Missing planes !

Rieti         Wednesday     August 12 2009

Sadly enough we miss already for nearly 72 hours a glider  with an Austrian pilot. I have never experienced this before and it feels just terrible. They work with all power they have, to find him. Hundreds of SAR people, also with dog’s , forest police , planes , helicopters and even competitors have gone yesterday morning , in fact from Sunday evening onwards , to see if they can find him. Here in the office a Dutch pilot has asked for all data from flight recorders ,Winpilot and FLARM with PDA to see the fixes of pilots flying with him. What they found out , is that they know for sure the time- fix from his mobile phone at 14.30 and that one pilot is SURE that he saw him flying direction S.

I investigated if this has happened before. Yes here in Rieti it happened in 1982 but they found the pilot within 24 hours …..alive! In France they found a pilot after 3 days ,…. also alive.

In Papua New Guinee they miss a passenger plane  with 13 people , 9 from Australia. The Twin Otter departed from Port Moresby on its way to Kokoda ,a place in the middle of nowhere , a real jungle , with mountains as well and visited a lot by Australian holidayers. In the WW2 this place was a battle -field , where quite a lot of Australian soldiers have fought.
One of the pilots flying  a SAR plane is our former tow pilot, Diana. She flies a Dornier 328 from AeroRescue. Furtheron 2 Blackhawks from the Australian Army are searching  and several other planes , also  5 or 6 civil helicopters. Unfortunately the weather is bad for searching.

I just heard that the Twin Otter has been found  and it is a miracle they found it as it ended on a steep mountain full of trees. Sadly enough no survivors. They put SAR mountain climbers low on a moutain-spot where it is possible to climb up to reach the wreck.
Here in Rieti they put SAR people close to a top and they go down between the trees of the forest . Unfortunately still no sign of the missing pilot.

The weather here in Rieti is great  and some pilots , NOT from the CIM, fly today. Tomorrow will be even better.
Sadly enough but totally understandable, the CIM 2009 has finished now after the 5 flown days. The prize giving will be most probably tonight and the winners in the total scores of day 5 are the winners from the CIM 2009.

This morning about 40 pilots/ crew left to search in the area where the last information might give hope! Not one pilot is interested in flying at the moment. They race against the clock in the hope to find the pilot …..hopefully still alive. It is still possible, but hope fades.Some pilots left already yesterday.

Greetings from Rieti! Life goes on here but still in a worried atmosphere. Hopefully better news in the next blog!But…Rieti is still a great soaring place, what ever has happened, that’s the conclusion of the pilots.


One thought on “Missing planes !

  1. Dear Ritz,
    Thank you very much for the way you keep us informed during the drama in Rieti.You did it the nicest way possible.
    I did not know that pilot, but as you said he was part of our big familly an we will never forguet him. I’m so sad.
    My deepest condolences to his familly and friends, and to all my friends in Rieti.


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