Australia and Gariep Dam have a nice long season!!Multi class Nationals move from Narromine to Tocumwal!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday January 29     2012

AUSTRALIA. Courtesy Jörgen Thomsen . 

Hope you don’t mind that I am still “full” of Australia, after living there for 10 years and spending another 10 winters over there , I feel , as said before, still a bit of an Aussie girl even more maybe a…….. Tocumwal girl.
Running a soaring center is a tough job, certainly in years when the weather does not co-operate, but it remains very special , is a great life style and you “bond” with so many people. The good thing is that I am still in contact with a lot of them.
For that reason it pleases me that , now the  top- soaring-season  is over in Africa, though Gariep Dam has a very nice long season as well, Australia tops the list of the OLC nearly every day.

Great flights again this week;  What about the 952 km in the 18m. LS 10 from Jörgen Thomsen from Denmark in Corowa. His wife Brigitte,  who flew several new Danish records this season, had to leave him and Australia,  due to illness in the family at home and Jörgen puts all sorrow away and tries to forget it in some good gliding.
No doubt about the qualities of Stephan Soll; 819 km. in LS 4!!!
Nice to see Vincent from Holland back in Corowa, young, enthusiastic and a good and keen pilot. Dad Max has flown for a while and now Vincent flies the glider and started his season with an 810 km flight in the DG 800/18m.
Also very nice to see good old Shad from the USA back in Corowa. I liked him as a guest, not only because he was from the USA and we did not have too many guests from there in the past, but more as he could tell great stories .Lovely fellow!!

On Australia Day, January 26,  Australia was divided in very bad and wet weather more to the East [ Queensland and part of NSW , Narromine had 25 mm in a day —really hope the weather improves there quickly for the multi-class-nationals,….it CAN BE SO GOOD] and still super weather more in the S. and W. Sorry for the floodings dampening the parties and cancellation of BBQ’s and other festivities.
Heard the Narromine weather is still not good and they hope for soaring-weather to have the first multi-national-class -day on Wednesday.
—“Narromine nationals have moved to Tocumwal because of weather – decision made today at 12.30pm.Practice days are now Tuesday and Wednesday.—”
Means that a lot are driving to the W. for about 6 hours to move from Narromine to Tocumwal . Guess tuggies and tugs and organisation moves as well”.
Tocumwal has a lot of motels [14] because of the pokie machines at the golf club and the huge golf club itself. Also great food in Kelley’s , Antiqueshop and Chrissies book shop.
The Sportaviation-caravan -park AT the airfield is Hilton-like-style!!! I mean high quality!
This is the news from Narromine and I feel sorry for them as I had several comps there and they were always nice and good and well organised.

—“Well I’ve just announced the most difficult decision of my gliding life – to move the 50th Multiclass Nationals away from Narromine due to poor weather, especially as Narromine was the site for the inaugural nationals. After a long look at the next two weeks there is a very real risk of not getting a nationals championship. This soaring season has not been kind. This morning four options were put to the pilots already at Narromine: cancel the championships; postpone them; stay at Narromine and hope for better weather; or relocate to a site likely to have better weather. Timing and costs were important considerations. The general view was to relocate. Consequently the organising committee set about considering options. Weather, organisational challenges, safety, task area, watering points, tugs, and distance from Narromine were key items. To cut a long and painful story short, after consultation with the SC, NCC and CTO the 50th Multiclass Championships will be relocated to Tocumwal. Ingo and Judy Renner, and Eddy Madden have offered their generous assistance. In effect the organisation will move from Narromine to Tocumwal. Finally my heart felt thanks to those at Narromine for their unstinting help and enthusiasm over the past year. A special thanks to the SAAA for allowing access to their significant Narromine Airfield facilities. Afraid it has rained on our parade.  CS CD.–”
Signed by Chris Stephens the CD who was in Tocumwal several years and indeed a tragic decision, but hopefully it turns out well for everybody!!!!

Life goes on, so pleased , on the other hand, to see Kari from Finland back in Tocumwal. He flies the JJ , [LS 6] , where the glider is stationated already for many years. Also good to see a great female pilot back in Toc; Pam. They get some more “mates”now to talk to and fly with.
Still the perfect soaring weather in Corowa too,  and topper Lubor from Slovakia managed, nicely late in the season a 1000 km. flight a 945 triangle with some added kilometers in his ASG 29 E/18m. Good on him. They have packed the Prievidza container now , as the pilots want to fly their gliders at Nitra, the first BIG event in soaring for our European 2012 season.
Great flight again in the LS 4 for Stephan, this time, 775 km. from Tocumwal and also from this field,a great flight from Lothar [ 631km.  in ASW 28]
Great flight also from Beverley; 899km. Last news from Beverley last year was bad as their hangar went with the wind and damaged a lot, including gliders. I showed you the pictures then !It nearly made me cry!! This is much better  news!!!
 I know that in the past a 1000 has been flown in mid February  , so a lot is still possible. And…the first one in mid October, as you see the season can be long in Australia , but….not always is.

Gariep Dam is the place where a Dutch pilot tries and succeeds to set new Dutch records. Max shipped his Nimbus 4 DM and chases with Bart for records. Yesterday it was an 800 km. out and return which was a prey; from 133 km. ph/speed up to 145 Not too bad!!!!
The day before; a declared 600 out and return with 141 km/h. Also a new record!!! It was 147 km before till 18 km before the finish but a “bad” cloud made them loose some speed.

Swiss pilot, Jean- Marc Perrin  “found” a good day again to fly with speed over the Andes and 1.383, 58 km. was the result with a speed of 144 km./h!!!! And that in a 15m. conversion DG 808.
From 5 flights he flew one under 1000 ; 998.78 km. and 4 far above 1000 with still as best flight the 1.708.51 km from the field of Esquel. He “used” 3 different airfields to start from. Perito Moreno is far S. from Esquel and the other field where he flew this last flight from was Los Antiguos.

Norwegian Price fighter, Norwegian Air Shuttle, flying 16 million passengers in 2011 with 60 planes, has ordered as I read in the papers another 222 planes with Boeing and Airbus and an option on an other 150 planes!!!!
They want to be the biggest in Europe as market leader for city-trips and trips to the holiday destinations in the South of Europe. Let’s wait and see how this works out.

Keep an eye when you have time on Soaringcafe. Every day there will be a picture about the CONCORDIA!!!!! The owner Dick Butler wants to fly this prestigious glider during the WGC in Uvalde. Still “a few things to do ” , but for sure he will be flying it during the comps. The whole history is to be found at and I find it fascinating. One of the first things I do after arriving in Uvalde is see Dick again as it is a real long time ago we met. George has bought his very special ASW17 . This glider lives now in Australia and is still stationated in Tocumwal, but has n’t flown this season as it get’s some upgrades .

Only oh’s and ah’s during the match between Federer and Nadal!!! What a GREAT MATCH!!! Luckily the temperature had dropped to around 14 dgr at 11 pm. Better for the players but it did not help Federer.And maybe the match between Djokovic and Murray was even better!!!!

Busy!! Cu you next week, Ritz


Interesting flights! A 4900 m. long runway!

Alphen aan den Rijn   Wednesday January 25 2012  

And this is the promised picture send by Natasja!
If you click on it, you see us “bigger”, that is ,…when you would like that.

Very interesting  to see the kind of yo-yo flight with 2 long legs from 345 and 324 km.,  from Australian junior pilot Matthew Scutter; 1000 km. in an LS 4  from Gawler. Great effort!!!  Here is his comment when you would have missed it;

—-“Declared a 750k, abandoned an hour later after jumping across the hills to find the air dead, dumped my water and eventually scraped away from circuit height. Tried to make the most of the day after that, explored the trough line and the seabreeze? convergence. At one stage I was doing 130kts through the rain at 11,000ft trying not to get sucked into the cloud.
Not sure why everyone went home at 5pm, the day was still thumping and the thermals continued to last light.
Gawler is an underrated XC site – not bad for a dry LS4, someone want to lend me a ballasted EB29?—“

Also interesting,  a flight from Benalla 934 km [ 856 triangle!] in an ASH 26 by Polish pilot Chris Becek .Pretty late in the season the perfect weather in Australia, continues .
From one of my friends at Corowa I heard on Monday morning that a few HOT days were about to come. So more flying again  for the pilots over there and for Stephan  from Tocumwal, a nice 500 km triangle [total of 582km.] was added to the many kilometers he has ” eaten ”  already.

Stephan preparing his LS 4.
Picture courtesy Cheryl Madden from Sportaviation in Tocumwal.

Both Corowa [ 2 gliders packed ] and Stonefield [the fuselage from the Discus 2 was in the container on Monday] have started with packing some gliders in the containers. Those who are so lucky to stay till the end to help with the final packing ,will be very pleased to even enjoy more of that fantastic weather from this season.I lived in Tocumwal for 10 years, was there as guest another 10 years but I can’t remember many of these great  January-months,  with continuing super soaring conditions. Of course December and January should be weather-wise the best months with sometimes excellent days in November and February.
We had an average temperature for January sometimes  from 33 dgr. Lot’s of days over 40!!! For sure this did not happen last year. This is the real Australian summer  again.

Perth is hot! Look at the minimum temperatures for the rest of this week, as I got them from Vanessa.
Thursday     Very hot. Partly cloudy.               Min 26     Max 40
Friday       Very hot. Partly cloudy.               Min 25     Max 39
Saturday     Very hot. Sunny.                       Min 26     Max 42
Sunday       Very hot. Sunny.                       Min 24     Max 40
Monday       Very hot. Sunny.                       Min 23     Max 39

On the contrary Narromine suffers still from pretty wet and bad weather. Hope this changes quickly as the multi-class-comps start this upcoming weekend.
Anne  who lives in Narromine mentioned last weekend on FB ;”Narromine Gliding Club caught out in the huge storm yesterday … its pie cart parked on 040 landed up against the orchard farm fence adjacent to the a/d! Could have caused problems if it had ended up on a runway! But all is well, good old KennyMac (not so old) will fix it!–“

Stonefield  still had a nice 857 km. flight in the Nimbus 4DM and in a St. Libelle, 577 km [ 405 FAI triangle] , circumstances showed great cu’s but also lot’s of showers, as I read. And yesterday they were so lucky that the trough stayed in the S. part of Australia and…another 1000 km flight was added in the Nimbus 4DM, this time flown by Thomas Seiler.

The better weather in South Africa  was last days over Worcester ,where some top pilots as , the brothers Goudriaan and Sven Olivier flew just over and under 500 km. distances,  but as Sven said in his comment; ” the storm washed anything out,” but “having fun over the ridges and a beautiful  finish ” made up for it again.
They fly the Western Cape Regionals from January 22-29. Together with Mark Holiday they form the handicapped open class with 2 ASW 27 gliders , 1 JS1 and one ASH 25. During the week more pilots arrived as Jenifer Bradley with the Duo discus. A nice and friendly competition and this is the first formal edition. 

Also Gariep Dam  had some good flights just over and under 500 km. One of our Dutch pilots mentions that “they explore other gliding possibilities at Upington van Ryn Airport”. Will find out more about it, but  as my interest was straight away raised I had a look already. With help of a friend I found out that Upington looks like a fabulous airfield. With a runway of 16.000 ft.,  4900 m. and 60 m. wide,  one of the longest in the world , it was or is a huge airport . The height of the field is 2800 ft. Should have possiblilities enough.
The runway was built to accomodate  a Boeing 747 full of passengers cargo and fuel for a nonstop flight to Europe. The airport was opened as Pierre van Ryneveld  Airport in 1968. 
Will find out more as this sounds VERY interesting!!!!But…hopefully it is or will be not too busy with airliners. I read that in 2007 they had 19.961 departing passengers. As said I am going to investigate. You can also look at  but I cant get it to open, neither with com. nor with sa. Will try later have to go now.

Off to  Zwolle , so cu next Sunday.
Cheers Ritz

One happy 2011- Dutch- Nationals- family!


Chaves and more!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday January 22 2012

Of course you know the terrible feeling of loosing “something” in your computer, even more when you have saved it all the time and it still disappears in “the nothing”!!
Hate it ; it happened to me yesterday afternoon when I looked satisfied at the new Sunday blog!GONE!!!!!!
So I have to start over again. Here we go!

Chaves  finished with their Pre worlds and the 3d South American Nationals. A good competition as far as I could follow it on the different social media. NOT the best weather , but still organisers could find out where it went well, what could be better and what should be different.Pilots could look at the environment , “read” the weather, get familiar with the South American habits and people, and that was no problem, as I heard.

In standard class   the French pilots were 1 and 3 after 7 days, with in their middle a very good 2d place for young Argentinian pilot Damian Goldenzweig. Not too much points difference in the end; 6195 for Didier Hauss and Laurent Aboulin, only 90 less for Damian and he leaded Killian Walbrou and Denis Guerin with only 10 points.
Our reporter from Olanda Jeroen won the last soarable day with a nice speed of 126 km/h. won the so-long- longed for -bottle of Argentinian red wine and ended in his hired Jantar with call sign 11 on spot 11;
Jeroen; –[ Last ]Day cancelled 🙁 11th place, if battery stayed alive and I would have been with the first 20 on day 3, I would have won. Still room for improvement, but I’m satisfied! :-)-
Thank you Jeroen for you great human and analysing blogs.

Jeroen flying on a cancelled day like the French did. As Jeroen said; It was interesting to see  the difference of opinion what can be a contest- day between Europeans and Argentinians .

In 15 m. class  local pilot Raul Garda won after 8 days in an ASW 20 . He was pretty consistent , won day 3 and had a few 2d -day -places. The first overseas pilots were on spot 5 and ..from France.
In open class  Egon Rehn from Brasil was the best in the ASW 22 26.6 m. He won 5 days out of the 9.
For all results;

Nice to read on the new FAI site  that Visa-Matti Leinikki [Finland] has been appointed as the new  IT manager from the FAI , working from May 1 onwards ,  in Lausanne at the FAI head office !! I have met Visa-Matti on several occasions where he was steward,  juror and guest at comps. Never forget my trip on invitation from him,  when he, Dick Bradley and I travelled on the Ferry from Helsinki to gorgeous Tallinn and also our early morning walks to a nice cafe in Rieti to have breakfast together,  I remember with a smile. Good guy, and the right person on the right spot! Congratulations Visa-Matti!

The weather in Australia is still hot and good. Look at yesterday when “our” kilometer -eater Stephan Söll flew a distance of 796 km. FAI triangle from 538 km. in his LS 4 and declared ….NO engine..NO water, only skills ! Weather at Tocumwal at 3 , 35 dgr and a cloud base of 10.000 ft.
Stephan flew now in 7 days with one rest day in between; a total of 4.415.18 km!!!!! The good old LS 4 is still “hot”. And …to be honest Stephan is still TOP. Today he took a well deserved rest day , flying more or less local, but still relaxing while flying! And….he allowed young- helper -and -more from the field, Jake , to fly in his KYO. First time for Jake in a “fancy” glider.Look at the pictures at

Corowa is making a real race with lots of super flights, to be in the end runner up behind Bitterwasser on the stat’s list of the best airfield.  11 Flights added again today above 500 km. so they are @ SPOT 2 now! What’s still possible!? Anyhow WELLDONE!!!!

Stonefield; yes we know now about Stonefield. The young pilots Benjamin and Fabian have made their last flights and are heading home on Wednesday after a great holiday and…with each a 1000 in their pocket! One of the last great flights was by Andreas Kreil and Konrad Maierhofen , flying the Nimbus 4 DM for an out and return of 800 km.  coming back in ONE go!!! No thermalling, just the view on unendless and go!!!!Great stuff and the fastest flight this season from Stonefield; 139km./h.

Last flight for this season from Fabian.
courtesy  Fabian Peitz via FB.

We had a lovely evening yesterday  with all the organisers from the last Dutch Nationals . As a “Thank you” the crew got a dinner voucher , from all the competitors,  so we went to the middle of Holland,  Utrecht,  to a nice Japanese restaurant.Food was good, though for some pretty new and “interesting”, but we left with a full tummy, huge laughter and good mood. Maybe the sake helped a bit as well. THANK YOU COMPETITORS from the 2011 NATIONALS!!!
As I made these pictures you don’t see me, but Natasja will send me one for next Wednesday.





Great flight again from Gerard Lherm. Wrote about his last flight already, this time he “used” the Cevennes again and with more problems then during his last flight [showers in the area and tough wind] he made it home. Another very early in the season 1000 km and mind you days are still very short in Europe, getting longer since December 21 but still… He remains a top pilot. In Angers , in the 70thies he or George were the pilots who “fought” in open class,  for the first prize from the HUIT JOURS d’ANGERS, the first unofficial European championships . Sometimes George won , sometimes Gerard. Those were good times!

 In Soaringcafe,  is a nice article about the first flight of the Quintus M, written by Bernd Weber who flew in the past , yes you guess it already….with us in Tocumwal. Here is the link.

It is always tragic to read that we lost one of our “soaring mates”  due to an accident. A 60 year old pilot died not far, 17 km NW  from Omarama. Another pilot witnessed the crash , asked for help but sadly enough , all help did not help anymore.

Perth now by Vanessa; —“ know you like a bit of weather, and we’ve had plenty of it in Perth. It has been very hot and humid (a hangover from a cyclone up north) and we finally had some thunderstorms yesterday morning (although it reached 37 again later in the day, & 23 degrees overnight is the norm – yuk).
Great , no fabulous pictures about lightnings!!!
—” The forecast is hot for as long as I can see, and Australia Day on the 26th is forecast to be 39 degrees. It is a shame that it will be so hot – Perth has a large fireworks display by the Swan River, which this year is preceded by a series of air show events – including an aerobatic display by a motorised glider. It will probably be too hot for a lot of people to sit in the sun by the river and watch.— Look at the links and thanks Vanessa!
CU next week! Ritz
and another dozen photos here

Corowa; 1000 km triangle in 15 m. Ventus!

 Alphen aan den Rijn     Wednesday January 18  2012   

Flowers for all happy pilots this season!!Picture courtesy; Maria Böttcher.

We had a few very nice days, weather-wise! Up to minus 6 in the night and plus 6 during the day, very sunny conditions, blue skies and very clear. Never saw so many trails from planes on the sky and on FB,  I read that the visibility was so good that one of the young pilots who flies for KLM mentioned he could see Paris and Amsterdam in one view, and that is by car still 500 km.
In the North of  Greece it is bizarre cold. Minus 24, never happened before, they even closed schools. Athens has 7 dgr.
The weather!!!???

 Talking about the weather , it remained good in the South of Australia and Harry [Wondergem] managed to fly from Corowa a 1000 km FAI triangle in the Ventus 2CT 15 m conversion  and that is JUST AWESOME !!!Good on you Harry! Not that it is his first time ,because when I remember , well he did it in Toc in the past as well.
This all happened on Monday, after a few really good days already.
I translate his comment for you in English:
First leg; tough against the strong wind and a relatively low cloud base.
Second leg; was OK, with tailwind and still a not too high base.
Third leg; finally the cloud base raised and  time to make speed.
4th leg; quietly flying and a bit of a detour to be on a good final glide.
On such great days we always said:” Heaven on earth!!! ” Or…”this is paradise…”It even still makes me proud to see “our ” pilots fly so well at their new destinations.

More great flights in Corowa in Benalla, and Tocumwal that day.  That really pleases me!!! Caspar Garrelts , son from one of the former owners Harm in the very beginning of Corowa Soaring, flew his very first 1000 km.,he must have been over the moon. Guess Harm will be as pleased!
In Toc kilometer-eater Stephan flew in his LS 4 641 km. and yesterday a  662 km. triangle!!!
YES IN AN LS4!!! In 4 days in a row he flew a total of 2. 391 km. Chapeau!!!
One day earlier on the Sunday , Hans flew from Gariep his 5th 1000 and on Monday his 6th, except for 1 [on December30] all these flights were in January!!Polish pilot Adam Czeladski topped that Sunday the OLC list but what a day for both Gariep and even more Corowa!!!!
With 7 x1000 , 5 x 900 and 5x 800 Corowa  can loud say: WHATADAY!!!
 I heard there were some big showers in Gariep while coming back, but in the S of Australia it was pretty good and 32 dgr. but to start with a tough wind ;25 km.
Corowa is 3d on the statistic list for airfields now behind Pokweni and Bitterwasser. In Bitterwasserthey still had pretty late in their  season a 1000 km [Nimbus 4DM] missing out on 22 km. on Jan 15. A record year for Bitterwasser this 2011/2012 season!!!
And…believe me , the season is not over yet , certainly not in Australia!!! Days are getting shorter, we can’t stop that,  but the weather still can be very good! I should have been there this January instead of the next one!!!!
Tocumwal said yesterday and what do you want more; 8000 ft cloud base, streeting with a fresh northerly wind and 33dgr. at 3.
And from Corowa Ivo flew a nice 849 flight while others had a well deserved rest.

Finally Narromine had a bit of a good day as well. A few over 600 km-flights.  They were not too blessed with great soaring weather this season and I know how good it can be there. Hope the Nationals they host , though pretty late in the season will have super-competition-weather.[January 30-February 10]

At Chaves day 7 was cancelled for the standard class. So Jeroen could go to the beach. No beach for the 15 m. pilots they had to fly a 2 hour AAT and again Francois Pin was the best. Only 32 points ahead on Argentinian pilot Javier Gaude, but still…..The day devalued so “only” 676 points for the day-winner and as Francois is on spot 14 overall,  it will not make the difference in the end, this time. As we saw in SA; loosing with one point!!!!
A 1000 point-day for the combined -open-class pilots also flying a 2 hour AAT. 288 km in 2 hour 11 is a nice result for Fernando Repicky.
See also the blog from Jeroen about day 6; ” That’s flying AAT over unknown countryside!”

 Time to go to the beach.Courtesy Jeroen Verkuijl

 Busy week, so short news but with a very nice picture to finish send by Dundee.

Fresh bacon from the grill .

Corowa, some extra news this Sunday!

 Corowa weather, a beautiful day with cu’s.

Just published my Sunday blog with the expectation of more 1000 km. flights in Corowa  and yes when I had an extra look at it and I noticed it all  happened  … enthusiasm runs away with me and I have to add that I really find the 1000 km FAI triangle for Lubor in the ASG 29 E 18m a “stunner”!
As well as the flight from Pepe, a great FAI 1000 in the ASH 31
Also great flights from Jozef from Prievidza [Discus 2T] and Eric { LS 8T}  and Jos from Holland.[ASH 31]  all a 1000 km. AND… a nice one [triangle] from Lubik in the Duo Discus. The Slovaks are having great fun!


Jozef flying his first 1000 km. for this season and here on this picture ,  after winning last week the prize donated by the motel he stays in with the Slovak team, the Arcadia, where owners Anne and Peter have  this season made a trophy for their guests, and the daily winner on the OLC, will get the trophy in the evening.
Picture and story; courtesy Jörgen.

A few “just not” flights  as well , the most impressive by Alojz Maros also from Prievidza who flew 999 km in an 18 m. discus.[937 km FAI]

I presume the beer and wine tastes extra good in Corowa tonight. So it should. Congratulations to all pilots not only those who flew a 1000 but also all who really enjoyed a great day of soaring!

Benalla and Tocumwal  both enjoyed great weather as well. Benalla with flights up to 714 in a 17 m. Kestrel [triangle with added kilometers] and a 757 km.[ triangle] in a Speed Astir and 878 km.[ also a triangle Hay-Temora]  in an ASH 26E. In Tocumwal Michael flew in the ASW 15 from Dundee and flew 460km.  after a late start! 27 Flights in this area over 500 km. A fabulous day with great soaring weather after the cold interval last week!

Slowly the season goes to an end in all overseas areas, slowly days are getting shorter, but it’s not over yet. Let’s wait and see! Cheers Ritz

Benalla,Narromine,Chaves and more!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday January 15 2012  

Courtesy; Kempton Izuno.

To start with,  a real nice picture from Kempton Izuno[ via glider forever] ;
—“This was July 25, 2010, taken from about 10,000 ft over the Trinity Alps in Northern CA, looking North towards Oregon. What a fantastic specimen of thunderstorm. I like collecting them, but the jars are filling up my shelf . “—
Thunderstorms are not a strange phenomena for glider pilots. Some love to fly in front of it or avoid it by flying around it. Where it is very hot , you can have heavy thunderstorms, I don’t have to tell you.
To be honest I am not such a fan!!! I remember a real bad one in Uvalde at the time the pilots arrived back home to finish in 1991. Surely Patrick Stouffs will remember that day as well. He was one of them, the wind changed during a storm and became very heavy giving the pilots a “hell of a tailwind”. We stood on the side of the field but could not see a lot, which made it “spooky”. Due to this sand storm we were for a short time in ” grey fog” . It all looked spectacular but was luckily enough not too dangerous, though Patrick had minor  damage on his wing tip, touching slightly a marker along the runway when he turned his glider from it. Bruce [Brockhoff] and John [Buchanan] had to land in this bad weather as well. They were all sandblasted. Never forget that.

  Patrick in 2006 in Eskilstuna.

In Benalla it was pretty tough weather ;When I left you last Wednesday ,I read on FB that Swaentje from Germany needed a “heater”.  A heater in Australia????? I was wondering what was wrong till I noticed that Melbourne had cold weather [12/18 dgr] with winds gusting to 110 km./h. last Wednesday.
A cold front brought this wintry blast.
Tocumwal had the coldest night on record with 7.1 the night from Wednesday to Thursday.
And that in MID summer.
But luckily the temperatures have gone up again to between 30 and 36 .
—“We had a day off yesterday. The wind was the problem, with about 30 knots on the ground and 45+ at altitude. It was seriously cold, but the sky looked like a lot of fun.—“By Bruce.

Day 7at Benalla,about 2 hours from Melbourne,  gave pretty nice weather [22 dgr.C] again for a not too long distance. Bruce was the old Bruce again winning the racing task [for all classes] for the day and his lead overall is growing.
In club Allan Barnes had a really good day flying via Tocumwal and Corowa back to Benalla with speed 104 km./h.  Overall leader Tobias Geiger lost 250 points…so he is 2d now and Alan climbed up to 4. One day to go!!!!
In 2-seater-class it is nice to see different pilots winning a day.Only when Terry does something totally wrong , he will loose his first spot, but knowing him,  I can’t I imagine that, …we all know however, it is only over after the very last finish, so let’s wait and see.
Bruce’s comment on today’s flying;
—“Good day today. There were some cu all round the task, with heights up to 6,000 agl. It took a while to get the launch started, so most of us left soon after the gate opened. There were good runs and some strong climbs, including a 9 knotter onto final glide that got me away from all the crowd. Still not a straightforward day, but very satisfying.—“

On the last day of the comps in Benalla, no big surprises. Bruce won  day 8, with Brad on his tail and Bruce won the comps, but it was great to see that Brad was 4th, missing day 1 due to business. After 8 days Mac {Japan} was 2d overall. Good on him. He surely will  travel now with a lot of other pilots to Narromine where the 50thiest Multi Class Nationals are  starting at January 30 till February 10, which is , by the way, pretty late in the season.
In the club class Tobias just did not make it to win the title. He ended as runner up behind Craig Collings from the club from Mount Beauty, a great area to fly!!!
In the 2-seater class IE won the last day but that was not enough to take the title home to the Hunter Valley. Terry won in the DG 1000.
As far as I heard a nice and good competition!That’s what Bruce said as well….and THANKS for sharing your thoughts with all of us Bruce, good luck in Narromine!;
“Tough last day with some treacherous weather. It was blue with an inversion so strong you had to duck at the top of each climb so as to not bang your head! Mostly we got to 3,000 feet with many glides down to 1,500, so the whole flight was steady work. I was really happy with how I flew today, initially with some company but later on my own. It all went well till right at the end when I came really close to landing, but was saved at the last minute.
Very satisfying competition – tough weather and good result.—“

At Chaves  2 non-flying days as well. Rain and volcanic ash from Chile, were the wrong-doers.On the official site was written;”
—“No tasks for today because the rotation of the wind bring volcanic ashes—”
A few lines from the blog from Jeroen:
—“I promised you to tell my tactics on day 2… Pretty easy: start early because of the cirrus clouds from the upcoming front. Big gaggles are less likely when you fly an AAT.
Furthermore you can fly a bit bigger distance in the first circles and still use the other to help you. We even had some cumulus so there was really no reason to wait. First leg was pretty good, I was in the flow and was gaining on the others. I took the right path under some nice Cu. Guess I had a good practice in Uvalde. On the second leg the cumulus were not in line with my plan, so I had to fly a big banana. Halfway on the third leg it dried out and conditions were not so good anymore (as expected). Had to fly very carefully to cover maximum distance to find the few good thermals. In combination of 45 km/h. tailwind I thought it was good to lose some water too. There were two small circles left and I could go on final glide. Don’t ask me why (because I don’t know myself), but I messed that up big time. Result: flying the last leg with 250 kph and still cross the finish line way to high!!!
That costed me the winning of the day and a nice bottle of “Treintatres” vino 🙁 But you don’t hear me complaining about 4th place !—“

For more news from Jeroen,  as this is only part 1 of his story go to;
So Jeroen lost in the end from, young French pilot Killian and his mate Lourent and from Brasilian topper Joao Widmer. Nothing to be ashamed of!!!
The French are having a great practise run there for the next WGC. Killian won day 3 [set task of 348 km] and the  Laurent ‘s , [Aboulin and Couture] were 4 and 5 . A lot of outlandings in the standard class also “our”Jeroen after 130 km. More then half of the competitors went ” au vache” in this class;31  from 53!
 In 15 m. a local pilot gained the 1000 points on soaring-day 3 [AAT 3.30] . 7 Outlandings from 37 in this class!In the combined open class only 4 from 20 pilots “au vache” and day winner for this 4 hour AAT was a DUO DISCUS!!!
For day 3 and 4please read the news from Jeroen at his blog and look for the results at .
Day 3 was a difficult one when,”20 kilometers short before the first turning point everything with a plug attached to it turned black ….”
Day 5  had yesterday a 315 km task with pretty Dutch weather, let’s see what Jeroen makes from it and if he wins that great bottle of red!!!!
NO he did not , but he was 3d behind Lucas Goldenzweig. A great run for USA pilot Francois Pin, winning day 5 in 15 m. class.
And the 4 hour AAT in open was won by top pilot Egon Rehn from Brasil 465 km in 4 hours and ONE minute. 

Pretty unusual as well, is the 2012 season in Gariep Dam. Normally the good days are in December, this year clearly in January. Lovely to see 2 Dutch pilots Francis van Haaff and Rob Looisen fly an FAI 1000 km.triangle from Gariep in the DUO DISCUS XL !!!! And…a 1000 FAI triangle for a Discus 2T/18 m. [ Ondrej Dupal Czech. Rep.] is not bad either. Also in discus , 994 km for a Polish pilot, just not…!Great weather in Gariep! Great to see so many familiar names over there!!! As from Klaus {Warnke}  who just missed out on a 1000 in the DG 800; 909 km.
A 999 km flight from 2 other Dutch mates trying a set 600 km out and return record , but due to circumstances they were too slow added more kilometers and flew 999 km.
Some nice flights as well from Omarama, nearly 700 in an LS 6 and another interesting wave flight after the very special one from Gerard Lherm in the South of France[I mentioned that last week] , this time from meteo-man Herman Trimmel from Wiener Neustadt; 635 km in a 17 m. Ventus.
Happy pilots from Israel at Tocumwal  yesterday, a declared 500 km flown and … his first diamond distance and goal for Amir. Good to see Stephan , back again and flying his LS 4,  KYO, to 571 km. and Michael who flies his DG 600/17m.
Nearly 1000 km from Corowa yesterday as well, 988…..and 982… close!!! And….I expect and hope for more 1000 km flights there as the weather is still improving and was specially good today direction NE from Corowa.
And from Temora   a lovely flight from Grant Johnson in a Kestrel and I am pretty sure that’s an old glider which was privately stationed in Tocumwal as well in the past.
Not to forget the long- distance- wave -flight in Argentina from Swiss pilot Jean-Marc Perrin; 1.525 km with nearly 150 km. speed in the 15 m. DG 808.
Back home in Australia, from Bitterwasser, Milan Petcovic, decided for a nice practise flight to brush up his skills, with Ingo [Renner] to learn even more about soaring from the MASTER himself. They went with the Janus CT for as he calls it : “Another great experience”.
And in Bordertown in SA Australia the first day of the Vintage Gliding Regatta   was flown . Peter Raphael, one of the competitors ,  flies there in a KA 6 . In the past he flew with us in his Maupin Woodstock/11.9 m. As far as I can see he still owns that glider and flies it at home from Raywood.
To finish some news from Benalla about the incident with the 80 year old UK lady. As usual I am very careful about incidents and accidents. It is up to investigators to have an opinion. That’s why I just gave you last week a short statement of the spokesman from the  Gliding Club of Victoria .
Here is what happened, in a letter from Max,to Aus. Soaring,  to avoid rumours!
—” We have all the info, so speculation is not helpful, It was not a stall spin accident.
My description of events,
Mary Neighbour ,
flying a Ventus 2CT, it appears that she arrived in a paddock with the
engine running at full power. She turned at low level to avoid the
farmstead and her wingtip caught the ground. Luckily the farmers wife
saw everything and her husband was able to turn off the engine.  The
SES used there cutting gear to remove the engine (why?) and the cockpit

Mary has a punctured lung and broken ribs, she was airlifted to
Melbourne Hospital, she has been awake, but they have her on a
respirator. Yesterday she had a Halo fitted to restrict the movement of
her neck and 3 vertebrae fused together. Not nice for a 50 year old,
let alone an 80 year old.

I was flying that day, it was a 10,000 foot
day with rough conditions and (possibly ) heavy sink. She was at 6500

feet, 46 kms out, but ran into heavy sink, ( there was a wind shear in
that area.)
Regard Max
You are totally up to date now, too much news I guess, and…just after I published the blog ….Dutch pilot Ton de Bruine flew a 1000km yoyo,  from Corowa, cheers Ritz

Uvalde Texas !More Danish records!Benalla!Chaves!Next JWGC in Narromine??

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday January 11 2012

A normal procedure after a 1000 km in Corowa, a good red for the pilots who “did it” !! With Francesco to the left.
Picture; courtesy Jörgen Thomsen

Uvalde Texas here I come!!!!!! Very pleased to finish my writing career AT location in Uvalde Texas. No… not on invitation from the organisers this time, as they had lined up already somebody else, but as lead blogger from SoaringCafe!!!!! Bill and Rand invited me to write “in their  Cafe”. Hope you are all happy for me as well!
Details etc. will come later.
I am more then pleased and invite you all to follow me for 3 weeks in August to visit the SoaringCafe, to share highlights, fun and pleasure and  when there  are also some disillusions /disappointments  from pilots, crews and organisers!!!!!!Really looking forward to it!!!

Benalla continued with the comps  and on Monday , the new start of the week, the pilots in sports class , had a 4 hour AAT ,as the weather after the rain, was fine with only a tough Westerly. And… Brad Edwards topped the list in this class again with 444 km in 4 hours 10. Bruce Taylor was as good runner up followed by the Trotters, Peter and Lisa.
In club, pilots had to fly an AAT of 4 hours 30 and Alan Barnes was the best with 462 km. in 4 hours and 29 minutes and 22 seconds. What do you want more?
 In the 2 seater class Terry won in the DG 1000  and overall he is first again but only 5 points ahead on Graham Rock. And…..I only found out yesterday that Graham is flying “our” [former] Duodiscus IE , sold in the auction. Yes indeed that was a good one, as many who have flown it can admit.
Day 6 ;Had an other AAT this time from 2 hours 30 in sports class and Bruce won the day [ 311 km in 2.40] and is leading with more points now. 64 points on Peter Temple and more then 400 on Mac who is third again. Brad was 9th today, had about the same distance as Bruce but lost somewhere 10 minutes. Here is what Bruce had to say;
—“An interesting day, with lots of time spent dodging cirrus shadow, although some reported that it didn’t make much difference. There were plenty of cu at about 6500 feet agl, but after the start I didn’t see cloudbase very often – there seemed to be some wind shear that stopped most climbs at 4500. I enjoyed the first leg, couldn’t quite make the second leg work, and had a pretty good run home. I thought I might have gone well enough to get past Brad, but still I am too slow! I stretched my overall lead by a bit today though, so I’m happy. I am not taking too many risks.
There is a lot of cloud coming tomorrow – I hope we fly.—”
In Club, Queensland km-eater Alan and Victorian km-eater Tobias, were 2 and 3d.Tobias tops the overall scores with over 100 points.
In the 2 seater class ” our ” Duo discus was last for the day and…I told you already Andrew Georgeson is good, he won the day! Overall Terry [DG 1000] is on top after 6 flying days, with more then 400 points.
Day 7 , today, was cancelled straight away for the club class pilots but another briefing was given for the sports and 2 seater pilots. In the end due to a very strong wind on all levels, all classes were cancelled.

Great to receive some news from pilots in Corowa. MORE Danish records so I quickly give you the details, as I now have them.Only as long as I know news I can publish it.
A very nice letter and I share parts with you;

-” My wife, Birgitte and I are in Corowa for our 4th  season with our LS10 st.
Last season drowned, but this season looks a lot more promising, so far Birgitte has made 10 Danish records, and I have made 2 so far.
Birgitte flew December 30 a declared 300km FAI triangle with 109 km/hr in 15meter, a new Danish record.
She declared on January 1 a 598 km FAI in 15 meter, that flight contained 9 Danish records, 

  • Distance declared triangle(15m + open)
  • Free distance triangle(15m + open)
  • Free distance 3 turn points (15m )
  • Distance declared max. 3 turn points (15m + open)
  • Goal straight line (15m + open)

Brigitte Orskov and Jörgen Thomsen from Denmark. They married in December 2009 in Corowa!!!!Picture;courtesy Jörgen Thomsen.

I declared an 860 km out-return flight January 2nd. It turned out to be an exciting flight, as I ended up in only 1000 meter in the middle of a 100 km wood north of Hilston, with a gravel road as emergency landing site.
I completed the task flying 80% in blue, with 2 new Danish records.
Next day I declared 1000 km, could not reach my 3rd turn point,  I instead completed 1005 km free flight, thus making it my 3rd 1000 km.

We have a blog, . In this we mostly writes about our experiences in Australia, aimed mostly at our friends and family.
We hope that the record season is not over just yet, I would like to fly a 1000 km FAI in 15 meter.
Kind regards
Team TT
Birgitte Ørskov and Jørgen Thomsen
By the way, their blog is in Danish but with google- translater you get far.

More records this time in Bitterwasser,where Jan Ritsma flew this time a declared 900 FAI triangle with a speed of 131 km/h. A Dutch 15m and 18 m. record. Record flying is great fun. Sometimes records are pretty low and it is easy to fly them, sometimes you have to fight for them. The only thing not so good is , that it needs a lot of paperwork and that some countries are pretty slow with their confirmation of those nice flights. Bureaucracy, you surely know what I am talking about.
A great run for young Patrick Puskeiler who in between January 2 and 10 flew 5 x 1000 km. flights. One in an ASH 25 EB28 and 4 in the Ventus 2CM/18m. About his experience in Bitterwasser you can read his blog on

On Monday morning I got some “alarming” news by phone  about a glider accident involving an 81 year old female pilot from the UK flying in Australia .She was critically injured but seems to be in stable condition in Melbourne Hospital, which is amazing when you see the picture of the glider. She surely was lucky. The spokesman from the Victoria Gliding Club mentioned she became stuck in a down draught. The lady seems to be very experienced and flies already for 50 years. Hope she recovers totally.

From Gonzalez Chaves  our Jeroen is having fun and flies well too. He was 6th on day 1 and 3d on day 2. Do you follow is blog at ????And… you can find all scores on
The European pilots are not doing too bad winning in 2 classes a day; 2 French pilots Killian and Lourent on spot 1 and 2 on day 1 and Christofe winning on day 2 and a Finnish pilot Eric Heinonen on day 1!!!
Interesting to see how Jeroen analyses the French team after a flight and by all means look at the link to his pictures!!!129 About the parade in town during the opening!

  picture; courtesy Jeroen “You have to love Argentina!”

And….it’s looking very likely that the 2015 Junior Worlds will be held in Narromine in Australia in 2015!!!!! Good news, far away however for the European pilots but you can all start organising straight away , I mean after the final decision has been made in March by the IGC !!! “No worries, mate!”  Hope it works out well for Narromine. Good luck!!!!

That’s it for today, cheers Ritz

Chavez/Chaves!First 1000 km from Pic St. Loup in France.

 Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday January 8 2012

Pictures from the Jeroen Verkuijl blog!

What a horrible week we had here in Europe and very much in Holland , weather-wise!  Wind gusting up to 120 km/h here in Holland on the coast and in Germany up to 160 km/h. For the first time in Holland we heard again that a “dyke might give away. ” Evacuation followed  for 800 people in the North as the water was 1 meter above sea level and the land 2 meters below, so if the dyke breaks it would  NOT  be GOOD to be there!
After the huge flooding in 1953 I thought we would be safe at all places in Holland, as they did such a lot of work on our dykes and on regulating the water! You might know that huge areas as Alphen where I live, as well as p.e Schiphol Airport are 6 meters below sea-level, so this was necessary.
On Thursday lightning was a problem and stopped some trains, rain caused flooding at several places some which have not flooded for 17 years and the wind really caused trouble ,[ even trucks flipped over] making the insurance costs for the future certainly higher. Too much wind over the last years. Too much damage bills!!! At this stage 1.600 people have damage and insurers think it will be above 10  million ,what they have to pay out!
Too much snow now in the Alps and Pyrenees and even snowstorms and possibility for avalanches.
By the way the dykes held and as somebody said no other country has a such a good system as Holland, it sounds all true to me now.
Luckily better weather in Argentina!!!

In Argentina the Pre- worlds start today in Chavez   and I asked and can use the news from our Dutch pilot Jeroen Verkuijlwho flies there. First I just wanted to read it and get the interesting things out. But he writes in a nice way you surely enjoy it, so I asked if I could put the site on for ALL of you to read. He had no problem even not with the facts that  concurrentsare reading now as well, so that’s very kind of him! THANKS Jeroen!!!!
I see the name everywhere  different, Chavez or Chaves!!!??? On the official site it is Chaves and on the FAI site Chavez! I keep it on Chaves.
The name Rolf Hossinger, who died in 2005,  is attached to the 32d WGC in Argentina in Jauary 2013. I remember him very well as TC for the Argentinian team in the past. He was a person you never over-looked. He was Swedish by birth but lived in Argentina for most of his life. He was world champion in 1960 in Cologne in Germany and did a lot for gliding in Argentina.

 Jeroen arrived and was in a good mood. Looking at the clouds ..who would not be!
 Picture; Courtesy Jeroen Verkuijl
—This is just great! First of all: CU starts to pop up at 12:00, growing in a fast rate and staying there for a long time. Cloudbase reported @ 3000m! Second, the people are even friendlier then I thought (and I already thought they were). Third, this feels like vacation!—
And…for all who are going to Chaves next year and come from Europe;
ATM over here doesn’t work for any of my European cards and queues can get quite long, the pre-paid chip isn’t working on my European cell phone.—
Be aware of that! But….as I found out in the past, these problems will be solved and normally not occur when the WGC starts. That’s so good from having a pre-worlds!!!
Jeroens intention is to do his best for a place as high as possible but his goal is—”  to get me as well prepared for the Worlds next year as I possibly can.But above all: have fun. That may not sound as a winner, but I can assure you: if you’re not having fun at what you are doing its going to be very hard to be the best.”—
And;  First flight in Argentina is a fact. Hmmm, have to get a bit used to the Jantar … Unfortunately the weather was not so good as before (lots of wind!). Doesn’t matter: lots of days to come—

Pilots in Benalla struggled with small tasks after the HOT period , while  pilot Geoff Pratt on the East side of Australia flew  634 km in his PIK 20 E.
After thinking to have had a good first day Paul Manderlooked at the results with mixed feelings, loosing 978 points due to “contest area violation”!!! He kept 20 points and found himself instead of spot 2 on 30!!!! But…rules are rules.
I left you on day 2 when a few outlandings in both classes showed that the fabulous weather had left. There were 4 outlandingsin sports class and 14 in club with in the 2 seater class 2 teams not coming home and this time , Paul Mander won the day in club class.
On Wednesday , competition day 3 ,Andrew Georgeson , who I know , from the past , as a very good pilot was unlucky and the only one making an outlanding  in the duodiscus after 70 km. As the winner flew 100 km more Andrew lost a few points; 840 to be accurate.
In Sports class Brad won again flying 248 km during  a 2.30 AAT in 2.40.
—-Bruce had a shocker, and Brad had an ok day… Still, 700points and 3rd isn’t so bad… Boy!! What a day. A few outlandings too esp in Club—-tweet from Anita Taylor.
And ” Down to 6th, but still 700 points! Brad quoted Ingo: it’s always better in NSW, so stay nth of the river!”
In club Paul was this time unlucky again,  landing out after 162 km in a 2.30  AAT . But local kilometer-eater Tobias Geiger flew his LS 4  to a great first day spot, flying 222 km in time 2.42. A less good day for the Queensland -kilometer-eater Alan as he landed out after 145 km.
Day 4; speed task for all classes as the new weather cycle is building up again. 438 km. for sports , 308 for club and for the 2 seaters with Tocumwal as one of the TP’s .Tasks were flown by most pilots,  but speed was under 100 km/h. Winners in each class; Brad in sports, winning 3 days in a row, a pity he had still business to attend on day 1,however  these last days say enough about his flying. As his mate Bruce said, he is bubbling to the surface rapidly.  In club Danish pilot Björn Rechinger, those Danish boys are doing well in Benalla and Tocumwal. In the 2 seater class , Graham Rock from the Hunter Valey flew the duo to 1000 points!
Day 5 , yesterday was cancelled as the window to fly in was too small and instead of flying the boys and of course girls, had their pilots meeting. I attended a few, that is even more tiring and harder then flying.But also interesting, hot discussions, the past and the future it all comes on the table and… takes a while.
Day 6 , today, was cancelled due to rain!

AND on their news I read—–The Sports Class day one result is still being considered by the protest committee!!! Penalties for airspace infringements have been applied for Sports class day 1. The Contest Director [Tim Shirley, a good and very experienced one!] gave all pilots a “jolly good talking to”. Smile as Life is Good!!—–

During the very hot weather in Australia code red counts for fires. Perth had a bad one last week, close to the airport. Here is the link, when you are interested ,send by Vanessa [ thanks Vanessa] who could see what happened;
” we have certainly noticed the smoke and increased flight traffic over our house – also a strange yellow light that comes with bushfires, which I suspect you may recall from your time in Oz.
It just looked like a big brown cloud from our back deck
 And yes I do recall that ; specially that one day on January 3 , I guess 1991, when the fire “flew” over Tocumwal, killing lots of animals and destroying many houses. People had to run for their lives. My friend Lesley and their guest Gerrit{  Kurstjens} left quickly with 3 kids in a car,  when the fire was about 1 m. from the house. Geoff the owner stayed and saved it all by hosing the fires  with water.Later he was happy but said ” it could have totally gone wrong”!! Pretty scary experience.

In Corowa a new groupe of pilots arrived from Prievidza.  They have send their gliders in one container via Holland. One of them is Jozef, the top-director from the WGC in Prievidza. And…he did not have the easiest job during those comps, but he and his team could hold their own in a friendly and helpful way.Now it is relaxing .

Very pleased to see 2 guests from Israel in Tocumwal again. In the past we had some very nice people as Arnon and Gaël. Amir and Doron are there now and Doron flew  his first GOLD C distance a300 km.  out and return to Lockhart last Friday. Well done! Also Stefan from Sweden is back, good on him! On one of the pictures from Sportaviation I noticed good old Bill [ the founder of soaring in Tocumwal] and good old Twinks, both on their way to 90 years old. Not yet,…87 for Bill and 88/89, I guess,  but as said on their way. Not “spring-chickens”  , anymore but look ….they still visit the gliding place and still love it!!

Namibia remains  good and my Belgium friends Bert and Hildeflew their 2d x 1000 for the season.Pleased with that! Reinhard Schramme flew his 11th x 1000 this season and Swiss pilot Jean- Marc Perrinhad wave and flew 1.666 km. in Argentina, in the 15 m. DG 808 , while Bruce[Cooper] still is waiting for his day to fly a “stunner” ,killing the waiting with long walks.
Another very nice 1000 km flight/triangle from 24 year old Patrick Puskeiler, this time in a borrowed single seater [Ventus 2 CM] as the ASH 25 EB , which was put at his disposal , had some engine problems.
GREAT day in Gariep Dam yesterday. A very nice declared 900 km Fai triangle in Gariep Dam in a duo discus in South Africa. VERY good!
More declared tasks from Gariep as Dutch pilot Jan Ritsma declared a 700 km.FAI triangle and flew it in a new Dutch record in a 15 m conversion Ventus 2 CT ;136 mkm/h. a Dutch record for  15m. 18m and open class . Of course a few 1000 km. flights as well another one for Hans, Gert and Klaus . Good on them.


pictures courtesy Doris Wiesenthal.[via FB]

An impressive flight yesterday  by  French top pilot Gerard Lherm. He flew in mid winter under superb circumstances,  as he says, a 1000 km. starting at St Martin de Londresin France!  He connected with wave over the great area of Cevennes  , connected with nice wave over a valley and that went through to the Alps. The first 1000 km flight departing from Pic St Loup, [658 m. high] and in the South of France;  a great wine area for the famous Languedoc wines. Gerard flew the Nimbus 4 DM, compliments!

A disaster in New Zealand where a hot air balloon got fire  and killed the pilot and 5 married couples, some got their ticket as a Christmas present. Investigation has to sort out if the balloon was set in fire by hitting the powerlines during the landing or if the basket got in fire before.Huge flames were seen by eye- witnesses. 2 Of the passengers jumped , out not surviving it. TRAGIC very tragic!!! It was supposed to be the best and most impressive 45 minutes in their lives.

  That’s it for this first week of January 2012. And….people have digged theirselves out of the snow and the dyke’s are still OK ! On the other hand on the other side of the world,  the ship on the coast from New Zealand broke in 2, leaving containers everywhere in the water. Luckliy most oil was pumped out, but that still damaged a lot!!
 CU next week. Cheers Ritz

 To finish this blog, some pictures from Glider forever send to me last week.
Pictures; courtesy Rafa Soldan via Glider forever.

All kinds of records!Benalla comps!

Alphen aan den Rijn     Wednesday January 4 2012


Hope you enjoyed the 1000 km story  from young sport soldier Benjamin Bachmeier published last Monday.

Day 1 of 2012 was here in Holland a special day as temperatures reached 13 dgr. C and that had not happened before in history. Normal for this time of the year is about 3 dgr. You can see the rose in my garden , it lost track of time, thinks it is spring.
A Dutch first- of -January -tradition is a dive in the sea, does n’t matter what the temperature is. Not for me,  but for many. So with the high temperatures,  a record amount of divers were to be found in their swimmers in the sea;36.000 all over Holland and for Scheveningen there is a limit of 10.000 and they were all there.Also a record!
Yesterday we had such an unfriendly storm again gusting to over 100 km/h. and producing a lot of damage again. Hate storms!!!

Talking about records  but this time different ones; Our Danish mates continue  with their record-chase! More new Danish National records, this time Ole writes;
2 new Danish records
Speed 300Km triangle 134.25 Kph
Speed 100Km triangle 134.25 Kph
Ole now 6 records IB only 5 !!!!!
They surely are having fun, and…that’s what it  is all about is n’t it  ???!!!!

Gawler had a -first- of- the- season- 1000 km. as well on January 1. Great weather in Australia but HOT up to 43 dgr. January 2 was good for a few more 1000 km. flights! Pepe in the ASH 31/21m. the first 1000 for this type of glider. Also an ASG 29 flew one . In Stonefield the Nimbus 4 .Also Harry flew one again yesterday from Corowa , so pleased to see his back and from Lubor I know he is a good pilot and he showed it with a fantastic 1.148 km flight in the ASG 29!!!
A very  good one, as well, a DECLARED 1000 FAI triangle,  but just not flown by Terry Ryan from Tocumwal. A pity!! But…… day later…he flew one, his very first one,not declared this time, but a nice BIG 1000 km. flight. So Tocumwal has a 1000 now as well , so has Benalla with Nick Woods in the ASG 29. Nice one as well!!!
Excellent WEATHER in the very beginning of January in OZ !!!!!!! But the change arrived today!

Talking about 1000 km. Yes there is a big difference in flying a 1000 km. but still it should be ALL fun. In the past, so between 20 and nearly 50 years ago it was a real challenge and MAGIC. Now with all the fancy gliders with engines, you still have to have the weather and you still have to fly it , but it is easier. It depends on what you wish and what type of glider you fly. For an open class glider it is more easy then a Discus.  Do you go for fun, flying with the clouds  or hard work declaring a task and flying/sticking to it, or both?! Challenges, challenges!!!Decisions, decisions!
Then you have cold, high and fast circumstances flying wave,  or with cauliflower clouds or dry thermals.So a 1000 lost a bit of magic but a first 1000 ALWAYS  remains magic for the pilot flying it! New goals are there now for even longer distances then a “pretty normal by now” 1000. But enjoying yourself remains the main goal.

Did you know that the very  first 1000 km.   was a free distance flight/record  by Alvin Parker on July 31 1964, he was the number 1 who received the 1000 km. badge. and now at this stage we have 575 pilots who have one! Alvin flew a Sisu1A withsome kind of  a -standard-  libelle- performance. This glider is still to be seen in the Smithsonian.
For Holland Jaap van Steinfoorn was the first to fly a 1000,  number 49 and flown in 84 in Minden in a Nimbus 3. George ,  was the 2d one with number 56 also flown in 84, but in Tocumwal and in a Ventus BT.I remember a very windy day , I could hang while waiting against this wind.
I liked what Benjamin , who flew one on January 1 2012, said after his flight; “I have learned two things about 1000 km flying yesterday:
1st;  it is not so much a game of flying long hours from morning til evening, but much more a game of flying REALLY FAST in the best hours of the day. This is what matters much more, because 20 kph more average in the afternoon gives you more distance than creeping along weak and low for two hours in the morning.
2nd ; one thousand km flights in thermals are, to put it simple, the art of being in the right place at the right time for long enough.

In Namibia they took it easy, on day 1 of the year no big flights over 1000 km.,  but of course they had already so many!!January 2 however was good for a 1000 for my friends Bert and Hilde in Kiripotib in an ASH 25 EB. Also Bernd and Patrick flew one. Patrick [Puskeiler] is the  junior world champion from Musbach,  as you still might remember and he flies now from Bitterwasser. Also he was in the past a sport soldier as Benjamin and Fabian are now!Several more very nice long flights yesterday in Namibia.The first 47 flights yesterday were from Namibia or Australia , number 48 a good one from Hans Wiesenthal in Gariep Dam; 713 km.

Now that all overseas soaring paradises have given  their pilots where they came for , I can concentrate on  more then only 1000 km. flights. Each of the places have enough now to call it a great or pretty great season.Nothing is such a worry as to not have the weather when pilots come with their saved pennies to fly a 1000 and it not there in the time they visit. I always felt very bad, if it was my fault, of course it was n’t, but that still is in the back of my mind. There you see….is a 1000 ….my trauma?????? Let’s go the comps….

As…the Nationals have started in Benalla. Day 1 was a good one with an AAT from 3 hours for club, won by kilometer-eater Alan Barnes in his LS1f. 386 km in 3 hours 2 minutes , so a speed of 127 km/h!!!! Runner up was Paul Mander who I know since 1984. He flies the SZD55.
As long I know Paul I know Tony Tabart. Jo is my big support for writing about Australian matters. Tony flies in the sports class and was 10th. Preliminary winner was Mac in an LS 8. He knows the area well as he flew many years with us in the past and even organised comps for Japanese pilots with our gliders; the Recaro Cup, all past now! But good on Mac!!! He flew 395 km. in exact 3 hours. Speed 131.5 km.Runner up was Peter Temple [LS 8] who was 3d in the WGC in Rieti, before Bruce Taylor in the JS1.
In the 2-seaterclass flies one DG 1000 flown by Terry Cubley [YES I know him as long as Tony and Paul]  and 5 duo-discusses.Here is Bruce about day 1;
  BIG day today!! The weatherman said something about the possibility of convection going to 14,000 feet, but maybe the task setters didn’t listen to that and gave us a 3 hour AAT. Before start we had to keep an eye on heights, as we were bumping up against the ceiling at 12,000 feet. It was nice and cool up there compared to the 40 degrees plus on the ground…
On the way out towards the first turn… there were some climbs of 10 knots and more, then there was a bit of pre-frontal cirrus
shadow to get over. Just past that there was more sunshine, and I cruised fast to a likely looking cloud, to be greeted with a monster climb. It started at 12 knots and went over 16 for a few turns!! WooHoo!! Overall the flight went well, except that I tried hard to max out all the sectors and still came home 8 minutes early, which was a bit of a shame. My 153 kph ended up only being good enough for 3rd place! I don’t think I’ve done that sort of speed unballasted before, so it must have been a good day.
Tomorrow the trough line might be past us, and it will be cool (and low) again. At least the crews will be more comfortable.”

Day 2  had less good weather and started with rain , which is indeed a nice way of cooling off after the 40+ from the last days.  In sports class Brad Edwards who did not fly on day 1 , won the 2 hour AAT in 2 hours 21 but he flew 195 km. Runner up Miles, also a good old friend, was 2d. All scores still preliminary at this stage.
In the club class Paul Mander won the 1 hour 30 AAT at this stage. More on Sunday.

And to finish something about the Perlan Project

Stratospheric Mountain Waves

How will Perlan soar to 90,000 ft.?

by: Elizabeth Austin

To soar a glider to 90,000 feet without an engine – not
possible! Yes, it is possible. In fact, this was proven
possible during Phase 1 of the Perlan Project when
pilots Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson soared a
modified DG505M glider (without a motor) to 50,671
feet on August 30, 2006. But to accomplish this feat,
we need a weather phenomenon that generates
upward moving airflow that the glider can use to climb
up to those altitudes – “stratospheric mountain waves”.
You can read more about the Perlan Project on their site

Cheers Ritz

Retrospect from Benjamin Bachmeier! His very first 1000 km.Enjoy!!!!

Alphen aan den Rijn      MONDAY January 2 2012

A bit earlier then normal ,but I wanted to share the whole letter from Benjamin with you. Otherwise the Wednesday blog would be TOO long and you would get tired from reading and that would be a pity as it is an interesting story.

Of course I congratulated Benjamin with his great flight. Here is his letter back. So here we go! Take a chair and enjoy!!!

 The lake Benjamin talks about in this letter.

Dear Ritz,

Thank you very much and have a happy year 2012!!

It was an awesome flight yesterday. Absolutely spectacular.
The last weather cycle (bringing the trough with 43 deg and too much clouds today) was very predictable so that three days ago, we were totally sure about the 1000km-chance on the 1st. It turned out to be my turn flying the discus (the day before, Fabian had flown an impressive 700 km), but even if it wouldn´t have been my day, Fabian would have given me the glider for my 1000 km chance. He´s a real sportsman.
My plan was to copy Fabian´s flight, but to go further north on the first leg to decrease the amount of YoYo flying.
I launched on the winch at 11 am, but there was no real movement in the air so that I had to land again. It wasn´t until 11:30 that the first dust devils evolved and made me launch once again, already pretty late in the schedule. I spent the next 40 minutes circling around the airfield in 500 – 600 m AGL, until at 12:15 I caught the first real thermal up to 6000 ft. From now on, I would have to average 130 kph to achieve the 1000 km. It seemed impossible but I headed on course, just in case a wonder was going to happen.
An hour later I found myself 130 km further north, having followed an awesome street in the blue and hardly ever turned to climb. Now I could see the first clouds popping up on the northern horizon, and damn! they looked high up. I had a little trouble staying in touch with the lift system, but the blue climbs averaged 4 m/s and brought me to 10000, later 12000 ft. With 200 kph ground speed, I now bashed under the first good looking cloud near Wilpena Pound, just to find a lift between 5 and 7 m/s (14 knots) beneath it. It fired me up to just over 4000 m (14000 ft). The plan had worked.
From then on, I only turned when expecting 6 m/s or more, working the rest by pulling up and diving down. The big salty Lake Torrens appeared on my left, the Flinders Ranges on my right. I raced to the last cloud on course and wanted to turn, 370 km away from home, when something told me to behold the clouds over the Flinders. Some 30 degrees off my course, leading even further away from home, the most exciting street I had seen for a long time swam around in 14000 ft, and thermals were booming everywhere around. But who would ever fly so far away into unknown desert-like terrain, abandoning the original plan? I was still more than an hour behind the 1000 km schedule, so could this be the ONE chance to catch up? The wonder I had hoped to meet out on course? Damn, it´s creepy to be so far out…
It was the decision of my life. It took me at least a minute to figure out what this could mean, and what could go wrong. I did a lot of crazy calculations and figured out some emergency airstips in the GPS, then concentrated on nothing but the number ONE THOUSAND and turned 30 degrees right.
The average speed of the next 60 minutes, according to SeeYou, was 170 kph. Forcing myself not to look at the desert mountains below but only to maintain that god damn speed, I flew the fastest hour of my career. At the last cloud in the north, 426 km away from base, I turned. Maintain that speed, and everything will work out. Fly, Yankee Bravo, fly.

Reaching landable terrain half an hour later, back near Lake Torrent, I tried to work out the fastest way south. Some clouds, but lots of blue passages, lift and sink both exceeding 5 m/s. Light wind in the back. My mobile phone beeped: Message from Fabian: “Du packst das” – you´re going to make it.
The 400 km leg south back to Adelaide CTR passed away pretty fast with 146 kph. Having done the maths, I knew that with the first turnpoint at 370 and the second at 425 km, I would only have to go back north for some 60 km to make it a thousand. The last three hours had been so incredibly fast that now I wasn´t at all behind, but even ahead of the time/distance schedule. It was now only a matter of keeping cool and doing what was left to to. I turned north again, having figured the best way under the few clouds that were left. It was half past six by now: I had at least two hours of thermals ahead, which still averaged some 2 m/s and felt pretty reliable. Now I could take my time and had to do nothing but establish final glide height. At seven o´clock, with the clouds getting thinner and lift getting weaker, I patiently sat on 1,5 m/s to almost 4000 m. After turning a little further north, it was 105 km to go and 3500 m: There was not much usable lift left here, but this could really be  enough.

At five past eight, I reached the Aerodrome to find everybody gathered outside, waiting. After a low pass, I landed with the sun in the back, just to see Fabian running towards me with beer in both hands. He had been watching the SPOT Tracking all day.

We are going to be in Stonefield for some three weeks now, there will be some customers we´ll have to deal with, but maybe there will be some more good flying.
Fabian is out right now, he seems to have gotten as far as Wilpena, but the way back seems tricky because of the trough arriving (too) quickly. We´ll see how this goes.

Now I have written much more than you wanted to know, and much more than I had planned.

I attached a photo of Lake Torrent, which will also appear in the OLC News tomorrow – I´m afraid I was too busy worrying about the race against the clock, so I didn´t take more pictures.

P/S I´d like to add something else:
I have learned two things about 1000 km flying yesterday:
1st it is not so much a game of flying long hours from morning til evening, but much more a game of flying REALLY FAST in the best hours of the day. This is what matters much more, because 20 kph more average in the afternoon give you more distance than creeping along weak and low for two hours in the morning.
2nd one thousand km flights in thermals are, to put it simple, the art of being in the right place at the right time for long enough. That´s it.

As you see…I used it all! See you on Wednesday!

cheers Ritz