Szeged, they are flying!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Friday July 30 2010

Szeged Thursday; Finally ; the weather-gods are kind enough to help with some nicer weather. Still not super but flyable for all classes. The open and 18 m. use adjacent start-lines. Interesting to see how this works out for 100 gliders. Tasks are between 333 and 380 with B tasks with the same TP’s but in an AAT of 2.30 hours. A few delays before the first launch , but then the 31st WGC really started, though the open class friends had a rainy extra practise day , counting as their first competition day, with some pilots happy, as they REALLY did well and some unhappy as it just did n’t work for them. Atleast not TOO many points were lost.

Then it looks like a reasonable day  till the evening when Lars from Australia[15 m. class]  hit with his wing a truck passing by on the road at the approach end of the runway and hurting the driver. Straight away I have to think of HusBos where I was the TC of the WGC juniors , where a glider hit a famous photographer ,who died at the spot, with 5 of my young crew members around him. Hopefully the driver is OK, the pilot seems to be OK , the glider is totally damaged, as it fell in the fence around the airfield!

Scores are less important when things like this happen, but on the other hand life goes on. Good to see then that Pierre and Arnaud from Belgium won the day in open class and my Dutch friends Ronald in the JS 1 and Rien,  did well with a 2d and 3d place in 18 m. class. Lot’s of outlandings in 15 m. class where only 4 pilots arrived home.

Friday; A TC meeting at 8 AM. Result; a finish ring has been introduced and as most countries were happy with that , it is going to happen, WHY not earlier, why not starting with it, as your approach is over a highway????!!! ????
Of course you expect pilots to fly safe and not to take risks and not to have a too marginal final glide, but it HAPPENS…..
As the family from the truck driver does not want to give any information on the condition , we don’t know more but some truck drivers passed the airfield in the morning blowing their horns.Hopefully he will recover !!!
Pilots got tasks as well for today B for 15 and 18 m. and the last TP was in the middle of a thunderstorm causing most 18 m. and 15 m. planes to land in a field. Some even landed at Becescaba where in the past the EGC was flown. 2 Pilots Stefano from Italy and young former WGC champion Leigh from the UK did well in 15 m. and came home!!!
In 18m. 9 pilots ”made it home”. In open class 7, with my Belgium friends Tijl/Bert sr and Pierre and Arnaud. Also Michael Sommer , who I hope will be the next Ingo Renner ,did well. He has 2 WGC titles alread ”only” 2 to go!!!

All in all, to be honest, I do not feel too happy about the WGC’s this year. Too much negative things happening and it takes my enthusiasm and excitement a bit away to happily write about my favourite sport. Tomorrow might be better. Let’s wait and see.Cheers for now Ritz

Rain in Szeged and here!

Alphen aan den Rijn      Tuesday  July 27 2010

Monday; The weather in Szeged was not good enough to fly yesterday, but they tried hard to make it a day. While gridding it was raining.  They first cancelled the 18 m. class and the other pilots were supposed to leave with a B task in the pocket, but in the end they cancelled the day for all classes. The minimum height of 800 to be launched and 1000 m cloud base to open the line, was not reached!! In the morning I read on the German site already that their Meteo man gave it a 30% chance that soaring was possible, and after briefing he stuck to his opinion. The UK pilots and the Dutch would have known what to do with such weather, but it is better to not have a lottery day, certainly NOT with so many competing pilots !!
A pity the weather changed so much from ”bloody” hot to rain and cool, but …that’s the weather. Today is another day, but there seems not a lot of hope that they can fly day 1 of this competition.

The weather did not everywhere turn from hot ….to cool with rain. 2 Days ago several pilots flew in Germany for the OLC nice FAI set 500/ 600 km., triangles. On Monday young Belgium pilot Bert Schmelzer flew a very nice 788 km from Vinon, after travelling from Prievidza in the Slovak Rep. via Belgium to France. Bert jr. was 6 in Prievidza, a great achievement!!! His mum and dad and brother Tijl are in Szeged now where Tijl flies a nimbus 4 D with father in the back. I remember when my son Dennis flew the WGC in Benalla in 1987 with his dad; a once- in- your- life -time -thrill.
Yesterday Bert flew another nice flight of  632 km. The French mountains gave a lot of pleasure to many pilots over the last days.

Tuesday; The meteo from the German team predicts 20 to 25 % of a chance to fly today, so I guess he is right again and day ONE might not start today. Most of the pilots and crew , I heard ,do it easy and wait a bit till they go to the grid. I heard yesterday an Hungarian pilot took the risk to not go at all, but …he must have known what he was doing.
From several sites I hear that the difference between Priviedza and Szeged is big. Szeged has a too small camping, open showers and , for a WGC it seems all pretty “poor”, and….. still not real good working organization.
It is very pleasant  to hear that several people ”miss me” over there!
ALL classes got a task and a B task if necessary. First start was supposed to be at ;13.00.
Flights were set to the West then into Serbia and home. BUT…..the day was cancelled for 15 m. and later in the air ,  the 18 m. class was asked to come back within half an hour and a pretty average first day to fly the B task  for the open class. Lots came back on the engine, but 2 Danish pilots made it back home, earning on this devalued day 461 points. Jan Andersen who won the day is already for years a TOP pilot!!!! He and his mate decided to fly to the worst looking site with rain, all the others to the other more clear direction. After flying between 300 and 800 m., they came 250 m. higher out then the rest and came home.Well done!!!They expect better weather for tomorrow, let’s hope, wait and see!

In between a Lufthansa freight plane  got fire in the air and crashed full of freight at Riyadh airport in Saudi Arabia. The pilot and co-pilot had only minor injuries, the plane , a McDonnell Douglas MD11 broke in 2 pieces and was totally destroyed. As the pilots warned the tower, emergency teams were waiting at the place of the landing. The plane departed on Tuesday morning from Frankfurt .
And then this morning a passenger plane [Airbus] crashed in the jungle 20 km. before Islamabad in Pakistan. The plane from Airblue  a Pakistan company was on its way to Islamabad from Turkey via Karachi with 146 passengers and 6 crew. Looking at the pictures from the burning plane I guess not a lot have survived. But at this stage they have not yet reached the place of the crash and the expectation is that passengers HAVE survived!!! The weather over there; rain with bad view.

Wednesday morning;  The expectation for today is on several sites around 20% of a chance to fly. But if they start in rain and let pilots fly between 300 and 800 m. then you never know. At-least in the early morning it was raining and they expect more, but…tomorrow might be finally the day they can ALL fly. The weather is and will always be the weather…you just depend on it and nobody can change it, not even for a WGC.
Now the grid  is “under construction” [ open between 10.00 and 12.30]and pilots go to briefing first, they might cancel the day, if the rain continues. Pilots got 2 hour AAT ‘s and then….the day was cancelled. As the briefing was  as some call it,  “chaotic ” and the pilots had a noisy wake up call early in the morning from an AG plane flying LOW over the camping, it all sounds a bit let’s say it friendly  “un-worlds”. In the next issue will be more news about Szeged. If you want to know NOW  what ‘s going on,  you can find all the news and the scores  on the Hungarian site ;

Here in Holland the sun is shining and my Australian friends who travelled further to Finland enjoy 32 dgr. over there! They have nowhere had bad weather, everywhere in the low thirties or high twenties, even in Switzerland, so I guess they have the wrong opinion now about European weather. They might think it is the same as in Australia, how many times we all must have said “this is not normal”.

Leave you now as next guest, Tocumwal friends for sure remember him,   Dieter Dundee arrives this afternoon. As he lives 9 months a year in Australia and 3 in Germany he is more or less an Aussie now as well. Looking forward to hear all his stories! Cheers Ritz

Szeged and more!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday July 25 2010

Sorry for the delay in writing, I was busy from the early morning till the late evening but had a “ball” with my Australian friends. They left this afternoon and before the next guest arrives on Wednesday,  there is some time to write. Not a lot happening in Szeged at the moment,  as after the very HOT weather, they have rain now and I heard they might have rain till Thursday!!!! Hope not!!!
After all the problems with the internet and the server loosing lots of important data and on top of that their CD , it seems the organization is still far from ideal. The delay by the rain might help them to get better organized. 
Pilots however seem to be ready; for them it can begin, this 31 WGC in Szeged for flapped gliders. Quite a lot of my friends are over there , so I try to write as objective as possible.
Who is going to win??? No idea! But..I put my money on a few; as Pete Harvey, Michael Sommer, in open class, Ronald Termaat, Ricardo Brigliadori , Giorgio Galetto and David Jansen and Killian Walbrou, in 18 m. Leigh Wells and Györgi Gulyas in 15 m class.
A REAL strong ” field”  in 18 m. class!!!!

Yesterday was a SUPER DAY in Holland. One of the pilots Jeroen flew 832 km. in a discus bT. Very special such long nice flights in Holland. Not flown over a big area but it shows Holland can really have some good gliding weather as well. Sicco flew 887 km. starting on the first cable and arriving home in his Ventus 2b 17 m when nearly everybody had gone home. I was with my guests touring through the canals in Amsterdam and looked at the fantastic skies , knowing “things” were happening.
A bit of rain here today and temperatures dropped from the low 30thies to the low 20thies, so I guess no nice flights here today!

Since I had my guests  the weather has been great in several parts of Europe. Bayreuth in Germany had 1000 km. flights again so did Fuentemilanos. Nice flights also in Austria and Prievidza, Angers in France, Nitra and Norway.
Friend Daan [Pare] travelled to the USA to one of his fgavourite airfields Ely. He was there in the right time as the USA had booming weather also in Truckie and Minden. Daan flew 2 1000 km. flights and several 800 and 900 km flights.

Very sad about the disaster in Duisburg where 19 people were “crushed to death “, as nearly 1.4 million people visited  the LOVE PARADE while the field where it was held was “only” for 500.000 people. One 22 year old Dutch student was amongst them as well as an Aussie girl from NSW from 27. “All those young people came to celebrate and instead they are dead or injured”, is what Chancellor Angela Merkel had to say.

A bit tired so more news on Wednesday or tomorrow when they fly in Szeged, cheers Ritz

Szeged is next! ”Europe” is on holiday!JS1 !

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday  July 18 2010

Back to the normal edition on Sunday after a few extra editions covering the last days of the 31st WGC in Prievidza. Hope you enjoyed them. Was a bit emotional, I see now, about the lottery day and more special about the fact that pilots would not have had a fair chance to start. But with no complaints everybody must have felt like treated fair. When on  that day pilots would have not  flown, the tasksetter would have had atleast 9 out of 10, is what I hear.

Heard the Germans celebrated with bubbles in their pool  yesterday evening, so they should, great achievement. Forgot that Volker who is 2d in Club class was the Junior World Champion in Rayskala. Bright future for this young man!
Matthias who ended on a very nice 4th place was WGC champion in Rieti in club class in 2008.
SUPER Mario  2 d now, won the 2009 European Championships and bronse winner today, Mighty Michael won the 2008 WGC, so these boys are just good!!! I know already for years their team on the ground is super , with cars on track to see how the situation is on the TP’s  and they mostly have a very experienced meteo person with them, I even remember a doctor one year.
Interesting is also that THE winner in Club class Arndt ,seems to have NO International experience, but he was 2d during the 2009 German Nationals.
That’s it about the the 31 WGC for non flapped gliders. As I expected the organization was top, let’s give the accidents and incidents a place and remember all the great flying and the TOPPERS who won. What great class they showed! Sorry I did not mention the world class too much, to be honest it is less interesting for me, but there are still a few VERY good pilots flying in that class!Szeged is next. Some leave straight away after the prize giving from Prievidza to be tonight in Szeged. It is about 400 km. so not too bad for the travellers who are used to much longer distances of driving to visit comps.
For the last pictures and stories I advise you to go to the site of your country or the WGC site at

This weekend is the busiest weekend  on the road and in the air for Holland and for more parts of Europe.  About 1 million people go on holiday. About 475.00 travel from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport.
In the UK is a busy weekend as well and for some, 16.000 a bit of a tragic one as one of the bigger tour operators got broke. People on holiday  in Turkey and Greece have a problem, though the guests from Turkey travel home as expected but Greece and people still going on their holiday might have a ”nightmare-holiday”. Talking about Greece it is SO HOT overthere that huge fires in the area around Athens have started. 8 Special water-bomber-planes and 4 helicopters help the fire brigade busy on the ground.

Got newsletter number 3  from the JS1 importers  and they “go” with the new ways of PR, having their own Facebook site. 6 Pilots are flying the JS 1 in Szeged, of course both owners of the business Attie and Uys Jonker and further on some TOP pilots as Ronald Termaat from Holland, Russell Cheetham from the UK and good ”old” John Coutss from New Sealand and not to forget Bill Elliot the current USA National winner in the JS1.

Jonker Sailplanes will use their Facebook page for daily updates on the JS1 results during the WGC2010. You can find the Facebook page via de following link

Also in the news;
–In addition to the “WGC Six”, Jonker Sailplanes personnel will be at Szeged to assist the pilots (and crews) of theJS1 Revelations with technical support, a range of proprietary spares and a wealth of information. As active gliderpilots, Jonker Sailplanes recognises the need for good continuing support after delivery.

And Todd Clark and Brett Hunter are the newly appointed agents for JonkerSailplanes in Australia and New Zealand. So good news for my friends over there.    for Australia and   for New Zealand

CU Ritz, busy weeks ahead so I might not be there on Wednesday. My friends from Australia arrive that day.Please check if I am there otherwise maybe on an other day, it will be for a few weeks a bit irregular. Sorry about that.

Final glides !31WGC gives me mixed feelings!Congratulations to the winners! The best WON!

Alphen aan den Rijn      Saturday  July 17  EXTRA EDITION

And the [ preliminary ] winners of the 31st WGC in Prievidza are ;
 standard class;                                     Club class;                                           World class;
1.Sebastian Kawa    8547                    1.Arndt Hovestad  9317                  1.Laurent Couture   7747
2.Mario Kiessling    8466                    2.Volker Sailer       9265                  2.Martin Hrivna       7462
3.Michael Buchtal   8417                     3.Mario Schupfer  9243                  3.Denis Guerin         7434

Today I will follow the last day of the WGC with you, or when you have n’t got time you can at-least read about it through my view on things. Keep in mind that I am NOT over-there, but get my info from reliable sources, from reading other blogs  and that I only try to analyze what’s happening over there!Everything is MY opinion!

One thing is sure, the 7 pilots who made it back yesterday did a great job. Congratulations ,if coming back is a measure , they proved the tasksetter right at-least for one class. In the end it LUCKILY did not mix up the scores TOO much , as that would have been very unfair. Don’t know how they call it in Prievidza, but I call a day like yesterday, with many others,  a lottery. When that is part of a WGC , so be it! At many competitions I am sure they would have cancelled such a day!!!
I hear very mixed reactions and hope today will be better.
AAT’s from 2 hours, with nearly the same weather as yesterday, hot but…as they predict —very important—NO  thunderstorms during the day…. only and heavy one’s during the night . First expected launch at 12.
I like the way the German blog writer mentions it; ” Horac the weatherman tells us that showers are east of us, and yes he is correct as we can see that ,but….he forgets to look at the other directions. ”
For sure one glider in world class will not fly today as it was too much damaged yesterday to be able to fly today. Other gliders had damage as well as I hear the grass over there is pretty high for a safe outlanding.
I was still pleased to see my young friend from Lithuania , Vytautas, win yesterday’s club class scores with a flight of 218 km earning 800 points in his standard Jantar.
I guess today a lot will follow Art and look at the tracking system. I heard that in some newer gliders the carbon won’t allow transmission to the satellites, so that for most of the time they do not receive data. Interesting!
Here is what Art had to say;
“The broadcast yesterday was fun.  We had lots of DRAMA [ look at it in a positive way like a play! Ritz] – watching pilots trying to avoid the rain and make contact with the assigned areas – and watching glider after glider land out.I don’t know yet if we have trackers today.  I’d better go find out so I can prepare.  Another AAT – not much fun for me unless it is another landout day, and nobody wants that.” Thanks Art and have a good trip to Szeged where he will be involved with ”weighing” again. By now he is so experienced that EVERYBODY wants him! Don’t know if they have a tracking system there otherwise we will hear him as well.

The briefing was “torture” for the tasksetter. He was whipped by a red hooded ” KKK-look-alike” as punishment for the ”bad” tasksetting/read;many outlandings; 97 in total.  [when you are interested please look at the pictures]. The organization shows humour as well, which is good. By the way my Australian friends think different then I do, here is what Mike thought about yesterday;
“There’s a rumour the guns want to cancel the day, I can’t see why, it was an interesting challenge and this is the worlds. “
If you are interested in his full story you can go, with permission as I asked first,  to the Australian site at;

And then the last day of this 31st WGC is a fact  when the lines are open for all classes; world 12.35, club 13.06 and standard at 13.37!! What will it bring?! Who is back in 2 hours with the most kilometers on the ”clock”! Who flies far into the sectors? Some pilots yesterday went for distance while in the end coming home was more important! But that was yesterday !!!
I ”hear” that it looks not too bad with up to 3 m lift to 1800 m. That sounds great! Let it be a FAIR day, this last one! I believe only ONE team has filed a protest about yesterday, so all other TC’s talking for all their pilots must have been more or less happy with the lottery-day” .That means we readers at home should be happy too.
One of the pilots mentions that ” this looks like the best day till now and then only a 2 hour AAT”, but others think it looks better then it is. In 2 hours the first were back, no thunderstorms, maybe a later start might have been better??? Let’s wait and see.!

In standard class number 2 and 3 , Super Mario and Mighty Michael went on track at 12.56, while number 1 Super Sebastian left at 13.02.
 The German boys won in GRAND STYLE with a speed for Mario of  125 km/h!!!! Still not enough to win gold , but it is silver with a golden edge.
In club class  the number 1 Arndt [007],left at  13.24, with his German team mate Volker [BW3] while Austrian pilot Mario [MS]left  at 13.32 and German pilot Matthias [M4] at 13.32 as well. Mario won the day but with not enough points to win the title he remains a good 3d”.
Congratulations to the German team with their excellent performances for nearly all pilots. From the 9 competing pilots there were 6 within the first 10 and one on 15 and on  36 . Great result!!!! For sure they will win the World Team Cup as well. NO they did not…Poland past them with 48 points. Well done Poland!!

And then this ……….why the mixed feelings?
“keep gliding, keep smiling” was the message on the last briefing! And ..they are right. Of course we all do ……..maybe not Alexanders wife and family.
Mixed feelings…….Sad and good ones. First of all there was the accident with  Alexander, who leaves a wife and children , then baby-boy and ”future-junior-champ”  Fin , son from the proud parents Chrissy and Uli. Death and new born life in one competition. Though I know the organization was strong and good, they must be feeling a bit disappointed as well, it is NOT their fault that a pilots dies and it is not the first time either during a competition, it is not their fault that pilots sometimes fly aggressive to win and cause mid airs and nearly mid-airs, it is not their fault that a pilot ”jumps” over a fence and injures his back, but in the future history this 31 WGC will be remembered as well by what has happened. Also by the birth of Fin , not the first time this is happening either during a competition, as we had in the past Marina Galetto who received Chiara , was it on the last day in Bayreuth? and Inge Gantenbrink who got one of her children in Hobbs in New Mexico. And now I think of it we had in Bayreuth a fatal accident as well. An AKA-flieg pilot from Germany  during the practise in Bayreuth.

BUT…with a great day as today is it nice to finish a competition ”on a high”, with a big party and a great prize giving ceremony for winners who are just the best. Enjoy!!!! Pilots leave with, prizes, certificates,  new experiences and all kind of memories on this well organized 31WGC in Prievidza. Thank you Prievidza for giving us 12 days of good and interesting soaring! You see I quickly forget about the lottery day.

By the way at you can see the red hooded torturer, a funny site of this competition and ……..newborn baby Fin. Congratulations Uli and Chrissie!!!! He is a beauty!!!

I enjoyed writing and analyzing and will continue to do it the same way if possible with my guests, when Szeged is on!!
 See you tomorrow Ritz

Final days!Friday is very interesting with cu-nims everywhere!!

Alphen aan den Rijn       Saturday July 17  EXTRA EDITION    blog 321.

As you might have noticed I published a blog last Friday as well, to remain  ”fresh with the news” now we are in the last stage of this interesting WGC. When you missed it, no worries it is under this one, maybe you read blog  320 first.
I will share with you the last days by looking most of the day on what happens.

Friday July 16;
Friends in Prievidza heard rain on their tent in the morning!!!! But….though the meteo man was less convinced about the weather,  the forecast on the radar and the ”models” of the meteo-stations said ”FLY”. They changed from AAT’s from 3 hours to 2.30 in all classes , while the radar showed again showers and the pilots and crew could see a thunderstorm close by. Would it disappear ???

 These showers killed all activity over the field. Would it be still a lottery in the end !? I hate that to be honest. The best pilots should win not the most lucky ones just flying behind a shower or upfront when others have to land or cannot depart. I know it is a WGC , and the best pilots in the world should be able to fly under difficult circumstances as well, some use the “‘good site” of thunderstorms to climb really high……but still….
 I followed Art’s voice on the tracking system and they showed there as well the map with all the thunderstorms in the first sector at Trencin.  The ”art” is to find your way around them. Good luck guy’s! Nitra had to the S also thunderstorms but they did not reach their sector. But…while looking I saw altitudes of 600 m. up to 1800 m. and heard that some st. class pilots could not find the connection in the dead air after their launch and had to come back and start again, after waiting quite a long time!
In fact EVERYBODY should have a fair launch and possibility to start, also the last ones on the grid!!!!! If not ….they should neutralize the day for this class;my opinion! You have only 3 chances to be launched ,when it then still not works it is over and out! That happened!
Others up in the air had 2m climb. The word lottery is in everybody’s mouth now , not only in mine. But…I know that some countries love this weather.

Sorry but I do not really understand the organization! One day , a good-weather-one they give small tasks to be sure everybody comes home as we have seen that outlandings can be very difficult in the Prievidza-area —perfect—good thinking—so you avoid  more damage and yesterday they send over 100 pilots out , with the sure knowledge that a lot would go ”au vache”.
”This is a WGC”, does n’t count then.

It was only 2 hours and 30 minutes flying, but it turned out different for most pilots! Except for 7 ALL  of them had to land out as there was just no way to go to no direction. Differences in start-times are huge. I saw that Belgian pilot Wim , on a nice overall-position before today, started at 15.46 with 2 hours and 30 minutes to go! Sunset is at 20.40, so that would not be the problem, but I read that Martin is the field which is visited by many pilots and that is NOT Prievidza. A pity if such a day ”makes” the scores in the end of a mixed-feeling- competition!
Of course great class from the pilots who made it back home.  Were they lucky, or is it just their class??? From SUPER Mario , Mighty Michael and SUPER Sebastian, you can for sure say that they might have been lucky but they have for sure high quality soaring skills!!!The other 4 home-finishers I do not know good enough to to judge. But for all 7 GOOD ON YOU!!!!!

Happy news in between as the Team Captain from Germany Uli and Chrissie have received this morning a healthy young new future pilot with the name Fin. Congratulations to them!!! More happy news for the German team as out of the blue 2 pilots called 10 km.;Y4 and AK. Mario and Michael are back!!!!! But…topper Sebastian is back as well. It will take some time to find out about the scores.

CU tomorrow the last day of the comps, hope that is not such a lottery day!! Ritz

Last days of the 31WGC in Prievidza!Europe;Heat waves and huge damage bills!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Friday morning   July 16    EXTRA EDITION

An extra edition as we now are in the middle of the final stage of the 31st WGC for standard,-club and world class!!!!Otherwise the blog is getting too long and maybe boring to read!

The promised heavy weather for Holland arrived in the afternoon  on Wednesday with down -bursts and mini tornedos causing a lot of damage . Unfortunately a 62 year old lady died when her caravan was blown in the lake. Several caravan’s ended up in the lake as well and 4 more people had to be brought to intensive care. Whole roofs of farms disappeared with the wind and trucks were blown over. For the first time in Dutch history  5 electricity- poles of 40 meter high, broke like if they were matches!!! Damage bill up to maybe 75million Euro!!!!! Belgium was hit pretty bad as well and had the next day still no electricity in some places  and …..after it left Holland this heavy weather ”visited” Germany.

The last days of a competition give some extra tension, certainly at a WGC ,but when you can expect that the weather will be nice and no real ”lotterie-weather” can change the scores from up to down, it is a bit easier.
Last Wednesday was such an easy day again with nice results for the UK , making their TC Pete happy on the day of his return out of hospital. Howard Jones, yes from the famous Jones family, where I knew father Ralf pretty well in the past, was 6th . The 3 ”kids” Howard , Steven and Philip grew up in a soaring family , where I saw them through the years  grow up from kids to young men. 
 Have n’t seen them for a while now but  they are in their late thirties , early forthies and still good looking .
All 3 fly in the WGC this year.Howard in Prievidza and Philip and Steven in Szeged.Very special!!!!!In the Gliding International of July is a nice  story about the boy’s ,being  “the personalities of the month” ![written  by Walter Kahn.]
As said Wednesday was an easy day no great changes in the scores but only 79 points difference between Sebastian and Mario in standard class!!! The German ”boys” top the Club class with Austrian pilot Mario on a nice 3d place then the 2 UK boys G and Ian and then the reigning champion Matthias Sturm on 6!!

Thursday was hot ….hotter ….the hottest in  Prievidza and on day 10 the officials warned to drink a lot and to wear hats!!! This weather is NOT normal for Slovakia , like this weather here is very unusual for us. Global warming!!??
In Russia already 1700 people died by drowning after swimming drunk or just be unlucky. It is a terrible heat wave there as well with temperatures in the low 40thies!
Back to soaring; Racing tasks today in all 3 classes; 248 for the PW’s, 310 for club and 347 km for Standard class. But ….the late starters had a ” nail-biting ” day as it started to rain around 16.30, while thunderstorms were in the area around as well. Coming home was more and more difficult.
Then it is interesting to look at the st. class. The German boys started at 14.11 as the last pilots together with Sebastian…Sebastian made it home in 3.13 while our German friends needed 10 minutes MORE…..84 points lost!!! Sebastian leads now overall with 163 points!
Reigning “Welt-meister “, Matthias Sturm won in club class, storming to place 4 overall in his Hornet and I was very pleased to see that Luca won in the world class making it a good day for Italy .He is more then 1000 points behind the French number 1, so he won’t be world champion , but for sure he has had a few good days.
Belgium friend Bert jr. is  5th overall, SUPER Bert!!!!By the way, talking about unique  families. The Belgium family Schmelzer is one as well. Bert jr. flies in Prievidza, girlfriend Liesje is his crew  and mum Hilde is the Belgian TC in Slovakia. In Szeged son Tijl is flying and dad sits in the back of the nimbus, on top of that they are one of the loveliest families in the world!!!!
By the way our Dutch pilots have had very good days but also some ”off-days” as happens in comps! I know they are all top-quality and still can make the top 10. Let’s wait and see! And what about the day winner Erazum Polutnik and runner up Tobias Geiger. I never heard of Erazum, [nice name] but know that Tobias is a kilometer eater and often to be seen on the OLC. Good they had a great day!!
The day ended with some electrical storms causing problems,  as kiling the power  for the scores-computers  and other computers and laptops. A few BIG drops fell as well.

The biggest passenger plane in the world , the Airbus A 380, visited last Thursday Holland and hundreds of ‘spotters ‘were on side to make pictures. It departed the same day, as it visits different airfields in Europe to check the operational part of such a mega plane.
The merge between British Airways and Iberia has been ratified and American Airlines will be also a member of this new alliance with the name; Oneworld!

And then this, received it from an Australian friend;
—And a “funny” story about a stupid Australian. A 36 year old (old enough to know better) man had too many drinks at the pub in Broome and decided he would go and try to “ride” a crocodile. He climbed over several fences to reach a 5m adult male croc named Fatso (notoriously aggressive) who promptly took a chunk out of his leg. The man managed to climb back over the fence and stagger back to the pub, from which he was transferred to hospital, and then discharged today. Police are deciding whether to lay charges.—

No crocodiles here, but we know about ”drunk” people. See you in 2 days on Sunday, with the latest on the last 2 days of Prievidza!!!!!

Cheers Ritz

Prievidza continues,Szeged practises and Holland lost !

Alphen aan den Rijn     Wednesday July 14 2010

First things first; we lost!!!!!!! Talking soccer. We did play not too bad , but certainly in the beginning too hard, not ”orange-like” and totally NOT Dutch. We had 2 great possibilities for Robben, we missed the ”luck”. We played against Spain and the referee, who made some curious decisions, but that’s no excuse. After 116 minutes it was over and out. Spain was better……Life goes on.On Monday ” our heroes ” arrived back and got a reception to be proud of; 2 F16 ‘s , one in orange, accompanied and welcomed the KLM 777 back in Holland with the boys and staff  , which gave lots of people goose bumps. On Tuesday there was a reception at the Queens Palace in The Hague , then a tour through the canals in Amsterdam  which was unbelievable , wish you could have seen that and a party on the Museum square where in total more then a million enthusiasts looked at the 3 matches and the runner-up-party. In the beginning the players still were in their ”loosing-mood-dip” , most of us as well, but this day yesterday was very healing for all, so now it is off to the European championships in 2 years time.

On Sunday morning another incident  in Prievidza was mentioned during briefing .Glider  NX wanted to avoid during his landing , a fence … “jumped”over it and made a hard landing, behind it,  injuring his spine!! Both pilot [ best wishes for a full recovery!] and glider are out of the comps. Too many gliders have been damaged already with out landings. Not good!
It must be  great then for the organizers to hear  that their organization in Prievidza  is super and when they have n’t heard I can tell you I heard it from several teams!

 I looked already at the Szeged-site  and found out that they lost all news [ as the last bulletin]  and data ,[ as the local procedures] on July 6 due to a server error , I felt very sorry for them. More then sorry…. that really is  a disaster.
On top of that the Hungarian pilot of the NX with the spine injury, is the CD for…… Szeged!!! So though he seems fine and must be in a home-town hospital by now, he can for sure not do his job. Pretty tough on the whole organization. But ….Brian [Spreckley] is there , another SUPER chief steward to assist and our Dutch Frouwke Kuijpers is there as well as steward. Yes if the name sounds familiar to you , she is the mother of European champion Tim Kuijpers, who won the first day in Prievidza.
They just finished flying in Szeged the Malev-Flatland Cup 2010, [July 4-16] as last practise , specially for foreigners, for the 31st WGC over there in Hungary and…. their Open Class Nationals.

On Monday Prievidza had an easy going day. Heard some pilots  thought the tasks were too short, [over 300 for club and standard and just under for world class] but at-least most pilots arrived back home after a great soaring day. In standard only 2 outlandings .
Tomas , who had a difficult start as he was hit during the mid air ,just missed out on 3 points to ”have” 1000. Considering he  only received 253 points after that scaring moment at day one, as he had to land , he is doing a great job. He is 14 overall now!!! A great pilot he is!!!! Sebastian is still on number 1 on Tuesday morning and talking about Sebastian, in the last Gliding International , which I received yesterday, there is a very nice interview with him.
In club class the first 10 places after 7 days of flying are shared  by 4 German, 1 USA , 1 Belgium , 1 Austrian and 2 UK pilots.
 In world class Luca Urbani, real nice fellow, started well but lost a few places. The first 5 places are shared here between the 3  French, one pilot from Czech Rep.  and one from Poland. Still a few days to go, so this might all change!
 The UK team had to miss their TC , as he still could write by himself ; Last nights pizza seems to be getting the better of me. They  brought him to hospital to avoid he would dehydrate and he has to stay there for a couple of days . I wish Pete all the best. His team was organized and experienced enough to take over where necessary!
 A pity he had to miss the International Evening, a great event at each important competition; a good moment to socialise.

Tuesday in Prievidza started still with hot conditions. Swimming pools on the camping bought  or brought by several teams , gave some relief. The postponed briefing to 10.30 as well. I get messages that they,”swim” out of their tents in the early morning, so some must get tired! On top of that they had that International evening the day before, so that might have been for some a heavy night!!! On the German site I read this Tuesday morning; Wegen Krankheit geschlossen!!! Closed due to illness.  Don’t know if it was the Int. party or ” a pizza”, but …it was the party! By the way the  crew from Martin is doing a great job to inform the crowd at home !!!
AAT’ s from 3 hours for each class were set, while some TC’s could see the first showers appear on the radar. First launch was at 12.05. A TRICKY DAY!!!! But it ended well for most. Enough outlandings again [10 in standard,7 in club and 3 in world class] but good results for the UK where G won the day in club class.The first 5 in standard class 3 from Germany 2 from France , all flew with a speed of 116 km/h. The French did also well in World class.

Now it is Wednesday morning  and a busy time is waiting for me. Guests from today  till August 5. Will try to keep you posted as well.
In Prievidza they expect another 4 days to fly till it is finished, which is good. They are on day 9 now for club and standard class with tasks just over 300 for st and club and 219 km. for world class. A picture from all team and pilots, in the heat was made this morning as well.
The tracking system is now really up and running and Art [ from Canada] is , as always doing a great job with his comments.I heard over 1000 people are following  now and that number is increasing. Good on you Art!
In Europe pilots still had fun , though several  countries suffered from real heavy weather. We had another day with such weather and more people hurt. Today we might have again at some places REAL thunderstorms , we have to keep an eye on the news with warnings for the areas. After that it should be over with the violence of this hot weather.
I was very pleased to see that our former Sportavia guests Uwe and Hans flew both a 1000 km flight from Cuenca Sotos in Spain in a DG 808 last Sunday. Would they have looked at the soccer final as well?????

Cheers Ritz

31st WGC turns black on Thursday!Friday time to reflect and Saturday time to fly again!

Alphen aan den Rijn         Sunday July 11… final of the soccer championship tonight, for what it is worth!

The worst nightmare of a competition  not only for the organizers but also for the pilots and ALL involved in gliding,we readers at home as well,  is a fatal accident and that happened last Thursday when  the French pilots saw another friend from Russia spin his glider and crash in the mountains. The French stayed there to mark the place for search and rescue. The day for standard class was there for neutralised in the air.
What can we do !!?? Nothing , it seems more and more that we have to accept that it is part of our beautiful sport, as HOW many times do we all cry out KEEP IT SAFE, BE CAREFUL. But…. we are all ”only” human beings!!
 There are too many of our friends already in heaven, which is deeply sad, TRAGIC!!!!
My thoughts , ALL OUR thoughts are with Alexanders family and friends and the Russian team. On Friday they did not fly and then everybody had to try to focus on the comps again. Life goes on and the pilot, who was good in gliding  [ otherwise he would not have been on a WGC,  9oo hours]  and who must have loved his sport , would if he could ,  agree with this. Here are the words , when you have not yet read them, from  the chief steward Roland Stuck who I personally know and who is one of the best and most experienced chief stewards in the world. I totally stand behind him!!!!

 —–Dear competitors, dear team members, 

I would like to express the condolences of the IGC officials present here to the family of Alexander, to the Russian team and to the organisers.The Secretary General of the FAI and the President of the FAI also asked me to pass on their sincere condolences and sympathy to the Russian Team and to the Organizers. 
As you know, the CD has decided to cancel the day in order to honour the memory of our friend
I would like you to make use of this rest day to think a little about the situation we have here at this competition

During the four first days of this competition we had one fatal accident, one mid air collision and yesterday morning we were very close to have another collision. We also have  several gliders damaged during outlandings.
This is definitely the worst safety record we ever had in a WGC!
Is this only due to bad luck?  
I do not think so
Every day we have pilots reporting dangerous flying, complaining about other pilots making silly manoeuvres before the start, entering into gaggles in a wild way, flying in clouds and so on, and so on.

Is this situation the fault of the organisers? 
I do not think so
The organisers pay due attention to safety. They have set up safe launching, start, finishing, and landing procedures, they made every day safety briefings, they made the right decision after the mid air collision.

So only YOU can improve the situation!

  • Remain concentrating during your flights!
  • Look out; do not look too much to your instruments or your PDA!
  • Respect the rules of the air; give the way if you have to do so!
  • Avoid leaching and flying in gaggles, make your own decisions!
  • Do not fly recklessly! 
  • Do not fly aggressively!

No medal, no placing in a WGC is worth to put at stake your integrity or the life of other competitors!
Think about your family, about your children and about your friends!
Please make sure we will have no more accident at this championship!

Roland Stuck
Chief Steward—–

In MEMORY of Alexander  is a touching 2 minute video which you can see at  ; look for video’s!

I continue with what I had written already since Wednesday.

They did fly on Wednesday  in Prievidza, very short AAT’s in 2 hours and after cancelling the world class,  both club -and standard class had a reasonable day with the expectation of wave! Some ”found”it! A pity the tracking system fails so often as it is nice to hear Art’s [from Canada] comment with the great images. I even flew virtual with some pilots.
In the end a tricky day with several out-landings and yes G Dale on top!!!! He ”did”  it it this day together with his UK mate Ian.  Good on them.
Sebastian  tops the over- all -scores in Standard class, after 3 days of flying.He was lucky; in Prievidza they do not have a finish line but a finish ring and he just made it in the ring 2 km out, but he had to stay above 50 m, which he did not. So…a warning [only] and next time penalty points , but this day he was 2d!!!
Pleased to see young Bert Schmelzer is flying so constant till now he is at spot 8 over all!

In between soccer is more and more important in Holland and Spain, as they are in the final match to ”decide” who will be the best team in the world. The semi-final had in Holland an absolute record of people looking at TV; 12.3 million. And then there is this phenomena …. Octopus Paul from Sealife in Oberhausen in Germany, he predicts that Spain will win. Parakeet Mani in Singapore predicts that Holland wins and the people in Spain believe in their team and ”we ” in ours!!! May the best win tonight, it sometimes seems the world has gone crazy!!!
KLM and IBERIA the official carriers of the teams have doubled their flights, the bought- beer has made supermarkets already rich, [it is both in Spain and in Holland in the thirties, ]and business making the champions-flag-2010 here,  have sold already more then 10.000 and the game still has to be played!!!

A plane flying TOTALLY on sun energy  has flown over 24 hours . It is the prototype HB-SIA and it flew from the military airfield of Payerne in Switzerland. The plane produced by Solar Impulse, wants to show the possibilities of solar energy and they built 7 years on it. This ”24- hours- up- in- the -air ” is a new record and proves that you can store enough energy during the day to use it during the night. This opens new possibilities.

Thursday started blue in Prievidza and the expectation it would stay blue, but mountains sometimes keep their nice fluffy friends/clouds . Another day with new chances.In the morning I heard weather alarms for the East-bloc countries specially Rumania, but no problems in Prievidza.
Thursday ended sad , with the fatal accident of  Alexander. Standard class was cancelled and Club and World pilots  continued their flight.

On Friday  they had a briefing at 10 AM with one minute silence for Alexander and a TC briefing at 11 in Prievidza. A day to be together and think if possible on something totally different then gliding…fishing, hiking, swimming, sailing…. clear the mind and then on Saturday there was time to concentrate on soaring again, even more concentrated then before…I guess , I hope.
That some pilots doubted the day off, is beyond me,[would they think the same if their team was hit !!!???] but I am pleased the organizers respected the wish of the Russian team and TC who wanted,  and for sure mentally needed, this day off.
And what about the organizers…such a huge impact…. they needed the day as well!!!

On Saturday life continued and soaring in Prievidza as well. This accident had nothing to do with hazardous flying, but I heard they show a video about safety every day before briefing;perfect  nothing wrong with that, certainly not when you had a mid air and a nearly-mid-air! The beginning of the day was not easy as the temperature had problems to lift up to 31, needed for good lift  but got stuck at 28, so reason to go from task A to task B. In the end it was difficult again to come home and several pilots landed somewhere in a field. The tracking system was working and WHEN it works it is just fantastic!! It adds something to the comps.
After one week the overall results are as follows;
Standard class;1.Sebastian Kawa [Poland]–2.Mario Kiessling [Germany]–3.Michael Buchtal [Germany]
Club class; 1.Arndt Hovestadt [Germany]–2.Volker Sailer [Germany]–3.Mario Schupfer [Austria] 
 World class;1.Laurent Couture [France],–2.Martin Hriva[CZE]–3.Denis Geurin [France]
In Club class the 2 UK pilots have not yet given up and are on 4 and 5
What will the last week bring us ????? Hopefully only nice flying and happy pilots, which makes it easier to forget about the sad parts of the first week. And the scores now might be different then, let’s wait and see.
We here in Holland had severe thunderstorms last night with quite some damage, they came from the South of Europe so ”with damage” we might not have been the only ones. Train traffic at the busiest spot, Utrecht was stopped by flash of  lightning, several fires also due to lightning, flooding, trees on the road and tracks, but gardens and farmers were happy with some rain. It is very dry here!

Preparing now for a nice soccer -night.  Thousands of orange flowers will be “falling out of the sky” tonight over the 80 to 100.000 people looking at a big screen in Amsterdam. The sky will turn orange. What about that, a marketing-gesture from our famous flower -growers and they do the same over Madrid. Hopefully the thunderstorms pass by tonight somewhere else !!! By the way Germany won the match for 3d place. While waiting we can look at the Formula 1 at Silverstone and the Davis Cup match between Holland and White Russia , is that Belarus??

See you next Wednesday, and…sorry I would have been in Prievidza this weekend , but I was not in the mood and on top of that , the plane we were going with was ”in service” and not ready in time.
And…don’t forget life is much more valuable then a gold medal, also the lives of [y]our friends !!!!!!!Ritz

Prievidza and more !

Alphen aan den Rijn      July 7 2010

The first day of the WGC was a difficult one with task B set  and a dangerous situation for 2 gliders as the pilots did not see each other , with as a result a mid air collision.  Hope from now on pilots will take care of each other for themselves and our beautiful sport and I am extremely  happy that both pilots are alive and kicking!!!! Here is the official statement about the collision ;

”At the first competition day we had a mid-air collision between GX and 8K. The collision happened at an altitude of 2200 m approximately 10 km South West from Ruzomberok town. Only GX had a proximity warning device. Both gliders were damaged. 8K had his tail and bottom damaged but could fly back to the Prievidza airport. GX was more severely damaged losing part of the right wing and had his canopy broken but could land on the Ruzomberok airfield. Luckily the pilots were not injured.

The organizers heard both pilots and analyzed the igc flight records of their gliders. They came to the conclusion that GX was circling to the right in a thermal when 8K was entering the same thermal. For unknown reason the two pilots didn´t see each other. 8K entered the thermal in a normal way considering other gliders he saw in the same thermal but he didn´t see GX. When he started to turn right, he suddenly  saw GX coming from behind and below. He pulled up but couldn´t avoid the collision.

According to the organizers opinion, although unintentionally, the pilot of 8K created an extremely dangerous situation by cutting the circle flown by GX. Considering that it is the full responsibility of the pilot entering a thermal to make sure that he does not interfere with a glider already circling in this thermal, the director of the competition decided to disqualify the pilot of 8K for the day and to exclude him temporarily from the competition for the next two flying days.

He also allowed the pilot of GX to replace his glider which cannot be repaired for this competition.

At the briefing the competition director announced his decision and showed the traces. He also urged all pilots to look out all the time and fly safely.  ”  
 Jozef Snirc –
Competition Director Prievidza July 6th 2010        
 I cannot agree more!!!!!And…please learn from it!!!

As life goes on ..luckily also for both pilots,  we look at  a great result that first day for Holland with European runner up and still junior ,Tim Kuijpers as number 1 in club class, though I was a bit shocked not to see G Dale under the first 5. As I found out he had troubles in the beginning, after missing a good thermal  and he was not able to go back as the weather at the start-point was even worse at that stage , so this slowed him down.
 Former junior JWGC winner Mario Kiessling won for Germany and the French had their first win in the PW 5 class with Laurent Couture. They say a ”good beginning is half the work” , so let’s see if this is true.
On day 2 the tracking system was working and it is really nice to follow the 14 pilots who have the system in their glider, with a 20 minute delay. If they like it as much as we do, I doubt it! Unfortunately the system  still had interuptions. A short AAT only with several out landings, some with damage and some people had to work all night to get the glider ready.
I was very pleased to see that Dane {NZ} won the day in standard class , even coming back 4 minutes TOO early. 
 Day 3 was cancelled due to rain, but that rain did not come straight away, they got colder air instead which most of the people over there had no problem with after the hot days. For at-least 2 gliders a little bit extra repair/drying- time was warmly welcomed.
Today they start for the first time from o4 after using 22 before! The weather looks this  early not too promising , it is only 14 dgr with 7 to 8/8 of clouds, but they expect a flying day. Look for news at your countries site or at the official site; 

I guessed that Sunday would be a better day for the pilots  here in Holland , you remember and I was right. On Monday I noticed we even  ”topped” the OLC list with spot 1-2 and 4. Well done guy’s!!!!
A total of 60 happy Dutch pilots with flights between 78 km and 686 km. Though…one of the girls was less happy, she was allowed a first flight in the discus and felt sick all the way [150 km.]!!! Some called it ”more promising then it was in reality”, but who cares when you can fly!!!
The pilots in France and Spain had a nice day as well, so had the Eastern countries,  as Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Rep. , but our German neighbours got our ”sh..-weather”  from the day before.

Soccer was “hot” in Holland yesterday! The semi finals in Capetown between Holland and Uruguay…..and we…….WON!!
But I did not look. Like thousands in the world I have such a weird fobie; when I would look, they would lose, so I was typing away on my laptop only hearing the vuvuzela’ s from the neighbours loud when “we”made a goal  and…..I heard that 3 times and I joined in after the match.
Even CNN send a TV team to Holland to look how we “celebrate with our boys” all dressed in orange and they expect over 12 million  just have awesome and peaceful [except for one place in The Hague]  great fun.
Tonigh ”we” know who will play against ”us” in the final on Sunday. In any case it is a European final match with modern soccer. I think Holland goes mad when ”we” win. We NEVER did but reached the final in 1972 and 1978.

On top of that Holland had a great soaring weather  yesterday as well,  Jeroen Kole made a great flight again from Terlet ;717 km. in a discus BT. Wow this weather is just unique!!!!
Jaap van Steinfoorn flew from Teuge in the ASH 25 M 819 km. For a moment Jeroen topped the OLC list , but the weather in the USA and in Canada is super as well so in the end he was the 2d European on place 18 with Wilfried Grosskinsky in the Nimbus 4 M with another 1077 km on spot 5 and Jaap at 20.
This nice weather continues, though Spain and Portugal don’t call it nice anymore as up to 40 dgr. is a bit much. Also New York suffers from extreme high temperatures.

18 Women started yesterday in Issoudun with the French National Women Championships including , but  hors concours , Gill Spreckly from the UK and Italian pilot Margherita Aquaderni. The first day had a task of 305 km with 5 outlandings. I guess some of these ladies will be in Arboga for the WWGC in Sweden in 2011.
Same place other competition ; the International Issoudun 2010, a very pleasant competition with lots of pilots from Germany, Belgium, Italy and Holland flown between July 3 and July 13. Some of the International guests go their already for ”ages”!!

My head is still full of soccer, could write you pages about it, but I won’t! The Tour de France , normally also one of my favourites , misses out a bit , but after Sunday this will change. I ”hate” by the way the many cyclists falling REALLY hard!!!
CU on Sunday.
cheers Ritz