War veteran!Pribina Cup!Varese!Charlie Spratt!EAC! Canada ! !

Alphen aan den Rijn        Sunday April 19 2009

This morning I had breakfast  in my garden at 9.30, with the loviest temperature. It will be 20 dgr. today , [12 is normal!] with in the afternoon lots of cumulus. So I presume the glider pilots are up early too today for a good flight.

Last thursday April 19 2009 ,  it was the birthday of a good friend from me and my family. BILL RILEY celebrated his 85th birthday in Tocumwal Australia. Bill was the founder of the Sportavia Soaring Center and invited long ago a lot of International pilots to come and fly in Australia and with huge success! In fact he put Australia on the map as a great place for soaring .
 After fighting in the war in the UK among other places and flying a Catalina Amphibian, he came back with a hip problem but this never stopped him of doing what he wanted to do. First he built a white-goods imperium , then sold it and with the money ,he bought a huge former military airfield ,built a little flat , for him , his wife and 3 children,in  a huge by the Americans built WW 2 hangar [ there were 4 at that time. A few years ago one burnt down, stil 3 left] in Tocumwal. Bought some gliders mainly in Rumania and started the flying school. In between he built a motel in the same hangar, a work shop for gliders , a restaurant , a bar [ if those walls could talk!!!] and an office. He also bought several blue and white Holden’s and I was the proud owner of one of them, the Holden Station wagon. It is now back with David , Bill’s son, who was brought to school in it. I loved that car!!!!! My ex, noticed it in a corner at the airfield ;it as a wreck , grass growing in it and snakes living in it, but after 3 or maybe 4 years it was a super car, with all original parts.
Bill was also the man behind Ingo Renner, supporting him and even visiting all world comps Ingo attended,  also the 4 he won. Ingo is still the one and only in this world, to have 4  world titles.

Bill will walk as a war veteran,  with his 3 children Denise, David and Chrissie on April 25 ANZAC day  through the mainstreet in Tocumwal . What a proud moment. For sure gliders and tugs will make that moment even more great for him and his family.
Congratulations Bill from the so many pilots in this world who got to know you!!!

The Pribina Cup is still fascinating  certainly in the open class.  On day 6 Wolfgang was the daily winner with Uli as runner up and Russell as 3d. But in the over all score Wolfgang is 1 , Uli 4 and Russell 7 on that day.
Yesterday they had a small task in all classes for open  220 km. devaluating the points,  but with good speed 122 km /ph.  for the number 1 in open and 124.6 for Sebastian in the SZD 56 Diana 2.
Sebastian Kawa is still the number one in 15/20 m .[multi-seat-]class . On day 6 he got 999 points loosing the winners place to CZE pilot Roman Mrazek. Sebastian is on day 6 , 500 points ahead on the number 2. Great class! He is such a fantastic pilot!!! Started as  as hang glider pilot and some of those those pilots just FEEL the air they fly in!! UK top pilot  Pete Harvey is such a former hang glider pilot too .
In club class,  a Belgian pilot, Wim Akkermans flying an LS 3, was doing a great job. Runner up on day 6!!! Today is the last day, so keep an eye on the results at www.soaringspot.com 
A pity that the news under news is always ” no news yet”. Till today they flew 7 days out of 7.

7  Italian pilots are having fun  in the multi-seat- class [20 m.] Italian Nationals.  6 days out of 6 and wellknown  pilot Thomas Gosttner on top of the list , with another top pilot Stefano Ghiorzo on 2d place. In fact the co-pilot will have fun too, so 14 happy pilots!
Giorgio Ballarati is the comps director and the long time [ since I have met them in ’84 ] crew from Giorgio Galetto, Roberto is his right hand. The competition is in Calcinate-Varese and finishes today!

A pity I can’t show you the picture  Art has sent to me . It shows a river, totally flooded in  mid / central Canada, an area called Southern Manitoba. Only 60 km. North  is the gliding club . Art ‘s club , starts flying from today onwards again. But….for the time being , as usually, from a remote and dry airfield!
Rayskala has started flying. Two over 300 km flights in a discus 2 and an ASG 29! So the North of Europe is into soaring now too.

On the official site of the Dutch gliding association,  KNVvL, I read on april 17 at 17.05;
” Today, the Commander of the airforce, the Aeroclub from Eindhoven, EAC and the KNVvL ,  conferred about the closing of the airport for gliding-activities . It seems , after a report was presented by the NLR [ Dutch Laboratorium for Aviation and Space Travel ] , that under certain conditions gliding will be possible again, as safety will be guaranteed, by those new rules/ conditions . A letter to the EAC will be going out today”
This would be GREAT  news. Let’s hope we can celebrate the belated start of the EAC season  A.S.A.P.

Sad to hear that good old Charlie Spratt has died!  Charlie ” was ” , the finishlijn in Hobbs, Minden and Uvalde and during more comps. A real fascinating person, I can visualise him in a flash. His second kidney transplantation unfortunately failed and on April 10 he died piecefully.
A lot of pilots have known Charlie, he was some kind of soaring-icon. Charlie was more then 40 years in gliding, was not only the finish-line-guy, but also competition director for many comps and for 10 years the director, of the SSA. A lovely person, indeed loved by everyone! I am proud to have known him, though it is since Uvalde that I saw him.

 With this great weather I go back to the garden now and  I say

enjoy yourself, C U on Wednesday, Ritz

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