Part 26; Wishing you a HAPPY, SAFE and HEALTHY 2016. Updated.

December 30;
Will be not behind my laptop the next 2 days, so this is a nice opportunity to wish you ALL a happy, healthy and safe 2016.
It has been a good year for me , I hope for you as well, though I know some people are sad, as they lost a loved one and some of my friends are very sick.
I wish them all the best in the new year.

Looking back so in the end of 2015, it is maybe time to remember those who are not with us here anymore.
As a tribute to all we lost over here in Tocumwal, I went today to the cemetery and made some pictures from those you knew as well. For some it’s a long time ago, for others only just.
They are sadly missed.
For those who have never been here it might be not so interesting, sorry, those who have been here will be pleased.

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Bill the founder of Sportavia died not so long ago.

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Maureen , Sportavia’s secretary for many ,many years and good friend and her husband Dolf, also a good “mate”.


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Jeff, former owner with Don Escott. Don is buried somewhere else , so is Bob Smith. As far as I know both have their ashes scattered over  their farm.

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Good old Jim, our “gardener” who loved to be involved with Sportavia and took care of the gardens. He was a successful business man , before he retired and came to the aerodrome EVERY day,  to “see” friends.

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Hadley ,son of good friends Lynne and Chris. Lynne owns the ANTIQUE shop and many have a had lunch with her.

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Good old Dessie,CFI for many years in the early times. He died of a heart attack in his motel, on his way home with tugs and gliders from Couff ‘s Harbour, where they did joy-flights.
Tim Mc Grath died last year.He was a tuggy and bar tender,  as many of you still remember and his ashes have been scattered over the Murray River taking them with the stream up to faraway.Tim was over the last years a great help and companion for Dessies wife Mary.

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And,…our Dennis.

Enjoy the change to 2016!!!

Part 25 from the AUSSIE diary, the regular Wednesday-blogs start again end of January!Benalla!

December 28;
Noticed some clouds popping up at 12 , but they disappeared as quick as they arrived. It is very blue, but it looks like a good blue day as pilots, as I see on the ground,  thermal at a nice height.
3 Tugs are going up and down here , not bad.
Yesterday evening we had a nice dinner with the Wilson’s, we know them already for years!


Annie Wilson and I at the Tocumwal golf club.
Picture courtesy Bruce Wilson.

Before we went out for dinner, Steven Wallace, the crew from NZ junior Alex Mac Caw , flying at the JWGC in Narromine  arrived here.
In Benalla , HE will try to fly himself to a spot in the NZ team for next year .
“9 N.Z-Pilots for 6 places “, he said, so some will be disappointed.

With him Delio visited ….I did not know him, but I was VERY pleased to see him, as I had heard about the nasty accident he had a couple of years ago . Everybody was happy he survived that. After a long time in hospital , he walks again and even flies again. Good on him!!!He now owns a Hornet , flew it 2 days ago for the first time and yesterday he even out landed for the first time close to Finley airport. A few more pilots out-landed yesterday in the very blue conditions with only 6500 as height.So not as good as expected or hoped for but still a nice flying day.
The better weather was in Western Australia where pilots flew up to 959 km. in an SZD 55 from Cunderdin, but also in blue conditions and unfortunately not finishing the flight.Still a good one!
Carl Audissou had a real nice wave-flight ,as I saw on the OLC , from St Gaudens in France, in a DG 600/18 m.;1.269 km. speed 143 km./h.
Same day, same place another one in the ARCUS M by Robert Prat; 1.304 km. speed 153 km./h.

Off to Benalla for a short visit.

December 29;
Benalla was GREAT fun. Though there were not a lot of pilots yet, I met a few and heard from one of the scorers [Tim’s wife] that they are very pleased with the 50 participants in the 54th Nationals and the 30 from overseas practicing for next years WGC in Benalla.
Caught up with Beryl and son Mark, who both drove for over 8 hours from Narromine to bring gliders for the French team.[Duo Discus for Eric Napoleon]
They stayed over night and left back home already this morning.
Both Terry [Cubley] and Beryl were checking how we all found the JWGC and there is nothing bad to say about it ,a HUGE adventure for the young ones, who turned out very disciplined and learned more than at any other competition. They had experiences beyond their believe, so what do you want more???
The only “minor”  point for some was the price , to fly down under was high, ” maybe too high, ” is what I heard from one of the TC’s . But that is inherent to flying on the other site of the world. The young pilots however LOVED every minute of it.
Some even did n’t want to go home and stayed longer, making many more good flights.
Narromine had extremely good weather this year, which was/is also a bonus.

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Benalla with Jason, Sarah, John, Miles Beryl and Mark.

Like in Narromine the first visitors I met were the pilots from the USA.
Sarah and her husband Jason and John, the TC from the USA junior- team who traveled through Australia after the junior’s,  finding the best spots to visit as Mount Kosciusko, Bright and Melbourne.
Sarah will fly as “captain” in the DUO DISCUS  during the comps with John and Jason as co-pilots/ crew.
Jason was so kind to give me a link to his pictures, so I can share them with his permission, with you as well.
This time I made the picture
We were only there for 2 hours , but it was good to see several Aussie pilots already, as Gary, Andrew and Miles and as said Terry.
Will go back there for sure 2 times more!

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Sarah from the USA, not in Uvalde Texas now, where we met in 2012, she was one of the tuggies there, but in Benalla [Victoria] .She was 4th at the WWGC in France .

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Her husband Jason and John, both crew/co pilot.


Another blue day here, but higher temperatures and hopefully better “organized”  lift than yesterday.It’s buzzing with 3 tow planes, all good.

Got an invitation for the New Year’s Eve dinner at the SRGC-hangar.  It will be a combined New Years/Xmas Party.Will not go to the  dinner, but we will catch up with a lot of members ,with a good glass of bubbles in the hand,  to wish EVERYBODY at the SRGC a good, happy healthy and SAFE year.Pictures and more news on January 1 2016, so NEXT YEAR!!!
Heard this morning that Ingo, the president of the SRGC , will participate in the Pre Worlds/ Australian Nationals as well, on invitation of a double- seater- owner.
Very pleased with that ,as he has n’t been involved with comps for a long time. He was one of the participants in 1987!!!
More later.

Cheers Ritz

Part 24! In memoriam …Kees Musters! Chinese pilots and Chinese H. sailors !

2015-12-27 04.56.42

A tribute to Kees and Dennis. The white- gum- tree, 28 years “old” on the 10th of January 2016.

December 27.
Today it is 28 years ago that Kees Musters died in that terrible hang-glider- accident in France.
Here is the tree which was planted after Dennis funeral , by Bruce Brockhoff. It was a little plant from some seed from a white gum tree in St Kilda park.
Janet Hider Smith took care of it to grow it, into the little plant .
After the funeral Bruce planted it at the Tocumwal Aerodrome Caravan area from Sportavia.
It was a memory to both Kees and Dennis, mates dying exactly one week behind each other,….both from Holland, …both participating in the 1987 WGC in Benalla, Dennis with his father George in the NIMBUS 3D .
A lot of friends all over the world could not believe it and I know a few are still trying to come to therms with it after nearly 30 year. THAT big was the impact.
Unfortunately Janet died a few years ago of cancer as well.

I made some more pictures from the old Sportavia environment while walking around there.It made me VERY sad!!!

2015-12-27 05.02.45     2015-12-27 05.03.22

The former dining room and outside area for drinks and the BBQ area.The briefing room and sun room.

2015-12-27 05.01.46     2015-12-27 05.02.26

The pool where so many had great fun.


Told you yesterday a bit about the Chinese pilots setting up base here in Tocumwal.
Today it’s about 2 CHINESE crews participating in the Sydney to Hobart race.
First time in history!!
Yesterday at 1 they started ,…108 vessels ,….27 of them international.
They started with a nice North Easterly wind ,but last night and this morning they had to deal with much more  heavy weather.
More later!

2015-12-26 00.58.27

We had some pretty bad weather here as well. Yesterday it was “cold” ,windy and we had a lot of rain. In the night I woke up and felt happy for farmer Ted , yes from the “dry rice” , that a real good Christmas present ….”lot’s of rain” , had arrived for him. It might make his rice-season!!!!????.
Today ,Sunday it ‘s still fresh with 24 dgr. ,but in the sun it feels really good.
Along the Great Ocean Road a lot of holiday makers were evacuated due to out-of-control-fires.The rain helped a bit but several houses have been lost.A total of at least 116 homes, houses and holiday houses.


Caught up with the Macsteads this morning.Parents from Dennis and Michael, both tuggies here in the far past, now both airline pilots.
Also with Tammy, good friend of my daughter Inge and married to Glenn, another tuggie here for several years, now an AG- pilot.
And with Laurel and Paula , Wayne Wood’s wife. Great looking dog they have as well.

The Geelong Gliding Club arrived for a good week of soaring  in Tocumwal with several gliders and one Pawnee.Busy, busy!
Mac is flying his glider to Benalla, where he will participate next week in OZGLIDE.

Talking about Benalla 1987, it makes me think of the OZGLIDE 2016, the 54th Australian Nationals combined with the PREWORLDS. 80 Pilots have entered for this event in 3 classes, starting in the new year between the 4th and the 15th.
I know for sure that Wolfgang Janowitsch flew in 1987 and he participates now again.Will be there next week and find out if there were more.
As it looks now 19 pilots will fly in open class among them Sarah Arnold, tuggie in Uvalde and glider pilot during the WWGC in France and her husband Jason [Duo Discus]  ,from the USA. Both own and run/operate the Chilhowee Soaring Operation.
28 In 18 m. class and 33 in 15 m. class.

And to finish, the “madness” in Melbourne at Boxing day when the SALES starts.At 4.30 AM the first ,over 500 people, were waiting already in row to enter David Jones. The expectation is a turn around on ONE day of several billions in Australia!!!!!

I nicely stay here in the country.

Cheers Ritz

Part 23, with several Christmas parties !

December 25/26.
Hope you all had a lovely CHRISTMAS.

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 2015-12-24 10.11.36    2015-12-24 10.11.22

   Easy-going Christmas Eve Dinner with Gina and Bob.

Christmas breakfast with Margie and Bracey, yammie with ham and turkey sandwiches.

Christmas lunch with Dundee and YH, Swiss Chris and Ashleigh in Dundees Schloss.

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Christmas-evening seafood with a “happy bunch from Shepparton/Melbourne”.

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The very first Chinese-owned-ARCUS from Qing  and Andrew “Peng” Du, who is the Schempp-Hirth dealer for China as well.

Just to let you know ;
Just got the latest news on Chinese glider pilots. Some of them, flew here already for a few years. Now they are ready for the next step; organizing “things”  by their selves. Not much happening this year , it’s all “work in progress”, at this stage.
Soaring China is a company promoting soaring for Chinese people.They have an agreement with OUTBACK SOARING Tocumwal, to organize the operations from the Tocumwal Aerodrome.
They welcomed the new ARCUS M , the very first owned by Chinese people, over Christmas with good food and nice wines, as you can see on the pictures.
Will keep you informed how they go.
In China this group is setting up a glider center at the edge of the GOBI DESERT, according to Andrew a great place to fly. The hangar there is already built.

Andrew will give us soon, some more info about soaring in China as well. Most interesting as I don’t know a lot about it. It’s all probably new for you as well.



The ladies at the AINTIQUE shop, last week with Zita and Jean.


And with Liz in het scoot mobile.


Also a picture from my visit to the Menhennit’s with Libby, “old”  Mary [88] and Mary Anne and me.I managed with some help to upload these pictures from my mobile.



CHRISTMAS day was, as usual, not a very busy day on the OLC.
Only 28 pilots choose to put a flight on it.
One 1000 k. from Carlos Rocca from Munivitacura.

Still a bit off , but getting there.

Cheers Ritz

Part 22. MERRY CHRISTMAS from Tocumwal to ALL of you wherever in the world!!!

December 23;
Yesterday I had a busy day. Caught up with some elderly ladies I know already for 25 years and this time the whole “bunch”  was there where they always were; at the ANTIQUE SHOP outside at the veranda. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me.All looked well, though one lost half her leg due to amputation, but she has a very nice artificial one , is more than happy with it and you nearly don’t see it.
Strong lady, she is!!
Lovely ladies all of them but , yes we are getting older.
This town very much is a “grey” town.

In the afternoon “Simon”  the chiropractor really found all the soar spots, so AMAZING, but I was a bit “off” after and still am.

In the evening there was an invitation for Christmas drinks at Tocumwal’s own winery. They don’t produce wine,  but sell 100 thousands of grapes .

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As far as you can see grapes and don’t forget to look at the sky!!!

Had a nice talk during the drinks, with our former Sportavia-bar-tender Ted, who run’s the family farm nowadays and told me he had an innovative season trying ” dry rice”.
Pilots flying here, recognize the very green irrigated area were they grow rice ,straight away. NOT their favorite spot to fly over  and when possible they avoid those wet areas. Nice green but for sure NO place to land, as they all know as well!!!!!
Ted tried this year to grow rice without irrigation , natural ,…..just with  rain. Not a lot fell here unfortunately, much more just a few km. from here. So he is not sure yet if it will be a success.

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Ted and Lach, Jill and I.

At 7 yesterday during those drinks , I looked up and  got all attention when I showed all of them a very high glider, for a moment I thought it was an airliner, but no IT WAS A GLIDER  and another glider happily came back home  from a flight. Great clouds here all day and nice flights.
725 km. Was the best flight from Tocumwal by Terry in the ASH 26 E. Akemi flew 604 in the LS 8 and Anton over 500 in the LS 4.
888 km. was flown from Benalla in an ASW 28 and from Corowa pilots flew up to 922 km. in a Ventus 2CM/18m.[750 FAI triangle]


Is over!
I bet with Mac during breakfast last week, that Oscar would win,[sorry Laurens!!!] but as they did n’t fly it stayed as it was.
The last 2 days were cancelled so, no more points and Laurens won with a total of 5976, Oscar was 2d with 5947 and Attie with 5690.
In 15 m. Nico le Roux won with 6344 points nearly 2000 more than the runner up and Konrad Stark was “Strong on his own” in club class with 6818 points.


Laurens with the CUP and plate!!
as shared by Arne!



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Today at 3 PM. looking at the East.

December 24;
Still a bit crook, stiff and worn out from my treatment.
Had a lovely Christmas drink with the Menhennit’s yesterday,with Mary Anne and Peter, Libby and mum Mary 88 years old now.
Got back into the good old history/times  of our long ,longtime relation. VERY pleasant.
Great meal in the evening with Margie and Bracey and an early night for the “cracked ” body.

More and more clouds are popping up now at 12 and it looks like another good soaring day here in Tocumwal.
See the ARCUS drive out behind the car to the strip, ready for another Danish record??
1.10 PM; they launch their selves now! Others are already long on track.
Hear the tow planes,… see the gliders, so it’s all happening and it will be busier during the holidays now.
Fabulous skies before I left.

I could write a book about all politics here at the Aerodrome, but I have decided to stay out of it.

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Today at 3 PM looking at the North.
the South and West looked exactly the same.


With their latest ” toy” !!!



Greetings from Tocumwal……the original name is TUCUMIVAL; meaning deep hole [pit].
Merry Christmas dear friends all over the world.

Back in a few days, depending on how my “cracked” body goes. Better not to sit too long behind my laptop now my neck is straight again.
Cheers Ritz

Part 21 !! Danish records .

December 21;
Forgot to tell you, that when we went for a nice strawberry-pancake-lunch at Saturday at the BIG STRAWBERRY, the Newel Highway from Toc. to Koonoomoo had on several parts melted!!!!We drove over shiny, soft , black pitch and the stones flew around the car. Can’t remember to have seen this SO bad before , proofing it was really HOT and for a few days.

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Whilst sitting there, we recognized “our” sun-room- tables  from the Sportavia breakfast room and the Skyheaven- restaurant- dinner-room -tables,…. all with a new top. George remembered they had bought them on the auction. So good to see they have a new purpose. I made a picture for the “connoisseurs”.

2015-12-19 07.56.46    2015-12-19 07.19.52

Nice fresh strawberries from the area and well known tables.


A bit like this.
As shared by friends on FB from TAKE 5 MAGAZINE.


The “change” yesterday arrived first at 4 with rain, wind and a thunderstorm , but it was still rather warm. At 5 a real storm passed by and then finally the temperatures dropped.We heard a lot of sirens and were worried,… to only find out that the SAR and FIREBRIGADE were on a ” Christmas mission” .

2015-12-20 08.24.21     2015-12-20 08.27.07

It’s difficult to “catch” the wind and storm, it definitely was “interesting”.


Danish records.
Joergen was so kind to offer me a flight in the ARCUS M for my birthday but nowadays with my neck problems,I stay with 2 feet on the ground. My head spins already without thermalling. [To my chiropractor  tomorrow.]
Joergen and Birgitte flew last Friday to Narromine to visit Evelien and William ” and return Saturday back to Toc. Our aim was to use the tailwind to fly a straight line declared and free Danish record.
They knew that there was  a strong headwind toward Narromine, that the time was already past 11 and that the forecast of a trough passing Toc earlier than previous was expected for the next day.
” Anyway we went for it, started 12:45 and went on the headwind task toward our first turnpoint some 50 km past Narromine.
We reached workable Cu clouds 300 km north of Toc, and we passed nice terrain we had not flown over before.
We reached our turnpoint and could proceed further 50 km to the North to take the 2.nd Danish record this day, before returning to Narromine.”
Birgitte and Joergen decided to make a tourist flight back to Toc on Saturday, and landed early, based on the forecast. There glider is back, right on the spot not far from where I sit.


Congratulations….arriving in Narromine with 2 new Danish records.

Not a “fab”  flying-day here today but they are still flying, I see and hear the EuroFox and Cessna with gliders on tow.
Had  nice morning tea with my Japanese friends.


Welkom had a rest/ cancelled day and what nice speed they flew till now over the several tasks during the South African Nationals.Time to do other things for a change.

1934172_10207036892514621_5381526854038710579_n   12369183_10207036893154637_29961061131290297_n

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As shared by Rowan Hill.

Not much more to say, will be back on the latest from WELKOM .
Cheers Ritz

Part 20 of the Aussie diary! Scary wind! AND,….Welkom and the story of Tom the new JWGC champion in club class.

Sunday morning noon;
It’s a blistering HOT storm outside!!!!NOT NICE!!!!!!
Yesterday we got 42.8 dgr. Now before 12 it is already 40 and the wind between 50 and 70 km. gusting to over 100 km./h.

There were fires yesterday to the W of Melbourne, the biggest with damage to land – 4000 hectare, houses [ 8 of them] and animals at Ballarat. It’s under control they say.
This morning about 20 k from here, Finley had a fire, but also under control. Fire brigades are on the highest alert and rush out straight away.

Hangar doors here at Tocumwal Aerodrome, are closed at this moment and I am sure, will be closed for the rest of the day. The cool change should come soon [expected at 2PM] and then the temperatures will drop with at least 10 dgr.
The dust is terrible now and the tumble weed passes by with huge speed!It’s kind of scary this noisy wind.

The Christmas period will be nice with temperatures just under and just above 30 dgr. Starting on Monday with 21, the cycle will built up again to higher temperatures!!!
Yes I have certainly picked the hottest time to be here.

TASK 7 in WELKOM was a 3 hour AAT for the open class pilots. This time the Goudriaans were upfront with 1000 points for Oscar  flying 486 km. with a speed of 161 km./h. and 987 points for brother Laurens;484 km. in 3.02.
The Nationals near their “end” and Oscar has moved from 6 overall in the beginning to 2 , behind his brother now,… with a difference of  less than 30 points; 5974 for 5947.
Nico le Roux is still around 2000 points ahead in the 15. m class , where 1 of the 3 participating pilots did not start anymore and in club Konrad Stark happily flies around, as  a sole competitor finishing every day and accumulating a score of 5818 over the 6 days he flew ,as he did not fly the 4 hour AAT on flying day 5.

It was a difficult day with over development as I read in Ronald ‘s blog and a low base and a possibility of rain.
Ronald flies mostly together in Welkom with Dutch pilot Marco Vermeer and before the 3d TP Ronald was still close to Oscar and Holger, BUT,……..they arrived 20 minutes earlier! As Ronald said; ” It can be  like that as well” , they found a 4 m. thermal and could use that  for the final glide straight home!!!
For Dutch reading readers;

THE UK GLORIOUS JWGC team specially in club class, has published a nice blog from JWGC CHAMPION Tom,  how they “snatched” 2 titles on the last day, interesting for ALL to read , so I publish and share it with you.

—-” World champion… Nope, it still hasn’t sunk in yet! It’s been a pretty manic week since the end of the competition, so apologies for the lack of posts about the last day etc. Here’s a write up of how the last day went for us club class boys, and how we ended up snatching two medals from under the German’s noses.

We were set a 3 hour AAT, with blue conditions up to about 7000 ft forecast. Big sectors, close together in a relatively short AAT can be a recipe for a bit of a lottery, and there was a lot to be gained or lost on the last day. With myself sitting 80 points off the lead in second place, and Sam in seventh, we discussed tactics a lot in our usual pre-flight team briefing and decided that we would try and fly our own flight, knowing that we had flown very well as a pair on the previous blue days. The plan was to try and start on our own, but if we did end up with the Germans, to stick with them to ensure we secured a podium finish. The start proved to be vital. We knew that if the Germans found us, they would simply wait until we started, and then follow us. So, with a bit of help from the Standards (thanks Mike and Matt!), we went and hid about 25 km from the airfield, the other side of the standard class start line, whilst Andy and the crews kept a close watch at the airfield for any club class starters. As our pre-determined latest start time approached, we snuck back towards the airfield, and managed to make a start relatively undetected. Unfortunately, we caught up with the Germans, who were surrounded by a massive gaggle of gliders, after only 20km or so. Although it turned out they had started about a minute before us from the other end of the line, we knew that sticking with them would mostly likely secure a second place finish, but no better than that. It was here that we made the pivotal, and risky decision, to hang back a bit, and then make a split from the gaggle. We were confident that we could fly faster as a pair in the blue, so we went for it, taking a more northerly track whilst thankfully everyone else stayed with the painfully slow gaggle. After a long glide, Sam cored 6.5 knots which put us well out of reach of the gaggle and we pushed deep in to the first sector before turning to align ourselves with the standard class task. We then ran with some of the standard class gliders, heading North for another 50 km or so before we stumbled across a large gaggle of club class gliders. YES, it was the Germans again! After some communication with team base, Andy told us that it appeared they had turned much shorter than us in the first sector. We ran with the gaggle, again at a rather slow pace with nobody willing to push on, until they all decided to turn for home. In order to squeeze as much advantage as we could, we decided to push just another couple of km’s in to the turn, before chasing them down all over again. Five minutes later we were back with the gaggle and Andy came on the radio to say the speeds looked good and our best bet was to just follow them home. This turned out not to be so simple! We managed to miss a bubble in one of the climbs and fell off the bottom of the gaggle. Soon we were down below 2000 ft and thinking that we might have thrown the day away. We took a couple of weak top up climbs but still had to keep pushing forwards uncomfortably low. Finally we cored a solid 4.5 kts and took this on to a very skinny final glide. As we approached the final turnpoint, we came over the top of a few thermalling gliders. OH YES, it was the Germans again! Somehow we had managed to catch them back up, and as we turned for home the question was whether we had done enough to bridge the 80 point gap to first place. With the gliders off the field, the traces submitted, and everyone pacing nervously, we waited… BOOM! 2nd and 3rd for the day, but more importantly 1st and 3rd position overall! I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy. After 10 gruelling days flying against the best under-26 pilots in the world, we had nailed the last day and come out on top.

So, now it’s back to reality… A cold, dark and wet UK for Christmas. I’ve already got my Christmas present though, and I need to say a few thank you’s. Firstly, on behalf of the whole team, I need to thank our generous sponsors, without whom this would not have been possible. The British Gliding Association for all their support, including entering us in to the comp and transporting our gliders, British Airways for flying the whole team across the world, Land Rover for providing us with a Discovery for the comp, Apogee for lending and fitting us out a container to transport all of our equipment, and Sydney Charles, Lasham Gliding Society, Naviter and Navboys for supporting the team throughout the year. On a personal note, I also need to thank the whole team who made this possible. Andy Davis for being both a fantastically organised and dedicated Team Captain but also a coach that provided us with a wealth of experience throughout the competition. His tactical calls and infamous ‘weather updates’ were spot on every time, and were so good that we had to resort to ever more complicated code to stop the other teams relaying them to their pilots. Pami Davis for supporting both Andy and the rest of the team whenever we needed her to, in any role we needed her to. The crews, Ben, Bendict, Guy and James for ensuring our gliders were on the grid every morning, without fail, ready to go, whilst also feeding us, sorting out a multitude of equipment problems, and still finding time to cause mischief around the airfield.
To my crew, Guy Dutton, I couldn’t have asked for a better crew. You put up with my pickiness for a whole month and I couldn’t have done it without you. And finally, to Sam Roddie. This was truly a team result and I could not have achieved this without my amazing team mate flying alongside me every flight. It took a lot of practice throughout the year, but we made a formidable team. We took on the world and we won! Tom—-”


I guess reading this,….. the DESERVED GOLD  and bronze winner.Also it shows HOW important it is to have a good coach and ALL support on the ground necessary. Of course coach Andy, Matt’s dad is a world champion himself and a VERY TALENTED pilot and a great guy!!!

Attila, who so kindly “gave”  his glider to USA pilot Boyd, flew his St Cirrus from Lake Keepit over 690 km.

Off home, TOO hot in the hangar, waiting for the cool change with a book in an air conditioned room.
More next week.
Cheers Ritz

Part 19 of the Aussie diary; 43 dgr. C here and 187.2 km./h. at Welkom.

Part 19 on December 19;

It’s HOT with big capital letters.Even too hot , maybe also too stable this early, to fly as the doors of the several hangars are still closed at 11 AM!!!
Some fires already , I heard on the radio this morning ,with lot’s of smoke, but still far away from here.

You can’t do a lot with these temperatures , but we have had them before here in Tocumwal. It’s not unusual for here.
For Melbourne it’s another piece of cake, they suffer ,….as over 40 is NOT normal, over there.

At 1.30 PM, 2 tugs [Cessna 150 from the SRGC and the Skyfox from Sportaviation] gliders in tow, went up, whilst the clouds to the East look pretty high, pretty good,  but also pretty far.Wind is from the NNW.  Temperature is 39 at the moment going up every hour with 1 dgr. so we might be up for 43 already today.
The doors and roof of the hangar “bang”  every time a strong thermal hits.
At 3 PM, it was 41 dgr. C and the clouds nearly reached the field , but you could fly to them and now  the SE  looks fantastic as well. Nice fast short flights would be possible!


I looked at the South African Nationals yesterday and mainly had eye for the open class as I know most of the pilots in this class.
Today I will do so too , but will have a quick look at the 15 m. class with only 3 competitors. In this class Nico La Roux [ LS 8] is already nearly 2000 points ahead of the runner up Rob Tiffin in the ASW 27, after 6 days of flying and most probably a few to go as they continue till the 21th.
The club class IS Konrad Stark, he flew himself already as one and only competitor to 5818 points, finishing EVERY day.
Yesterday the open class had a set 391 km. task and it was not the Jonker family, neither the Goudriaan family who won the daily prize.
It was John Coutts [NZ] living already for a long time in South Africa, flying in the NIMBUS 3DM , with German pilot Andreas Siebold who was the fastest for the day and they were really fast, flying the 391 km. in just over 2 hours, so a speed of 187.02 km./h. What about that!!??
They “travelled”  together with Bernd Hubka also from Germany and finished with half a minute difference; 637 and 611 points.

Some tried to beat the storm front coming in. They managed!

After 6 tasks the overall score looks like this, with still a few days to go;1. Laurens [4996] , 2. Pieter Nouwens [4976] 3. Uys [4950] 4. Oscar [4947] and 5. Attie [4880] ALL VERY CLOSE and ALL flying JS1 C except for Attie [JS 1B].


2 Times a 1.300 km. in a VENTUS 2cm /18 m. is not bad. According to the German pilot Philipp Keller, flying from Kiripotib it could have been more but a thunderstorm over the field spoiled the day.The day before he declared a 1000 FAI triangle and flew it.
One of the young 1000 km.-camp pilots at Bitterwasser, flew 1.320 km. and mentioned ” he started too late and landed too early” .
Several good flights again from Namibia and South Africa.
From Temora Brian flew 997.9 km. in the LS 10 !!!
From Narromine Pepe added another nice long flight, 987 km.

More tomorrow.
Cheers Ritz

Part 18; Some history!! Back to some gliding news !!

As said before I visited the old WW2 hangar up North.

The outside.

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Clearly private,….the hangar ….the  NEW gate from the airport to  the hangar.

The inside.

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Looking to the right and to the left.

Unique equipment.

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A grader, very old,…..a wheel from a LIBERATOR and Blanik parts.

Unique planes.

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The Albatros and Dove found a new owner, a bit of a pity but the in my eyes , ” nail on a coffin” is gone. But I heard they are going to bring both planes back to “normal”.

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The one-wing-clipped Albatros.


December 18; With a nice dinner at the famous Tocumwal golf Club , with 36 holes, we celebrated yesterday the birthday of July, the wife of “tuggy” Bill Harvey. Bill is a lovely 77 year old/young  and he towed already with Bill Riley, Don and Jeff and with us. At this moment he is tuggy and instructor at the SRGC.

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Nearly Christmas and as every year, it feels very weird, with no snow or icy temperatures but instead the extremely hot conditions here!!!!

Heard Holland has still 14 dgr. , the warmest ever day in December in history and Adelaide had the hottest temperatures since somewhere 1870!!!
We have NOW a record breaking heatwave in the South of Australia. Even Melbourne will have 40 dgr. this weekend[now 39]  and it always feels nice fresh and cool over there.
Everybody is on edge. Paramedics are ready to help out so are fire brigades everywhere. Of course it is a TOTAL FIRE BAN day.
The worst is , that the wind on Sunday when we are supposed to have 43 here will be 50 km. p/h gusting to even more.
So I hope everybody is MORE than careful.Fires normally start under suspicious circumstances.
I have seen the fire here in 1991 and I hope to be NEVER part of such a tragedy again.

On the other hand, Sydney is cleaning up the mess after the unexpected SUPERSTORM . More than 300 houses were still without power and they expect that today this will be restored.”Back to normal”  is what they say in the troubled areas.

Other HOT news here in Australia is the super SURFER Mick Fanning, a professional surfer with the nick name ” White Lightning”. He had to surf for a quarter- final -place in Hawaii, when he had just heard that his older brother had passed away in his sleep that night. He won that round as a tribute to his brother, but unfortunately he lost the semi-final and with that the possibility for a 4th WORLD TITLE. A very inspiring athlete!!!!
A very weird year for him as in July from this year he was attacked by a shark in South Africa during a race in the Open World Surf League.


Some other news on the soaring-front.



As shared by SOLE GRASSO via Damian.

The 62 Nationals in Argentina flown from Rivadavia in Argentina, had 55 competitors in 2 classes [Standard and 15 m. / open ] and just finished on December 11.
They had reasonable weather as 9 out of 11 days were flown in St Class and 8 out of 11 in 15 m. class. Mostly short tasks between 1.30 and 3 and 4 hour AAT’s but,…. day 1 had a set 507 km. in St class , flown unfortunately by only 2 pilots. 23 From 25 out landed, about 21 of them between 50 and 2 km.OUT.
The final winner in this class , Gonzalo Riera, got the 1000 points.In his LS 4 he won 2 more days and ended with an amount of  5.713 points. Good on him!
Lucas Goldenzweig was 4th.

In 15 m. Class / open, brother Damian Goldenzweig did well!!
On day 1 they got a 408 km. task flown by 26 out of 30 pilots.The Repickies flew the distance fast in 3.33 but with the handicap for their ASH 25 they were on spot 9 for the day.On day 2 the day was cancelled for them.Damian , Ventus 2CM/18 m. only won one day but flew very consistent.A total of 6622 points made him the new CHAMPION.


Damian the new CHAMPION.
As shared on FB.



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The South African Nationals from WELKOM, stated on the 12th and are still going strong. They fly in 3 classes ,open, 15 m. and club class.They started with NO task, but then it went BETTER.
In open class flying day 1 was for the Jonker brothers with a speed of 150 km./h. over 459 km.
In this class several overseas pilots as Ronald Termaat Arne Boye Moeller, Holger Karow and Marco Vermeer.
Day 2, with a distance of 496.50 km. was a prey for the Goudriaan brothers this time 134 km.h .
Day 3 , with 339 km. was again for the Jonker brothers NICE speed of 166 km./h.
Day 4, with 543 km. the Jonker brothers repeated their daily best performances with an even better speed; 173 km./h.
Day 5, yesterday, … if nobody else is there, ….was again for the Goudriaans; a 4 hour AAT with 690 km. for Oscar and ,…..172 km./h!!!


The Goudriaans .
As shared by Arne.


OLC news;Yesterday the first 24 OLC places were for Namibia and South Africa and on spot 25 and 27, WAIKIRIE with 2 ARCUS M’s flown by members of the Japan Soaring Club  ; 918 and 875 km.[500 FIA triangle]
Also Narromine had great weather again with up to 819 km. in the ASH 31/21 m.
Tocumwal had several flights with students and over 500 km. flight by overseas guests.
The day before Mac flew from here,on my birthday a flight of 984 km.all the way up N. but missing out on a few kilometers to finish here at the field.For that reason an M- designed -ASG 29 is super!!!!

Cheers Ritz

Part 17 of the diary; Racing-day and student -day here over the last 3 days. Heat wave!

On December the 14th at least 2 Dutch junior-pilots , Robin and Nick, easily flew back from Narromine to Corowa.
Robin even flew up N first and then raced back to “paradise” with 842 km. in total in the LS 8.
Corowa and Tocumwal both had great weather that day , so had Narromine.
Pepe proofed so by flying his 23 d 1000 km. flight .
Some of the juniors and or helpers of the JWGC pilots flew nice distances after the comps.
Max, flew with “junior engine” Nico ,[ just back from Narromine by car] , in the Arcus M ;960 km. from Corowa.
And Evelien and William , finally got to rig their ARCUS again , after the juniors “used”  their hangar in Narromine and flew straight away a nice 700 FAI triangle.
Anton flew in the LS 4 from Tocumwal 746 k. [727 FAI triangle] and just missed out on the 750. A pity but in an LS 4 that’s JUST GOOD!!!!!
Benalla had a great day as well and Bob Nicholls flew in the Ventus 2CT/18m. an 800 km. FAI triangle.
Temora had about the same weather and Brian Du Rieu flew 820 [750 FAI triangle] in the LS 10/18m.

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With 3 new young students .

On Tuesday the 15th it was only student-flying-time here. Around 2 it started to rain, just a light shower. At 3 PM.  the students from Ingo, commenced their training again.
In the morning I bought some bottles of bubbles to celebrate my birthday, organized by my friends and … they have been ALL involved in my world here at Sportavia in the past , a bottle as well to celebrate with them the Pelagia Majewska Medal.
Dundee mentioned that the car had really driven economical up and down to Narromine ;under 10 l.  over 100 km.

At 4 however the weather improved very much, great for student Lulu who flew for more than a hour with Bill in the IS 28. Ingo was teaching some last lessons to Geoffrey in the kookaburra and being the son of Jeff , who is passionate aviation person from Darwin, he was already solo in the evening.
Visited the old WW 2 hangar on the North site and made some pictures specially for the “old” Sportavia guests. Will publish them soon.

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Before solo and after solo with congratulations from dad. And Lulu with dad and instructor Bill.

December 16, last birthday in the 60 -area,… up to 70 next year. We started the day with a breakfast at the Paviljon, overlooking the Murray River. Then some work and bubbles from Colin. Thanks.
So a great  soaring day and several went out to fly this morning.
Benalla, Tocumwal and Corowa had flights around 750 up to 922 and a lot of FAI triangles!!!
The next couple of days will be hot, a real heat wave it looks!!!! After that….some rain.

Sydney was hit by a tornado with wind up to 216 km./h. Lot’s of damage and some houses beyond repair.
Even Sydney Airport was shortly closed.The bad weather even hit Dubbo which is very close to Narromine!

Yesterday evening a select group of friends celebrated my birthday [69] and I felt JUST GOOD!!!

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Delicious food by Deslee  and great company.

Thank you for the SO MANY birthday wishes!!!!!It took me quite some time to answer them.

Today December 17 is HOT. I hear the tuggies so action enough.
Today another friend has her birthday and we are celebrating again; Happy birthday Judy H.
And in Holland Henri, and Hannah.

More tomorrow with pictures from the old hangar.
Cheers Ritz