Back home ,…here is the full LESZNO DIARY !!!!

Z Poland



On Thursday  the INTERNATIONAL EVENING was a big success. A pity I missed that as it is a great opportunity to catch up straight away with EVERYBODY.I read that the German team had popular beer;120 liter has been “gone” somewhere???!!!!

ZZInt ev Australia  ZZint ev

The Aussies ,can’t miss that with the kangaroo in the middle. And the pilots lifting the Diana from Sebastian.
As shared on FB.

The day was cancelled, so time to go back to bed for those who were ” over-refreshed” and a good day for sight seeing. I am off now , as you know WITHOUT my laptop. Time for some fun.

ZZ grey field

grey skies today as seen by the South African team on Friday morning.

Here is the LESZNO DIARY;
It’s a bit long but a lot happened! Sunday  definitely belongs in my top 5 of “HEAVY” soaringdays.

FRIDAY continued;

I traveled by train and airport shuttle to Eindhoven Airport. I was amazed to see how it had changed. Some 30 years ago my dad and I went looking at planes , sitting there at  the balcony overseeing the field and day-dreaming how my kids Dennis and Inge would later fly in, with their passenger planes. My daughter does now!
The arrival /departure hall is brand new and looks great with mirrors all over…. brand new! Of course I paid tribute to the people who died in the MH 17 flight, as many did before me.

2014-08-01 14.50.43  2014-08-01 14.49.42

My daughter Inge found me a cheap and good flight with WIZZAIR, can’t say anything else then very effective, punctual and in 1.15 I was in Poznan.

2014-08-01 17.26.54  2014-08-01 19.05.11

Transavia at Eindhoven Airport with 3 planes Ryan Air with 2 and Wizzair also with 3 A 320’s.

The trip was fast and good and I arrived before schedule. Frans came all the way from Leszno to pick me up. He is the crew from Francois, but as there was no flying he could go.
Travelling by car in Poland certainly between Poznan and Leszno is a long sit. The distance is only 80 km. but with 2- lane- roads and lots of farmer- traffic, it takes between 2.5 and 3 hours.

The hotel AKWAWIT was perfect. I enjoyed being there. Inge had booked me a twin room and when I opened the doors I had some kind of executive room with coffee and tea,  vodka, 2 single beds a nice place to read, an office part, a cupboard part and a big bathroom. A nice balcony as well. The lady smiled when she said I had a special deal breakfast and dinner included!!!Also the spa, swimming pool etc was free.
WOW !!!!
Invited Frans for dinner as a thank you and when he left I dived in a good bed.

2014-08-02 18.27.40   2014-08-02 18.26.45


An early morning and a breakfast with hugs and kisses as I found out that Team members from the  USA, UK, Denmark, New Zealand, Greece, Belgium and others stayed there as well.
Never met Alexis from Greece but I had contact with him via my blogs as he contributed to my blogs in the past. Nice to get to know him.
His crew and he drove me to the airport.

2014-08-02 11.40.06   2014-08-02 12.36.14

Alexis and his crew and  his glider  decorated with sponsor stickers.

The CD gave me a VIP badge, so I could go everywhere.

And what an airfield it is HUGE !!!!!

 ” Leszno airfield is” , as Rick, one of the USA crew members mentioned ”  a grass square, roughly 4000 feet on a side. We’re told that this is the largest grass airfield in Europe. It is so big that the runways are not defined until after the cones are placed along their edges. For example, Runway 06/24 can exist in four separate places, of which two (left and right) are normally used. Similarly, Runway 15/33 could be anywhere, but they normally lay it out in the two “official” places.t defined until after the cones are placed along their edges. For example, Runway 06/24 can exist in four separate places, of which two (left and right) are normally used. Similarly, Runway 15/33 could be anywhere, but they normally lay it out in the two “official” places.” 

2014-08-02 09.44.53

I had a look at the tow planes before briefing and there was a lot of “old-fashioned” but still good tugs.

2014-08-02 09.47.33  2014-08-02 09.49.15

2014-08-02 09.49.40   2014-08-02 13.27.30

Briefing was a bit of a searching-game, as the day before all tables were moved to other places because of the International night. In the end they all sat  and the briefing could start. At the tables …apples from the local farmers and some info.

2014-08-02 09.59.04  2014-08-02 09.59.13

The meteo is in Polish but translated in English by a lady with a clear voice. Tasks were set , only small ones from 2 hour AAT’s changed later in 1.30 AAT’s.

Robert Danewid showed the pictures from the mid air in the UK recently and asked “: have you practiced to  bail out of a glider recently?
He mentioned that from 1974 till 2013 a total of 58 mid air collisions took place.Glider-glider 45 times and glider-tug 6 times. An extra warning specially in thermalling [ gaggles]  as that is the most dangerous spot in the air.
With the message FLY WITH YOUR HEAD he sent the pilots to their gliders.

It was great to see so many familiar faces again. The Crab boys from Ireland made me think straight away of Stan Witek, who worked for Bill Riley at Sportavia in Tocumwal. Stephen Crab is married to Stan’s daughter.
It is exactly 20 years ago this year [ April ] that Stan died of cancer!!
During the 1987 WGC in Benalla I organized Bruce Brockhoff’s glider for him and got some money from other teams to pay for his tows. That way he flew the WGC, which otherwise would have never happened.
I nearly regretted it as Stan and Italian pilot Leonardo Brigliadori had a mid air collision, but both could land back at Benalla.
Now Leo’s son Ricky is flying here in Leszno and visiting with wife and 3 kids. Good to see Ricardo’s call sign now is LEO.

2014-08-02 13.23.53  2014-08-02 13.00.53

It was nice to see Leighs dad , now as crew , in the past as pilot when ‘we’ attended WGC’s. Nothing changed, he still is the same running and rushing busy bee. From long ago it was nice to catch up with Jan Andersen and Henrik Breidahl, both lovely talented young men when I got to know them. Nothing changed ….still the same friendly smiles and Jan told me his oldest is already 24.Time flies.
The South African team with Laurens and Susie, Sven and Carol Clifford. Not to forget my Dutch mates all in good order with team huts, team- radio -center etc.

2014-08-02 09.42.59

2014-08-02 09.32.30  2014-08-02 09.34.05

The SA container and the Dutch fancy”  team hut”.

Maria Szemplinsky,who I got to know in Uvalde,  the great photographer was making pictures. Of course she supports her husband Jerzy as well. He flies for Canada, where they live. Did not know her roots were Polish!!
Do know now!

Nice to catch up with Walter Binder, Gerhard Waibel and his wife, Thilo and his wife! Most of them visited OSTIV. Also JS was represented by pilots Attie and Uys Jonker and DG by pilot Jelmer Wassenaar.
Loek Boermans is always a pleasure to talk too.
I was not allowed yet to tell you he is resigning as PRESIDENT of OSTIV, but it was on FB , that he has announced he is resigning end of this year,  during the briefing, so I can tell you too now. With pain in the heart , but he has done it many years. OSTIV is going to miss him, so are more pilots and friends and of course his OSTIV mates.

2014-08-02 11.45.00

Gerhard Waibel

Got to see the new jet- engine in the JS 1 from Simon Brown, flown here by Tom Claffey , who already won a day.I looked at the testing before start and that was quite special and behind the glider pretty noisy. Kerrie, Tom’s wife was so kind to inform me about this MND jet-engine which carries 42 liters of AVTUR  mixed with mobile jet 1 oil.
And Tom explained about the engine ;

“Use: easy.
Fuel: lots.
Speed: climbs at best 78 kts, cruises faster.
Noise: not too bad in glider, really noisy from behind!:) .
Distance: 150km retrieve with less than full tanks. ”
Note; On Sunday , the day of the storms he made it home and squeezed out all fuel to come in.

2014-08-02 12.39.52  2014-08-02 12.42.49

2014-08-02 13.36.27

The Aussies Ben, Matthew and Tom with ” import Aussie Mac.”

In the end the day turned out even weaker as hoped for and tasks were set for 1.30 hour. The skies were blue and the task was around Leszno. So 127 gliders in a small airspace, with blue skies. Not the best day for gliding. But off they went. They all flew in big gaggles first pretty low but then before the start line opened we heard 1100 m. up to 1300 m.

During the day the weather improved clearly as did the visibility.
Another devalued day but they flew and the scores showed that you could fly 165.9 km. as the Austrians did in 1.44 on a WGC in 15 m. class. Wolfgang and Andreas both got 494 points.
4 Out-landings in this class.

In 18 m.John Coutts flew 184.2 km. and won the day. 2 Out-landings in this class.

In open class it was Michael Sommer who flew 213 km. in 1.50. Only Andy [Davis] stayed also under 2 hours the rest needed between 2.03 and 3 hours.

Polish party; was a real party with long queues waiting for food and drinks. The drinks were too nice, apple juice with vodka, but the next day there was some head ache.
Saw Sebastians dad in a different way. A bit later in the evening he got the whole tent applauding him and cheering him on by singing all kind of songs. He has a remarkable good voice.
One of the local Leszno couples loved the apple juice as well. He had to keep her straight but in the end dumped her on the back seat of his car and drove very carefully away.
0.2 is the limit for driving and he was far over that.
By the way I heard that 2 crew members spend a night in jail after each 2 beers which was more than 0.2; 0.4
I had a nice evening talking to Gretha Musters and her partner Eric, who was there for OSTIV.
Around 11,  I left with the USA team members.


ZZ winners day 5

First the winners of day 5 as shared by the organizers.

Smiling faces after the winners were mentioned as the weather was supposed to be good. A tropical air-mass with hot temperatures, some wind from the S and possible thunderstorms during final glide!!!
No AAT’s but racing tasks from 356 km. for 15 m., 332 for 18 m. and 367 for open class.

It turned out a day to remember . It all started good with nice clouds popping up , but over -development was clearly seen on the radar and Top meteo. TC’s did not believe in a day, neither some of the pilots. The organizers were sure they had it right so the gliders were launched  NOT at 11.15 but at 12. Mark Keene [USA] was the first to go as I saw because I sat in the shade at the end of the LONG runway 06, used on 2 sites so launching goes quickly.

When the sniffer went up at 11, the skies were totally blue over the Leszno airport, but in a short time clouds were everywhere. Pilots went on track, some thought it would be OK,  others knew they were not coming back, though the tasks were set in the right direction. The over development went too quick, CB’s formed and the strong wind from the South brought it quicker than expected in the task areas.
TC’s looked outside and said to the crews to go on track already which they did.
That did not help either as roads were flooded by the heavy rain and police had to help to get the car and trailer via a more private road back on track. Others had to deal with collapsed trees and branches of trees on the road.
A disaster when you are on the way on a retrieve, but a story you never forget in your life.

2014-08-03 17.33.39

Crews getting fuel on the station in front of the airfield.

It was interesting to see how the social media help nowadays. Apps were send between pilots and TC’s and crews, as well as  text messages, as pictures from the radar.
That way the teams could tell their pilots that Ostrow which was closed that day due to the Polish Presidents visit , was open for landing and lots did so.

In between we heard over the radio that pilots had managed to fly or “motor”  back home. The first  just arrived when the wind from the S . was on it’s worst and black skies full of lightning were close to the NW.
Pilots asked permission to land on 05 the shorter ” overshoot-runway ” as they called it. All of them did a splendid job. The story from DB and his CONCORDIA is on

ZZZZ tent  2014-08-03 15.25.44

View to the NW of the field and at the same time looking at the East. Not long after it was dark there too, but we did not have a lot of rain over the field, only tough wind.

According to some pilots, SAFETY NEVER was an issue. But it is a hell of a responsibility to send 127 gliders out on a day the TC’s and pilots could see during the start already that they were not going to make it back. It means also that 100 crews had to travel by car  with trailer ,to paddocks over small Polish roads.
Some pilots on their way to TP 1 ,got over 40 % off track to avoid the storms , so the crews had to drive even further then the task kilometers.
Unfortunately one of the crews [Hungary] had an accident and had to go to hospital with a broken hand/arm.
I heard the doors from cars and rooms between 12 and 1 midnight, it was a long day!!! One to remember!


Flooded streets.
shared by the Dutch team

 Crew Rick from the CONCORDIA mentioned:” DB made a nice landing directly into the wind, more or less on Runway 15R, coming to rest about a third of the way down the runway. His measured wind speed on final approach was 38 knots. I raced out to fetch him, receiving my clearance to cross the airport diagonally while I was already halfway to the glider.

The next part was surreal. We were cleared to tow directly to the parking area via the grass between runways 15R and 15L. As we progressed on this route at walking speed, several gliders touched down on our left and right, with a groundspeed only a little bit greater than our own.”

dick butler edgar kremer 1000     rick sheppe 1000

Dick and Edgar Kremer and Rick.
Dick and Rick visited Poppenhausen on the way to Leszno .
Pictures from the Schleicher site.

And the stories from the flying Aussie pilots:

–” Day 6 according to Craig 
World Gliding Championships 2014 – Leszno, Poland
Another stormy day. A convergence line was predicted and developed between Leszno and the first turn-point.
Running the storm line was a pretty amazing, albeit intense, experience. I was happy to have Tom Claffey and Ben Loxton with me to advise which side of the roll cloud to fly to get more lift and less turbulence. 15kts on the vario was common and I was afraid to fly slower than 85kts as the turbulence was very strong. 
OK, I don’t want to sound too dramatic, storms and lightening left and right, you get the picture. 
In the end all three started our engines 160km out. Ben and I started and shutdown our engines three times as avoid late storms to make it within 100km of home, landing at a disused military airfield. I was greeted by two guards who’s first words were “this is big shit”. It turned out to be no problem, but the adventures were to continue as we accepted a ride into town with a local…
Tom squeaked home using every litre of his jet fuel and a then a skinny final glide.
90+ gliders outlander, and late nights. All part of the fun!-–” 

ZZ ben and Greg

A selfie shared by Ben and Graig[to the left]  from the Aussie team after the landing.

AND day 6 according to Matthew;

“-—Rough day yesterday, for everyone .All~ 127 gliders in paddocks or with engine starts (mostly only to outland closer to home).
We thought it would be a fast and high day with storms later, so we’d planned to try and sneak away early and let everyone else play the start games. I started early and called the climbs and route to Mak and Craig hoping to let them catch up to me.
Unfortunately the storms blew up extremely rapidly and not more than half an hour into the task I knew it was going to be unachievable and called up Stefan to tell him to start driving east. Mak and Craig caught me up pretty quickly, not that it mattered with it being a distance day now. We managed to get around the bottom of the storm before it consumed the whole task area, and tried to glide east to the sunshine to pickup some regular convection to no avail, and outlanded shortly after. Craig, along with most of the other pilots with better scores chose to run up along the other side of the storm and were able to get another 100km or so for a lot more points.
At least the out-landing was into a good paddock with friendly locals, good food in a nearby restaurant, and even a spectacular roll cloud going over as we started de-rigging.”—


A glider coming in with the black skies behind.
As shared by the organizers.

The scores , 1000 points for the winners for only distance points were according to lots of pilots and TC’s too high. But they did well, they either took risks or were at the right time on the right spot.
Winners in 15 m. were the French, flying about 250 km. from the set 355. Anne Ducourage got the 1000 points and Jean-Denis and Christophe  both 992. They did very well under the circumstances and climbed on  the overall-score-ladder;Anne from 19 to 10, Jean Denis from 11 to 3 and Christophe from 3 to 2 whilst Mac dropped from 2 to 12. Sebastian is still on spot 1 overall.

In 18 m. it was John Coutts again who won the day. He flew 288.8 km. from the set 331.8 and got the 1000 points. The Argentinian crew , based in the camping as neighbors from the Dutch hopefully mentioned whilst the thunderstorm was to out NW that 2 of their pilots still flew. Javier did well and was 2d whilst Roman was 3d.
The 2 Polish pilots , Karol and Lucasz are still on top,but Russell is close by with only 4 points behind Lucasz.
John climbed from 17 to spot 4.
The Jonker brothers dived from 5/6 to 13 and 17.

In open class Swiss pilot Daniel Rossier was only 60 km. out. He flew 307.8 km. from the set 367.3. 1000 points for him!!
Uli flew 305 km. and was 2d and as I read on their site he climbed just before the first TP to 2000 m. , then managed to fly to the 2d TP with tail wind and minimal sink and found 1.5 m.  lift just before the 2d TP . He could round it and glided as far as possible  direction Leszno , to land there after using the engine of his EB 29.
On 3 the ‘the  Broquevilles’ with 243 km. so the numbers 1 and 2 had a read good day they flew more then 60 k further.
In the overall scores Daniel went from 25 to 12, Uli from 8 to 1 , so he is in the lead now and the Broqueville family from 16 to 11.

WOW….WOW what scores!!!!!

Monday August 4 2014 ;

On Monday  they had an official rest day so Frans and Francois and his 2 kids , brought Mathijs ,crew member from Ronald[Termaat] and me to Poznan.
Driving over the field to get Mathijs’  jacket I noticed lots of people ” working” on their gliders; rudders, tail slides, wing tips.
Not passing the office I forgot to bring my VIP badge back. Sorry about that guy’s. I had brought it back already, but they preferred me using it again to enter the camping site.
A fast flight again, without thunderstorms and at 5 PM we landed at Eindhoven. At 7.30 I was already home in Alphen.
There I read that the meteorologist , Zbigniew Siwik said  about Sunday:
” I’ve been working on weather forecasts for ten years during various kinds of competitions, and a situation like this one happened to me for the first time

It was a new dimension to just be on a WGC as a visitor. Of course I kept notes and made some pictures but it was all at ad hoc base, no pressure ,no time limits. Loved to catch up with so many and was pleased to hear how many read my blogs or columns. By the way I wrote yesterday one for  about the 38 kts wind-landing from DB.

Till so far the Leszno diary.

Tuesday August 5 2014 ;

Another cancelled day. Some were questioning the decision , now we will never know IF it could have been a day.
The next day the pilots mentioned ” it was a contest day lost.”
Look at the skies at 2.30 PM.


As shared by the Dutch team…no flying today!

WEDNESDAY August 6 2014 ;

Today no task set yet,  so only 3 days to go. It’s going to be interesting. I will look back on those days on Wednesday the 13th, as I leave for the Keiheuvel on Friday morning  again without my laptop.
Pilots however are putting their gliders on the grid.
As Matthew mentioned; “today looks like another difficult flying day with lots of cirrus and 3-4000ft cloudbase forecast.”
The Dutch TC mentions;” PC met shows good weather for Leszno. Let’s wait and see.

Open Class – 334.3 km.
18m. class – 313.1 km.
15m. class – 295.7 km.
The 18m. class are carrying the tracker units.


Start today from Arne . Arne’s wife and daughter send him off.
as seen by Meinte [Dutch crew/ brother from Jelmer …71]

It’s already a long story , so I won’t add more,….. but Klippeneck is on and they have 2 days and 2 cancelled , the ladies still try to fly in Germany for the National title, they had 3 days and 6 cancelled days but try again today and there is more.
AND,….The new club class champion in the UK is Pete Masson….again. He is the very popular Junior Team Coach in the UK.

Cheers Ritz

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