Alphen aan den Rijn          May 3 2009

We are a few days later  now after the disaster of Queensday and Holland is still in shock. Now, 7 people have been confirmed dead including the young man who tried to attack the big open bus of the Royal family, in his little black Susuki. It looks like a one-man-desperate act, [ the guy lost his job 3 months ago and had to leave his rented house on May 1] but why he did choose this day AND the Royal family,  we will never know now. Hopefully this unique-in-the-world day ,April 30, will and can continue for us ,the Dutch people!
Due to all the hectic around the Royal family, we forgot that Holland had it’s first Mexican flu victim. A young 3 year old boy, just back from a family party in Mexico. He and his family are well and all passengers from the same flight he came back with, are counted for.

Still that great spring weather  in Europe, after Austria and Switzerland now Italy has its turn of fantastic weather and the Swiss pilots still have it too! [881 km. by Stefan Leutenegger]
Top pilot Giorgio Galetto, had great flights till now; 2 in March with 673 and 481 km and 3 in April with 301 , 796 and 1.004 km. On May 1 he flew 870 km. and yesterday another 683,  all from his home field Bolzano in the Northern part of Italy, flying mostly the ridges over there.
Yesterday another great flight in Italy; 1015 from Alzate in a Ventus 2 C and this time NOT only ridge or wave flying!
And what about Slovenia?! 1043 km. in a DG 500! And…638 km. in an LS 7 !!!!

Holland again did not miss out  and Wim Akkermans , the runner up in Nitra during the Pribina Cup, flew in his LS 3 from Woensdrecht not so far from the Belgium border, a very nice 480 km.
I noticed that Bert, from Belgium , who worked for us in the past had a very nice flight from Diest 492 km .in his standard libelle , as well as Tijl who flew from Keiheuvel 516 km in the discus 2 A. Tijl , you might remember was invited by us in the past to do a gliding -clinic with Ingo Renner.
 I was very pleased and a bit amazed, [ young children grow so fast!] to see that young Jeroen Jennen already made his first cross country flight. He must be 14 or already over now. He flew in a KA 8 286 km. so nearly his 300 km !!! Well done Jeroen!
Jeroen comes from a well known gliding family  [ mix of Jennen and Huybreckx] in Belgium and is more or less  “born” on an airfield. He visited different soaring places in the world as crew, when he was still a “pup”, so we all met!!!
 He loved the thermals/lift,  but not so much the poor visibility during his first CC flight.

Though not all pilots are too happy  with the results of flying at the moment from Eindhoven, they started their belated CC season with some good flights, nearly 500 km. in an LS 6. One of the former [longtime] members has analysed the outcome of the negociations I received and it is as follows;

Eindhovense Aero Club

After having been grounded for a number of weeks the Eindhovense Aero Club can fly again, albeit with restrictions. The arrangement with Eindhoven ATC (Air Traffic Control) has as main points the following:

There are 3 area’s where gliders may fly in the control zone. One is a block of air relatively close to the main runway called Sector West; Second a larger block of air to the southeast of the airfield called Sector East 1and, third, a sort of aerial tunnel that connects the Sector East 1 with the area outside the control zone. At any time there can only be max 6 gliders in the control zone (and that is not much for a club operating over 30!!).

The Sector West is where the take-off and landing strip is. This area may be closed by the tower from time to time when IFR traffic arrives / departs. Closure stops all launching but still allows landings of gliders. All gliders in the control zone have to be on the tower frequency and they have to report leaving and re-entering the control zone (in view of the maximum of 6 gliders in the control zone). Gliders also have to get permission (actually a statement of no objection) from the tower prior to launch.

If you would look at Google Earth at “Eindhoven Airport” you can see the glider strip just to the south east of the main runway. The main problem is that the extended centreline of the glider strip crosses the main runway. They (the runways) should have been parallel to start with. In spite of this the gliders have operated for many years from this strip without causing problems. As soon as they reach the top of their winch launch they turn away from main runway. One can understand thoug that tower controllers are somewhat weary of this, even with the good track record of the past decades. With growing amounts of commercial air traffic planned for Eindhoven in the future it would be wise for the airport to make a budget allowance of several million euro’s to relocate the gliding strip at some point in time.


Good to see also that my friends in Japan  are having enjoyable soaring weather. Both Nagano and Itakura, which I visited during my visit to several Japanese airfields , had good flights.
 It was an eye-opener for me then, to see how some pilots have to fly in Japan. Just on windy grassfields between rivers but well kept!!! Not a huge field as we had in Australia, with out-landing possibilities everywhere!
Sometimes “carrying” their gliders over levy-banks , to reach the field.
I realized then, why so many Japanese pilots came to fly in Australia!

A bit of a shock to one of the passengers  [and later to all of them,]  flying KLM from  Curacao to Amsterdam. According to the news paper Telegraaf, a fire started 15 minutes after departure and was seen by this passenger. He called straight away one of the stewardesses and they started to distinguish the fire, [ after HE had to activate the distinguisher is what he claims—not too good!!], while the captain turned back to Curacao. He and his crew said “thank you” to the passenger.
 KLM says  that there was a fire and it was distinguished as a prevention.

A glider pilot from Australia  buys a glider from a USA glider pilot.  The USA glider pilot has to go to a conferenz in Bayern , the Southern part of Germany. He asks the Australian pilot , who flew international comps, an “entrance ” for gliding at Unterwossen. The Australian pilot writes to me, I have written to my friends Maria and Dieter who live in Munich. They have contacted Hans, who flies in the overseas season at Narromine and is a member of the Deutsche Alpenflieg Schule in short the DASSU at Unterwossen. So this week the USA gentleman can fly in Unterwossen. Is this networking?????
Great to see how glider pilots are always helping each other!

A dip in the great weather,  though the temperature is still higher then normal for the time of the year. Only a dip, as after the weekend the weather improves , the rain from today, so good for the garden , will disappear to Germany and the sun starts shining again , with temperatures going up to 20,  as we are nearly used to now, so what would we need more!

Cheers Ritz

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