure it will be a super competition! It is a great mix of top-pilots,  who have won comps already on EGC level or were high on WGC level, with pilots with less experience but a lot of motivation to climb up. Several juniors who participated in the JWGC in HusBos,Rieti and Rayskala are still on the scene . Good to see that only a few have given up competition gliding, some only because they want to finish their study first.
Even my instructor from 1967, Dick Teuling,   is amongst the participants and he is one of those pilots who has won the Nationals in the past. From the 56, I do not know 11, so it will be great to meet some new pilots.
I will keep you updated on soaring.eu as my stories at the www.nkzweefvliegen.nl will be in Dutch .

The 38th Trofeo Citta di Torino has been flown  and since I have been several years in Rieti for the WGC the JWGC and the CIM , I really enjoy to see so many familiar names in the top. I met them all and they are not only top pilots, but also very nice guys. Vittorio Pinni flew last year the fastest speed during the CIM and unfortunately had a bad 4th day in Torino, dropping in the overall scores from 3 to 7. Good practise however, as he will be flying the WGC in club class this year, so better a bad day now then in Prievidza.
Alberto Sironi won the Trofea in the duo discus, winning 2 days out of  4 . He will fly in Hungary during the WGC. In Hungary Marina Galetto will be their TC and Frouwke Kuijpers one of their stewards.

Compliments for Alexander Spaeth.  Again…yes! Great flight from Vinon 2 days ago to Aosta in Italy; 780 km. in a standard cirrus. One of his “mates “flew 750 in an LS 1, not bad either !!!
One of my Italian friends Luciano “used “the same weather on the same day, flying from Calcinate, to Serres La Batie in France, “making” 838 km. in a Nimbus 4!

And then this….A French doctor and a discovery-voyager left last Monday for a trip of 3500 km. from Spitsbergen to Alaska in hopefully 7 to 10 days and hopes to be the first ballooner to cross the North Pole. In between he serves science with measurements about CO2, the magnetic field and ozone layer. Interesting! Have n’t heard anything more , so he should be still OK!!!!

Cheers Ritz

Happy Easterweekend!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday April 4 2010       ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Hope , that wherever you are, you have better weather  then we have here in Holland. It feels like autumn instead of spring. Feel sorry for the 100.000 of foreign guests visiting Holland over Easter. The worldwide well known flower show, KEUKENHOF , will attrack lots of them and to be honest it feels and looks better there when the sun is shining. Though….. the colourful flowers are always a pleasure for the eyes.

Good Friday was a “full” day for soaring with 733 flights on the OLC. Best one from Alexander Spaeth in Standard Cirrus with 566 km. from Vinon.Great flight also from Carsten Lindemann, who in the Berlin Area , from Luesse-airport   a 628 flight could enter on the OLC list , flown in a discus bt. He flew in a small area to the NW from Luesse and SE just above Klix and that up and down. Nice spring weather in that area!!

Told you last that Bear Selen and Erik Borgmann were flying in Vinon, now I can tell you as well, that more Dutch pilots were there. Erik and another Dutch pilot Joep Geraedts  were training young pilots from our squad to fly in the mountains. What better experienced pilots could you have for that. Tim Kuijpers , runner up during the last EGC and still a junior, had the privilege together with junior top pilot Frank Hiemstra to be with these cracks in the mountains from Vinon, claiming they learned a lot and had a fantastic week. They flew with the Nimbus 3DT and 4 DM. All great practise for the future and the WGC in Prievidza.
A huge team of German pilots was/is there as well and it seems that they have their own” German Vinon”, with what ever facilities they need. What’s new ……and this is more respect , then envy!! Of course they do not stay for ONE week.
Frank , who is a great photographer, made some pictures and you can share them on http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankhiemstra/sets/72157623728269176/

Only 39 days to go and The Dutch Nationals are on at Twente Airport. This former air-force base of Twente is closed but about a week ago it “got “a lost pilot! Better said the 67 year old pilot of the Lockheed T 33 had to make an emergency landing, due to a technical problem!! And…as he had not the required papers and licenses to fly this plane, he got a 2000 E. fine! The plane has to be repaired first , so we might see it , before another pilot will fly it to Frankfurt for further revisions.

The Pribina Cup in Slovakia, has started, with 140 pilots in 4 classes. They had one practise day , but not everybody did fly that day, so yesterday was the first day, with a 402 km. task for open class. Club had 283 , 15 m. 350, and the 20m.”  multi seats” went for a 330 km. flight with major frontal systems and pressure distribution in the forecast area.Pilots love this Cup, so I hope it will be a safe and fair competition. We will know on the 10th!
Day 1 was good for most pilots, a few were unlucky by not making it home. Open class winner Russell Cheetham from the UK flew around with a speed of 121 km. /h with Wolfgang Janowitch only a fraction slower.Both former WGC winners remain top pilots!!!!
In 15 m. our Dutch former EGC champion Steven Raimond had to outland loosing 500 points which is a pity , but I was pleasantly surprised to see Vitautas on spot 1 after  day 1. He is a great and very well organized guy! Great pilot as well!!! His speed was 102 km/h in a LAK 19/15m.
During the JWGC in Finland last year he was pilot and TC for Lithuania and did a marvellous job!!!!
In club class 2 UK pilots were the best and in 20m/twoseaters , 2 German teams in duo discus, with a Dutch pilot Hans Biesters on 3d place.
But this was only day one so a lot can happen.

It is more or less “the end of the season” , in Australia. Tocumwal has there Easter holiday guests flying and staying for a nice holiday on the great caravan park, Chinchilla has an Easter Competition with several Australian top pilots and Mount Beauty and the rest of Victoria had a few pleasant days as well. The East coast normally has flying through the year, so you can only say that it slows down over there!

Wishing you HAPPY EASTER holidays and CU on Wednesday, with more news.When you are interested in the results from the Pribina Cup and Chinchilla Easter comps please look at; www.soaringspot.com

cheers Ritz