World records! Nasty weather!Qualifying GP in Chile;8 flying days out of 8!German Junior-champion Sebastian wins!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday January 30 2011

On the FAI site,   I noticed that they received several claims for world records , at this stage pending ratification. Over the last 30 days Klaus Ohlmann is 6 times on the list. Last claim is in the general section open class ; flight on January 12 with 3 records in one flight.
Distance over a triangular course 1750.6 km., free triangular distance of 1755.5 km. and speed of  122.75 km /h over 1500 km. I mentioned it already in my blog a while ago, but now the records are pending.
On the picture; Hans Werner Grosse another top-long-distance-pilot!!!  I took the picture in  Eskilstuna. I admire both pilots stamina !!!

In Chile the Qualifying Grand Prix has continued  and has finished yesterday with a WINNER!!! And WHAT WINNER!!!!
But before,  pilots had day 5  with 5 outlandings and 8 points for day-winner Sebastian Nägel from Germany, who really is doing a great job over there. He flew the task ,428 km. with a speed of  136.6 km./h.  Sebastian is still a junior pilot and the current Champion of the juniors in Germany in club class. He will compete in this class in Musbach during the JWGC in August. At this stage they have in Musbach 88 participants 47 in club and 41 in standard class.
One of his concurrents in his class at the JWGC , will be Alexander Späth another great talent from Germany.
Day 6; another LONG flight , so good weather in Chile; 436 fly after the regatta start.  Sebastian  is “hot”  and wins again , 10 points in the pocket!!! Speed over the 436 km; 136 km./h. The 4 toppers did not make mistakes, but changed places again. Sebastian has 41 points now [ ASW 27] , Carlos Rocca 34 [Ventus 2b] , Rene 32 [Ventus 2xa]  and Thomas 32 [Diane].
On day 7   ONLY 4 from 12 pilots finished the 419 km long task with a speed of just over 100km./h! So not too many points ,5 for winner Rene Vidal from Chile, 3 for Thomas, 2 for Sebastian ,who remains on spot 1 after 7 days and 1 for Carlos.
Day 8  and last day ” only ” had 284 km on the menu for the pilots. Thomas won with a speed of 126 km./h, [10  points] Rene was 2d just behind with 125 km./h[  8 points]and Sebastian 3d also with 125 km.’h .[7 points]
BUT ….with the 7 points Sebastian won with a total of 50 points.
Winning the Chilean qualifying Grand Prix over the Chilean Andes is a top achievement for a young under 25 German pilot. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
Thomas and Rene shared the 2d place each achieving 45 points. Well done and congratulations !!!!

The last flight for the season  on January 26 by Klaus Engelhardt who stayed in Gariep Dam, since November 6 was 669 km. in the Nimbus 3T 25m. From the 34 flights he made the best was 1.122 km. with a speed of 128 km./h. and the shortest 203 km.,a day with 70 km. wind …and blue,  in which he could not find the lift but …found wave over the field up to FL 195. So ..still an interesting day.
A few gliders are now in the container to travel back to Germany, but still 8 pilots showed their flight on the OLC that day under them 5 Spanish pilots. So Gariep is still in action.
 And also still in action with….finally a better day, is Kiripotib  . Best to OLC added flight was,  a nice 702 km in the ASH 25 E,  only using the engine over Bitterwasser to come home. And Bloemfontein added a 500 km.flight.
In Australia [ Corowa ] the Slovak container has been packed now for return to Europe tomorrow  . Good , as I saw the first cu’s here as well. But it will take a bit more time to really fly here.
Slowly they are going to pack gliders in their own containers as well, but they continue flying till February the 20 thiest, that is the day the other containers will depart, so hopefully a few GREAT days can be added to the total. Today  was a good one again with flights up to  700 km  and temperatures up North to 42 dgr. !!!!!!!
NO 1000 km flight till now in Australia, a pity, but that has happened in the past as well. We spend 20 seasons in  Tocumwal, 10 being an overseas guest and 10 owning Sportavia and living in Tocumwal and there were top years with lot’s of 1000 km. flights but also a few years without, so nothing is new, the weather remains the weather even when it is called El Nina.
By the way the Finnish LS6, living in Eddie’s hangar at Sportaviation  has been flown by Jari who flew 60 hours!!! and will be now used by Kari.

Heavy weather again in the USA,  where the 6th snow-front hit New York last Thursday morning , so bad that JFK, La Guardia and Newark had to be closed. Also Maryland and Massachusetts were hit. Lots of flights had to be cancelled and trains, busses and cars had their problems as well.
We have cold weather here just under 0, during the day and up to minus 8 in the night,  but SUNNY and that feels so good!!!Canada has a lot of snow as well, as you can see on the picture I received from Art recently.


Eindhoven Airport; I spoke with you about it. After 70 years the glider pilots are forced to find another airfield to fly from in the future. 2 Days ago the Airport announced a 26 million investment to grow and to be able to handle 43.000 flights instead of 18.000. The terminal and departure hall will be upgraded to deal with more passengers. Great for Eindhoven, but I guess less good for the glider pilots.

Just received a message from Australia, via Jo,  this nasty weather seems to never stop ! This is from the West of Australia. I checked the link and it should work now, just wait a a few seconds .  To enlarge you can click on them .Devastating pictures when you love your sport, I was shocked when I saw them.

—-Hi Folks,
Just to let you know that Beverley airfield suffered damage yesterday from the passage of a severe thunderstorm front around 4pm. All club gliders and tug got on the ground and under cover in time.

See Alf Roche’s pictures at:

 No-one was hurt but the airfield looks like a war zone, we have been very lucky that there has not been more property damage.
My hangar has about two tons of tree bole indented into it, Mike Yankee’s damage appears to be minor to the tailplane, but Chris Runeckles is going to assess the damage hopefully next week. Astir CS Alpha Lima’s hangar has a huge tree in front of it, a branch of which has collapsed the front of the hangar onto the nose of AL, but there doesn’t appear to be any damage to the

Hornet HX and Pik20 WXK are undamaged in their hangars, but both their trailers got airborne, WXK trailer impaled on the corner of WXK’s hangar, while HX trailer is perched sideways on a huge branch which in turn is parked on top of the hangar.The shade tree for Runway 16 is gone, and there are irreplaceable trees and branches down everywhere.We will need a busy bee organised to tidy up, a huge effort is needed.Hope there is no additional damage from the ex-cyclone passage!

And more bad weather- news   now from Springhill in New Zealand , where the beautiful estate I visited was hit as well.

—-We’ve had a major storm and flood on the farm- whole airfields under water. A major clean up of the farm and hangars is needed.  The storm has been wild. We can’t get to the roads- our neighbors are stuck in their houses. —–

Life here continues , so….off to fitness again. A whole new world opened for me!! Never knew so many people try to keep themselves fit on loud music and loud shouting, flash looking  teachers up front!!! Don’t do that , keep it on fitness,machines!!!!
By the way in the new ” Sailplane and Gliding “  , you can read in the February/March issue,  a very good article about flying in Argentina. Both UK pilots , Bruce Cooper and John Williams describe their flights on December 25. One about his world record over 1.650 km.,  the other about his 2000 km. diploma. Worthwhile reading!!!!!
Have asked Bruce 5 questions about his world-record-flight and you can read the answers soon , both here and in the Gliding International.
Next week also some great pictures from Unterwössen where they fly with skies under the plane.

Cheers Ritz, today I finish with some pictures from Finnish friend Kai Mönkkönen, he just gave  them to me to use them ! I know him as a wonderfull / excellent photographer, on the right place at the right moment, on top of that he has an awesome camera! Enjoy. These pictures are from the WGC 2006, in Sweden; great memories! And…I have many more!!! Click on them to enlarge!!!


Sometimes it nearly goes wrong!!?? It looks worse then it was!


Qualifying Grand Prix in Chile !

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday  January 26 2011                AUSTRALIA DAY!!!!     

Australia day; brings back very good memories,as …..lot’s of guests/ pleasure , because of the long weekend and good soaring.
This year the day is dedicated to the flood victims and  ” the raising of funds to rebuild Queensland.” Only in Queensland 130 fund- raising-parties. Not only that also the usual citizenship ceremonies and another tradition in Sydney; the Aboriginal Ceremony in the Botanic Gardens and not to forget the annual ferry race.
El Nina is, as I heard,  giving more problems for the next couple of months in both Australia and South Africa, may be even till May they can expect this  heavy/wet weather. At least this is the forecast by the World Meteorological Organisation from the United Nations.
 Heard that over 100 people got killed lately,  as a result of heavy rain and thunderstorms in S.  Africa. In Australia 35 people lost their life.

Not long ago Björn from Norway revisited Tocumwal and I told you both he and his wife share the same passion for the Morgan. Yesterday I found the pictures , so I share them with you.


This was in Sweden in 2006, during the Eskilstuna WGC , the last big multi class event.
Here you can see the field that year from both ends.


The 2011 FAI Qualifying Sailplane Grand prix started this year in Chile.  12 Competitors “fight” for qualifying. Amongst them pilots from Germany, the UK , Argentina , Slovakia and Italy.
The Club de Planeadores at Vitacura is the organiser of this event, which continues till January 29. Practise days were on January 19-20-21 and the first day was last Saturday,…and only 3 pilots finished the task of 388 km.  Carlos Rocca Vidal won [4],  Thomas Gostner from Italy was 2d[2] and Rene Vidal was 3d.[1point]
On Sunday pilots had to fly 291 km. Sebastian Nägel from Germany “received ” the  7 points for the day and was one from the 6 who made it home. And….3 pilots have 7 points in total after 2 days. Sebastian, Carlos and Thomas.
On Monday… a fresh week ….with a new task , this time 200 km. and for the first time 10 points for the winner; Rene Vidal.
Total changes again; Sebastian and Rene both have 15 points and Thomas 14.
To the right on the picture you see Thomas and to the left Giorgio Galetto and in the middle Stefano Ghiorzo.Picture was  made in Eskilstuna.

Yesterday; day 4 with 300 km. and one winner with 10 points; Carlos Rocca Vidal who flew with a speed of 138 km/h. He is after 4 days on top with 23 points together with Sebastian, while Thomas is 3d with 21 points. All pilots finished the task,a good day!

And again problems for Quantas. Yesterday a plane ” dropped ”  8 kilometer on the flight from Adelaide to Melbourne, as due to a technical fault in the airco system the plane lost pressure!!!!! The captain “dived”down and passengers quickly had to use the masks. No worries in the end, they all landed safely at Tullamarine Melbourne Airport!

Gariep Dam pilots finally could fly again yesterday. Good on them.Nearly 500 km. Not what they hoped for when they travelled to SA but better then not flying. It is what a friend wrote to me: ” This overseas season was a wash out, we have to wait for another year.”

 Looking back at pictures from the archive to finish this blog.
Wave as well in Rieti in Italy in 2008 during the WGC. And…Terry Cubley who flew last week the Naionals in Benalla, here talking to Brian Spreckley in Rieti in 2008 .  And a happy- family- picture Australian pilot Bruce Taylor with Anita his wife and daughter Indi.


See you next Sunday! Cheers Ritz

Bitterwasser -season finished! Benalla-comps finished !

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday January 23 2011

The overseas season for Bitterwasser   is over and gliders have been packed in the containers on January 19. They claim a very good season. Last I mentioned the half -season stats here is the season-total;
—98 flights over 1000 km.—41 over 1100 km.—9 over 1200 km.—2 over 1300 km and a total of 150 flights over 1000 km.
Not bad!
Sad however that 1 pilot died this season and 2 gliders were lost to ground-loops.
What was very good to read on their site was the warning from Martin Kroke, leader of the Bitterwasser team,  to have a day rest after arrival to acclimatize!!! He is totally correct, I have been worried in the past as well, when pilots immediately wanted to go up coming from cold circumstances and  a long trip, to hot circumstances. That counts for Namibia and  South Africa, which is a much shorter flight from Europe, but  even more,  for flights from Europe to Australia.

Benalla added a good soaring day 5, to their total of days. A 4.30 hour AAT with Mount Buller , but also both Corowa and Tocumwal in it, so for a few pilots a trip where they knew the better spots.
Best pilots flew 423 in LS 8 and 432 in LS 4. Terry flew 435 in his LS 3 , but was 3 minutes over time, while Tobias was back on the dot!!!!
Day 6 gave  pilots a last 3 more hours to show who is the best. The weather was promising, then did not look TOO good, but then in the end “fired up ”  [ read =  pretty good] ,with 300 km in 3 hours in an LS 8 in sports class.
Australian Champion in sports class;  Peter Temple, runner up Lisa and good 3d, Tim Wilson. These 3 were in the top over all, since a few days!
In club class Tobias Geiger lost his first place to Alan Barnes after not having his best flight on this last day. He was 14th and lost 250 points to Alan, who took the cup home to Queensland. Guess he should be able to travel home by now!
A good party finished these comps and I hope to receive an evaluation soon by somebody who was there.

When the weather is OK in Benalla, the weather is even better in Tocumwal and Corowa which is a bit more up North  and NE. So great to see that the guests at Sportaviation , as Jochen, Jari, Ralph and Stefan finally had good weather. January really was a wet month. But with flights as on Thursday pilots must be happy again. NEARLY 1000 km in Corowa , 915 and a nice triangle and over 700 in Tocumwal. Good to see many “old ” friends in Corowa as well.
On Friday Hans Raschke  had a great day flying in Narromine 600 km.  in an LS 4!!! Hans was earlier in the season in Bitterwasser.
Today an excellent day again for both Corowa and Tocumwal with flights at this stage up to 625 for Terry at Toc and 500 for Corowa but longer flights surely will be added later. Will keep you informed, as most of the over-seas news will be from Australia from now on where the weather is still good , [can be still good, with this rainy season you never know] , till April, but….days are getting shorter!!!!

Sometimes I get info which is valuable for everybody, so I share the news about flutter which I got this morning. Thanks Judy!

> Flutter is the single biggest problem we are likely to experience as
> glider pilots.  Those pilots who have had the experience will no doubt
> agree that it is guaranteed to stain the jocks.   The attached video
> reference reviews flutter pretty well and is recommended viewing.
> Flutter can vary from very mild vibration to almost instantaneous failure
> of the structure.
> WE are most likely to experience flutter if:
> (1)    We fly faster than Vne, remembering that Vne reduces with altitude.
> (density altitude also considered)
> (2)    We fly with any control surface having freeplay in excess of the
> manufacturers limit, or the 1.5% Rule
> (3)    We fly with the mass balance of any control surface altered by such
> things as collected rainwater.
> (4)    We fly with structural damage resulting from flight overload or
> ground contact
> These 4 conditions are usually filtered by an adequate Daily Inspection.
> By design and certification our sailplanes are very unlikely to flutter if
> flown and maintained to the manufacturer´s requirements.
>      Item 11 gives a good coverage
> A Google search will turn up lot of flutter examples.
> Regards to everyone
> Mike Burns
> President SRGC.

Finish today with the spectacular looking ,but safe finish of a glider at the WGC in Eskilstuna. I heard you like the pictures in the blog , so every time I will find some in my archive. I have to find out who made them to put the name with them. Enjoy!

See you next, but….might be back later, as I have to run to fitness now!!!!!!!
cheers Ritz

Some more news about the comps in Benalla!

High water from Murray River                              Picknick tables...not to be used.

First of all a picture of the Murray River, as the place Echuca, along the Murray is flooded now as well. These pictures were made on December 15 in Tocumwal , but though the water had lowered, it is still high after new rain.Also Horsham, well known from the Horsham Week and Rochester suffer from high water.  An 8 year old boy from the Shepparton -area, drowned as the Goulburn River flooded and 64 other towns have problems with high water as well.

The Benalla Nationals are still going strong.Though …the weather is not really flash. After 4 days it is either Peter Temple or Lisa Trotter who win the day in sports class,  so Peter is 1 after 4 days , leading with 100 points.Day 3 had 4 outlandings and the day before was cancelled.
In club class a bad 3d day for Terry Cubley who was one of the many “out-landers”  [more then half of the competitors in this class !!!]  that day, loosing nearly 500 points. That day was won by an other “oldie” Paul Mander in the SZD 55. Interesting to see that the ” kilometer-eaters ”  Tobias and Alan, who fly through the year  a lot and far , are on spot 1 and 2 while the “toppers”  are not doing TOO good.
Good to see that Peter Trotter,  who lost 150 points by using the wrong start point on day 1 , and ended that day at spot  25 from 31, is on day 4 again on spot 8 overall!!!!

Virgin America is buying for 3.8 milliard Euro,  60 planes of the type Airbus A 320!!!! According to Airbus they received in the year 2010 more orders then Boeing. Don’t know why , but I like Richard Branson.

The crews of Quantas planes have been pretty busy over the last time. This time it was a 747 with 375 passengers from Sydney to Los Angeles who encountered problems with an engine and the pilots decided to land as a precaution, close to Fiji. The island of Nadi, was happy to host all passengers in their motels and 18 hours later everybody arrived safe in LA. 
Saftey first!!!!

It is great to see how busy the UK friends   are with the preparations for this years EGC and WWGC and for the 2012 WGC ‘s.
10 Coaches have been selected and they will put time and effort in helping out  the Brittish International team both  old and young to be as good as possible.
Not the least names; Pete Harvey, Brian Spreckley, Andy Davis, Pete Masson, Jay Rebbeck, Richard Hood, G Dale, Dave Watt, Mike Young and Jez Hood, a great mix of young and older pilots and wow, what experience in competition soaring they have !!!

Short news today , see you on Sunday Ritz

Shocking weather!NZ Nationals!Benalla!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday January 16 2011
Today I added a lot of pictures to the diary published on January 5 AND a short funny video about the bubbling mud,  have a look when you are interested! Just scroll down! Thanks!

Feel sorry  for all pilots waiting for nicer weather, but   more then for them, I nearly cry for all who suffer,  due to this “bloody” rain all over the world. People got killed in the Philippines, in Brazil, Shri Lanka,  in Australia and even here in Holland [ one guy drowned when he tried to save his doggie; the doggie is fine!] ,  where on a much smaller scale flooding is bad in the South.
El Nina… they call the culprit in Australia, with all info why this happens, but…to stop it would be better.
If you look in the smiling face on a picture of a 13 year old young boy, who asked the rescuers to safe  his 11 year old brother first and who then drowns together with his mum ….heartbreaking.
This is enough weather-disaster, hope it stops now for the rest of 2011 !!!! 
While half of the world suffers from water, 70% of the USA suffers from ice/snow. It is a weird world/ climate !!

Back to soaring. No extra news at this stage on Springhill as the owners are first going to marry in February, so that costs a lot of time and energy. I figured out how to put pictures on, so here are the very first ones, from  the future bride and groom, ready after this big event to look at all possibilities for their fantastic estate, Springhill. You can only see the taxi track from the big hangar to the 1 km. long runway, but as far as you can see…it is all Springhill.


So glad it works now with the pictures!!!! Now I “only ” have to make better ones !!!

Talking about New Zealand,  the nationals just have been flown from Omarama. Here is a link I received.Thanks!!!
Great to see soaring is in the gens of the family Wills. Now George Wills son of Justin has been part of the Nationals and I guess we are going to hear a lot more about him in the future as well. He was runner up in 15 m class.
Also great to see it was “a piece of cake “, for Dane Dickinson to win 15 m. class. Not really as he had to fight with other top pilots for the top position as you can read in the article. Anyway enjoy it! It is out of the Otago Daily Times.

Namibia had some better weather  again,with some 1000 km. flights but again, only in open class gliders. The first 1000 km flights , 6 on one day were flown on December 1 2010 and Reinhard Schramme with co pilot where the first to receive a bottle of champagne from good old Woody. Decision to give them the bottle was that it was the longest flight of the 6 that day.[1.127,54]
In the middle of the season 10/11,  96 over 1000 km. flights were flown from Bitterwasser, celebrating their 5othiest anniversary. From them 30 were over 1100 km., 4 over 1200 and 2 over 1300 km. all in thermals.[source; Bitterwasser site at]
On the OLC -best-airfield they seem not to be beaten anymore with 577.767.81 km. flown by 127 pilots in 799 flights. Number 2 is at this stage; Gariep Dam with 280.860.11 by 77 pilots in 484 flights.

For the rest of the overseas -season-pilots it is just waiting. A poor season, indeed it is, but it is not over yet, so lets hope for a few booming days now sunset is still acceptable for long flights.
Pokweni and Kiripotib had both,  a just over 1000 km flight again last Friday ,with  FINALLY as I hear a day with no showers in Kiripotib. And also  Gariep Dam had good flights up to 800 km yesterday. Yesterday Kiripotib had severe -shower-warnings again,  but  pilots still managred to  fly 951 km.

Azul; I wrote about Damien Goldenzweig, that he was the most probable winner of the Nationals in Argentina in the mixed class. BUT…..On day 7 on January 12,  he only got 762 points on a 1000 point day, dropping from 1 overall to 2.
Mario Reynoso was doing well on a 3d place overall in standard class while Lucas Goldenzweig is 6 now in this class.But it goes up and down there with the pilots, nobody seems to be really consistent, or was maybe the weather not consistent??
In the end they flew 9 days out of 12 . The last day made it special as both potential winners were fighting to be National Champion. Damien was 6th on this last soaring day with 942 points while Jorge was “only” 19th with 842 points.
The difference on day 8 overall, was 93 points in favor of Jorge.
With a difference of only 8 points Damien [ 8372]  won  after 9 days and Jorge Tartara [8364]  , the local hero, was a great runner up in these Nationals in the mixed class. Javier Gaude 2d on the last flying day, was on a good 6th place . Congratulations!
In club class ” good old ” Mario managed to keep his 3d place, Lucas was 6th and Gonzalo Riera won!!! Well done! Here are a few lines from a mail I received this morning by Horacio.
We are very glad about Mario’s 3rd place, that shows that he’s still a very good pilot.  [I totally agree!!!]
Also Gonzalo Riera, son of the late Jorge Riera, an 8 times national champion won his first national championship. It was a very emotive moment since Jorge was beloved by all the members of this community when he died tragically in 2004 while taking a glider exam. He was a very respected pilot in my country, also by the fact of being one of the highest ranking pilots in Aerolineas Argentinas.[ Bit of a sad story but you look at Gonzalo’s win with other eyes  is n’t it? At least I do and I wish him all the best!!! ]

In Benalla they had a pilots meeting on Friday   to talk while waiting for the better weather to come, about the future of competition flying in Australia. Expectation was that soaring should be possible on Saturday when the wind was tough enough to dry the wet areas.And…finally something positive; real strong winds arrived last Friday, to blow the bad weather away and to drain and dry the field.
Several places in Victoria suffer now from high water as well {Echuca, being one of them} and lot’s of crops have been ruined. 
Here is a line from another mail, I received from Daniel;
—-The devastating fact is that farmer for the first time in some 7 years of drought where expecting record harvests lashing out on big new harvesters only to see them bogged in fields under water with crops destroyed. —-
 Will be difficult enough for outlandings as well now.
Yesterday a task was set; an AAT with 2 hours and club class was launched  first. The through had passed , the field had been  prepared after all the rain …..and the day turned out better then expected.
Winners of day 1 ‘s AAT in 2 hours ; Terry Cubley in his LS 3 in club and in sports class Peter Temple,in his LS 8,  both WGC pilots in the past.
Today they had a 3 hour AAT on day 2 with better conditions, hot , humid and cu’s up to 6000 ft. as is written on their site.
Preliminary results for day 2;Lisa Trotter in sportsclass in LS 8 with 293 km flown in 3.08 h. And in Club class Queensland kilometer-eater Alan Barnes flew in his LS1 f 291 km in 3.05 h. In this class Lisa’s husband Peter was 2d.
After 2 days the prelimanary overall scores are;
Club classs; 1. another kilometer-eater Tobias Geiger from Victoria flying LS4. 2. Alan [Queensland] and 3 Terry.[South Australia]
Sports class; 1. Peter Temple, 2 Lisa Trotter 3 Scott Lennon all flying LS8 and from South Australia, Queensland and NSW.
Finally good flights from Corowa and Tocumwal as well today after what I heard 5 days of more or less steady rain.

Flying in Argentina both from Chapelco and Lago Nahuel  still shows interesting flights on the OLC. On Thursday a duo discus with 2 Czech pilots flew 1.701 km., with a speed of 134 km/h. from Lago Nahuel which is South of Chapelco. Before , Klaus Ohlmann flew 1.875 km from Chapelco with a speed of 125 km/h in the Nimbus 4DM and I really like his down -to-earth-enthusiasm after each flight. This time he happily wished all of us in his comment, a good year but also mentioned ” there were a lot of moments where doubts dominated,  but in the end optimism won. Good luck was with me”.

The 18 m. qualifying  GRAND PRIX from Australia  which has been moved due to bad weather to Lake Keepit has top pilot John Buchanan  “Butch” , as contest  director. Beryl Hartley, who organized the GP in the past in Narromine is the referee and Bruce Taylor, another Aussie top pilot,  the tasksetter. The Grand Prix will be flown March 19-25 2011.

You are up to date now , so more news on Wednesday maybe Thursday, depending…Grandson Dexter had a tonsil operation and not all went well, so needed a second operation , a stay overnight in hospital and lost a lot of blood, so I am needed.
Cheers Ritz

Latest about some comps !Toowoomba!OLC 2010!

Alphen aan den Rijn   Wednesday Januari 12 2011

Last Sunday we finally had a nice day here. It was DRY and we had sunshine , blue skies and…temperatures up to 13 dgr. Days are getting longer as well, …but I do realize winter is not over yet, neither the rain.
A real disaster however in Toowoomba. Got news from Gerrit, who lives in Toowoomba with his wife Pam and both  just finished flying in South Australia at Waikirie , but cannot go home due to this “flash flooding”, as they call it in Toowoomba. Even worse; a mini-inland- tsunami!!! Maybe for the best, that they were not home!
Bridges are missing, and parts of roads just disappeared! Cars are one ONE big heap!!! And worse, people are “washed out of them “!!!
I received the links, you cannot believe your eyes!!! You have to copy and paste them to see the disaster! Worst of course is, that at this stage, 9 people have drowned and 72 are missing!!!!!”
Who would have ever expect such a flooding in the higher regions in this area of Australia. Busses to Brisbane and up North  travel trough Toowoomba , but all is suspended now. And…it is such a nice town!!!
Feel very sad about it!!! And now the 3d biggest town in Australia is waiting for what is going to happen to them, as water flows to them now.
More news also on with an incredible video made by amateurs about a parking place where all cars but one, are just ” washed away ” in a flash by the power of the water. Shocking! And on  Thanks Vanessa!

Here are the links from Gerrit,THANKS!> &id=flooding-hits-toowoomba-101

Between Toowoomba and Brisbane is the town Ipswitch and they expect a rise of water of 22 meter on Thursday!!!!

In Argentina, at Azul, the Nationals are in progress  with 81 competitors in 2 classes.It is the 60thiest version and last Sunday Damien Goldenzweig, top pilot and still very young from Argentina,with a bright soaring-future ahead of him,  was on top in the mixed class.He flies an ASW 20 . The comps are on till the 14th and the runner up on Sunday only missed out on 67 points, after 4 days of flying.
In standard class brother Lucas is flying an LS 4 and he was on Sunday 5th after 3 days.
On January 10 both classes had flown 5 days and top pilot , certainly in my time, Mario Reynoso , shows he still can fly with an 8th place overall. On day 5 he flew the biggest distance of 294 km in a standard jantar , but he flew 20 minutes longer then the set 3 hours.
 Damien seems not to beat, but it is only over on the last minute of the last competition day.Well known pilot Javier Gaude won day 4 and 5 and is 3d now,with less then 200 points behind Damien.
Horatio does not have the best run, though he was 2d on day 4, but sometimes he is nearly with one hour out of the set time and that costs….But he is still young and will fly the Junior WGC in Musbach this year .I noticed on their site,  well kept by Katja , that there are 69 preliminary entrees at this stage, 37 in club and 32 in standard class.

In Benalla last Sunday was a practise day. Some rain spoiled the practise for the 48 competitors in 2 classes with several well known names. On Monday was the first day of these Nationals  for club-and sports class and the comps continue till January 21. Will keep you informed in between those dates.
Rain spoiled also day 1!Expectation is , as I heard that there will be no flying till Saturday!!!!!Rain, rain, rain…..

The OLC season 2010 counted 102.187 flights which is less then in 2009 with 107.194.
28.290,894 kilometers were flown and  in 2009 , 28.691,130.
In 2010  13.212 competitors  added their flights on the OLC and 13.424 in 2009.
2.256.349 users “used “46, 621.299 pages and in 2009 , 2,023.859 used 40.104.668 pages.
[source annual statistics OLC]

And then some other news , I received from Australia;  sorry to see some soaring friends struggle with the flooding!!!
——Hi folks
You’ve probably heard the news that Dalby is flooded again. As many of you know, Darling Downs Soaring Club is east of Dalby by 30km and has a creek on its southern boundary.
We have already had one flood (just post Christmas) when all the private caravans and most trailers went under and we now have another. The airfield is completely cut off (the access road has been gouged out by a raging torrent) but so far the water is about 300mm below the post Christmas peak and a metre below the hangar floors.
More rain is forecast for today/tonight, but the last dump passed just east of the field.
We were trying to organise a working party to go up and put the gliders up on concrete blocks – but the Warrego Hwy is cut below the Toowoomba range and again at Jondaryan (just east of the club – by the creek that is currently flooding the club). Now we hear that the access road is cut and so all we can do is to cross fingers and watch the radar

And when you always wanted to fly a competition in beautiful Lake Keepit , then here is your chance, I really loved Lake Keepit:

Hi Everyone,
A quick plug for the upcoming Keepit Regatta, being held from 20th to 26th
February. The Keepit regatta is a fun, friendly and informal mini comp, with
entries restricted to 30 glider. The basic idea is that this is a mentoring
event where pilot pairs are scored together around AAT tasks. We match up
early cross country pilots with a seasoned pro, and they compete together as
a team, either in two gliders or in a twin.

This is a great opportunity to introduce budding cross country pilots to
competition type AAT flying, while not getting caught up in all the formal
competition hoo-hah. It will be run in a low key and relaxed way, all the
while making sure people have fun.
Full details are available on our website or on the
attached information page.
We still have a couple of seats in Keepit two seaters available, and our
Jantar Junior is now available following an overseas cancellation. At this
stage we have received 24 entries so we’ve 6 spaces available. As well as
many Keepit entrants, we have pilots coming from Alice Springs, Qld,
Narromine, Temora and Hong Kong.
If you or someone you know would like to participate, please contact me for
further info, or send the entry form through to me at – We would love to have you join in.

Just received the next message  also from Australia;
Due to the continuing poor weather in Queensland the decision has been made to move the 18m Australian Qualifying Grand Prix venue from Boonah in Queensland to Lake Keepit in NSW and run it the week immediately preceding the NSW State Comps (to be held at Lake Keepit).
Lake Keepit will provide a spectacular venue for the Grand Prix and you are encouraged to apply for a spot in the competition. Entrants are limited to a maximum of 20 aircraft and the top two placings are guaranteed an entry to the FAI World Grand Prix
Expressions of interest should, in the first instance, be emailed to Ross McLean at we will then get back to you and advise further entry requirement details.  We hope to have the web site operational asap. 
If you had previously entered in the Boonah GP please just reconfirm your entry with me, your entry fee will stand or you can have an immediate full refund if desired.
Best regards, ROSS

Enough comps-stories, so see you on Sunday again with other news.And….good luck to all friends in Queensland specially my friends in Brisbane who are expecting the worst and Toowoomba, who have to find their families first and then see what’s left of their belongings.And this happens in a country where the drought in many places, has been so tough over the last years. The tropical cyclones , started already in December with heavy rain and due to the drought-of-years,  the soil cannot handle all this rain. 
Cheers Ritz

JS1 ! Perlan project !And more….

Alphen aan den Rijn       Sunday January 9 2011

The weather has been pretty poor lately. Even in Holland where the snow has melted because of heavy rain, so “hurray” no snow anymore here.
Neither pilots in Australia, or Namibia or South Africa have flown 1000 km. tasks in 2011 till last Friday and mind you this is HIGH season!!!!
I was impressed with the nice 510 km. flight from Grant , flying from Temora on day one from 2011, in a Slingsby,T59-D Kestrel. Was this maybe Richard’s Kestrel, flying in Tocumwal for a long period in the past before it was sold ?

On November 14 2010 the first stage of Canberra Airports   $350 million terminal upgrade was complete and opened it’s doors to the people of Canberra and the Nation.
The work done on the airport is unbelievable. Stage 1,created the birth of a new terminal, and the project was called; AIRVOLUTION!!!  As Stephen,  who flew with us at Sportavia in the past, said; “Canberra was easily the worst terminal in the country and to fully exploit its potential , would mean razing it to the ground and re-building it from the foundations up. Thus the term Airvolution was coined.
Chairman Terry , also a former guest at Sportavia, is proud and with his team responsible for the biggest and most important change in the airport’s history.
The new terminal will be totally finished in 2012. This month they begin with the construction of  the Western Concourse Terminal Extension.
For those who want to see it and want to know more about it , look at ;

Received news from the JS 1 dealer as newsletter 4  is out now in pdf. There is also a link to their facebook site with regular updates;
You can find the Facebook page via de following link 
Also found on Facebook the link from Sven to
SA Nationals 2010, one day in the JS1 cockpit

This movie was filmed during the South African Nationals 2010 from Welkom Airport.

Also received news on the Perlan project . They have started a new project and are building a new plane for that. Read for all the latest;

And received news from Erik about  ” stages” in Vinon.  We talk mountain-flying now! They offer different kinds of courses , mainly changing in the degree of difficulty.
Decouverte de la montagne “ ,discover the mountains, specially for those pilots who do not have , or want to brush up their mountain experience. You fly with an instructor and the price to do so ,  is interesting.

“Stage de grand vols”, the BIG flights for experienced pilots , with one of Vinon’s top-pilots as there is , Alain Poulet , who flew from Vinon to Fes [Moroco], an intercontinental flight of 1500 km. and who has flown more then 30.000 soaring hours!!!!, but also with Didier Hauss who I know from several WGC’s as well as Gilles Navas and Belgium pilot Paul Janssens.
You can ask for information at the email address of well known pilot Regis Kunts  or look at their web site;

Life continues,  on Thursday finally longer flights over 800 km. in Corowa , still struggling pilots not with  showers but with dry thermals, wind and to low temperatures in the beginning, later however great clouds up to  3000 m above ground .
Lot’s of pilots practising in Benalla for the comps.
Great practise for Tobias Geiger who flew a SUPER 750 km. triangle with a speed of 100 km p/h in and LS 4 last Thursday!!!!!
 Nice flight from Peter Rafael as well,  from Bendigo Gliding Club who must have enjoyed his triangle of 329 the wooden glider Maupin-Woodstock 11.9.
Good to see Ib and Ole back in Corowa for their annual soaring. Danish record -flying will start again. Hope the weather stays so good now as last year!
Thanks Ole for your comment!!!! I had to laugh as well!!!
And…then on Friday and Saturday the weather improved everywhere, 1000 km flights for Bitterwasser and Kiripotib on Friday and nice long flights from Tocumwal [852 km.] Gariep Dam [821]and Corowa [770 km], nice declared 750 triangle  for Pepe and a 750 for Ib on his first flight of the season. Not bad!

For those that are interested the WA state comps  start today [Jan. 6] at Beverley in Western Australia. To see the list of entries and results see
Tuesday was practice day one and lift was about 7kts to 8000ft under Cu. Yesterday we were washed out! Today there’s a cold westerly blowing about 25kts to contend with, hopefully things will improve in coming days. The comp is a dry comp run as one class using the old National Club Class handicaps from when the nationals used to be a single class.
The Nationals in Benalla are about to begin, will keep you informed.

Just spilled my cup of tea over the desk.  GRRRRrrr….. All paperwork wet, but luckily nothing over the computer! Less lucky was the pilot who spilled coffee over the communication systems in the cockpit of his Boeing 777, flying from Chicago to Frankfurt with 255 passengers and crew. The pilot had to make an extra landing at Toronto Airport in Canada, as due to the coffee , the emergency-signals had started and refused to stop!!!

Lot’s of you know the good quality of my eyes to see distance. Always the first to spot a finishing glider. Have the beginning of cataract now on my right eye, not too much to worry at this stage. A bit of a nuisance though.More investigations in February.And…Holland escaped  disaster as a huge chemical plant burned down with thousands of liters poisonous and toxic material. Fire Brigade was busy for over 30 hours, lot’s of explosions and fire that high as not seen before in Holland and big dark clouds going with the wind up North to where we live and then  “they ” say that  there is no extra pollution in the air. Can’t believe that, to be true!

That’s it for now, good to be back in the normal rhythm. Cheers Ritz

The diary and blog of today !

First part still copied and then LIFE AGAIN>>>>HURRAY>>>>>>>

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday  Januari 5 2011

It was nice to see the face of the custom-guy after arriving in NZ. I had to apply for a temporarily visa and one of the questions was ; Which countries have you visited the last 30 days?
And there I had to fill in ; Holland, Germany, Austria and Australia. He looked at me, smiled and must have thought; Lucky girl!

In the plane I read The Australian and was impressed by the exclusive story by Steve Creedy ,their aviation writer;” How miracle unfolded on A 380!”I share a few things with you.

—-QF 32 departs from Singapore to Sydney on November 4 2010 ,with 5 pilots, 24 cabin crew and 440 passengers at 9.57 AM Singapore time.
Only 4 minutes later a master-warning and multiple error messages.

1 Minute later the crew mentions 2 loud bangs. A warning indicates a fire in engine 2. Crew discharges 2 of the engines fire extinguishers into the engine. They fly back to Shangi Airport and are put in a holding pattern within 50 km of the airport in case it needs to land urgently.The pilots work through a checklist to prepare and stabilize the plane for landing. ONLY one engine is operating normally and braking capacity is reduced. The airbus needs all but 150 m. of the 4000 m. runway to land. A number of moveable wing panels normally used to land the plane [slats, spoilers and ailerons] are also out of action.

The captain Richard de Crespigny, would also need to put the plane down within 8 seconds of it passing through 50 feet and as close as possible to the start of the touch down zone.They had to be gentle and slow and luckily Richard was used as military pilot, to fly aircrafts to the limit.
The crew choose a long 32 km final approach to get the plane stable. The need for fine speed control meant that the Crespigny, kept the thrust levers on engines 1 and 4 in fixed position and used the 3d to control thrust.”I did that technique to purposely not stress the flight controls and to have accurate speed “he said, “We had 100m of excess runway, so we could not go fast and we could not go slow because we would be close to stall”.
He brought the plane to rest about 100 m from the end of the runway and in front of the firebrigade, as they knew fuel was leaking and brakes were hot.

For the Crespigny , the landing was secondary to the massive preparations to ensure it would go safe.

What a hero, as well as the other 5 pilots and when you fly , like I did in a 747-400, you cannot imagine what pilots have to endure when such things happen with so heavy huge planes. I am already amazed to see it go up, with all the luggage people bring in.

Glad it all seems to work but I still need some more practise and some answers myside ansered and I have to see how the tags work.
Just short for today —overkill kills—, is what they say and I really would like you to read the diary as well.
I promised to share with you what happened oveseas , to make you part of this fabulous trip. Always try to keep my promesses, so here we go:

The continuing diary- story of a marvelous 16 day trip through Australia and New Zealand, for all who are interested.

Last news from the diary was from Springhill, but we left that beautiful estate on Wednesday the 22d of December, after a lovely dinner on a second-floor-restaurant ,looking out over the sea, the evening before.
Plan was to travel with the Saratoga, [Tony’s plane] as it is only a 90 minute trip by air to Hawke’s Bay, but the weather gods were not on our site so we drove by car, with 2 doggies and Emily , Tony and I. A 6 hour trip, but no worries as you see so much more by road. And …the roads in NZ are just fantastic. You can drive over the State Highway number 1 from the North of the Nord Island to the South of the South Island, with a short boat trip between the islands. We did about 1000 km on road. By the way, the North Island has 75 % of the population of NZ and is more tropical, while the South Island is colder specially in winter with snow and Antarctic winds.

From Auckland where the big  “Sky- city- tower ” is a real eye –catcher [ saw it with New Year with the spectacular fireworks on TV!] as well as the beautiful  Auckland Harbor Bridge, where you can see  the harbor , marine and wharf straight away and many great looking yachts,  we drove about 110 km to Hamilton, well-known because it is mainly flatland and most of NZ is mountains or ” hilly”.

Hamilton is a Garden City and  an advertisement says; “Being New Zealand’s largest inland city , situated on the banks of Waikato River [countries longest river!] Hamilton has a welcoming spirit, rich history and contrasting splendors that await many a visitor”. Could n’t say it better!

From Hamilton we continued to Cambridge, another 80 km.  famous for it’s horse -races. Every where you look you see fence and the most beautiful horses.
After about 100 km. we were going to stop at friends living at Lake Taupo. But before , we stopped to see the Huka Falls.


 An absolutely powerful waterfall creating power for many in the area. The Waikato River is forced through a narrow rock canyon and then thunders 11 meters down into some kind of pool. Very intense if you stand there and hear and “feel” that power. Weird is  that about 100 m. before the fall and 100 m after , the water is just calm , like there is no waterfall in the area.
 The weather was indeed less good here and Tony was happy to drive the car. Through real mountain roads ,winding and small we had reached the largest  Lake in NZ[619  square km] . This lake is created by a volcanic eruption,  so BIG , that the sun went hazy in China!!!
After a cup of tea with Patience and Richard and a sanitary stop for the doggies, we continued our way to Hawkes Bay, via Hastings and Napier, which we both were going to thoroughly visit the next day.

In the evening we arrived at our destination the Tukituki house on the river…. yes the Tukituki, full of the biggest trout, welcomed by the USA friend from Emily, Austin. All tired but happy ,we had an early night, after a good pizza and a perfect bottle of NZ white wine, MMMMMM…those wines are really good! A bit of a scaring wind came up out of the blue, a real blast , wild and noisy, even getting trees out of the ground. Could not believe what I saw. So we are sitting drinking wine , no wind at all and then we have to rush in , because of the power of the wind.

Thursday December 23 ; a very busy day with lot’s of visits to interesting spots to start with  a winery, then the cheese factory,  the house for honey, Havelock North a lovely town with according to Tony the best coffee and pie and he can know it as he lived there and went there to school


and…..the “Te-Mata Peak” a 1500 ft high mountain with a scaring road to go to the top! But it was worth the effort! Just 360 dgr. of BEAUTY!!!! Amazing! Mountains, green hill’s, town’s, and places enough where hang glider pilots jump from, it was all there to be seen. Breath taking!!!! And…some walk, bike or hike to the top. Not for me!!

Then off to Hastings , the place of the traditional farmers ‘markets and some of the finest wineries. On the way we saw Cape Kidnappers on the other side. This is the home to world’s largest mainland gannet colony and has one of the 50 best golf courses in the world. No club…they count on guests. In Hastings we visited the aero club, place to be for the glider pilots as well. Only power planes were flying , so we went on to the park.


A beautiful park with special trees and very old , also plants, flowers a glass house full of the most beautiful flowers and a Chinese garden.

Time to relax after, with a cool glass of Champagne at the Mission, New Zealand’s oldest winery since 1851, housed in a grand converted seminary nestled in the Taradale Hills above Napier; a characteristic wooden building, built in the past by missionaries and now a restaurant/winery. The garden was full of guests under white marquises, very popular place! Since at least 10 years there are no missionaries there anymore.


After that another highlight; Napier. First we visited Tony’s office where I met his sister Louise, who is running his  NZ office. Napier is an ART DECO town and was totally ruined by an earth quake with 7.8 magnitude. It is rebuild in the early 30thies and is called now the Art Deco Capital of the world. Amazingly beautiful, just awesome!
It has a beautiful cathedral called Waiapu Cathedral of St John the Evangelist and seeing the rose-window ,I went in to see it from the  inside as well. I liked the text on their flyer; “It is the first cathedral in the world to see each new day.” It has beautiful windows and at the entrance is the foundation stone of the first cathedral dated 1886, which was ruined in the earth quake.
The shopping center, all is in Art Deco style, which features Maori motifs and design elements!
The day was finished with a nice BBQ and both sisters from Tony joined in with their families.


Friday December 24; Last day with Tony and Emily. Time flies so quickly when you have fun!!!! A walk to the Tukituki river with Emily and the dogs while Tony and Austin did their Christmas shopping. The way down was easy but up more difficult, but worthwhile. Such clear water, but no time to experience that excellent trout-fishing. Then in the car and off to Tauranga, [ say Tewronga,] the biggest export harbor in NZ. Lot’s of trees laying there for export and thousands of containers . But before another high light on the way to Tauranga. The real Maori town Roturua. Gosh what a beautiful place. Never thought in my life I could be so exited by “boiling mud”!!!! Every where steam from the ground , spots surrounded by fences to see the boiling water and a smell like sulphur. A real once-in-your-life-time opportunity to see natural wonders so close by. And lucky me I had that opportunity!!!
The Rotorua Musuem looks awesome from outside , and must be very interesting inside, but we had no time to go in. Only today [December 30, 2010] I heard on the radio that an 8 year old boy has fallen in a geyser/spring and died later cooked by the up to 100 dgr. water. Can’t understand how that happened he must have climbed over/on  the fence. Terrible!
There is also the Maori town , with a fantastic wooden gate in Maori style. A “must do” experience!!!!!


bubbling mud video!

Another spectacular waterfall on the way and we arrived in Tauranga, where John and Chris were happy to welcome me and Mount Maunganui , one of the most popular destinations in NZ , looked inviting through their windows. Emily, Tony and Austin got a beer, Emily who is as I said earlier a great singer with a beautiful voice [she made a cd already in the USA!]  song next to a bronze Mozart in the hall ,an impressive  Christmas song [ got tears in my eyes] and then…..we had to say goodbye!!!Difficult…we had an awesome time!!!!!Thank you so much , Emily and Tony, for an unforgettable time!!!

Had not seen the news on TV but saw that Air New Zealand saw the first landing of their first [of 5] Boeing 777-300 at Auckland Airport. The 777 fit-out is codenamed Kupe, after a Maori explorer. Before April 2011 2 more 777’s will arrive. Then John asked me to look at the sky, which I did , but I must have looked dumb, as I did not know what to look at. …..A lenticularis!!!!  Not what I was used to a nice oval longer  cloud,a bit looking like a spasce-ship,  no a huge cloud without beginning or end….a real lenti!!!! Never saw this before!!!! Here I saw the BIG and MIGHTY WHITE CLOUD!!!! And…I saw it every day in Tauranga.


Christmas day December 25; MERRY CHRISTMAS. 


 It was special to visit Johns office. I always send my column for Gliding International to his office and here I was in the heart of his business. He and Chris with help do everything there,  up to plastic covers to wrap the magazine to send it to their readers. Christmas dinner was at 1 and a good friend from the family Rowena arrived to share with us the most delicious seafood platter, and nibbles and desert brought by our guest. Poor Chris started at 6.30 AM with cleaning the gamba’s. A very pleasant get together till 4.30, even with presents for all. Then I looked at the ocean from the balcony looking at the tide which makes the ocean go back , so land is visible like a huge swamp. And….in the morning I had a swim in the pool. Not a normal pool, but one with water up to 40 dgr. pumped up from a hot-spring under the ground. Not a lot of people have such a pool and I was swimming in it both mornings I could. Spoiled ???  ..…yes!

Not a good day for all , as Christchurch was hit by another earth quake. Luckily not a heavy one [ 3 or 4.9 on Richter] but with lots of aftershocks, in fact through the whole day! A cruise ship with lots of guests had just arrived and some buyers in the town got the fright of their life. Saw on TV some Dutch people between them as well.

Sunday December 26; First the online check-in, to travel back the next day. No problem. Then off to Mount Mounganoui, a mountain with “its feet” in the ocean. The mountain is a remain of an old volcanic area and held sacred by the Maori who call this mountain, Mauao.  Brunch at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific ocean and the stunning white beaches, a visit to friends and a walk along the sea. A trip by car to see one of the highest points from where you can see Tauranga and it’s surrounding. A visit to the other site of the mountain where Rowena lives and to the gliding Club of Tauranga, but there was a sign behind the window; “Today closed”!  John Philips who is in the board of the GI, was the only person I met there. Tauranga has a very pleasant climate with many sub tropical orchards with kiwi fruit, avocado’s and citrus. I saw it all grow!!!



Monday December 27; Early morning and trip at 8.30 AM to Auckland Airport. Farewell to John. Chris brings me! Heavy traffic on the other side of the road. MMmmm… Chris still has to drive back home.
Farewell to Chris …THANK YOU SO MUCH Chris and John, for an awesome Christmas time……and off to Amsterdam via Hongkong.

I loved, the people from New Zealand, so friendly and helpful, warm and caring

I loved the roads in New Zealand , so good and nearly NO roadwork

I loved Roturua, specially the bubbling mud and the steam breaking through the earth

I loved to see with my own eyes… the BIG WHITE CLOUD

I loved Springhill , the Tukituki-house and the Tauranga “palace”

I loved Emily’s wonderful voice

I loved the beautiful green hills on volcanic land

I loved Napier, with its Art Deco style

I loved ALL and everything which impressed me and I have forgotten to mention

Thank you to Chris and John for their warm welcome and the fact that I was allowed to spend Christmas with them.
 Thank you to Tony for his invitation to share his country, his family and friends with me. I will support him and Emily to create an Aviation Retreat Base at Springhill , so it becomes  a perfect starting point to explore the exceptional beauty of New Zealand and have, along the way,  many exciting aviation experiences.
Their view/ dream will follow in one of the next blogs. Stand by.

The news from January 2 2011

Alphen aan den Rijn      Sunday January 2 2011

Hope you “survived” the beginning of 2011, bubbles can give you a headache if you are not used to it. Luckily I had a lot of practice in the past, as some of you know, bringing me straight after work already the first glass. Some even while still working, but this is a long time ago. It all comes back now I have been in Tocumwal again.

When Tony introduced me to friends he said; “Long before the word blogging  was invented,  Ritz was blogging already”. Don’t know if I am the first blogger, but for sure an early and very dedicated one.

A great beginning of 2011 for retired Transavia pilot Julio Poch, who was released on bail from the prison in Argentina. It is said that a former Transavia CEO has paid most of the security to get him free. Great to see that more people believe in Julio’s innocence. Julio hopes to travel soon back to Holland to catch up with his wife , children and grand children.

Also a good start for young Belgian pilot Dennis , who flies with his dad Eddy, in Bitterwasser. He flew 1000 km in a Ventus 2 CM, just before the new year started, bringing him for sure in a great mood. I presume it is his first 1000 k. Daddy Eddy flew already one in Tocumwal long time ago, if I remember well on January 6. More Belgium friends are in Africa as just after Christmas Bert and Hilde left for Kiripotib to fly together the ASH 25. Great to hear that all 800 copies in Dutch of the book about the history of soaring in Flanders ,  by Bert sr. have sold out within 10 months!!! Indeed a collector’s item and I am very pleased to have one with a personnel message!!!

Weather in Australia is finally improving. Good, as the Nationals will be flown in Benalla soon, with a lot of friends I know .As you surely know as well , Benalla was the venue of the WGC in 1987, but that year the weather was pretty difficult.
Longer flights as well in Corowa, where pilots enjoyed  up to 600  flights, where the temperature went up to 40 dgr.. And now I have been in NZ it is nice to see that the South Island ,where Omarama is, had a 739 km flight in an LS 8. On the last day of the year Tocumwal had it’s first Gold C height day and at 3 PM also 40 dgr. Great to see Klaus Brand back in Tocumwal!!!And what about good old Christof Kratzner!!!!!Really great to see his smiling face on pictures in Tocumwal again.
On the other hand in Queensland still 200.000 people are away from home due to the heavy flooding after the worst rainfall in 50 years. 22 Towns are under water. The area is as big as Germany and France together. In some places the water drops but in Rockhampton , a place with 77.000 people, the river Fitzroy, starts to rise now and they expect a flooding of 40 % of the town. VERY SAD!!!!

From Argentina I received the message that the club from Horatio bought 4 months ago a Janus C in France. First flight in Argentina was on December 23.Horatio spends New Year with his soaring mates in the city of Azul, home of the 58th National Championships.

The last day of 2010 had  58 flights and the best was in Argentina; a nice triangle of 630 a DG 800.
The discussion about flying tasks with the new OLC FAI rules is getting bigger. BUT….. Nobody forces anybody to leave a perfect street to go to hardworking conditions to win the day on FAI OLC. JOY in gliding is what must be the motive for flying. It is fantastic to see good set FAI triangles , but CERTAINLY not at all cost, as then…they say in an add at the Australian TV about drinking /driving, you are a “ bloody idiot”. If you want to be the best, that is YOUR decision, so go for it, but keep it safe at all times. My modest opinion!

In Tauranga I received the latest Gliding International personally from the editor. What’s in it? The story about “The Shark”, a Czech built, self-launching 18 m. sailplane [still experimental at this stage] , the performance, technical specifications etc . The electric winch and …..the all electric tug. A long and VERY interesting lecture about the evolution of contest soaring by John H Cochrane. The Swift. The 2010 Sailplane Convention in Ulm in Germany and much more…

Belgium Company Brussels Airlines had a severe problem with a passenger , on their flight to Kinshasa, who threatened other passengers and crew . The captain of the A 330 decided after 1 hour to fly back. The passenger from Congo was arrested.

The new Dutch Gliding Magazine Thermiek is out as well. Read it online already at Interesting article about the vision on [old] age from pilots. Also the 38th International  Vintage Glider Club Rally and …the last from 4 columns in 2010 from former Red Bull racer Frank Versteegh….., a pity, I liked his sometimes confronting mirrors on gliding in Holland in his own flamboyant style.

A new year , what’s going to happen, keep reading and you will know all in’s and out’s  seen through my {no,… not pink} glasses. By the way , have to visit they eye doctor on Wednesday as well.
Cu you on Wednesday hopefully “LIFE” then. Hate this!!!!

Cheers Ritz

Happy New Year, finally back on track!

Alphen aan den Rijn   Wednesday January 5 2011

Finally back on line.They installed in Melbourne the new Word Press , thanks guy’s!!! All issues have been solved and most important the fact that I got TOO much spam and nonsense/trash [over33.000] and I am on their new server now. Hurray!!!
I am playing a bit now to get everything on in good order and see if the stories I wrote in word can be copied and pasted. Will send you allnews in ONE go. Might be too much but you can “switch off”,  when you have had enough.
Let’s try!

Here is the news from Wednesday December 29 2010

still having that weird feeling of a “spinning head”, but…I arrived back home Tuesday- morning after a unique and unforgettable trip , of “only “ 16 days travelling around in Australia and New Zealand and seeing and experiencing more then somebody else in 4 weeks.

Of course I got a cold, no wonder when you fly 10 hours and 30 minutes from Auckland to Hongkong and 12 hours and 15 minutes[head-wind] in a 747-400 with lot’s of sneezers, coughers and snifflers. On top of that the station- building at Hongkong Airport is always using their airco -system on the highest speed, even when it is only 10 dgr. outside! You really freeze there!

You will find all the news about the trip in the diary under this blog and I continue over the next days, so you miss out on nothing about NZ. Sometimes the blog and the news mix , but that news is then part of the blog.

Alphen aan den Rijn      Wednesday December 19 2010

First of all apologies for writing not earlier. Maybe next time I take less luggage and instead , my laptop with me. Over 100 congratulations for my birthday …..I was really pleased with all of them. THANK YOU!!! No time to say thank you personally, but facebook friends and friends reacting on my hotmail account, I really THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
Even Kiki has not forgotten to send his “bisoux “,[plenty of kisses]  nothing changes in this world, is n’t that great!
In between Phil has worked in Melbourne already hard, to upgrade my blog-site, but unfortunately my password and username seem to have changed as I cannot get into the blog anymore, so I write in word this time and copy and paste it later in the blog. Hope Phill reacts soon on my may-day/HELP message.

A lot happened in our small community and in the world of aviation. No need to say that the weather gods really spoil all pilots in Namibia with great Christmas-weather-gifts. Then I have to smile when Rafi from Israel , who I got to know during one of the WGC’s, mentions in his comment after flying a 1000 , “still not Namibia on its best but improving”. Yesterday he flew another just over 1000 km flight and was back just before the showers started everywhere. Bitterwasser- airfield  has , when you look at the OLC a really good run, with nearly 500.000 km flown by 115 pilots till now. Since I left on December 11 I counted 55x 1000 km for Bitterwasser only. Kiripotib and Pokweni had their share of good 1000 km flights as well.

You remember I wrote about Dirk [Germany] who flew with us in Tocumwal, a real character. On one of his flights , so I heard, he had a problem with his engine which only came out half and stopped over an un-landable area. In the air he asked a Dutch pilot to tell his wife that he dearly loved her and their children, which made a huge impact on the Dutch pilot. In the end he still managed to land his glider on a road in front of a farm. Due to the fact that, looking against the sun , he missed seeing a road sign, he hit it with the wing ,he turned 180 dgr. damaging his glider totally but…luckily Dirk can see his wife and tell her himself how much he loves her. Due to a tough wind [40/60 km] he seems to have calculated his final glide wrong. He was pretty cool about it himself in his comment after the flight. He called it a nice flight with a not so nice out landing. The street was big and wide enough but the low sun  got him into trouble as the sign was invisible for him. Shit happens as he called it . The glider is back in the container!

In comparison with Namibia airfields , Tocumwal is doing well, for a small operation run by only Eddie and Sheryl , with the help of UK tuggie Liam, high-school mate Jake and when necessary , an extra instructor Rolf. Being 11 on the list is just good!!! I was very pleased to see how relaxed and happy, Eddie was this year in comparison to last year, when he worked harder then hard to fix everything in time to start their business. Jari will be back in January and more Japanese friends are flying now, as well as Aussie guests spending their Christmas holiday at Toc. Today  Yuji flew a nice 551 km flight in the LS 4.
Sad news from Tocumwal as well. The day before I left on December 10 we had the SRGC Christmas party. Don was not there, he is pretty sick, but we still  hoped to see him. That tempered the good mood of the 20 guests a bit. Much more of tempered mood, when Gloria [Burns] mentioned she was going to hospital as she had problems with a heart valve. In case it would be necessary they would make a by-pass as well. I told her she looked fit and well, that surgeons are so good nowadays and that those operations are done daily. “So don’t worry, see you next time”!
It was not meant to be. She died after the operation and will be buried this Friday. She was the invisible ” engine behind Mike her husband”, who had for years his engineer- business in our hangar and got later involved with the jet-engined- Caproni, in the hangar on the South side of the field. She was a great lady!

On the OLC airfield list, Corowa is 5 ,but for both counts that there has nearly been more rain then sun in the last part of 2010. Like next year hopefully January will be top! Great to see Maarten and Ton from Holland over there as well as Chris from the UK.
Corowa friends had to endure the tragic loss of Finnish glider-friend Ilmari on December 24. I did not know him, but saw him on the day I visited Corowa 2 weeks ago. 2 ASW 22 gliders arrived back early that day . Anders at 4, but that is normal , Anders loves his flying, he is no kilometer –eater, neither a record-chase but enjoys every minute. But the other ASW BLE arrived back at 5, on a glorious day, cause he had engine problems. On the ground he tested the engine , but there it seemed to work fine.
 This was their message;
—-The ASCC sadly has to announce, the tragic accident to one of the gliders in Corowa on Friday 24th of December 2010.
The pilot involved was Ilmari Rintesalo.
The accident happened during the self launch during which the glider was unable to climb normally.
After hitting power lines next to the Redlands Road, the aircraft came to rest next to the road.
Emergency services responded quickly, but to our regret Ilmari did not survive.
As soon a further info is available it will be published on the website

Hitting powerlines is written in my brain as this way we lost , as most of you know, our son and brother on January 3 2011, 23 years ago, flying the tug up to Jerilderie to pick up a guest who flew his first 50 km., so the accident had quite an influence on my Christmas days.
So please , avoid ALL power lines!!!

South Africa had at Welkom Airport the Nationals 2010 with several overseas guests as Ronald Termaat from Holland, John Coutts [ NZ] and Aussie friends Brad Edwards and Bruce Taylor! Also over there…. showers! Out of 10 days, pilots in open/18 m. class flew 6 days and good “old “John Coutts  was the winner in JS 1. Bruce was 2d and Attie 3d. All of them flew JS 1. As said before there were 10 JS 1’s flying out of 16 gliders. John started his glider career, age 15,  in Auckland, where I just was. John was world champion in 2003 in Poland in 15 m class, Brad in 1991 in Uvalde, also in 15 m class, Bruce won several times the Australian Nationals and flew at many WGC’s.

Today we heard that less people have been killed in accidents with planes. Just under the normal average. Unfortunately today 12 were added as a Russian plane crashed. Bizarre is that all of them were PILOTS!!!!!

That’s it for today. See you on Sunday and wishing you ALL


Cheers Ritz