Young ones and …rain-season about to start in Africa…but still 191.46 km./h. at Worcester.Qualifying Grand Prix in Chile!

Within a week we went here from extreme to extreme as well. Talking about the weather; from minus 6 and scraping the ice-flowers from the car-windows, we are now in spring with 14 dgr.C. even 17 on the pole at the station ,here. Does feel SO much better!!!
It was , as we heard the next day, the warmest EVER 25th of January.


The “young ones”.

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Matthew [Here after he won the JWGC in Narromine] and Adam,[after the Pre Worlds in Benalla]  full of laughter and fun,both learned a lot at comps as Joey glide , during JWGC’s and this year at the PRE worlds in Benalla.

There is something special with junior comps, where ever in the world, if they are in National set-up or JWGC set up; They are JUST NICE!!!
Uncomplicated, fair and with a strong to pretty strong new generation of pilots.
In Australia they flew JOEYGLIDE last week. As I told you before JOEY stands for a young kangaroo.
Not too many new young ones here in West Wyalong for the 12th get-together, but with Matthew and Adam they have good examples from how far they can get.


Text says it all;” Meet JoeyGlide 2016 Tug Lord Schooner.”

After a cancelled day they continued with flying day 3 and a 2 hour AAT was set, but,…in the end it turned still too big. Nobody finished but Rueben , winning already 2 days, flew 103 km. ; no points unfortunately for the effort, as he was the only one over 100 km. ,and one of the only 2 finishers,  but it looks a new “star”  on the Aussie firmament is born.
So still only 2 valid days out of 5 .But that changed last Saturday on the last but one day, when a 319 set task was given to get them back in the rhythm for the last days.Flying day 3 , WITH points, was a fact
Rueben [from Victoria] flew around with a speed of 88.99 in the Mosquito and won another day.He is 220 points ahead on the runner up from Queensland Chris Jesse in a Glasfluegel 304 C.
The last day was HIS as well, so a well deserved winner; Rueben Lane;he flew himself in the 3000 points marge, good on him; 3.089 points.
On the last day Chris lost a spot by loosing 200 points for the day. David Collins in the LS 3 was the runner up now but with some points less; 2.762.
Keep these names in mind!!!

OLC-news and Western Cape Regionals 2016 at Worcester.

Also on the OLC you could see that the flights are getting less. NO , no, it is certainly not over yet, but in Africa the rain season has more or less started with 8 non-flying-days in a row in Bitterwasser and in the Southern part of Australia they had after the many great days a few off- days by rain as well.
Till the end of January the days there are just long enough to set a 1000 km. on a good day!
By the way after a few non-flying-days, South Africa started again yesterday with flights up to 710 from Gariep Dam and from New Tempe Bloemfontein with nearly 600 km.
Also Worcester was active , they fly the Western Cape Regionals 2016 between Jan. 23 and 30 there and Sven flew 518 in the JS 1 B.
That day the task was 501 km and Dawid Pretorius flying an LS 8, flew the set task with a speed of 177 km./h. Not bad ??!!
Laurens as runner up, was even faster with 179 km./h. On the 24th Laurens flew on the first flyable day around over 319 km. with 191.42 km./h on the ” clock”.
In club class an LS 3 flew the 406-km- set task with a speed of just under 140 km./h.

Only 10 flights on the OLC on January 22, that says it all!!

Last Sunday ,the rain was over in the Benalla-Corowa-Tocumwal- triangle and flights up to 833 by my Dutch friend Max flying from Corowa were flown on Monday, chasing the clouds.He topped the list that day.
On Tuesday, AUSTRALIADAY, Terry flew 768 km in the ASH 26 topping the list that day for Tocumwal and good old Jochen DECLARED and flew a 300 to the Rock and back in the LS 4. Good on him!!Kilometer-eater and frequent flyer at Toc . Stephan flew from Toc 612 in the LS 4 .
Max had another good one; this time 752 topping the OLC list worldwide AGAIN.
Benalla had flights up to 550 km.

From Temora Grant Johnson  flew 664 km. in his LS 3a.

Narromine has had an extremely good year and as you can see on the picture shared last Sunday,…it’s STILL GOOD.



Qualifying Grand Prix in Chile.


As shared by the Organizers with the message:“Gliders on the ground and in the air!”
As you can see the runway is parallel to the highway, never saw that before, guess they clearly see the difference from above.

The very first Grand Prix in 2016 is flown from Vitacura  in Chile , where they were ready to welcome all pilots participating in the race, on the practice day on Jan 22.
11 Pilots in total, 8 from Chile.  Some just practiced already during the Andes Open Chile 2016, where Carlos Rocca and Rene Vidal, were ” top of the bill” a week earlier.
When I met Thomas Gostner in Benalla , I heard he was flying straight back after the Pre worlds to Italy,  to then go straight to Chile to fly the Qualifying Grand Prix. You love your soaring or you don’t!!!
Other “overseas”  pilots are Zube Gintas from Lithuania and Juergen Wenzel from Germany,.
On the practice day Thomas was 3d behind Carlos and Rene.I have never been in Chile but they describe  the race area as  a ” spectacular region of the Andes to the east of Santiago and extending to the North and South.”

It all was suppose to happen for real last Saturday.
But due to bad weather, the first day had to be cancelled.
So Sunday turned out to be flying-day 1 and the weather was OK, as you can see.

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The rain disappeared in the afternoon , the day before it was wet and not only from dumping the water!!!

Pushing to the limits in European weather “, was what Gintas had to say after the flight.They only could start after 3 PM as rain was ruling in the morning, so the regatta start was at 4.15 PM.
Gintas did well, he lead the pact to only see in the end that Carlos passed him to get the 6 points. He was happy with 4, I guess ,as he did a real good job. Thomas was third, with 3 points.
Juergen got 2 and Rene 1.
5 Pilots finished the difficult task which was NOT flown  ” inside the Cordillera de Los Andes because of the bad weather.”

Nothing to add to the latest; “ Day 3 in Chile cancelled: Because of the atmosphere’s high stability and clouds, it wasn’t possible to fly today.
We expect to have a better day tomorrow.”

They flew and a 217 km. task was set and WON by Gintas , who seems to be in his element over there in Chile. When I see on TV how 5 m. high waves “attack”  people, streets and houses at the coast, they managed to fly at Vitacura.
9 Points for Gintas and 7 for Thomas.
As they mentioned on FB:
  Day 4 Race 2 was a success! After a day with bad flying conditions, 8 pilots competed in this fun task along the Cordillera de Los Andes, finishing on first place Gintas Zube from Lithuania, on second place Thomas Gostner from Italy and on third place Carlos Rocca, a local pilot.”


Rene Vidal behind Carlos Rocca.
As shared by the organizers.



From Taupo , beautiful Taupo, the NZ-Nationals started in 2 classes with 21 participants ,on January 24 with a practice day  to continue till February 5.

Unfortunately the first 2 day’s had to be cancelled but then each class had a small task; 3 hours for open and 2.30 for racing class.
The winner in open just flew over 100 km./h. so it was n’t a fast day , BUT A DAY with 1000 points.
In the combined racing class the speed from the winner flying a DISCUS, was just over 92 km./h.
The “lesser”  gliders had it tough 6 from 12 out landed.

The next day was a no- valid -day. A task in open was set from 330 km. but the best pilot flew 188 km. which was amazing when you look at the runner up with 90 km.
In combi class 307 km. was set AND nearly flown by Patrick Driessen; 300,92 !!!!!No valid day either as the “rest” flew “only” up to 83 km.


That’s it, you are up to date again, more next week.
Cheers Ritz

Back to the regular blogs!Great weather in Australia!

The juniors in Australia , had straight after the Nationals their “joey glide” flown from West Wyalong and day 2 was underway yesterday with  pilots reporting cloud base over 11,000′ before the start,” so it should be quick again today” .
One day earlier , flying day 1 was already fast with speed up to 127 km./h.over 270 km.flown by Rueben Lane from Victoria in a Mosquito.
Day 1 on the 17th had NO TASK, for the 8 relative unknown pilots at this stage. But this is how most toppers started!!!
today a 2 hour AAT was set but in the end the day was cancelled!


The ANDES OPEN 2016 from from Vitacura in Chile had good days and the “Vidal’ s” were always in the top 3. No miracle they were the number 1 and 2 from 19 participants after 7 days .Carlos had 6293 points and Rene 5889.
Several 3.30 AAT ‘s , one with speed up to 150 km./h over 545 km. by Carlos.
Task 3 , also a 3.30 AAT, had only ONE FINISHER, flying over 4 hours to reach a speed of 77 km./h. That’s a battle, but a good one over 325 km!!


Flying in the overseas season continued , also when I had less time to cover it and NO DOUBT Africa had a great one. On the 14th the last over-1000-km-flights were added to the OLC from Africa, they had a couple of days with rain.
Bitterwasser writes on their site;” Now we do have the middle of january, raintime. However, if you ask a pilot, they would say that this weather has nothing to do with humidity or so. Blue thermal, which starts often late. Humidity is under 10%. For the next days it looks more promising. For now, we do have 190 flights over 1000km! We will break the 200 flights soon!”
Bitterwasser, Kiripotib, Pokweni in Namibia, but also in South Africa places as Douglas, Gariepdam ,Bloemfontein  and Kuruman had excellent flights. Nobody I guess complained about the weather.


All the places I have been to over the last 7 weeks whilst being in Australia, had great weather yesterday. It’s a nice hot long summer in Australia and for sure the weather gods have been extra good this year for Narromine.
Attila flew in his St Cirrus yesterday a 891 km. [750 FAI triangle] flight from Narromine.With that flight he TOPPED the OLC -day.
Benalla had a 1000 km, I guess the first from this season, just after the comps had finished with 2 non flying days, but what can you do.
Young Petr who flew the Pre worlds in Benalla, moved back to Tocumwal ,where he was a tuggie with Eddie’ s Sportaviation in the past and he flew with Terry in the Janus CT 943 km.[900 Fai Triangle] This glider is called by Ib and his mates from Denmark, the “wooden ARCUS ”  .
And kilometer-eater Terry Bellair, flew from Corowa 824 km. [ 750 Fai triangle]
One day earlier on the 18th, Corowa had a 1000 as well with Max from Holland flying it and that was the first for the season for him and Corowa.
A lot of pilots bringing their gliders from Europe to Corowa , have to spend at least one month in  Corowa to fly , so it is extra busy there at the moment, as several OZGLIDE pilots did so too this year.
In the beginning of February they start packing gliders again and several pilots help out then.


Just  a short blog today. Still suffering from jet lag . Next days I will be in Amsterdam catching up with my family!
Cheers Ritz CU next Wednesday.

Back home.Prize giving at Benalla with lot’s of pictures.

First looking back on the last days and the prize giving.

When Margie and I left for Wodonga to visit our friend on a top of a hill ,  we also dropped in on the way back at Corowa airport.It turned out that Eagle and Willem traveled to Tocumwal whilst we were there, but we did not miss each other as you can see at the pictures. We even spoke with Francesco and Wim , Grietjes dad.

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Fun in the hangar and at the golf club, on my last day, in Tocumwal with Arend, Willem, Jeroen, Margie Diana and me.

A bit later more fun , now in Kelly’s pub with Jill and Kait and Margie.

2016-01-14 11.20.49

Prize giving in Benalla;
130 people attended and not everybody had booked ahead,  most of the overseas pilots forgot or misunderstood, so they had to eat somewhere else or pizza’s.They ALL however attended the prize giving after dinner, no worries.
Lovely evening with lot’s of well known mates. Here you are,….. first of all the prize winners/new Aussie Champions.

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Peter, Matthew and Bruce had ALL evening a smile on their faces.
Peter won 18 m. Bruce open and Matthew 15 m. class.

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Beautiful set tables, enough prizes to make pilots happy and enough food too in and outside.

Happy couples.

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GFA president Mandy and her husband and 18 m. CHAMPION Peter, Former GFA president Anita and her CHAMPION in open class And a happy David Jansen with his wife.

East Europe.

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Zoltan from Hungary who was the pilot with the highest speed 160.54 km./h.and 26 year old Petr from Czech Rep. who flew in the past as tuggie with Sportaviation and now since 2 years in 737’s from Ryan Air.

The prize however was for an Australian pilot and Adam won both and found it a great privilege to win the Taylorr’s & Kauffmanns highest RAW ‘Speed Trophy’ by an Australian pilot; and the inaugural winner of the Bruce Brockhoff, Fastest Handicapped Speed Trophy!

2016-01-15 11.54.16

Bruce , said a few words and Adam was clearly happy with the brand new prize; the Bruce Brockhoff-trophy.

More overseas pilots.


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The Swedish and Finnish pilots, The French and the Austrians.

Runners up!!

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Andrew [open] Mac [15 m.] John “Butch”  18 m.
John was the most “unlucky”  person of the evening, but still could smile. He just missed out at this stage [still preliminary] to represent Australia next year in Benalla;Tom had 79.172 over 2 years with 40% counting for the first year and 60 for this year and Butch 79.021.
By the way the preliminary , but nearly sure team representing Australia next year ;
15 m. Matthew and Stephen , 18 m. Peter and Tom and open Bruce and Andrew.


2016-01-15 11.08.44     2016-01-15 11.07.45    2016-01-15 11.09.36

Dylan[Lampard] team- flying up to high standard with Matthew during the JWGC now crewing for him, Matthew and Ben [Loxton] and Adam.

Guests from now and the past.

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Lesley and Norm with Tom and Brian with Italian guest Thomas and Mark and Beryl.

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Judy, Ingo and Scott and Jane and Tom from Temora.

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Swaantje with her female crew and Lisa and David with Tony Tabart and Jo.

By the way, the STATE SHIELD was won by NSW with the pilots Bruce Taylor, Matthew Scutter and Tom Claffey.

Last but not least; Vickey with her beautiful daughter , recently a mum, so Vickey is a grandma now; They will be very busy with the WGC next year with Terry as CD.

2016-01-15 11.14.15

Mum Vickey with 2d daughter Erin


It was nice to catch up with Owe from Sweden and Antti from Finland at Tullamarine before Antti and I flew with former Sportavia tuggie Michael to Hong Kong, where the weather was pretty bad, and Owe went via Thailand home. I forgot that Owe was in the organizing team in Eskilstuna, where I was as well as competition journalist.
Home now , cold here and a tiny little bit of snow!!!!Tired, but what a great time I had!!!!
In Tocumwal,  Narromine and Benalla, I caught up with many friends, what great people there are in soaring is n’t it?

Thanks to Jo, for making a happy picture from me as well. It was MY pleasure to keep you updated during my holiday in Australia.

2016-01-15 11.22.09

Cheers Ritz

Part 36. BENALLA…OZ Glide … Last day…cancelled!!! 130 for dinner!Open class champion is Bruce,18 m. champion is Peter, 15 m. champion is Matthew!

12.30 ;
Just arrived in Benalla to see all gliders ready at the grid for the very last day of this OZ glide , combined with the 54 th Nationals.
Dundee, my ” personal chauffeur ” as he calls himself, dropped me off at the motel and later at he field.

Tasks have been set both A and B. The wind is tough and chilly , sun shines brightly and it looks like another blue day. Missed the briefing, but here are the tasks from the last day;
Open; 450 km.
18m.;346 km. 
15 m.;374 km.
So nice tasks with possibilities to loose or to gain points.
Just heard that new tasks will go out with a B/C task???[12.45]
They don’t change them straight away on the internet and I don’t have them so we have to wait what they are going to do now.

Yesterday was , as expected a non flying day. The weather was horrible, the temperature dropped from 44 to 22 and in the night even to 18 in Tocumwal. Their was a blowing gale and we really had to keep ourselves steady when visiting the most beautiful house of a friend on the top of a high hill in Wodonga.

2016-01-14 02.50.56

2016-01-14 03.01.39  2016-01-14 02.59.10  2016-01-14 03.00.54

The view and the interior.


The day before turned out to be a “ripper” ,though the day was cancelled in the morning, it was a very fast day,… but only for 15 and 18 m.
The day for 15 m. was devalued by the speed as Adam flew 324 km. in 2.02 ,so a speed of 159 km./h in the Ventus A. For that he deserved the highest points given this day;615.He started straight away at 3.02 PM.
Tim Bromhead from NZ started last at 16.27,finishing last at 18.02. But ,…he finished!!!!!
2 Out-landings one by Lisa,  she dropped from 15 to 20, a pity.
19 Pilots flew around with a speed of 142 km./h or higher.
Here is Matthew’s story written 2 days ago covering 2 days!!
“It’s been a tough few days at the Nationals which has kept me from my blogging, but I’m back for now!
Yesterday we had essentially a distance task set that necessitated starting as soon as possible – I started at 4000ft on a day predicted to go higher than 11000ft. I pushed as hard as possible all day, risking outlanding around the task just trying to get as far as possible before the end of the day, and was lucky to be able to actually squeak around the task. (Un?)fortunately some who started behind also managed to, but no harm to the points.
Today was a very… interesting day. We awoke to a text informing us the day was cancelled, and then at 10am, having made our rest day plans, we got another text telling us the day was… uncancelled!? So we watered gridded and launched onto a booming trough for a 2hr AAT. I made some fatal errors but was lucky the right names also had bad days so no harm in the overall standings.-–”

Today they start with the knowledge that Matthew [6203] leads before Mac [6085] and Stephen with 5963 and Norm with 5764.

18 m.
had a 2.30 AAT last Wednesday with that peculiar weather and the peculiar decisions. Hungarian pilots don’t mind to fly along showers and fronts and used them as well as the GREAT clouds , to the fullest so they had a great day .Zoltan won with 401 km. in time 2.28. So a speed of 160,54 km./h. Bloody good!!!
Not a 1000- points- day “only”  800!!!
His mates were on spot 5 and 6 and Czech pilot Petr knows how to deal with that weather as well, he finished on 4 just behind Boerje from Sweden.
Tom [Claffey] was on spot 2.
That means that the number 1-2-3 are still Peter, Butch and Tom ,but Petr [5984] lost a spot to Zoltan, [5949], who was still on spot 6 after task 7; so a nice East European “fight ” here.

Open was cancelled that day and the opinions about it were “mixed”.
They know the overall scores well before they start today; Bruce [5695] , Andrew [5606] ,Ian [5394] and Scott and Ingo[5200]
Bruce’s view on today;
—“Wx, streaming from the south nicely!
Inversion – hence the poor vis.
This is a completely new air mass. .. If it’s from the south, not good, if SE, then can be good…..
Going to about 7k’. Forecast 25deg max, 27 to the north. Expected to stay blue. Maybe 6-8knts, nice only for a short period. Weatherman cautions us, but advises us to be optimistic!! 
(Luckily the tugs are all fuelled up for this afternoon, he says!!)—

1.20:More later. They have not launched yet!!

1.45; They just cancelled 15 m. and 18m. class. ONLY OPEN WILL FLY today!!!

So CONGRATULATIONS to Matthew with his 2d BIG WIN this season. After becoming junior world champion he is now National 15 m. Champion as well AND qualified to fly the WGC next year here in Benalla.
Mac did well with a runner-up-position and Stphen is the number 3, bronze for him.

In 18 m. class Peter is the new National Champion and Butch and Tom have earned the silver and bronze.

Open class has just been cancelled!!!!! So Bruce is the new National Champion, after 6 out of 12 days in this class , with Andrew and Ian as number 2 and 3!!!

Congratulations to all.

Have to move here soon as at 3 PM,  the tables will be set.130 People have to be seated in this club house room, so it is sold out and it will be very “cosy” all together here.

Just a short note from my motel room.
Got some pictures from Mr. Du, who has left Tocumwal, for a few days to fly in Narromine again. One of his mates, a very fine pilot,  left last week, the other had to go home in a hurry after being in hospital for 3 days in Shepparton, with appendicitis problems.
Andrew was supposed to write more about soaring in China, but the translator unfortunately got sick. So only a picture from the Place they fly from and a link to 
Just to let you know!

image1 (1)

” Red point is our Loong (GanSu.GaoTai)International gliding center , there is western of China, 2000Km from Beijing”
5c2748e6-cccd-4e60-8e3f-5faac2e8fad2    unnamed

That was the diary 2015/2016. Hope you liked it.
Back to the Wednesday-blogs soon.
Will make pictures tonight from the closing-ceremony and dinner ,but can only upload them when I am back home!
Tomorrow morning I will leave Benalla and a friend will bring me straight to the Airport.

Cheers Ritz

Part 35! Scorcher-day up to 44.9 dgr. C in the shade….just bloody hot!!!!

Wednesday January 13;
Only 3 days to go and I leave Australia again. For all friends who have been visiting Tocumwal, I made a trip through the memory-lane and share those pictures with you in the next blog blog.
It’s HOT !!!!! At 1.30 it is 41.4 dgr. C already, @2 PM 42.4 and the forecast s for 44. dgr.C.

2016-01-13 00.29.11

Nice but weird-formed cirrus this morning. Never saw it before, very thin and quickly disappearing again.



ready to go for day 6.
As shared by Nimbus.

But first back to Benalla. When I was “crunched”  by Simon, my chiropractor, and had to rest before and after treatment, the pilots had to fly again after a day off.
That day the weather was good , but due to stormy winds, the day was also too short, maybe a short very fast task had been possible for open or 18 m.???But safety FIRST!!!
Anyhow the day off was maybe needed to for some as well.
Yesterday they had to fly again and 556 km. was set for open class. From 16 , 3 out-landed and one of them was glider VS, so it was a bad day for my French friends. They only got 40 points!!!!!
They dropped from 4 to 12, nearly a free fall. A pity , BUT it is only practice!!!
Good day for South Australian pilot Grant Hudson in his ASH 31 MI; speed 124.49 good for 1000 points and HIS FIST WIN in a NATIONAL competition.
Good day as well for Erik Nelson , from the USA , who I met in Uvalde and in Benalla;5th place with a speed of 118,84 km./h. in the Nimbus 3. Erik is already qualified to participate in the 2017 WGC. This all is great practice for him.
With only 3 days to go , maybe 2 if the promised pouring rain indeed shows up tomorrow, no changes in the top 3, still Bruce , Andrew and Ian and only a difference between Bruce and Andrew after 6 flying days of 89 points .


With the message:” Stoked to be home and find the tie down still empty for a change.Awesome day racing today!
By Grant.

Here is Bruce again;

Taylor’s Gliding Page

—” A day of everything! The forecast was a bit off, and it never became hot enough to go as well as they thought. So the start height limit of 9,000 feet was about 3,000 feet too high, and the first 60 or 70 km was treacherous, and there were some early outlandings. As we flew closer to the high cumulus that had been beckoning, Scott Percival and Ingo Renner flew away from us, and by the time the rest of us connected and finally climbed up into the cool air, they were just a dot on the horizon. Clever buggers! Then it was real live race for an hour or more while we romped along up to 10,000 feet. Around Coolamon and across to Leeton it started to get a little tricky, as the clouds were decaying and only some spots were working. I fell off the pack a bit here, and was a bit too low to connect with the last few clouds before we were back in the blue heading south and home. However, I have been feeling pretty confident in the blue this week, and set my mind to catching up on the trip home. I could see Ian Craigie taking a much more eastern route, and until quite late in the flight he was higher and faster than I was. On our last climb I finally got slightly ahead of him and was the first glider home, though start times and handicaps put me down in about fourth place, but with good points. It was a win today for Grant Hudson, which might be his first nationals win, so very well done, Grant.
Hard work today, but I am very pleased with my own result, and the flight was a lot of fun.–-“

In 18 m. Butch was the fastest with 120.63 km.h. Great job from young Czech pilot Petr Svoboda, flying just a tad slower.Thomas and David were on 3 and 4.
10 From 28 finished so a real tough day with a set task of 652 km.
After 6 days it’s Peter, Butch and Tom, but Petr is trying hard to reach the first 3 as well. He is on 4 now , only  28 points behind Tom!!!

In 15 m. only 9 from 32 finished,a real battlefield in this class. 575 km. was set .
Most of the top pilots were in this top 9 group. A more difficult day for pilots as Lisa, Tobias, Allan and Adam as they all flew over 517 km. So not too far OUT!!!
Overall Matthew still leads , Mac is runner up and Stephen is still on spot 3.
French pilot Eric Bernard was the daily winner with 107 km. /h. just a tad faster than Norm,  who after NOT flying comps for a while, is REALLY BACK!!!!He is overall on a nice 4th spot!!!
Late arrivals yesterday , some after 8 PM.

Not sure if there will be a day 7 today. Rain is supposed to arrive in the afternoon first there than here maybe as well. Swiss Chris shared a weather picture and that says it all. He knows the weather well here and mentioned ” No typical weather patterns since mid December. A cyclone low in central Australia for 10 days. Then no northerly winds until today.


First there was the message for Jan 13 ; “NO TASK TODAY ….Extreme weather and wind changes make launching impossible.”
Then,……”Cold front expected this afternoon. Isolated thunderstorms, dust Storms also. Cloud increasing. Xc Skies say a short day.Thermals to 12k. Winds 35knts from the north west.

Then…..”OZ Glide change of plan.Task maybe possible,details at briefing.”

later a 2 hour AAT was set for open, 2.30 for 18 m. who are first at the grid to be launched and 15 m. got 2 hours as well.
Also here in Toc about 100 km. more N., clouds appeared high up, but building up quickly too. It could be a short fast day!!!
THEN,……Open class was cancelled.Some very experienced open- pilots waited / still hoped .
18 m and 15 m. went for a 2 hour AAT.

Bruce shared a picture with a fun comment on FB:  ” Feels like Uvalde on a bad day, and the local pastor in Uvalde suggested that hell might be preferable!!!!” 


At this stage 2 PM wind is picking up here, clouds are growing TOO quickly  and it looks already like rain far up N.

2.30; 2 Gliders just went up here, but even under the most beautiful clouds they are not yet “rocketing ” up!!Black skies up N but closer now and more NE. Wind N N W.Temperature now; 43.6 dgr.C. Rain in the East as well, still more launching here at Tocumwal. Some pilots love flying along the “edges” of showers. In Africa or Namibia they” use” mostly those elements of weather. Clouds here just look fabulous!
To the W and S it still looks good.


Picture above from 2 PM. by George.

At 4 the temperature was 44 dgr.C. It went up to 44.9 , [thermometer is in the shade, linked up to a toy in the office] ,but I missed that whilst waiting for the 45!!!
I work here in a hangar with 39 dgr. C. so a lot of drinking.Lot’s of noise as well due to strong wind gusts.
The S does n’t look too good from here now too, the W is still perfect.

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The Finnish team in Benalla,  shared a picture as well.


As you can see it is “nice warm”.

For today’s scores you have to go to as I have to go out for dinner tonight.


Tomorrow I am off to Albury for the day. Friday morning I leave for Benalla and Saturday I fly out from Tullamarine back home.
Will be writing about the last day in Benalla, though I will only be there around 12.
CU then.
Cheers Ritz

Post 34, a trip through the memory -lane !!!

For all who have been here in Tocumwal and could not come back but still have the great memories here a few pictures I made from “our ”  lovely small town , with just over 2000 people.A farewell for me as well.

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The first help ,for who needs them comes from the people from this head quarter. Nowadays the fire brigade goes first also helping out with heart attacks or accidents. They are trained to give FIRST AID .

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The RSL [Returned Soldiers League] building open twice a week for their families and friend and for functions.

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Part of the shops on the right site of the road coming from the airfield.

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Same road bit further up.

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The hotel/motel Palms on the left site.

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Proof that there are PALMS at the Palms.

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The Antique shop where many had a coffee or tea with Dutch apple cake or bought presents there to take home.

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Says it all Mick Haynes the butcher and the book shop where everybody buy’s the paper.

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Nostalgia at the Tourist Information Center. WHY……

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That say’s it all…….

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The MIGHTY MURRAY RIVER and it’s brand new ramp for boats.

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The river with it’s new camping area and white beach at the Victorian site.

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The out-side-area of dining at the Tattersall’s pub.

2016-01-13 01.44.05    2016-01-13 01.52.57

The practice of my chiropractor and the post office.

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The little wooden church.

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And to finish the painting on the “big”  supermarket.

of course

2015-12-24 05.52.50

Sportavia’s OLD WW2 hangar.

Cheers Ritz


Part 33; HOT and dusty!!

Monday evening;
I could see it already in the morning, overcast, bloody hot and dusty. I guessed the day was cancelled in Benalla, as the wind here at 5 was from 1 minute into the other, BAD/STRONG!!!Indeed they cancelled before launching, so the set 700 km. was not going to happen. Now in the evening you can only say ;good decision!!!!

I went to Shepparton for the day with Jill. Nice day out and we both did what was necessary.Here are some pictures from the pub and our -German- lady- friends- from- the- Sportavia -past for sure remember this pub , Hotel Australia, which was yellow in the past, grey now!!!!We had always lovely meals there and we had a great one again today!!!

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Day 5 ; “ Open class is about to launch on a 600km task going around the Albury airspace and into the hills!
As shared by the organizers.

But I look back at day 5 first. In open class Bruce was again the best and received the 1000 points for a speed of 145 km./h. over 600 km. NOT BAD!!!
Andrew did well as runner up [144.20 km./h.] and Wolfgang and Andy were on a nice 3d spot.[127 km./h.
Only one out-landing.

Bruce mentioned about the day;
—” Today we were tasked out into the mountains. I have to say I thought it was a really fun task, with plenty of variety. We had mountains, flat, cumulus, blue, great thermals, and crappy ones, all in one flight. Pre-takeoff I suggested to Eric Napoleon and Laurent Aboulin that they might need a briefing before they ventured out into our Aussie mountains, but they didn’t seem to think that was required. Eric has lived and flown in the French Alps for who knows how many years, and probably knows mountains as well as any pilot on the planet. Plus they are real mountains, not our piddling little hills.
Anyway, I couldn’t get high enough to start, so I left when it was time to go despite that small problem. Initially it was blue, but soon we were in the hills and there were some cumulus. A few of the climbs there were excellent, and although I felt I deviated perhaps too much we made good time. There was some airspace to take care with around Albury, and all too soon we were out in the flat again, and it was blue, blue, blue. I spent almost all day with Andrew Georgeson, and it was comforting to have the company when I got a bit low near our northern turn point. We swapped places all day, above, below, above again. Eventually it was a great run home for a good speed, 145kph over 600 km. Getting in the groove in the JS1 again, although I did have some issues with my glide computer today, which made me nervous as the GPS kept dropping out… rather vital for getting a score at the end of the day. More work to do in the morning.-–”
After 5 days Bruce is overall on spot 1 with 4720 points. Runner up Andrew with 4664 [both JS 1] and on spot 3 Ian also in the JS 1C with 4409. The French are on 4 with their Duo Discus. Good on them.

18 m. class;
Peter Temple was in a hurry as well,flying the set 455.80 km. with a speed of 144.70 km./h. in the ASG 29.
Well done for Czech pilot Petr Svoboda flying himself to a runner-up-place with a speed of 134.12 km./h.
Butch flew a tad slower.
Rolf out landed and that’s a pity as he dropped from 20 to 24 overall..
After 5 days we see 4753 points for Peter, followed by Butch 4466 and and Tom 4401.

15 m. class;
Great day in this class and the day was won by Norm [Bloch] ;speed 142.02 closely followed by Adam with 142.32 km./h.
14 Pilots flew around over the set 445 km.with a speed of 133 and 142 km.h.
At Adam Woolley’s Gliding Adventures you can see every day a video about the day.
In this class the overall scores after 5 days are as follows ;Matthew with 4.684, Mac with 4544 and Stephen with 4464.
Anne is doing well she is on spot 5!!!

Talking about the ladies in this competition ; They are “caught” in a beautiful picture , by another lady Anita!!!.


Anne, from France, Catherine from Australia, Sarah from the USA, Swaantje from Germany, Lisa from Australia and Marta from Australia.


And to finish a nice air-picture from day 1 , shared by the organizers.
Cheers Ritz

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Part 32!! Day 4 wrap-up Benalla, day 5 with good distances !

Sunday January 10;
great blue skies with a few cirrus-firmaments here in Toc. in the morning, but those will burn out very quickly; it looks like another great and hot day.[predicted temperature at 5 PM is 37 dgr. C.]
Gliders are lined up and ready to go,in the East clouds already pop up.

It was really nice to be in Benalla yesterday and I look forward to my visit on Friday.
Here is the wrap up from yesterday ,….the 4th flying day.

Open class;
3 JS 1 C -gliders in the top and indeed Ian got the highest scores ;950 for a speed of 133.79 km./h..
Not far after Bruce , Andrew and Scott with Ingo followed.
All 15 pilots in this class finished. The nimbus 2 pilots had a long day flying 4.14 and 4.29 hours BUT,….they finished!!!!![89 and 84 km./h]

TODAY; 600 km. was “served for breakfast ” for the open class pilots.

18 m. Class;
3 From 28 out-landed and there was one pilot faster than Peter, who leaded when I left you yesterday on the preliminary list. It was BB, John “Butch ” Buchanan. Earlier one of the JWGC Aussie team coaches , Brian Hayhow won , very special, his FIRST NATIONAL WIN, now it was Butch. Good on both of them.
Butch flew with a speed of 115.58 km./h., Peter “did it ”  with 110.68 km./h.
ASG 29-time here !!!! The best 3 are from this type;  16 from 28 are ASG-29 gliders.
The best 4 in this class overall, are all very experienced WGC pilots; Peter, Butch, Tom and David!!!

Here is Bruce and today with a picture as well:
—“Much better day today. Even early in the morning it was heating up much faster, and generally the lift was easier to find and use, and it went higher. Nothing startling, but speeds were up over 130 kph. We went south-west down near Euroa, which was very quiet, then north to Finley. Once we got north of the Murray River it started going well, and after thinking that I had been left behind by the crowd, they all flew into my thermal mostly below me, and I started smiling again. Wolfgang Janowitsch said I should always smile, even when things are totally crappy, so I flew along with him for quite a long while, and had the pleasure of watching Wolfgang in Brad Edward’s ASH25, which he is flying with his friend Ande Lutz. There they are in the photo… What a beautiful glider it is.
I did manage to finish ahead of my pack, but was pipped at the post by Ian Craigie. Nice flight today, I really enjoyed it.—“



Wolfgang and Andreas.
Picture by Bruce Taylor.

Taylor’s Gliding Page

TODAY: 455.80 km.

15 m. class;
All 32 pilots finished one a bit faster than the other.
Indeed Adam had a BIG day and won in the Ventus A; 1000 points for him , for sure a happy boy; 124 km./h over the 411 km.
Greg and Lisa shared the number 2 spot whilst Norm did well again on spot 4!!


A happy smiling Adam.
Shared by Bruce Taylor.

TODAY; 445 km.

I do understand that they fly East ,….it’s getting better there all the time.


Tocumwal from the air

Tocumwal from the air!!!

I presume the pilots at the airport will fly into that direction as well.
Here they started this morning at 27, moved to 36 and later back to 27.
3 tuggies ; one from Sportaviation , Bill for the SRGC  and the Scout from Outback Soaring flown by Bruce. Mr. Du is going to make another check-flight and flight in his ARCUS.
As far as I heard this operation will continue for another month or so. They plan to be in” full swing”  during the next season.

At the moment, pretty special,  there are 3 ARCUS gliders here at the aerodrome. One with Chinese owners, one with Danish and one , from Roger Druce , a real Aussie owner.

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Roger and Neil busy to have the glider ready for a flight.

Jeroen is flying the SRGC Caproni with a guest for a bigger local flight and Judy and Dieter are on duty as CFI and duty officer for SRGC. Eddie and his tuggy keep Sportaviation going with a few flights in the afternoon in the Twin Astir , as the private pilots have gone long ago for a flight. Huge willi-willie’s like in Uvalde are popping up , meaning it is a real good but blue day.

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Moving first from 36 to 27 and then a flight in the Calif-Caproni.
Though in the end they did not fly and Jeroen and Bruce went for a “ride”  in the good old Blanik!

2016-01-10 05.16.02 2016-01-10 05.30.41

Judy and Dundee and Bill and Dundee, an active busy Sunday afternoon.

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In between ” visual progress”  on the Piper Apache 23; THE WINGS ARE ON.
Good on Jamie and Diana

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Cheers Ritz,
no news tomorrow I will be gone for the day.

Benalla is preparing for a new WGC in 2017!!! Outback Soaring GFA-approved!

2016-01-09 04.59.50

Saturday December 9 2016.

Just back from Benalla. The tuggies have done their job, pilots were up in the air starting from 12.45 onward , for a hopefully better day than yesterday, so we could go home again, as Dieter prefers to drive home during the day.Will be back there on Friday for the last day, taking my laptop to keep you informed.

Today we were right on time to attend the briefing and it was “cool”  to catch up with a lot of international pilots practicing in Benalla now for next year. AND..the Aussie pilots who have to qualify for the BENALLA WGC 2017 , during these 54 Nationals.
The briefing was in a majestic new hall at the field, a bit like the big university hall in Uvalde [Texas].

2016-01-09 01.51.15    2016-01-09 01.32.48

Tim Shirley, the CD now, [next year it will be Terry Cubley,] welcomed the pilots ,…. a hall FULL…., with a smile and an excuse for the day from yesterday. It was a difficult day, a real struggle for some, but looking at the amount of out landings it was n’t too bad.

There were safety notes ….landing long and manage your energy….and CD notes.
One was interesting, as when we were there the police arrived and I was wondering if at the field speed would be punished, as some might have thought ,they were on a racing circuit.
It seems that the car park is under normal driving laws. That includes drinking laws , seat belts and talking on phones while driving.

The other one was about a rest day!!! They started with day 4 today and according to the rules they could still  give a rest day next Thursday, when they expect RAIN, even pouring rain.
BUT…as a good CD , Tim looks at the fatigue of pilots as well, so we have to wait and see.

With a max. temperature of 34 dgr. C,… it felt MUCH hotter,….. and an expectation of lift up to first 5000 ft, later 6/7000 and more up north 8000 ft. , NO clouds so very blue again, the pilots were send to their gliders ready at the grid at the far end.
They also got the message that for the upcoming days a weak through is developing.

BUT before leaving  the 77 pilots heard from the winning pilots from day 3, how that all happened.
First the open class was mentioned and with Sylvain Gerbaud from France [Nimbus 3T/24.5 m] as a good 3d, Matt Cage in his ASG 29 on an even better second place, it was Scott Percival/Ingo Renner who were the daily winners in the ASH 25 M!!!.
Ingo only said that he is “ballast” and that it is all Scott’s “fault”, but Scott had other ideas. He brought some kind of tribute to Ingo, who won 19 National titles and 4 world titles.
He invited Ingo to fly with him in his ASH 25 and felt privileged when Ingo said yes, though”  he finds himself TOO OLD NOW” added Scott!!!!
For Scott it is the high light of his flight career.”He still is sharp “,  he said, and it is a pleasure to fly with him.
They both got a standing OVATION !!!!
In open class 15 pilots finished.
Here’s Bruces view on yesterday;
—“What a struggle that was! A tough, blue day where you need all the heating you can get, and we had heavy patches of cirrus passing overhead all day. Thermals ranged between 1 knot and 7 knots, with (for me anyway) a high percentage closer to the bottom end of the scale. It was an AAT of 3 hours duration. I won’t go on about how I flew, but I wasn’t too happy when I got home. All the way to the finish line it was hard work, and I went way too close to outlanding as we came south over the Murray River.
Good news is that the water ballast seal has remained in place. We found a new spare one, and I glued it in, never to move again.
The weather looks to be a little better tomorrow, and then much better Sunday/Monday. Here’s hoping.”—-
Today they went on track with a C task. 369 km. I hope it will be better, Bruce!!!!!

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Matt number 2 and his crew Ailsa, who performed so well at the JWGC in Narromine,when she talks about it she still “shines”.

18 m.
In this class yesterday , 2 “girls”  unfortunately out landed, the rest finished.
Peter Temple, won the day with a speed of 109 km./h. That shows it was n’t easy!
416 km. in 3.49 during the 3.30 AAT.
Peter flew mostly by himself and had no reference how good or bad his day was. Sometimes frustrated with the broken thermals, he did well and won the day!!!
Today they fly 389 km.

15 m.
28 from 31 finished in this class. Number 3 was Stephen in the LS 8, number 2 Tobias , a local top pilot, and on spot 1 it was Bryan Hayhow, one of the coaches  from the young Aussies at Narromine’s JWGC.
Bryan told the pilots that in his opinion yesterday was a day,  really suited  for hang glider pilots.He was pleased that Matthew got the gaggle going and Stephen showed him  a great cu with top lift.
Matthew might have less happy he finished on a 12 th daily spot.
Today they have a C task as well. They were the first to be launched.

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Trailers lined up.
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Bruce [Taylor] and David [Jansen ] with their wives and Ian ” NIMBUS” Newman long time …no see.

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A happy Austrian pair ; former World Champion Wolfgang with his mate Andreas.
By the way I WAS WRONG!!!!!!! Wolfgang did not fly in Benalla in 1987 , he was too young!!Sorry I was so sure, but it was another Benalla competition.
No worries,…. we are still great friends!!!!

Talking about 1987, I made some pictures and it is nice to see that,  Ib Wienberg,  who arrives soon here in Tocumwal , was one of the Benalla-1987-pilots in 15 m. class. He is on the list below!So is George who flew with our son Dennis in open class.

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2016-01-09 02.23.46     2016-01-09 02.24.02

On the way back home the weather in Tocumwal was a bit so-so. Skies not as blue as in Benalla, but more “milky”. Enough willy-willies however along the road at the paddocks. Pilots will pass by and I hope , Toc being about 100 km. more N. …that they reach the 8000 here.
You can follow them at ;LIVETRACK24.COM

By the way there are some interesting tugs there. One is a TRANSAVIA AIRTRUK, a real weird -looking tug ,used as AGG plane and built in Sydney, as I heard from Graham.
He advised me to google it which I did:
—“The Transavia PL-12 Airtruk is a single-engine agricultural aircraft designed and built by the Transavia Corporation in Australia. The Airtruk is a shoulder-wing strut braced sesquiplane of all-metal construction, with the cockpit mounted above a tractor engine and short pod fuselage with rear door. The engine cowling, rear fuselage and top decking are of fibreglass. It has a tricycle undercarriage, the main units of which are carried on stub wings. It has twin tail booms with two unconnected tails. Its first flight was in 22 April 1965, and was certified on 10 February 1966.—“

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The other is a yellow ” modified”  Pawnee, and when it passes it does n’t sound like a Pawnee. reason; It has a V 8 car engine and it tows well.

Back to today as some have finished;
In 15 m. the pilots started for a set C- task from 411.39 km.
Adam [Woolley]  is in and seems to have done well. The preliminary scores show a speed of 124 km./h.
Matthew has 117 .07 km./h at this preliminary stage and Norm [Bloch] was just a tad faster.[117.24 km./h]

In open class the 381 km.C- task was flown with a speed of 133.79 km./h. by Ian Craigie, and with that he tops at this stage the preliminary results.

In 18 m. class it’s waiting for the first pilots to arrive from the 389 km long-set- task.There are a 3 in now at 7 PM; Peter Temple, speed 110,68 km.h.
For all scores you can go to


Interesting things happening here as well in Tocumwal.We celebrated the approval by the GFA from Outback Soaring here in Tocumwal and the new instructors; CFI Simon and level 1 Jeroen.

2016-01-08 11.36.49

Diana, George, Simon and Jeroen.

Today Jamie, who worked with us as lamy in the past on tug’s, Dove and Albatross, as well as tuggy before we were here , is back and flies in and out with his nice toy.

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last but not least!!!!
Mr Du had his first SOLO FLIGHT in the ARCUS M.
3 hours and 51 minutes of pure joy so to see at his face!!!

2016-01-09 10.10.09


cheers Ritz

Part 30!! Benalla -fleet passes by!

January 8;
A great “morning -tea” for  Nicole, Richard and me at Chrissies Bookshop [ sorry…no pictures, no time, too much talking!] and a very good lunch later in Barooga with my longtime friends , Margie, Lesley, Gina, Jill and Deslee. Last time this season I saw Lesley as she lives in Oaklands , not really next doors.But compared to other distances here in Australia not far away either.

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With Gina, Jill, Deslee, Margie and Lesley.

2016-01-08 03.57.05

We decided right now, to go back to this pub in 25 years………..

Today in a week I will leave Tocumwal for Benalla’s last day and party/closing ceremony/prize giving.
Booked a room and a ticket for the dinner and one of my friends will bring me to Melbourne Airport the next day.
All organized!!!!

Talking about Benalla, I will be going there tomorrow to see and hear what’s going on, now I share what I read and heard.
THEY FLY today. It’s pretty blue here,with high cirrus firmaments and lot’s of airplane-trails.
I heard they pass by later in the day,so I have a look for you!!!
Open class and 18 m. have a 3.30 AAT, 15 m. 3.00 and they should pass by here. All others are flying along this area, about 20 k more to the N. over Finley and Berrigan , Rand and Tocumwal is a border of a cylinder as well.
Later they changed it in a C task for open as Bruce mentioned;3 hour AAT.

Yesterday, 15 from 15 in open class finished and Ian won the day in his JS 1c;136 km./h. That’s about 10 km./h. faster than the Finnish team with Antti in the ARCUS M.
12 From 15 were faster than 115 km. /h.
Antti shared some news from the Masters in Rayskala. I KNOW what a great place it is, I love it!!!! On that first day of the EGC I was there as a steward and it was exceptional exciting such a 1000 on day 1 and lot’s flew it!!!!
” To all my gliding friends: when planning competitions for summer 2016 keep in mind the new international gliding competition Räyskälä Masters. Räyskälä has hosted several EGC and WGC competitions since 1976 when the WGC was held there for the first time. The competition period is 11.-18.6.2016, which is the best period for gliding and long tasks are possible if the weather is at its best. In 2005 EGC we had the 1011 km task on the first competition day. Maybe another 1000km task in next summer’s Räyskälä Masters!


TEAM AM [Lehto/Luukkanen] from Finland.

In 18 m. class, INDEED ,Tom Claffey won and except for one pilot who missed out on 100 k, all finished.Nice speed as well; Peter Temple was runner up and Hungarian pilot Zoltan was 3th and Czech pilot Petr 5th. with David in between.

In 15 m. it looked yesterday , when I left you,  GOOD for Matthew and it WAS good!!! He won again, so 2 daily wins, one a bit of a lucky one as he wrote by himself. All 33 pilots finished so did Swaantje, flying 4 hours and 18 minutes after being SO ill!!!!You can only admire her.
Matthews view on day 2;
” Day 2 – one of those blue days with lots of cu. I saw a bunch of gliders up in wave prestart, and assumed they’d all started out of the wave when they disappeared – seems like they all fell out and started beneath the clouds anyway. Started pretty much as soon as I got up and just managed to catch the tail end of the main gaggle before the cumulus ran out, and worked my way up the gaggle in the blue then lead out onto final glide for first home. Looking truly blue today.”

It looks like a difficult day today for the OZGLIDE pilots. Guess scores will be later in and some out landings are already a fact. for the latest on scores.


In between a lot of action at the Tocumwal Aerodrome as well. The “Chinese”  Arcus M flew it’s maiden flight with 2 instructors and later with an instructor and Andrew “Ping” Du one of the owners. He was so enthusiastic about this flight, that he straight away shared it with “their followers”  on FB.
Schempp-Hirth is doing a great job in keeping an eye on things like this and Andrew got their congratulations for the flight over
Tocumwal and now of course , it’s waiting for the first flight in China with this VH-CHA.

As you know they are in the process of setting up a commercial center here in Tocumwal, so it’s buzzing from all kind of activities.


Cheers Ritz