Pribina Cup !Hockenheim !

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday April 27 2011

Easter has never been so HOT  as ever before, on some places this year in Holland.The seabreeze kept temperatures lower at the beaches but a temperature of 25 dgr, was a new record!!!! Belgium even had up to 27 dgr!!! As said last time, the Benelux had the highest temperatures in Europe and…that is fantastic but pretty unusual and hopefully not only a result of this global warming.
Half a million people went for a holiday in our own country and about one million visited from other countries in the world, lots from Germany [65%] and also from Belgium and the UK. A great weekend for the catering industries and bar’s on the beach.Not so much for the fire brigade in both Belgium and Holland as kilometers of peat have gone lost with very special fauna and flora.

On April 22 the always VERY popular Pribina Cup started at Nitra ; 153 pilots, I told you already it is  popular. They fly in 4 classes club, 15m .,  dual seaters and open class. An interesting competition with pilots from nearly every country, already practising for the EGC in Nitra in a few months.
The first flying day for open class was a 701 km racing task, but…nobody finished. Best pilot was from Poland flying an ASG 29 over 644 km.
The 2d day had a 2 hour  AAT and one pilot finished.The other 3 classes had NO flying day; cancelled or unvalid because of the too short distances flown , 25 % should fly more then 100 km.Unfortunately their weather is not too good at the moment ,they are stuck with showers and they had rain yesterday night and grey conditions in the morning, so another cancelled day, but it should get better. It looks they are going to fly today!

On Easter Sunday AT LEAST 1176   pilots   went up in the air, as of course not everybody files their flight on the OLC.
On Easter Monday  amongst 1948 pilots,  the Finnish friends had a great day  and both Räyskäla and  Piikajärvi had nice first season flights. Räsyskälä ‘s first flight was on April 16.
Lovely to see that Tilo Holighaus flew such a good  750 FAI triangle in a ” borrowed ” Discus 2 A. Dutch pilots had a great day as well, with as best flight a 573 km task into Germany.
From Wiener Neustadt  Ernst Schicker flew 2 days in a row a 1000 km in an ASW 20 just before Easter. Great Easter weekend for him!
Rain coming in from the East, has spoiled the pleasure for glider pilots a bit , but it is a relief for farmers . No problems for Alexander Müller who flew his first summer-season-1000 km. [ speed 117 km.h]  yesterday from Lienz

The well known 33 International competition at Hockenheim  has had 5 days in a row in 2 classes till now and 4 in the other 2. Several top pilots fly among keen pilots, a total of 68. Henrik Breidahl from Denmark, Jelmer Wassenaar from Holland, also pilots from Belgium , Finland and Switserland.
Jelmer , was in “my” team when I was TC during the JWGC in 2005 in Husbos, a pretty difficult competition for different reasons. He is a lovely young man and great talented pilot. In 2006 he met Valentina, daughter of Luciano Avanzini who flies the ARCUS at the moment in Nitra.A great couple!!!
Jelmer won day 1 , then 2 times 5th , 7th on day 4 and yesterday they had 429 km on their day 5 and he finished as 3d. Overall he is after 5 days on spot 3 !!!!
On the picture. Jelmer on finish and …..when he met  his Valentina.


In a few hours my Australian guests arrive; Vanessa and Julian from Perth. Try to see you on Sunday, till then Ritz

HAPPY EASTER !9 great soaring days in Prievidza!

 courtesy; Fritz Schweikart

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday April 24 2011

The Memorial Service here in Alphen  to remember the 6 people who got killed in the shopping mall, was sad,  modest  , very impressive and something to be proud on again.Life continues now also here in Alphen but for the family of the victims , a heavy period lays ahead.

Talking about Memorial Services ; Joan Escott, Don’s wife was very impressed with the turn up in Tocumwal. She said that Don would have been pleased and for sure would have been astonished as well.From different sides I heard it was a “good farewell”, for good old Don.At least it gave her a lot of support in these difficult days.

Prievidza had a great Cup Race. On Wednesday, flying day 8,  German TC Uli , finally flying himself, this time in the ARCUS, won another day and climbed up from a bad second day on which they got ZERO points,  as they exceeded the maximum altitude with  more then 100 m.,  to a spot with the first 10 in the mixed class. On the last day he flew the ARCUS to a 2d place with a speed of 122km over 388 km making him 10th overall on the final result.
Winner in the mixed class;Pavel Louzecky….. with a great marchin on the runner up; 8214 and 7536 points. Pavel flew a Ventus 2C /18m.
Sebastian Kawa is “HOT” and ready to be excellent in the next EGC. He won again;700 points now ahead on the runner up in the 15 m. class. On the last day he did it again and won the COMPS
UK pilot, Ge Dale seems to have found the rythm from last year and won another day , being now on top of the club class list in the DG 100 G. On the last day he was 4th but not loosing too many points so he WON the comps ;8189 and for runner up and great pilot Frenc Tamas, 7929 points. Great 4th place , by the way, for young Vytautas from Lithunania, he is ready to be good in the EGC soon in Pocunai.

The by now famous area for good weather   in the Alps, kept it’s great wave-weather. On Wednesday , a Hornet flew 704 km !!!! This time from Füssen in Bayern.
Great to see Leonardo Brigliadori back in the air flying an LS 4 and…he is still good; 545 km. from Alzate Brianza SW of Sondrio up to North of Bolzano.
Yesterday an ASW 20 flew over 1000 km from Wiener Neustadt not bad either. And an ASW 27 from Timmersdorf also in Austria had a good 1000-km-day as well.

The last week  more pilots entered the Dutch CAE NLS Nationals , so when the list was closed yesterday, we had 44 participants. It is going to be a great competition and you can atleast follow the scores as they are in an international language on  But …of course I try to make time to write all the exciting news in this blog as well.

Unbelievable but true!!!!  Holland has at the moment the highest temperatures in Europe,26 dgr. IN SPRING, warmer then Greece and Spain. We even deal with code red!!! Code red??????? Yes it is so dry here so early in the year that firebrigades are on high alert and planes circle above special areas, as protected peat-moar-areas.Also lots of Easter-fires have been cancelled. Even the rescue services on the beach have been asked to come earlier as this weeken all beaches will be overloaded with people , only…the water is 10 dgr, a bit cold to really enjoy…..or?????
Unfortunately the weather in the South of Europe is less good at the moment.

Too much to do and guests over Easter !!!!! So enjoy Easter to the fullest and if you have the same stunning weather as we have; enjoy that even more!
Cheers Ritz

 courtesy Vanessa Johnson

Great spring weather continues!50 flights last Sunday over 600 km. on OLC!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Wednesday April 20 2011

  Summer by Fritz Schweikart at wgc 2006.

Today we remember here in Alphen  the terrible death of innocent people by a young man who forgot to take his medicines against schizophrenia. All official buildings in Holland have the flag on half-mast, their will be a memorial service for 750 invited guests including  Queen Beatrix and Price Willem Alexander and the prime minister Mark Rutte and for 2500 people there is room outside to be part of it by looking at big screens. The rest has a TV at home for a live coverage. It is a sunny day with 24 dgr. that might at-least ease the pain.

In Italy pilots had a good final day on Sunday  of  the Club class Nationals. For sure you looked at the final results and as I , you noticed that Vittorio had a bad last day , so Stefano Ghiorzo easily won the longest task of  265 km. to be the club class national champion.Vittorio was the runner up and young Davide was 3d.after 5 flying days.
Manuele Molinari won in the discus 2 the other class after 4 days of flying.

YES they did it! The pilots in Prievidza flew 752 km during the competition.  Super-spring-weather over there!Competition Day 5 was a great day for all 3 classes . In the mixed class Pavol Cerny won the 752 km. day in the Ventus CXt/18m with a speed of 112 km.
In the club class , young Milos Cink was the best over the 510 km in club class and who else then Sebastian Kawa in the discus 2 A, won the 608 km day in 15 m. class with the same speed as in the mixed class; 112 km/h.
On day 6 pilots had another long task [ mixed 502 km, club 420 and 15 m 502 as well.]. Sebastian won again and is  500 points ahead of the runner up in his 15 m. class.
Ge Dale from the UK,  who flew so well last year is on spot 2 overall behind, Ferenc Tamas who has been on spot 1 overall, from the beginning in club class !!
In the mixed class Uli Gmelin , the professionel team captain of the German pilots won in the ARCUS T day 6!
On day 7  around 300 km. tasks and Sebastian won again and is about 600 points ahead on number 2. Ge Dale won in his class and still has possibilities to get on top,  as he is only around 50 points behind on Ferenc. But… both for sure want to be the best the last days will be exciting.

Last Sunday made at least 1983 pilots happy.  They put their flight on the OLC, and what flights:
Wilfried Grosskinsky, I should have mentioned him on the list of  “kilometer-eaters” ,  flew not that far from Holland from Dahlemer Binz a nice 1053 km. in the nimbus 4 [ an FAI  750 triangle in it ! ]and another open class glider/pilot flew from Austria [Lienz Nikolsdorf]
And…the top “kilometer-eater” Alexander Müller is active too with a good 989 km flight from Lienz.
All 50 flights on Sunday on page 1 were over 600 km and it is ONLY EARLY SPRING!!!!!
The LS 6 flight in Italy from Bolzano is worthwile mentioning; 904 km. as well as the flight from Gilles Navas in France at Vinon with 933 km in an ASG 29 E/18m.
I totally get exicited from so many nice flights and cannot  type quick enough !!!

  Gilles Navas in Eskilstuna during the WGC.

We live here in sunny conditions 10 dgr. above the normal average for this time of the year: 23 dgr. And these conditions …YES…..they stay here over Easter. Looking at the European weather most of Europe will have a happy Easter-time. Summer instead of spring, but….let’s hope the weather keeps going on like this and that we not peak now and get a lousy summer. But …we can’t change it anyhow, so let’s be happy.
Hopefully we will have this good weather still during the CAE NLS Dutch Nationals , starting on May 16. There are 39 pilots competing, maybe not that many , but a lot have to keep their time free for the EGC in Nitra and Pociunai and for the JWGC in Musbach.Some are so lucky to fly more comps.

Great to see that pilots fly more and more triangles   instead of just following the weather to make as much kilometers as possible and to get the most points on the OLC. A nice example is a flight on Monday ;805 FAI triangle in an LS 8 , flown in that area were the wave-weather is super this year;Köningsberg, Lesce Bled , Lienz ,Bolzano, Unterwössen.
The 2d flight for the summer -season by Alexander Müller was from Lienz again with 957 km. And the 3d was over 1000 km. That one is in the pocket.
And what about , in this same soaring-mecca, the flight from Boris Zors , who flew in his standard cirrus a very nice 751 km task. And…the 750 km in the DG 1000/20 m. from Unterwössen??

Here is a link to an interesting incident at JFK.  Thanks Peter. An Air France A 380 makes a Delta regional jet spin around 90 dgr.Though it is not a joke , I had to smile looking at the video.


To finish the blog some finishers “caught ” by Fritz Schweikart [  WGC in 2006 in Eskilstuna.]
cheers Ritz

Super clouds!Great start of season!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday April 17 2011

  tugs ready to go in 2006 ;courtesy   Johan Ersson.

When I finished my blog last Wednesday , I could see already the most beautiful cumulus clouds!!! Were those the ones making the UK pilots happy one day earlier????
The real ones!!! High and gorgeous for glider pilots. Only not for those,who had to work and for those  who’s gliders are still in the container but …….they are out now as well, since last Friday, so for the weekend they can rig their glider and go and taste the Dutch, Spanish , German and Scandinavian skies  again.
The Prievidza container is already back in Slovakia, as some pilots fly the FCC,  the 2011 Flight Challenge Cup at Prievidza.

One of the  pilots from Holland Jeroen Koole  was one of the lucky ones and able to fly that day. He loved it,  though he mentioned, that there were some small showers , over development in the East and a breezy wind from the NW. But also cloudstreets and small but strong lift. I saw those “streets”  on TV in the evening, going to far into France and Germany.
Jeroen flew 568 km. Good on him!!!! So the first 500 km. flights in ” flat-as-a-pancake-Holland” are a fact!!!!
In between the kilometer-eaters are awake as well and started their season. Guy from Luxembourg with 820 km. and Uwe from Germany with 689 km. are some of them.
Also Giorgio Galetto had a great day with NEARLY 1000 km from Trento , while Alberto Sironi flew  5 new Italian records in his 1.297 kmflight over the mountains starting at Calcinate del Pesce in the Ventus 2CT/18m.
Young German pilot Patrick Puskeiler , prepared himself really well for the Junior World Comps and flew 750 [nearly] from the famous field in Germany at  Hahnweide .
Talking about practise for the JWGC , young Jeroen Jennen  had a superflight as well from Keiheuvel in Belgium;471 km in an LS 7 and he was grateful to the Dutch CTR  at Eindhoven giving him permission to fly through nice areas in the zone with good lift. 
You can see if you “belong” to Facebook a 3-minute-part of his flight from April 13 on this medium.
 Rosamond Skypark is still in the news as , again, Jim Payne made a super- wave- flight from 1.303 km in an ASW 27 !!!!
And …a happy moment for a Japanese pilot after all the worries in Japan, and those worries are not over yet. He had a nice day flying 647 km from Nagano, in a DG 500 /22 m.

On Friday and Saturday,  the weather was still good. Lienz added new 1000 km. flights  to their list , in a DG 600, also good to mention a 929km. in a DG 200/17m., but flat-as-a-pancake Holland had a 694 km,. again by Jeroen Koole in the discus B and Edo Kwant, flew in the Ventus 2CT even more;715 km. And it shows clearly that the weather is pretty good everywhere with OVER 1000 flights on the OLC; 1405 !!!!!! The season 2011 is hot till now !!!!

Some competition pictures in between this time from Per Carlin during the WGC 2006.


The comps in Prievidza with 85 competitors in 3 classes, had after 2 soarable days , 4 cancelled ones.On Friday they were flying again with 3 hour AAT’s in all 3 classes. In 15 m class both days 2 LS 8 gliders were upfront. 280 and 340 km. were the AAT’s in 3 hours. Sebastian flew 351 km.,  but used 12 minutes more then the winners.
In club class 2 [former?] juniors were good; Miloslav Cink won yesterday and Vitautas was 6th.
On day 5 , TODAY, pilots in 15 m class got a 608 km. task! The great weather must have reached them as well.Not bad!!!
The mixed class got a 752 km and club class 510.

The comps in Thiene in Italy  do not have the super weather as pilots had on other places in Italy. No more flying days for the club class nationals till……. Friday and Saturday .And still small tasks , under 200 km., with devaluated scores, but Vittorio is doing a great job being JUST ahead of world champion Stefano.Last day today with 35 points to catch up for Stefano, but I know Vittorio is a topper as well.

The Dalby Big Air, we are talking hang gliding now in Dalby. Jonni and Jon Durand sr. are having a ball being after 3 flying days 1 and 3 in the total scores. On that 3d day they were first and second!!!!
 Both fly Moyes Light speed. Good to see that former Sportavia managers Tove and Grant Heany are back in the top of  the competition sport of hang gliding. After 3 days Grant was 4th and Tove 18th in the general scores.
Even better to see is , that after having a problem with his leg, Nathan who worked for Sportavia as well,is back in a competition. Good on him!!! Nathan was at spot 20 after 3 days. Nathan and Sue were so kind to take care of my cat Denim when I left Australia and I was more then grateful for that. Denim died after a great live 2 years ago at age 12.
After 5 days, the comps finished with  the “Durands”  on spot 1 and 2, is n’t that great” ? Grant was 6th , Tove on spot 15 and Nathan on 22 from the 39 participants.
Davis Straub is THE editor of the hang glider world and you can find his stories in  “The Oz report”, the international hanggliding website and forum. []

Last Friday [our] instructor for many years in Tocumwal Don, was remembered in a ceremony after being cremated already a few days earlier amongst family and close friends. And as I expected many, many visited the service for him in the Tocumwal Bowling club . Around 150, friends ,some travelled to Tocumwal from Melbourne remembered his life with a drink. Also Rotary, Lion’s Club and Kiwani’ members , Don was a member from all of them, paid their respect, as well as lot’s of glider pilots from Sportavia in the past.
Flowers for him and for Kees.

        Today would have been the 65th birthday of Kees Musters!
Kees was world champion gliding  in Hobbs New Mexico and one of the more well known Dutch glider pilots. He also was our family friend.Kees died during a hang-glider accident in the mountains of France in December 1987. A day to remember him.

Cu you on Wednesday, Ritz

Our town feels different now.

You have an interesting selection of photos. I have a few photos of a friendly eagle who was kind enough to pose for his photo looking directly at the camera. —
Courtesy;  Morgan Sandercock, Project Manager of the Perle Project . Thanks Morgan!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday April 13 2011

This time it feels different when I write the name Alphen aan den Rijn. The town has been unexpected world news and NOT because it is called ” the beautiful green heart ” , but because of this so unnecessary shooting on a sunny day at noon, when everybody likes to do the weekend-shopping. 7 People died including the 24 year old who hated the world. Tragic. His parents , who I happen to know, are lovely people , it is just unbelievable.
Heroes we have here in Alphen as well, as some helped others to escape. One hero did not survive her help!!! With over 100 shots it is amazing that not more people were killed.
Extra tragic is the death of a poet/journalist from Syria, who came to live here with his family, in a free country, to avoid the dangers in his own land.What can you do? He survived an attack in Syria decided to leave there as he was a peace- activist and came to live here in what he hoped a peaceful free part of the world…….He will be buried this afternoon.

As always life continues. So we continue as well. Italian club class pilots are still flying their Nationals and current World Champion Stefano Ghiorzo is in the lead after 2 days. Vittorio is on 2d place and young Davide at 3d, at this stage. Not too good weather over there. On day2 only 6 pilots finished.

It looks like Gianni is the competition director so here a nice picture from him made in Rieti.

The comps in Prievidza, look like a new possibility -to-win ,  for Sebastian Kawa. Still a few days to go but he won already the first 2 days! Also cancelled days over there, so not a lot happening at this stage. The weather looks like rain for today and tomorrow, BUT …then it is clearing , still with some showers but also with dry and sunnier conditions.

OLC then , more activities there! And for good weather yesterday we had to go to……the UK!!!! Dave Masson managed to fly a nice 766 km task in an LS 6!!! Great effort!!!
Sunday another 1000 km wave flight flown in Austria in an ASW 22BLE, best flight that day with 659 pilots taking the opportunity to share their flight with all of us.
And on Monday a duo discus flight was the best from Fayence in France, flying past Aosta in Italy and back;619 km.

From Rick in the USA I received the next good news for Blanik owners; THANKS Rick!!!

—Here is some news on the Blanik L13.  There is a factory-approved
modification that is available for 6500 Euro, not including labor!
The modification is expected to receive EASA approval soon.—

  That’s about it for this time. Tonight we ,  ” Holland helps Japan”  with a concert and a soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and a top club from Japan in the ARENA in Amsterdam. Hope it generates lots of money for the Red Cross in Japan.
Cheers Ritz

All kind of news ! Terrible shooting in my town Alphen …again!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday April 10 2011

 from left to right;Ross Bodey, Jeff’s wife Margie Close,Don Escott,Bill Riley and George Schuit, all former owners of Sportavia. Upfront Val Riley.

First the sad news for all who have been involved with Sportavia at Tocumwal. One of the former owners and long time  instructor died last night in the hospital; Don Escott, a real gentleman and a born instructor. Even people who absolutely did not dare to fly , hopped in the glider and came back with a smile.
I particularly remember a Dutch girl who absolutely did not want to go up for a joy-flight. Before she went home with her boyfriend who did an Ab initio course, she did the course as well and went solo. That was Don.
I got to know Don in 1989 when he, together with Jeff (Close) and Stewart (Crawford), took over Sportavia from Bill Riley (who wanted out after a fatal accident the preceding season).  When Don later sold his shares to George and I in 1994,  he stayed on as a full time instructor until the demise of Sportavia in 2006.  Until very recently he instructed students in his ultralight aircraft in Tocumwal and Deniliquin. I knew he was very ill, but hoped to still see him back later this year. It is not meant to be.
I guess everybody will remember Don as a gentleman,a good instructor and pilot.
He had a real talent to get people into flying who were scared or apprehensive about the activity. Many reluctant starters became avid aviators as a result of Don’s gentle way of introducing them to the sport. Good on him!
He will be sadly missed!

Here is the message I received Saturday morning early from a Tocumwal friend;
It is with saddness to tell you that Don Escott died last night. He was only put into hospital on Friday and died that night.

 Have been busy with the CAE NLS Dutch National Championships. The site is full of news and documents and when you are interested just have a look at   www.nkzweefvliegen2011.nk
Under “prijsvraag” you can even guess how many kilometers the longest flight will be and win a simulator session on a Boeing 737-800 and other prizes.
Interesting is also that pilots can buy winch or tow tickets in the web shop.Also the camping can be paid this way as well as t shirts, polo’s and jackets.

Holland has a new airline. It starts flying on April 30 , the day the Queen celebrates her birthday and we all have a day off.The name of the company is Correndon Dutch Airlines and is founded by a tour operator for trips to Turkey. This Atilay Uslu and his partner, started in 2005 the Turkish Correndon Airlines as well. This Dutch company only flies customers from the tour operator.

One of the Dutch F16 fighters ready to be sold to Chili, made a “belly-landing” as the undercarriage collapsed after a test flight at Charleroi, last Thursday. Pilot had nothing, plane had a “sore”  belly , lost some parts , some fuel and nearly the tail. Charleroi airport had  temporarily  delayed flights, making about 4000 holiday- travellers a bit angry on this Dutch pilot. The F16 was for maintenance in Charleroi.

Nice flight from a DG 200 from Kinross in Schotland  over the mountains over there; 670 km!!! To fly a 1000 km you had to be in Austria,  were over the last 2 days 5 x 1000 km. plus,  was flown from Lienz.

Nice to hear that one of the famous movie stars in Holland, maybe even the most famous, Carice van Houten, seems to have fallen in love with a glider pilot. He is airline pilot as well. I know the pilot , [a real nice and very good looking fellow,] but  not really good; he stayed with us in Tocumwal to fly there and travelled with our yellow old vintage Mercedes together with a mate , through the mountains [Buffalo ] in Australia.I wish them well.

The club class Nationals in Italy started last Friday in Thiene.  Great to see enough  young pilots as Elena [ also participant in the WWGC 2011  in Arboga and her brother Nicola Fergnani and Davide Schiavotto, all flew in the Junior Worlds .Current world champion , Stefano Ghiorzo flies in a Silent 2 as well as Luigi Bertoncini, who I know since 1984 I guess.  And since I wrote in Italy at several WGC’s and a competition, I got to know quite a lot of good Italian pilots, as Manuele Molinari, Vittorio Pinni and Andrea Tomasi, all flying this competition. So I keep a good eye on them for you.Unfortunately day 1 was cancelled.
 Day 2 was flyable , just, so a 2 hour AAT was given. Best result ;Vittorio Pinni with 196 km in just under 2 hours;result 403 points.Look for more results on

Another shooting in my normally so quiet town of Alphen aan den Rijn. Yesterday!!!  At least 7 people are dead under them the young man, who entered the shopping mall with an automatic weapon/ machine gun , walked around and shoot  around in 2 different super markets and in the mall.Another 4 are on intensive care and about 10 more have lighter injuries.
 He killed himself with another gun in one of the 2  supermarkets he visited. He is around 24 , blond curly hair, somebody you like to see when he passes by. Unbelievable!!!! Don’t know what triggered this , but it is a disaster.
It was the shopping mall where I did my shopping for 20 years, before I left for Curacao and later Australia !! Activity of  helicopters flying over Alphen  , from police , ambulance and a military one, made me think somthing was wrong, and yes they all  were on their way to the spot where innocent people lost their lives on that beautiful sunny Saturday at 12.00 at noon.
Sat 4.30 PM they closed the shopping center in the area I live now, as well. They found signs in the house of the 24 year old that explosives could be in 3 more malls. Scaring, unreal!!!!
Got lots of phone calls, sms and mails even from friends in  the world , as it is world news, but except for a uneasy feeling I am well. Thanks dear friends!

Got this nice picture and news from Art from Canada. Not the weather we have here, “blooming ”  it is again , this whole weekend. A weird weekend as since yesterday you know that you can go shopping and not come back home anymore!!! Something to think about! Still “feel off”!!!
Cheers Ritz

—I’d love to have a story of a nice cross-country flight from the Starbuck Gliderport in middle Canada but we would need an amphibian glider – and tow plane!  Attached is a photo taken by a friend yesterday afternoon.  It will be while before we fly from our field.  The hangar and campground are the snowy island in the center of the ‘lake’.  Only part one runway is above water.
 We hope to start our season next weekend from an airport nearby.—
  find the runway??!!

Enjoyable soaring !

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday   April 6 2011

 nice shot by Thomas Briesch during the Swedish WGC.

Day 5 from the Turino mixed comps  brought Giorgio Galetto on spot 2 for the day and on spot 10 overall after, you remember ZERO points on day 1. Luca Di Marcha won the competition and I know him  as a good pilot !!!! Only 6 pilots managed to finish after 229 km. on this last day . Must have been a very difficult day as the best speed was 66.8 km./h.

The weekend was just awesome. Warm and sunny and not only good for sun-bakers but also for pilots in a lot of parts in Europe. With 619 flights on the OLC on Saturday [Australia and the USA participated in the good weather!]  and 520 on Sunday a lot of pilots enjoyed their soaring.
The 1.089 km from Jim Payne from Rosamont Skypark in the ASW 27 with a speed of 129 km/h was good, but even better the flight with the Kestrel 17 m. from Warner Springs also in wave ; 610 km with a speed of 143 km./h.
The mountain-area Germany/Austria/Italy is still good with lot’s of nice flights.

That gorgeous weather continued here. In Alphen we had about 4/8 of big nice high cu’s on Monday, till about 4.30 PM when some” milky layer” drove in , BUT with still nice cu’s under it. [see picture] I guess that pilots who had their day off or just did not have to be at work on the beginning of this week, were happy. From Terlet flights from over 300 km. were flown. Quite some Dutch pilots “moved ” to Saint Auban to enjoy the mountains over there.

 at 4.50 pm

The hole in the roof of the 737 -300, from the USA company Southwest Airlines, forced the pilot to quickly dive –controlled –from 11.000 m to 3.350 m. and forced the company to ground the other planes to check them on metal fatigue cancelling 600 flights. The pilots got , as I read in the paper , after their emergency landing, a minutes -long-applause from the shocked passengers.Good on them !!!! By the way ,they found more weak spots in 2 or 3 other planes , so they are out of order till they are repaired. This morning I heard that the American Aviation Authority FAA, has ordered to check all  the Boeing 737-300  on metal fatigue. About 175  have to go through the test. They reckon it will take about 5 days.

Talking about this incident , the accident from 2009 revives in our minds now we heard that pieces of the French Airbus have been found in the ocean. Everybody still hopes that the black boxes will be found to finally know what went wrong with this flight killing  228 passengers and crew.

By the way the shooting in Alphen  was not really meant for Alphen. 2 Bulgarian and 2 Dutch guy’s from the southern part of Holland must have tried to get rid of somebody who followed them and got stuck in a quiet area from Alphen. It seems a wild west race from criminals following criminals. But  it cost the lives of a 23 year old Dutch and a 39 year old Bulgarian guy.
And the accident with the two 15 year old scouts is really a drama as they were neighbours as well.One of them studied at the high school I was on in the past, the school only has another name now.

Next interesting competition is in Priviedza; the Flight Challenge Cup Gliding 2011 starts on April 8.Lot’s of participants. Will keep you updated.

Really like the pictures from Thomas as well, so here are a few more. CU next Sunday Cheers Ritz


Summer instead of spring, but only ONE day!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday  April 3 2011

 interesting picture by Roger Karlsson

March was dry and sunny here in Holland , accordding to the Meteo from KNMI; the Royal Dutch Meteo Institute. With 185 hours of sun, normal is 125, we were spoiled.185 Hours we normally have in August. On top of that it was dry , but with all the sun still a bit colder then normal; 6.1 instead of 6.2, but who cares ???

Yesterday it was just summer. With 22 dgr. ,but at some places even up to 25, it felt not like  spring , but summer.Unfortunately today there will be rain and a drop of 10 dgr. We had lot’s of rain on Thursday and Friday as well. But not so much as here in Ely , on a picture I once received from Daan. THAT IS RAIN !!!!

Always wanted to have your own space capsule ????  Here is your chance ! Sotheby in New York is selling a Russian “oldie ” from the sixtees . Not the one we all remember with Yuri Gagarin, but the one before that , with which they did some test flights.
This will happen on April 12 , exactly 50 years after the first manned- space -trip.They hope to receive 7 million Euro for this Vostok-landing-capsule.

The NSW State Comps have finished yesterday and here some analyses. In Club class good old Gary Speight ended on spot 2, in the twin astir, good on him.BUT… he was nearly 1000 points behind the winner;   Richard Frawley flying a mosquito.Richard won 5 from the 6 days.
Paul Mander won nearly every day in his SZD 55, as well, [4 out of 6]  in standard/15 m. class. He proves he can still do it!!!
18 m./ open class  was full of tension till the end. Bruce won day 4 and 5 [with a speed of 140 km/h in his JS 1 over 334.8 km] , but Graham and Tom really fought for the honnors. On day 5 there was a difference of 6 points in favor of Graham in the over all scores.With 90 points behind Bruce was on the 3d spot.
DAY 6 brought it to a climax. Bruce won AGAIN and for Tom the tension was high , maybe too high, I don’t know. Anyway he ended on day 6 on spot 3 loosing 250 points. Graham won with ONLY TWO points on Bruce!!!!!  5713/5711 points !!!
That was a real final sprint from Bruce in the JS1. Tom ended on 4th  place behind David Jansen. Both flew the ASG 29, as well as Graham.
Anita Taylor, daughter from Hank and Eileen Kaufmann, also well known in our gliding-world, was correct, she expected a hot race and it was a hot race.

The Italian competition at Turino  only counted 4 days and if they fly today it will be 5. A good beginning with 3 days , then 5 days of looking around and then on April 1 , no not a joke, another 290 km. to fly. Winner and the ONLY one the make it home was Giorgio. This time he moved from 22 to 18 . Yesterday they had an other task with 281 km. and Giorgio had another good day finishing on spot 3 and moving to 11 overall.

Very sad news for friends and family from a farmers family in Australia. Mum and dad , both 77 and daughter 47 and the pilot died close to Moree airport,where the single engine Piper Cherokee crashed, after flying low and hitting tree-tops .One son of 42 survived , [but is in critical condition] , as well as  his 12 year old daughter, [who is in hospital in a more stable condition]. It is pretty normal for farmers from big homesteads to travel by plane to do business, due to the huge distances. They were big farmers owning wheat and cattle farms in NSW and Queensland. In Moree they operated a  22.000 ha cattle farm.
 The pilot [63] was experienced , the weather was good , so the Australian Safety Transport Bureau has to investigate what went wrong. Tragic!!!! 

And ….a hole in the roof. Passengers got the fright of their lives flying from Arizona to California with South West Airlines. The pressure had dropped totally and a hole in the roof was discovered, so an emergency landing was the result. One of the cabin was slightly injured the rest was OK, but said “it was horror”.

2 Scouts 15 year old from the town Valkenswaard [ the place where I lived for 20 years] in the S of Holland , who were dropped in the evening were killed by inattention of a car driver. Terrible!!!! Poor parents, family and friends !!!! And in my pretty quiet town here in Alphen [ also 20 year and now again 4] ,  2 people died by gunshots last night and 2 were injured ! What a world. Not to forget the VN people and others in Kandahar,  in Afghanistan, killed because somebody in the USA, burnt a koran.

Congratulations to the people and specially the fans from cricket in India. They won the world championships in their home country against Sri Lanka.

Time  to finish,here some photo’s I like from Roger Karlsson, made in Sweden. Enjoy! CU next time ! Ritz