Hang-gliding ! “Zweefvliegen in Vlaanderen “, the book is out!

Alphen aan den Rijn     February 21 2010    ritzdeluy@hotmail.com       blog  275

The overseas season is REALLY over  and all the gliders are on their way home , or about to go home, after a great time in December in Namibia and SA and one of the best times in January in Australia.
Rain is still spoiling the NZ Nationals, but…..yesterday they had their first nice flying-day, even with 1000 points for the winner in Standard class . Only 3 pilots however manged to fly the AAT in 3.30 gaining with that effort the highest points. Still going till the 25th of February , so possibilities enough for those who missed out on this first soar-able day, certainly for them who landed within 100km. after their start, while the biggest distance turned out to be 239 km..
Dane lost about 400 points,ai-ai! Today they tried hard again and pilots FLEW , but…not far enough to make it a day!

 I had a look at our friends in hang gliding. They had a competition in Manilla going till yesterday; the NSW Hang Gliding State Titles.
I know only 2 of them a bit better and that’s Jonny Durand jr. from Australia,  1 overall after 4 days of flying in open class and…after winning day 1, 2  and 4 and in the end the  overall – winner after 5 days .
The other even more familiar pilot is Grant Heany, my kind colleague for 2 years in the organisation of Sportavia “under” Richard Cawsey.
Grant, who is a great glider pilot as well, dropped on the 5th and last flying day from 6 to 7 ,but still very good. From the 54 competitors I have met quite a few in the past, as for ONE year hang-gliding and gliding were combined in Tocumwal. We organised a big competition as well, with Jonny in the top as well, can’t remember if he won or Atilla.
Day 2 was a real good day with 19 pilots flying the maximum set task of 128 km. with best speed by Jonny ; 52.9 km/h. Most pilots fly Moyes Litespeed and it would be nice to know how Mr . Moyes , who is not the youngest anymore, but still a very interesting ” guy” , is doing. I liked his enthusiasm!

Still absolute fabulous weather in the East of Australia  , where about 200 km.S. of Lake Keepit a Standard Libelle from Warkworth in the Hunter Valley was launched and could fly a beautiful triangle of 468 km. up to Lake Keepit and back home via the W.
Tocumwal’s pilot Terry Ryan, who had a fabulous year, flew still a 529 km. flight this late in the season, though there might be more nice flights to come as even March can be good.Benalla had a wonderful flight with Louise O’Grady topping the day with a flight of  490 km. in ASW 19, not making it back home ,but  close and still a great flight!

Just received by mail the  new book SOARING IN VLAANDEREN  by professor Bert Schmelzer sr. ,  “a fascinating adventure in silence” and wow what a fantastic book this is !!!
331 Pages , bound and with a hard cover, lot’s of pictures, history , even registrations of gliders in Belgium,  competition results, facts, stories and interviews with pilots; unique in his kind! My weekend is JUST GOOD, I started reading straight away!!!!
Just to let you know; Bert sr. is the father from Bert jr and Tijl, both top pilots in Belgium in both JWGC and WGC  and the husband of Hilde, TC during several EGC’s and WGC’s.
And….the whole family flies!!!
After my first impressions I can recommend the book to everybody who reads Flemish/Dutch. In fact it is a “MUST”!

I got back all nice memories after starting to read this book.  One I would like to share with you;
Being the first female pilot from the student aeroclub from the University of Eindhoven, I had some priviliges. I loved going for retrieves in the old jeep with an open trailer behind it; exploring the world. So on the 27th of April in 1968 we went to Eindhoven where the Victor Boin Trophy was to be flown. Theo and George were the pilots, flying the real “FLASH” competition glider KA7. I was going with Kees, who later became world champion in Hobbs and as I remember well, Leo for the retrieve. For a long time we did not know anything and as this one day competition is all about free distance, we drove a bit direction South as that was where the wind went. At 8 we heard that “our” pilots had long flown “off”  their map and landed not far from a garden with a castle , where a fighter pilot was living with his wife and children. Nivelles was the place and…. in the North of France. With more speed we drove the jeep into that direction, but Fortuna was not with us. Some of the cables in the old jeep burned which “killed” the action. It was after midnight and no cars to be seen on a straight road without lights and full of trees, just past Brussel. Kees managed to park the car between the trees and asked for one of my stockings??? to repair the cables, but I was in jeans , so no silk stockings.
The first aid kit helped and with plaster , our to be electro technical engineer, did a great job.
At 3 in the morning the glider was on the trailer and after lots of thank you’s , to the kind but by then very tired new friends, we went home.They dropped me off at home , it was light already and the boys were going to the airfield.Not long after I had fallen in an exhausted  deep sleep, mum entered my room and said with big eyes; “Who are those tall guys sleeping in the sun-chairs in the garden???”

See you next week Ritz

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