USA[irways]hero very experienced glider pilot!

Alphen aan den Rijn         18-01-2009


 Lots of stories today, so just relax and enjoy!


When I zapped last week from program to program as nobody seems to offer good TV nowadays, I ended up for a few hours looking at CNN with their “breaking-news” ,covering a story about a “crash” in the Hudson river by an Airbus from US Airways.What ever flies always gets my full attention, so I got stuck on a loud shouting reporter, asking more or less stupid questions to a ” poor” frozen guy in a t-shirt getting rid of his first reaction on what happened to him.
Through the story I got first totally amazed of seeing people standing on a wing of an non-sinking plane at that time,in the middle of a deep river where normally cruise -ships pass by, then a bit angry. In my opinion this  was not a crash but an emergency landing in a safe and specteculair way by an “elderly ” [57] pilot, called Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, straight away called by the passenger [s]  “HERO”.

Later during the night I thought this guy must be a glider pilot, flying without power of engines and landing a big plane like a glider on water, so beautiful with the wings horizontal !! And …yes he is!!!! And it seems a very experienced one. Not that he has practised outlandings on water, but for sure he knew what he was doing. Of course it could have gone wrong, only a minor touch of the wing tip could have been a disaster, but that did NOT happen. The pilot send his plane , as he said to the river as he was too low and had no power to fly to an airfield and did not want to take the risk of “falling on the crowded town”.YES , for me and the world, this guy is an HERO too.


And ALL people involved in the very quick rescue as the crew [only3!!] and several boats and ferries, deserve a huge THANK YOU!!



Gliding was excellent last week in both Africa and Australia. Several 1000 km flights were flown .So reason to say “HAMMERWETTER”, also in OZ. They had to wait a bit but this week is was there!

All pilots enjoyed their flights, though Kari , flying in Tocumwal, would have loved to fly his set “out and return “from 1000 km. in his 15 m LS 6. But …as he said ” I  was too slow in the morning  and run out of time in the afternoon”.885 km. is still a pretty impressing flight , knowing that you have NO engine!!!
Friends Harry and Daan flew from Corowa. Corowa had another day , on jan. 14, with 10 pilots flying their 1000 km. Daan added in a flight up to the N.N.W. his 7th 1000 km flight for the season. As you surely remember the first 6 he flew in Pokweni .One of his TP ‘s that day, was Ivanhoe, a region were you find nothing!!!The real “outback”!He still loves flying far!!!

The first 100 km. he had to fly in the blue , later nice cu’s up to 3000 m. with 3m./s.The thermals ended earlier then expected, but …he made it back home.
Harry had enough from flying to the N.E. and set a  triangle, via the W. N. and E. back to Corowa.In his mind was to make this an easy going day!
Friend Daan declared him “crazy”, but he tried. In the beginning he thought ” Daan was right”, he had to fly against the wind in the blue and he saw 100 km to the E. clouds at 3000 m.
He started late, yes a real day of leisure, had no water, even more leisure, but then realized that he had to WORK, to make the day! With 2 low points in his flight, once saved by a willy-willy, he made it back home. He tried to fly more south to make it a 1000 k day , but the south had already “leisuretime” too, no climb -possibilities anymore. A VERY HARD WORKING restday , Harry called it, but whataday with 919 km!

Pepe, Peter Zander and Rudy Herzog, all former guests from Sportavia, now happy at Corowa for several years already, added 1000 km to their logbook. Congratulations to all!

Also to Josef, the director of the Prievidza world comps in 2010. He flew a 908 km flight.

Another friend Michael  Sommer flew from Benalla his 1137 km in a nimbus 3T.

Klaus Ohlman topped the day of 14 january with a 1806 km. flight in Chapelco [Argentina] flying the Ranges up and down in a DG 400, wit a speed of 122 m/h. I admire not so much his distance but more his stamina to race up and down in nearly 15 hours sitting in a glider and not the fastest one!


The 47th Australian Nationals are on day 5 today , with 1 day cancelled in 3 classes and 2 days in open class. Look for results on and click on the OZ Nationals.
I did not know that SEE YOU is behind soaring spot . Thanks George, for telling me!

Great site from Andrej and his friends. Look for for what they all have done and still do!I complimented Andrej already this week to this way of communcation between glider friends. He told me it started already in 2007 with the junior worlds in Rieti and that he had told me!!! Something else must have been on my mind as I never looked at it, as I did not know about it till Jan 1 2009.MY fault!

I know however that pilots love to fly, like to talk about it , even if neccesary, with hands and feet, but not particular like to write about it.

But the Naviter boys are great!What would we have done without them and “see you“!!!!!THANKS GUY’s!!!


Diana found the dream-job for me! This morning she has send me an article from the Cairns paper in which they invite a blogger to come to Hamilton Island and write a weekly blog !!!!! and ….they pay 150.000,- OZ dollars for 6 months!!!What about that! Writing, holidaying on a dream island , promote it and just relax. Thousands have reacted already and I saw on Dutch TV yesterday , that some good looking Dutch girls are willing to go.If I was younger , I might have  tried, [ not that I pretend to be a good blogger, but only an easygoing enthousiastic one]but now I just promised the organization in Finland , to be their editor for the JWGC in Rayskala. And to be honest …I like Finland and the juniors too!


Not done yet, more to read! Tough it is not my blog, but Jo has worked hard on a story about the Victorian State Comps. THANKS JO!!
So enjoy what happened there seen through the eyes of Jo. A bit of a worry her eyes as she had a laser- operation on one eye due to a torn retina. I know that she is doing well now, but it was of course a bit of a shock to the system. Get well soon Jo!!!!!


Here you are;


Victorian State Gliding Championship


hosted by Gliding Club of Victoria, Benalla

Sat 3 – Sat 10 January 09

The 2009 Victorian State Competition attracted 31 entries, some pilots taking advantage of an ideal practice opportunity for the Multiclass Nationals which immediately followed.  Everyone again appreciated the excellent facilities and hospitality provided by the Gliding Club of Victoria.

It was a testing competition.  Weather person, Graham Garlick summarised:  “The days were generally blue in the task areas, which presented challenging conditions”.

The week started with a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea extending a ridge across southern Victoria and temperatures in the thirties.  A weak trough of low pressure lingered near northern Victoria during the early days of the competition, followed by a cold front moving through mid-week.

Saturday 3 Jan was declared a practice day for both the pilots and the organisers. It produced a great day’s flying, and set the scene for the whole competition.

Monday 5th unexpectedly produced classic Benalla conditions with cu to 10,000′ and Mike Durrant describing the day as ‘a blast’, with a beaming smile.

Wednesday 7 Jan was cancelled on the grid with forecast isolated showers and a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. The day turned blue with feeble and distorted lift; overnight temperatures fell to around 15 degrees.

Thursday presented some subsidence with wave which suppressed convection, creating another day with distorted and broken thermals, and the winners in each class achieved very low average speeds:  John Nicholls in his Discus 2cT won Standard at an average speed of 80.8 km/h over 209.6 km; Peter Trotter in his ASW 20 won 15m at an average speed of 79.6 km/h over 204.5 km; and Bill Hatfield in his LAK 17 won Open with an average speed of 86.5 km/h over 221.7 km.

Friday was weaker than expected given the forecast and turned out to be similar to Thursday; the tasks were brought back on the grid. A high pressure system in the Bight gradually moved across Bass Straight and the easterly flow fed moisture over the area to the north of Benalla.

Final day, Saturday 10 Jan, was anything but blue and a cliff-hanger.  There was a low over the airfield and weather in surrounding areas was difficult to predict, with a threat of afternoon thunderstorms.

At the start of the final day, Lars Zehnder (Ventus 2cX) and Graham Parker (ASG 29) were leading Open class with a score of 4684 points each; Bill Hatfield (Lak 17) was third on 4028 points. 

Peter Trotter (ASW 20) led 15m class with 4600 points.  Jenny and Jeremy Thompson who shared their ASW 27 were competing for second position – Jenny on 4085 points flew the final day, with Jeremy on 3834 points.  Because they were sharing a glider, they received their average in points on the days that they did not fly.  If Jenny did better than her previous average, then she would increase her score; if not, then her score would decrease and her husband may beat her by simply not flying.

Going into the final day, LS8s held the first 5 positions in Standard class.  Peter Temple led on 4924 points; Lisa Trotter was second on 4233 points; andMiles Gore-Brown third on 4087 points.

Graham Garlick predicted that the final day could do anything, and it did – it turned out to be a cracker.  There was wave at the start and a lot of pilots got wave above cumulus to 10,000′ and more. 
It was possible to stay in wave for at least half of the first leg into wind, which got the pilots over the river into New South Wales.

Lars won 1000 points for the final day and pipped Graham by 0.50 points.  Lars flew100 metres further and covered 336.9 km in 2 hrs 29 mins 28 secs while Graham flew for 2 hrs 25 mins 13 secs and covered 336.8 km.  Both had an average speed of 134.7 km/h. They did not see each other for the whole flight.

This was the second time that Lars competed at Benalla and he commented that “it’s a vibrant busy social club with very helpful members.  I’ve enjoyed being here and the good battle in the air with Graham Parker in challenging blue weather – not my favourite conditions.  Tasking has been great all week given the conditions.  This is my third competition in my new Ventus 2cX and I’m still getting used to it; it’s a very good glider”.

Jenny Thompson said that she and Jeremy “got sick of the rainy months in Queensland, and seeking better gliding weather somewhere had planned for several months to pair-fly these comps.  The competition weather didn’t live to our expectations and we had day after day of blue conditions, something we are not used to.  Nevertheless, the conditions have been very challenging and we were happy to get home each day.   “Like most couples, we can’t fly together without serious argument!, but happily pair-fly and enjoy the low-key rivalry.  Up till the second last day I was leading Jeremy by 251 points, but on the last day I slipped behind, putting Jeremy ahead by 44 points in the final scores. We hope to do battle again somewhere in another state comp.” This was Peter Temple’s fifth time at Benalla; previously in Club Class for 3 competitions and a Squad Training Week.  Peter said he is “getting used to my new LS8 – it’s only my second comp with water ballast and I did my first 300 km flight in it during these comps.  This was a very friendly atmosphere and all the club members were very helpful.  I’m looking forward to getting into the mountains during the Nationals”.  For Peter Totter:  “Getting back to my familiar club at Benalla for the Victorian state comps was very enjoyable.  GCV is energetic and friendly, and the boost to the number of entrants due to the nationals following on from these state comps ensured plenty of competition and fun flying.  “The weather which Benalla produces at this time of year allowed tasks every day but one. The early part of the week gave blue days of varying height, wind and difficulty. However the last day was particularly interesting. With a trough passing through, it looked at one stage as though we might not even get a task in.  However, the day was very interesting with wave to ten thousand feet overhead the airfield and on the first leg, followed by very nice cu with 8 knot climbs resulting in a number of finishes in the 130 to 145 kph range.” 

Contest Director, Phil Henderson said that he was “pleased that the contest went so well without incident.  Thank you to GCV members for their support, John Switala for organising the whole event, all the tuggies and tugmaster Rob Pugh. Tim Shirley for his usual impeccable scoring, Graham Garlick for providing first class weather briefings assisted by Max Kirschner, Peter Gray and all tasksetters – thanks Max and Sue for all your help in various areas and Rhonda Gelletly for your unfailing support in the office. 

Thanks to Brian Amey and wing runners for organising the grid.  Special thanks to Gerry Hogan for his bar skills, providing water each day to the ground crew and being there to assist when needed”.

Tim Shirley summed the competition up as “very friendly with a good atmosphere and spirit and very good humoured organisation”.


Standard class

1. Peter Temple  5726

2. Lisa Trotter  5156

3.Miles Gore-Brown  5124



1.Peter Trotter  5600

2. Jeremy Thompson  4662

3. Jenny Thompson   4618

Open class

1. Lars Zehnder  5698

2. Graham Parker  5689

3. Bill Hatfield   4688

(The final aggregates are influenced by pilots taking lay days and the scores for those days being averaged.)

For scores and tasks go to the Gliding Club of Victoria website

(Jo Pocklington)

Enough news for this sunday,see you next week
cheers Ritz

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