Australian diary;part 15. Wishing you a HAPPY ,SAFE AND HEALTHY 2018 !

December 31;

Last day of the year 2017, no clue where it went!!!!
We have great quality-time here in Tocumwal with our family and some good friends.
It’s busy at the moment at the field.
4 Tugs and lot’s of gliders …..the FOX from Eddie, the Cessna from the SRGC, the Pawnee from the Geelong mates and the Scout from George who will launch Diana with Dexie.
It’s all happening now at 2 PM. Some early birds started already around 12.
Tug after tug brings gliders up…..the airfield is “buzzing” ,…not as in the past,…. but nearly.
For sure the busiest day of the year, since I am here.
At 3 it got quiet again. The ARCUS M flies over just to the NW. It’s still blue

So today, part of the family is flying, part at the beach where it is still peak hour.

This morning it was power-flying-time and Dexie had an hour flight already in the DOT, Bruce’s Cessna 150. When it was  Indya’s turn little DOT refused and needed a break, so later she will fly as well.

Looking back at yesterday we  had another good time in the air and at the beach and a nice meal at Kelley’s……another hour waiting but with some drinks and a good “talk” time flew.
Great to see Kait who all the way traveled up from Yacandanda, with doggy “Cricket”.
Diana spend her afternoon in the air, flying her set task about 220 km. as practice for the nationals.

A photo-impression from the later part of yesterday.

  At the airfield.


Dexie helps Diana at the launch,” opa” operates  the tug.


At the beach.



At the PUB.


The girls had enough of the paparazzi “oma”.I am having FUN!!!

Day 1
was a prey for Todd Sandercock in the Hornet starting at 14.50. He got the 6 points.
The other 6 points, for the group starting at 14.00 were for Andrew Horton in the St. Jantar 3.

Today they fly 258,82 km.

——The first 24 flights on the OLC, on December 30 were 1000 km plus flights from Namibia and South Africa. Keith Essex topped the list flying the Antares 23 E, over 1.358,45 km with a speed of 158 km./h. He gave up on his task but still flew a 1000 km FAI triangle.
Also 3 over 1.200 flights one from Anja Kohlrausch in the Antares 20 m.;1.217,56 with a speed of 137 km./h. Good on her!!!

To finish this year , THANK YOU for your interest and support.

wishing you a year in good health and with many safe flights.

Cheers Ritz


Australian diary ;part 14. FAMILY -DAY !!!

December 28.

Inge and Rodger left early for Shepparton [about an hour driving] to pick up Diana who arrived this morning at 6 in Melbourne and travels by train to Seymour and bus to Shepparton. After arrival she was straight ready for a check flight in the Blanik as Simon left again . The weather was poor with wind and lot’s of rain, so he traveled home.
GREAT THANK YOU to Simon as my grand kid’s loved his lessons!!!!
Each had 10 lessons and they know now what gliding is. They also already know now,….they want to visit next year again!!!

Thank you Simon and Thank you opa George, who organized this all.

In the storm and rain you can still do shopping, so that’s what we did bringing a visit to Cobram.

At 10 George and Simon, as well as Raf, brought glider and tug to 09 for the last day of training.
Dexie already was excited about doing everything by himself during the last flight to show what he had learned. OF COURSE with the instructor in the back to see his progress.

We had quite some rain yesterday evening as well, but the BBQ could continue outside ,though dinner was inside.


Even with the rain and some cool air, we had a lovely time with Margie and Bracey, Raf and his lady friend  and Simon, the instructor both children like a lot..

——The opening in Leeton from the FORMULA 1.0 2017,  was done by Ingo. I was invited to come as well, but with the family here that was not a real option.

“The great Ingo Renner. An incredible pilot and a gentleman.”
shared by the Leeton friends.

If they have the same weather as we have here, they won’t fly. Just noticed day 2 is cancelled. A pity!!!!

December 29;
Today the Tocumwal Market was on and you “could walk over the heads of the many people”. Unbelievable, never saw it SOOOO busy here.

With 200 stands this is the biggest market in the area. With all the Melbourne guests at the river it is crowdy as hell.
Indya and Dex wonder all the time, where all these people come from.


Busy market and town, busy river and busy ice cream shop with my favorite ice cream which they had to fill up as it seems I am not the only one loving it.

Yesterday evening we went to several pub’s, but NO place available….. ALL tables booked. We started at Kelley’s where we caught up with some Toc. friends and via the Palms we ended up in the Terminus , close to the railway station. We found a table but had to wait, as they announced at ordering, for over an hour.
We did.
For tonight and tomorrow , we learnt,…we made reservations for Kelley’s and for the Golf Club.

In the afternoon Diana went for the first time in her Discus 2 cT, up in the Toc skies. Dexie wanted to be there!!!
pictures tomorrow.

In the afternoon Kait arrived for a couple of day’s to see Inge.Her doggy ,…dog, Cricket…arrived with her.


—–203.69 km. is on the menue for the 27 Leeton Pilots,  their first flying day!

Enjoy the last day’s of December/2017.

Cheers Ritz

Australian diary ;part 13. Gliding…for individualists????? for sure a family affair as well!!



December 28;

Overcast so great weather for practice!!!! 28 dgr.C at 10 and it feels as 26!!Humidity is 42 %. Visibility 16 km. No rain expected. Tomorrow thunderstorms. Reason for some Narromine friends to NOT fly here, but come by car.
By the way at 4 it was 36 dgr. C and it felt so,  luckily the humidity dropped to 23 !!!

As you can see Dexter our grandson has downloaded some video’s from their landing [ I did n’t even know this was possible in my blog.] Long live the young ones!!!AND….Landing,….all by their selves!!!!!

After 4 lessons, not bad it seems they both have the  Schuit-flying-hand.

It’s lovely to see their enthusiasm and their discipline at this young age!! Not something to take for granted at this adolocent age. At 10 AM the whole family left again to 27 ,for a new load of fun.Inge and Rodger as enthusiastic and George doing the tows today,..yes a family affair!! And,…yes we know  many gliding families!!!!


ready to go.

——Looking at yesterday’ s weather for soaring the OLC showed for Australia the best flight from Benalla by Tobias in the LS 4; 755 k. and Jenny , yes the 1000 km. lady, flew from Narromine a 750 triangle extended to 850 km in total in the ASH 26E.
Good, better ,best by 2 TOP-Kiwi’s , young Dane [Dickinson]  and a tad older John [Coutts] , flying from Bitterwasser and the combined power of the 2 resulted in a 1.326,48 km. flight, a declared 1.250 in it as FAI triangle in the ARCUS M.[148 km./h.]
Their OLC comment;” 1250 FAI declared. The big mac with extra cheese.”
Keith [Essex] , still there [ but in Kiripotib] flew the Antares 23 , over 1.262 km.with a speed of 142 km./h.
3 More flights from Bitterwasser over 1.200 km. One of them by German female top pilot ,Susanne [Schoedel] 1.235 km. with a speed of 143 the Nimbus 4M. She is now more or less involved in paperwork, as since March 2014 she is the  Secretary General of the GFA , but she shows she still belongs to the German TOP as a pilot as well.

Interesting to see ….. most flights from Namibia nowadays are flown in 2-seaters and the ARCUS M is a real “gem” to fly in, also for records and very long distances as it shows!!!

—–Leeton is the host of the very first FORMULA 1 here in Australia. Leeton is also the place where George became Australian Champion years ago. Of course he was called WINNER, as he was not an Aussie citizen. Weird weather that year with rain, hail and at height even snow.
They start TODAY with 27 pilots in club class and a 160 km. task.
In the end the day was scrubbed.

F1GP Scoring Explained

Grand Prixs are fun right? Yeah! Everyone starts together, the first pilot over the line wins. But, when you have a large number of gliders in a small amount of airspace, the risk of collision increases. So, the list of F1GP competitors is randomly split into 2 groups (Group A and Group B) on Day 1, and both groups go around the same course, but approximately 30-60 minutes apart. Each group is scored independently (like a normal GP), and then the points of both groups are tallied to form an overall leaderboard

However, the next day (Day 2), the top half of the pilots from Day 1 go into Group A, and the bottom half of the pilots go into Group B. Both groups are scored independently again, but the winner of Group A scores 10 points, and the winner of Group B scores 7 points.

On Day 3, the cumulative scores (from Day 1 & 2) are added up, and the top half goes into Group A again, and the bottom half goes into Group B. Winner of Group A earns 10 points, winner of Group B earns 7 points.

Second, third, fourth, etc place getters earn progressively less points than the winner, down to the 10th place getter (and below) in each group, who will score zero for the day. Outlanders also score zero points.

A good performance in Group B will likely lift you up into Group A for the following day. A poor performance in Group A will likely see you lowered into Group B the following day.

On top of that, the organisers can award bonus point(s) on any day, to a competitor for:

  • Being the fastest pilot in their group
  • Being the first competitor to a given turnpoint

Due to potential variances in weather, at least one competitor from each group must complete the task (get home) in order for the day to be valid. If no one gets home in one or both groups, the day will be invalid and not scored.

At the top of our score sheets on SoaringSpot, you’ll see information about each group, like the number of finishers, whether the day is valid, the maximum points that can be awarded in the group (10 points in Group A, 7 points in Group B from Day 2 onwards) and bonus points awarded. We also list the competitors in each group. With this type of scoring, there will be many equal scores each day, but over the duration of the competition, the scores will spread out to rank the pilots accurately.

To accommodate for the small differences in glider performance, the lower performance gliders have a larger circle around their turn points – this means they can turn earlier than the higher performance gliders, and effectively their task is shorter.

Written by: Heath L’Estrange on 14 December 2017 at 05:30.
Edited by: Nick Gilbert on 14 December 2017 at 06:22.

——-At 5, one could see lightning to the SE. For a short while some more wind as well.No worries  kid’s on the ground, they fly in the early morning and evening when the air is more quiet and only Rodger flew, with an instructor. He had not flown since his last visit here, years ago.
Before we all had lunch in the Big Strawberry with pancakes filled with warm strawberries, cream and strawberry ice cream. MMMmmm….

——-And to finish……Our grand children start at age 12 and 14. You see in Argentina they even start younger.

Great picture!
As shared by Damian [Goldenzweig].

Another day in Tocumwal paradise.
CU tomorrow last flying day of the “kid’s” ,so other exciting things/visits are waiting now.

Cheers Ritz

Australian Diary; part 12.





First things first, we should nor forget the world champion of Hobbs in New Mexico and a long time family friend.

—–Yesterday we visited Ulupna Island, after Ingo had made the check flight with the Blanik. So today both “kid’s ” started with Simon Holding, their 10 flights each in this Blanik. Granddad gave them another Christmas gift as well; each a one hour flight in a Cessna 150 with Bruce Wilson.

Picture courtesy Rodger. I never saw so many koala’s over there.


George and Bruce did the towing and all had a great time. Even Inge went up with Simon. Temperature 33 dgr. C…… feel temperature 36 !!!
Great clouds again . Though yesterday the clouds “only”  reached to 7600 ft. as I heard from one of the pilots, the other ones might have been higher.
The B C T triangle looks to have had the best weather yesterday in Australia with flight’s up to 808 [750 triangle] from Corowa [8 flights] in a ASH 31/21 m. 657 in an LS 4 from Benalla [ 13 flights] and 562 in an LS 4 as well from Tocumwal. [7 flights and one check flight from Ingo] No flights anywhere else down under.
Today Swiss Chris flew over 500 k in his ASW 27 and I heard the cloud base was over 8000 ft.
Except for Rodger and me all family members flew today.Pictures tomorrow.
One of our friends flew with Ingo in the Caproni.
The family is at the beach now and the kid’s will do one more flight tonight. Nice long and hot day!!

CFI Simon brought some great Brown Brothers bubbles which we really enjoyed !!


—–the 10th WWGC will be held in Lake Keepit.  The dates have now been changed from November/December 2019, to January 2020 ,to fit in with European holiday time.

Natasa shared this picture in Female Glider Pilots , great PR !

—–; Here you can find Jamies business,….. light aircraft maintenance and Restoration. He worked on the from Holland imported Piper Apache and is waiting for the paper work to come, as it is ready to go.

Here in George’s office but his own business is a bit more up road.

Off for dinner now CU tomorrow.


Australian diary;part 11.

December 26 ;BOXING DAY.

It’s noon now and the sky explodes, great clouds EVERYWHERE. Pilots went up early and the Geelong -mates are here for their annual soaring-Christmas- holiday ; arriving with gliders and a tug.On the right time at the right spot.


Looking West, Looking East.


Looking North,looking South.

Yesterday we had a great Christmas day with the family. NO flying at the airport , very different to years ago, so all very quiet; we had pre- drinks and nibbles in front of the hangar.
Dexie helped George with the cleaning of the tarmac in front of the hangar  and Indya got the high pressure system out to clean a lounge chair, all things they never did before.




We had a great swim in the river too, of course I only wet my feet, BUT for the first time in all those years I saw very close by a Murray -cod ,which disappeared leaving a trace of sand when it heard me.

After the Christmas dinner, in summer clothes, with good food and drinks, we all were satisfied with a Christmas day together. Now we wait for Diana who will be here soon too.

This morning Bill [Harvey] and Harry dropped in before flight. Good to see them.

Good old Bill and Harry who flies a lot in the season here. He is an hang glider pilot in China as well. We shared the last pieces of the yummie cake with them.

Ingo will be here for the check of the Blanik and Simon will be here tonight for 3 days of trial-lessons for the kid’s.Off to the koala’s at Ulupna Island , Target and Woolworth and not to forget pancakes at the BIG STRAWBERRY.

Cheers Ritz

Australian Diary;part 10.


December 25


Christmas quilt from oma and native flowers.

——-Sorry about the mistake about the engine from LP. For sure and you knew already not electric but a jet!!!!  Clearly!!

—–Japanese Record on that fabulous day in Narromine.
Sub-class Open
Category General
Types of record and performance:
1000km Out and Return Speed 124kph
Free Out and return Distance 1005.2km
Glider Ventus 2cxa 18m (no engine)
Date: Dec23, 2017
Location: Narromine, Australia
Pilot: Makoto Ichikawa
Mac’s OLC-comment;
” 1000km OR speed Japanese record. One of the best days I have flown in terms of big area of Cumulus.”
After arrival, just a few minutes ,Dexie straight away rushed to the Scout and tried a few things out with mum looking if all was OK.
After we enjoyed Margies yummie rhubarb cake.
On Christmas morning George took Dex out for a ride in the Scout. All family was excited for him.He got the first instructions as well.
Mum and “opa ” strapped him in, headset on and off the went for an half hour flight.
family waving him out . Dexie’s first flight in the Scout and 3d generation “flying” this tug.
His sister Indya went up as well, of course and she liked it as much.
And to finish a fabulous picture in Christmas style from Bitterwasser by Hubi. MAGIC PICTURE, thanks for sharing Hubi.
“The stars in Bitterwasser are so amazing! It is so dark you can easily see the milkyway touching the horizon. And you can see lots of shooting stars! So beautiful!”
Off to the beach. Enjoy your Christmas.
CU Ritz

Australian diary ;part 9. Our family arrives TONIGHT here in Toc.. exciting 1000 from Narromine and more.

December 24;


Just finished blog number 8 and to make them not to long I write a new one now! Blog 8 had pictures and all the latest on the 3 JS 3’s here in Tocumwal.

As shared by the Kingaroy Friends.

—–A Happy Christmas for us too. George just drove to Melbourne to pick up the family arriving here in around 7 . They just boarded a flight from Ayers Rock to Melbourne. WELCOME Inge, Rodger, Indya and Dexie.
Big leg of ham in the full fridge is waiting.
A bit of a storm here, at least a very strong wind from the South.

—–Some exciting news from Narromine and Kitipotib and it’s all about girls now;
In Kiripotib Sibylle Andresen flew a few new African Women records  in the Antares 23.
On December 10 she flew a Declared 500 km. triangle with a speed of 155.7 km./h. which was 7 km./h faster than the old one. The 300 km was 11 km. faster.
On December 15 she flew a 100 km.FAI triangle with 180 km./h. which was a Continental record and 12 km. faster than the old one.

—–From Narromine 2 ladies left yesterday for a 1000 km flight and they did it. Good on them.

Another typically awesome day out of Narromine today!!! Congratulations to Jenny Ganderton and Kerrie Claffey on flights of over 1000kms each.

Picture shared by Narromine Gliding Club Official

A very happy Jenny mentioned on the OLC:
Declared Lightning Ridge, Koorawatha, Narromine for 1000km. Took ages to get to Lightning ridge, and thought about aborting the task, but had a good run to the south until Eugowra, where it was soft, so turned there, and made an OLC 1000km by going almost to Gilgandra and back to Narromine. No Triangle though.
No worries Jenny , time. She flew it in the ASH 26;1.012 km. with a speed of  112 km./h.!!!!! She flew all the way up to Lightning Ridge, an opal town in the middle of nowhere.

And as happy, Kerry, Tom’s wife;”woo hoo – great christmas present! yes I know it’s not the holy grail FAI triangle in std class but it’s a start.” Kerry flew the ASG 29/18m.1;046 km with a speed of

A bit of a dark picture by Robert[ Smits] who flies in Narromine at the moment as well. 678 km. on this special day in an LS 4.

Kerry still in the glider just before sunset and Jenny with a big smile at her site.

Akemi flew 785 in the LS 8 and Andrew Du in the ASW 28/18m  a distance of 776 km.

Robert shared this nice picture from Lightning Ridge as well.

—–Daniel Rhin shared this interesting picture;
” Watched the Space-X Falcon9 launch from my front balcony. Very beautiful.”


——Perlan Project!!

What a great flight again for Dennis and Morgan on December 20 from Nahuel Huapi; 2.298 km with a speed of 168.5 km./h. in the ARCUS J. Here is what they had to say;

“What can I say about a very special day in Patagonia? We planned this flight on Skysight two days before and the plan worked perfectly. We expected the first leg to be slow with a 70km gap just after the start and we expected absolutely ripping lift north of that. The plan kept us flying in the good lift without wasting any time crossing gaps.

The Skysight forecast is so precise that we did not need to look at clouds to find lift. When the clouds went one way and Skysight went another way we found it was better to follow the Skysight prediction. We literally do not need to look out the window to find lift.

What about the final glide? Over 500km from home with two hours to sunset and 70,000ft altitude required we were actually worried about coming home early. A slow spot near the finish, thanks to the 70km gap, put paid to that idea. We made our goal before last light.”

AND,…another one by Dennis and Tim[Gardner] from Chos Malal;2.520 km. in the ARCUS J. Up to 7.574 MSL on December 22.

——-Bitterwasser Lodge and Soaring Center shared the news that Ulf Merbold flew there. Ulf has been the second German in space and the only German Astronaut who did three flights to space. .
The full story on Enjoy!

—–Just had a Christmas drink with Dundee whilst waiting for the family. We waved to Dennis when he left with his Cessna 180 and he waved back to us. After his flight to Hong Kong he will be back here on the 28th.

Cheers and CU



Australian Diary; part 8. 3 JS3 gliders at the Tocumwal airfield!!!! Snake alert and visitors!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, dear friends !!!!

My goodness me , I felt very much “clipped” without my writing,first the older news as it was all quite exciting here over the last days, then today’s news in another blog!!!!
But …..I am back on track on December 24, just to wish you a great festivity season and share more news!!

December 23;

As always ,….Bill got me out of trouble.I see the problem and will get it fixed.”
A huge THANK you to him!!! AND eternal gratitude!!!!
This time I was not hacked but “ The backups have used up the disk space and I need to get some of the backups deleted.  This will take a day or so.  I am working it now. It will all be back up soonest.”

You always see,…..just when the highlight of the 2017 -soaring -season here in Tocumwal occurred, with the arrival of 3 JS 3 gliders from JONKERS in South Africa here in Australia and the very first…, my blog gave up!!!!!.

BUT,…working in word now to copy and paste later.
The 3 gliders are  in Lumpy’s hangar; a nice  Christmas “ present ”  for him, one for Butch and one for Norm.
I hope they will have many great and safe flights in them.

Only looking at them makes one SMILE. They are just beautiful and it struck me how small the canopy is, high yes but not big.

Majestic wings. Sorry I missed the tip.

Joergen and Lumpy were working,[ some finishing-touch-stuff,]  on all 3  gliders to get them ready for the Nationals early January in Waikirie. Most was done already by the Jonkers factory.
Also the registration on the trailers has been done.
When they finished their jobs , I was allowed to make some pictures.





The fuselage is big enough for a tall bloke as Lumpy, who fits in nicely.

A very happy chappie!!!!

He also demonstrated the electrical extension of the  jet sustainer to bring him home if necessary.


Trailers are part of gliding so part of this photo session.


One of the 3 JS 3 trailers was in the hangar BUT, there was still a JS 1 trailer too.

Got some pictures from friends as well ;


Took time to photograph some pictures from the new hangars as well. Quite a few new ones and the very old one from John Williams who taught both my “kid’s”  how to fly.


I heard that Butch and Pam will be soon in Toc for a few day’s to collect their glider and travel to Waikirie and we still expect, Pam and Gerrit, William and Evelien and Mac and Akemie after Christmas, as well as Simon, Tony and Jo.

In the afternoon yesterday ….SNAKE ALARM.…..

At 2.30 there was a snake alert at this hangar. I was not allowed to enter it ,so I stayed in the house built to the hangar.
A big one who seems to live under the concrete of the hangar just there were you enter the door. Noticed 2 holes where they go in and out so we are going to close them. Scary stuff.
Later I heard that they live their already many many years and making noise and NOT STEP on them would do the trick???!!!

At 4.30 Jamie , “our” engineer , whose business is called Border Aviation and also a tuggie in the far past and now, was the first one to take up one of the 3 Raptures in 18 m. conversion to the AUSTRALIAN skies AND in TOCUMWAL , a well known gliding place for ages!!! LP was airborne,…it’s quite some news here in Australia. Very first JS 3 /18 m. in Australia and airborne NOW!!!.
The first 2 flew with Attie and Uys [Owners of the Jonkers business]in Benalla in 15m. conversion during the WGC.

Just before we had a nice chat with Dennis Macstead,who dropped in and  who was a young tuggie here in the late 80thies . He is the same age as our Dennis and did the towing here at Sportavia the year later when he finished high school and his flying license. Now he flies around as a captain on an A330 Airbus.
Both Dennisses flew together in one of the Blanik’s in that time.


Dennis here with Bruce and Bruce and George earlier in the work shop..

Dennis is Michael’s older brother, the same who flew me 2 years ago from Melbourne to Hong Kong where he lives. Also Michael was in the past a tuggie here. It ‘s great to see how all those tuggies did well. Tomorrow it seems Inge arrives here as well, another tuggie here at Sportavia.


Some just-funny-day-to-day-pictures from Bob the dog [from Colin].


Glad to be back starting the new blog now!!!

Cheers Ritz

Australia diary; part 7 with some extra info on this WW2- airfield.

SORRY there seem to be some problems with the pictures in my blog. Everything is OK when I write it , after publishing some pictures are grey. Working on it!!!!

December 21.
Longest day here, shortest in Europe so winter/summer arrive again in due time!! No worries!!!!!

As promised some pictures from the main entrance of the airport.

And some history of the planes.





Hope you enjoy and appreciate this bit of history about this huge WW2-airfield.

—-Our family has arrived in Singapore and are living -the-life-there. So they should. They will continue to most probably Darwin and via Ayers Rock to arrive here on the 24st for their Christmas stay with us till January 4.
Today I got the message that they ARE in Darwin.

—–In between lot’s of friends enjoy still great flying in South Africa and Namibia. Some German pilots live- the-soaring- life in Chile. They flew in an ARCUS M and a Ventus 2CM/18 m. 1.221 and 1.260 km. in a yo-yo wave flight from Munivitacura.
Keith Essex flew between December 4 and 19, from Kiripotib,10 fabulous flights between 729 and 1. 256 km. All in the Arcus M.except for the last one in the magic ANTARES 23 E.
Kiripotib shared a link , via Ludwig, from some nice pictures taken from above!! Enjoy.

—–Kuruman is not so often in the publicity, so I should mention straight away the fabulous flight from 2 of my Dutch mates Hans and Alfred Paul from this hidden paradise.I knew about Kuruman because my German mates fly there already for a long time.They are there this year as well.
The “boys” flew a great 1.229 km.distance in the Nimbus 4DM with a speed of 140 km./h. with one “leg” of 542 km.
3 More 1000 km.tasks from Kuruman that day on December 20.

Day 9- what a day! Plan worked out and after our launch at 10.05 we first needed the engine for 20 min to reach 1500 AGL (as we didn’t flew yesterday we had some spare minutes:). Heading to the east it became clear it would be a proper day with 6,2m/s at 11.45 and 7 m/s at 12.30 🙂 After 250km flying to the East the cloud base dropped and the lift did as well – therefore we went to the West until it turned blue. Brilliant day of flying from Kuruman.

—–We were not the only one’s here down under , who had a big storm.
I share the next message and the pictures.
Yesterday things got exciting in Bitterwasser. Early in the morning we knew that there would be thunderstorms. But you never know exactly where they’re going to be. For the first time this season we had a thunderstorm reaching towards Bitterwasser.
I went to the pool in the afternoon. Enjoying the sun a bit before the gliders are coming back – that was the plan. Right at the pool one thing was different – normally you see a beautiful blue sky through the palm trees. But this time the sky was deep black. „Well, not that serious“ I thought. We have seen lots of thunderstorms passing the airfield during the last weeks. They never came close. Some minutes later I looked at the sky again. Something had changed. The color. The black sky was now painted with yellowish stripes and waves. Interesting. „Maybe I should take some photos.“ OK – let’s go. When I came to the palm alley the wind was getting stronger dramatically. The sky continued changing. I couldn’t tell what I was looking at. Yellow and brown colors in the sky. Some reflexes? Rubbish! That’s sand! The gusts roller was approaching. It was rotating. It was rising into the sky. Than it hit the palm alley.
A few landed just before the gusts arrived. Everyone was in a hurry putting them to their safe parking lots. We ran to the gliders and were helping as good as we could. Than it started to rain. The pan can become muddy when it is raining. In that case we still have one paved runway – 09 Hangar. At this moment still six gliders where flying. Good thing about thunderstorms is that you can fly around them. Around the thunderstorm the weather was still very good. So no problem at all. Right before sunset last gliders arrived in Bitterwasser and could land on our hangar runway safely. Everybody home. Time for dinner.”

Pictures shared by Bitterwasser Lodge and Flying Center.


No words needed we ALL know the feeling of such a moment and it remains for long in the mind and in the conversations later, even years later !!!!!!!

——Still domestic job’s here. New gutters on the hangar roof, finally the cooker hood has been installed in the kitchen. In Diana’s trailer they put a solar powered ventilator for fresh air.


By the way I woke up at 6 as I was COLD. Put the dona over me and slept again. First time, this visit,  I was COLD…12 dgr. at 6 AM!!!!

As said Dundee and I pruned the oleander at Dennis.


Everything clean around the grave and pruned .We did even clean the grave of his Dutch neighbor as you can see, who also shares now the shade of the “oleander- umbrella” as well.


Dennis ……a view over the cemetery …….and the grave of Rebecca, a 12 year old drowning in the Murray River when she was only 12 years old in 1887. 100 years before Dennis.

Enough. Next week when the family is here I might have less time , so what ‘s nice to know about Toc . I share these days.

Cheers Ritz


Australian diary ;part 6.With a huge storm hitting Toc.

Wednesday December 20;

When we were cooking yesterday evenings dinner I looked outside. Easy as this wonderful machine cooks salmon asparagus and pears in ONE go. I NEED one!!!!


Chris Zippel baptized this tool ,” THE MONUMENT.”

This is how looking to the West looks normally.

Far in the West I could see red sand, which means a STORM. I called Jamie and George , still busy in the office, to see if this was scary. They called it a gust front, walked back to the office and that was that,…for them.
Not for me I grabbed my camera,with the idea that the front would pass by to the SW.


Passing to the West direction South and you see the red sand going higher and higher.

But then it came fast very fast to the hangar.

In a few seconds it was grey outside and the men got into action as the doors from the hangar had to be closed totally and 2 gliders were outside.
The IS 28 was hooked up but still moved,the Blanik which just had his annual inspection and normally lives in the hangar, only was outside for a check flight with Ingo. It seems he was not able to do the check, so the Blanik waited out side hooked on the Range Rover.
You would think that is pretty strong, but it was not, it moved, but not too bad. Wind here ,some called it a SUPER CELL, blew like hell.

Jamie and George went out after the high-point of  the storm was over, to check both gliders.
They had to sit on the wing to not get the gliders move further.



Jamie, George and later I, when George got tools to secure the gliders even better, sitting on the Wing tip.
Me sitting there with my “new ” asthma and allergies for dust and grass. I was in the middle of it, with sand between my teeth and grass flying around my head. I had later some problems, but not too bad!!!

Luckily no damage, only the wing walker from the IS 28 got a bend wheel and will be repaired by Corkey.

Some pilots rushed after the worst, from their homes to the airfield to check their gliders/belongings. Trailers had danced around but no damage, 2 other gliders out, but on the tie-down, were ok.
Neil Burns and Chinese mate Harry, came to see if we here needed help, so did Lumpy, who I had heard of and written about, but never met before.
He was straight in the good-book with me , when he said the tree from Kees and Dennis would always stay there.

In between sirens of search and rescue for all kind of help. Lot’s of trees unfortunately did not survive . I photographed a few of them at the airfield.


All in all an interesting evening with later a thunderstorm and a good drop of rain. This morning, between 7 and 8,  the last lightning, thunder and rain passed and it was back to normal, HUGE difference though to the last days; only 23 dgr. C. GREAT.
A good morning to go with Dundee to the cemetery to prune the oleander and rake all old leaves.

A bit too much excitement for me. The 2d bad storm in 25 Toc summers. Not as bad as the one 15 years ago on 2-2 -2002,; a down burst with huge rain and the roof of the sun room at Sportavia collapsed then and one LS 4 went flying without a pilot.
Not good,…. a 30.000 dollar damage bill was the result.
All pilots stayed then in the air on advise and had no problem, this pilot just made it home in time, but though the crew was ready AT the field to get the glider in, it was just too late.It turned up side down hooked on the car.

Later yesterday, we found out that MELBOURNE has been hit badly!!! Flooding, hail-and storm damage!!!!
And that just before Christmas,….?!
I also heard that Corowa, just 2 hours before us here, got another “rotten-cell/down burst”, but also they escaped the huge hail which moved more S.!!

Gliders have been  inspected by Colin this morning and all is fine.

Also this morning, yes a lot is happening, a big truck arrived full of gravel to uplift the taxi track from the Sportavia hangar, passed Georges hanger, to the runway.

and one of the men is scraping the grass from the platform the last picture shows the result. All those who have flown in Toc, know that huge iron cables were there to perfectly, tie down the gliders, when around 50 pilots with different Nationalities [I remember the Dutch , Italian and Finnish team] practiced here for the WGC in Benalla.
This part of the Tocumwal airfield is getting more beautiful which is good.I believe , have to check though, that Lumpy is the one behind this.


After my walk I photographed some nice native bush and flowers for those interested.


Enough for today. Next time I ‘ ll share  some pictures from the planes at the road to the main entrance of the airport, which have flown here in the past of course the LIBERATOR as most imported one as this was a LIBERATOR base, that’s why the hangars are so big.


Cheers Ritz