Alphen aan den Rijn           21-12-2008

Only 4 days to go and ….it is Christmas! So to everybody in this whole wide world; Merry Christmas!
I was also very much impressed with the many birthday wishes from ALL over the world!! Thank you and I am still trying to react on the e-mails I received. Phone calls from friends flying in Pokweni and Gariep Damm touched me, as they are busy flying in the best season ever there, it seems and they still made time to call or sms.

Last week I told you we had minus 7 with the windchill factor. Straight away I received an email from my friend Art in Canada; Sunday december 14—Minus 26!!!!!!—with the windchill factor MINUS 42!!!!!!Luckily the rest of the week in Carberry was sunny but….temperatures from 23 till 28 …yes minus!!!!I will not be carried away anymore, Art!It is by the way today 10 dgr. here ,PLUS!!!

I am carried away however with the results in Africa. My goodness me, what’s happening there. It rains 1000 km . plus -flights. Good friend Daan flew 5 in a row in an ASH 25 with friend Jos.
When he was in command Daan flew a 1000 on December 15-17-19 and all with a speed of over 120 km/ph. Jos flew in command a 1000 km on December 16 and 18!!!!What exceptional results!!! And ….yes the weather is there, so being on the right place at the right spot……. I just love it!
Another great flight was on December 14 in Australia, when Greg flew after his very first 750 km. flight an 800 km flight in the standard cirrus!!Welldone!
When we talk great flights, what about David Jansen. He did the Grand Prix first in Narromine, moved to Benalla and set himself a goal flight to Dalby; 1154.9 km.
He just missed out on reaching the goal [ he landed on the airfield of Warwick  120 km. SE of Dalby]but flew I think the first 1000 km this season in OZ with a distance of 1118 km. 
That is what you can do in Australia, fly from south to N.E over MORE then 1000 km. and still be IN Australia. You do not have to try that from a Dutch airfield, as you will pass several borders!
By the way, David flew in the ASG 29/18m.

And what about Guy in Bitterwasser. He is from Luxemburg, spends most of summer in Fuentemilanos , where I met him and part of the winter in Africa. Yesterday he flew 1261 km. with a speed of 140 km/ph.[ASH 25 EB 28] WOW!!!!!!!

 I finished in these hectic times, my 500 -words- article in time for the Gliding International Magazine. It will be out just after Christmas.[].With help of my friend Jo , there will be also an article about the vintage gliders and the opening of the hangar a few weeks ago in Bacchus March.

Looking forward to receive a DVD from the World comps in Rieti. A Christmas present ,[ I heard from Marina ] from Leonardo!!

Still no word from Graham about his first place in the GP in Narromine. Sorry!
Will check with my friends from Belgium about their experiences in Bitterwasser and the 1st 1000 km. flight from Bert jr.

So keep reading on the next sunday! A VERY busy week waiting!No worries I am used to that. In the past it was the busiest time in Tocumwal at Sportavia with lots of guests. Organizing Christmas and New Year for all our guests and friends from town and keeping an eye on the office, the motel and restaurant was inspiring and kept us going from the early morning to the late evening[night].A REAL life-style and as said before I miss that.
This Christmas will be different, but with my daughter and her husband and my grand children , so what do I want more.I will spend the beginning of the new year by myself on my own request! After all those hectic years I started to appreciate a bit of silence now for one evening and I like my own company for a change!

Great to see and hear that ALL my soaring friends , who are spending their winter in sunny conditions gliding, are truly happy.
Specially for all of them who were our guests in the past and enjoy flying now still in  Australia or Africa;Merry Christmas from Ritz.

To all friends at home and to all readers I do not know; MERRY CHRISTMAS!


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