Blog 1000 !!!!!! Hip Hip Hip Hurrah!!!! Looking back and …at the future and some soaring news.

WOW,…blog 1000 is a fact . Who would have ever thought so!!
When I started gliding on March 27 in 1967 I NEVER expected, to be SO MUCH involved in gliding!

First solo flight with instructor Dick Teuling from the ZES.

I wrote blogs already in my TOCUMWAL/SPORTAVIA period [ 1996-2006] and did that for a few years called “THE LATEST NEWS”. EVERY day, also after a tiring, long and hectic day. Never missed one. So in total I might have written over 2000 blogs.
Never forget the last blog there, when “Mr”. Cawsey sold the business in an auction except for the hangar and the acres around. I was sitting in my caravan and writing with the laptop on my knees tears falling over the keys and the music from “For ever young” was loud on the radio to comfort me.

The FABULOUS Sportavia WW2- hangar after NOBODY took care of it for years.

But with , I started when the late Tony Lentino, set up this Word Press blog ,as he enjoyed reading my scribbles as well. He was a frequent flyer at Sportavia.
When being back in Holland I needed something to do as I was a bit lost. My Aussie friend ,the late Maureen Huber, told me I should continue writing “you are good Ritz.”
I am glad I had the spirit and guts to do so. I had to find my way as there was no gliding in my back garden, nothing happened around me. Slowly I found the concept to “use”  my friends all over the world by helping me with articles, pictures and short comp-reports from places I could not attend.
Later internet and FB helped as well, so did SOARINGSPOT  and the OLC.

Also the CD’s from several WGC’s and JWGC’s invited me to write at their comps. I did a lot of writing there with great pleasure and enthusiasm.The JWGC in Rieti and  the WGC in Rieti both with invitations by the late Leonardo Brigliadori,[ I was juror there as well]  the WGC in Eskilstuna on invitation from Robert Danewid,[ I believe a Swedish guest at Sportavia recommended me] ,  the EGC in Raiskala on invitation by Silva and Jorma [ I was steward there ]  as well as the JWGC in Rayskala. Several CIM’s with Giorgio Ballarati and several comps, some just for a few days to feel the atmosphere as p.e.the field at Keiheuvel or Lasham.

The “boy’s ” from Soaringcafe “found”  me and I blogged for them . Bill still is “my host” on his server. Thoiugh I do not see them a lot they are friends for life.
So is John Roake ,who was president of the jury at the WGC in Rieti . He invited me in Italy, to write a column for his NZ-magazine GLIDING INTERNATIONAL.
I did that for a few years. Still help out when necessary. Loved it.

My last trip as WGC editor should have been in Uvalde at the 2012 WGC. But they had already somebody else. When that person did not show up, they asked me , but then I was committed to SOARINGCAFE already. The co-operation with 2 of the organizing-ladies in Uvalde was terrible, they tried HARD to spoil my 2d visit to Uvalde. I will not go into details here, but that was the ONLY “mishap/sad moment” in 50 years!!!
BUT,…ALL other people in Texas were awfully kind to me, so I still had a great time. I even was member of team USA and got to know all their pilots and TC , Dennis and assistant CD John.

To be honest it is pretty time consuming and not easy to write from a distance about a competition. I tried over the last years and did my best. Got lovely reactions as ” all comps on one site in a lovely way I don’t have to look anywhere else anymore“.
You won’t believe, how much time research costs, as you have to follow the news EVERY day and read all sites you can find to create a nice story. Follow the tracking to see what happens …
The other point is that without being at a field ,you loose contact with the pilots and crews,…in fact with all involved at a field and the great feeling of being AT a spot is difficult “to translate”  on a chair in my office. You do not know a lot of them anymore and then it is difficult to write about them as you cannot add personal “stuff”.
So slowly I grow out of this world of competition soaring, but I will always be interested.

Getting older now ,I have decided to NOT follow comps and write about them anymore at home for my blog. Lasham was the last one.
Looking back on big comps,….yes. Organizers and crews , TC’s,  they all blog and vlog so I am not needed  anymore for news. Soaringspot has all scores ;daily and total.
The social media are faster and used by ALL.

In the future I will keep publishing on Wednesday. Shorter blogs, still with I hope, enough nice news and I want to “dive”in the many picture books I have full of histories about comps since 1972.
Also the progress of the restoration of a unique Caproni single-seater  A -15 . This proto- type was specially built for Angelo Zoli to fly the WGC in 1972 in Vrzac in the former Yugo Slavia. This was the only A -15 glider built. Much more news in the future.
Also about the HP-10 another “oldie”.

I will share old pictures and stories mixed with weekly news. I hope you get used to that too. Got great reactions on my Benalla combination from 1978 and 2017.

THANK’S for reading my blogs over the years and for all the positive comments and the friendliness. I keep going as long as possible.
Thank you for always saying yes when I asked for a story or a picture. It was NEVER a problem!!!NO WORRIES.

Very pleased still with the Pelagia Majewska Medal for my contribution to soaring over the years. Very proud!

Here with Loek Boermans at the FAI Award event. One year later I got the GOLDEN PIN from the KNVvL.

THANKS !!!!!!!!


A bit of soaring news as well from last week.
—–After Lasham finished , summer started again and in Holland flights from over 600 km. were flown in the end of August. Nice!!
Hans Biesters , flew from Soesterberg 686 km. in an ASG 29 E/18 m.. Sikko flew 579 same glider same place and Alfred Paul same story but 647 km.
58 Pilots in , Holland only, jumped in  their glider for a day out.

—–The total sun eclipse was seen, in the USA by a lot of friends at the airfield from Sarah and Jason ” Chilhowee Gliderport”  in Tennessee.Sarah even went up in her tug to tow Dennis [Linneken] in his glider to see the reactions in the air. AWESOME was the most read reaction!!
Reaction from Dennis on the question  “Did the lift weaken noticeably during totality??
Sarah towed me to 5,000 agl about 20 minutes prior to totality. It was glass smooth during the tow and my glide back down. Not a bump! A dark sled ride!”
Sarah; In the final 15 minutes before totality the lift completely quit and cumulus clouds disappeared.”

Sarah shared some pictures as well from the air and on the ground before and after the eclipse.


Picture shared by Sarah and courtesy to Amy Stevenson Etheridge

—–And the French organized their RENCONTRE ASK 13 again [August 26-September 2]  at the Aerodrome de St Crepin.
27 Teams flew day 1 and the St. Crepin team won day 1, a 1.30 AAT with 166 km. and a speed of 111 km./h. Good on them!!!
How they manage to ALWAYS make from a glider picture “a state of ART” is SUPERB.They shared this one!!!


When we doubt out future in gliding,
look at this picture;
the grid from the  45 juniors in the UK and a group of 10 coaches.; 55 gliders.

At Bristol and Gloucestershire,with 6 out of 9 days and Jake Brattle as champion [3.518 points] flying the DG101G Elan 3caxj.
Runner up;  former Benalla JWGC champion Tom Arscott [ 3.405 in St. Cirrus]
picture shared by David Tansik.


SO CU on Wednesday with the weekly news and “look back”.

3 thoughts on “Blog 1000 !!!!!! Hip Hip Hip Hurrah!!!! Looking back and …at the future and some soaring news.

  1. Dear Ritz,
    I’m quite sure that the whole community of gliding is more than pleased and very grateful to you for you have done over the years. Your 1000 blogs were always informative, interesting and full of news. Your last blog about the EGC 2017 at Lasham gave the best overview with superb pictures and nice comments. One friend of us wrote, thanks to Ritz I was fully up-to-date about many activities and could look at all those lovely pictures. Most of all we admired your kindness in writing about people and your appreciation for what they have done as human beings. You never forgot any friend, always positive words and commentary or good-looking pictures about everyone.
    The future is laying in the past. The last comment and picture of your 1000. blog is dedicated to the young people, also here you do have the right vision.
    Thank you for all and be sure that many of us will follow your upcoming blogs and waiting eagerly.
    Bert Schmelzer Sr. and family

  2. Sadly, and as you are undoubtly aware, the line up at the Juniors bears very little resemblance to the state of gliding as a whole at grass roots level.
    The juniors are in the most using borrowed gliders and getting free launches paid for by the rest of the UK gliding community though club fees: so it’s a gigantic freebie.
    One could instead look at the Open Class Nationals line up in 2017 of 14 competitors and compare that to the 1996 line up of 35 competitors and come to the exact opposite conclusion: that gliding is doomed. Or indeed that next year such are the low numbers competing that the standards, the 15m AND the open class UK nationals are all going to be held at the same place in the same week!

    In the UK the exact number of qualified glider pilots is difficult to get hold of – mostly because it is unknown how many are in reality no longer active at one end or have never completed to become Bronze C qualified at the other.
    One suspect however that if the number was increasing clubs and the BGA would be singing from the roof tops about it – that they are not suggests the steady decline continues. The only figures I’ve seen on the web are from the Swiss where from 2010 to 2015 the number declined from around 2600 to 1700 though on what basis those numbers are arrived at I’ve no idea.

    The reality that clubs face, to mis-use an old expression, is that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a train coming towards them, and all the reasons have been endlessly listed and debated: summed up as lack of time availability, increasing costs generally, endless regulations dumped on clubs from H&S to child/young person safeguarding, worse weather, less airspace availability, inability through other commitments for members prepared to undertake endless rota days (winch,duty pilot, instructor etc) at the club…..
    To top it off EASA/the EU comes along to steamroller over existing pilot licencing in 2018 replacing the current system with yet more regulations, more severe and expensive medicals.
    This is before one considers the proposed EU directives on compulsory insurance for all “person carrying capable” vehicles even if kept and used only on private land – this would include sit-on lawnmowers and other “vehicles” that would be used at clubs….yet more costs and admin aggro.
    Throw in the requirement by next April to change every single radio to meet the new EASA mandatory 8.33 KHz channel spacing requirement and you wonder if the EU actually wants to kill off gliding and hobby GA totally.
    Ah well, at least you now have an inkling why so many voted to leave the EU in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.