Some problems ! Taupo !

Alphen aan den Rijn       Wednesday  February 24 2010 

In a “sad” mood all day! I know there are much worse things in the world  then loosing a “sure”  gold Olympic medal, but nearly 7 million Dutch people and I, had a great evening yesterday, looking at the last race of the 10.000 m. , till the moment after 9 minutes with only less then 4 to go, that Svens coach told him to go to the other lane , Sven got confused , listened and….”paffff” gone was the 4th gold for Holland, Sven’s 2d this year and the hundreds Olympic gold medal in Dutch history, we ALL wanted Sven to win. He might still win it in the pursuit, as he announced straight after the disaster he will go for that, with his mates! TOP GUY!!!!Sorry I had to get this of my chest!!!

At TV I saw an interesting program  about aviation, which even worried me a bit .
On Sunday evening , reporters from  Zembla [ a Dutch program with a critical look on the world]  claimed  that a very strong bad smell and smoke in the cockpit of  one of the KLM planes , has made, at least in 2 occasions  pilots dizzy and they even  had to  use their oxygen-masks!!! It happened , as the programmers  said,  on December 2 and 23 2009 with the same Fokker 100, from City Hopper . I know how careful KLM is with their pilots  and passengers, always safety first is their device, so I was a bit surprised that the Inspection has confirmed that both these incidents indeed have happened.
It seems that, maybe due to bad sealings ,oil from the engine or from the hydraulic systems, can leak into the airco system and pilots ,but also crew and passengers can inhale toxic fumes.
KLM did not want to say anything  in the program, Fokker said they knew from the incidents ,but they guarantee the safety for everybody involved and others said it was a “hidden truth”. Some pilots who got sick are preparing a “case”. Let’s wait and see what comes out of that.
Anyhow serious enough to keep a good eye on it, as a lot of my friends, young and old are [airline ] pilots!”
One day later KLM denied that the crew was sick , but admitted the bad smell.
Very glad that there are no toxic fumes in gliders !!!

Commotion in Europe’ aviation-world; On Monday morning early a  strike started by the Lufthansa  pilots [4000, including German Wings and  Lufthansa Cargo] ] for better working-circumstances  , more money and ….they are not happy with the fact that Lufthansa has announced drastic changes  to survive in these times of  crises .One of  those new changes “could be”  , that they want to reduce the staff  with 4500 and they seem to prefer “cheaper ” pilots from outside Germany . On Sunday the Lufthansa TOP offered them better conditions,but that was not good enough. Lots of passengers were stuck  as around 800 flights were cancelled on Monday only and it will cost Lufthansa as they say, 25.000.000 Euro per day. Lufthansa went to Court and on Monday,they decided in court, that the union and Lufthansa are continuing their negotiations, so till March 8 no more strike!!!

Europe’ s aviation is a bit lost  as also air traffic controllers strike in France as a protest for possible loss of jobs. Poor passengers over there at Orly and Charles de Gaulle and the same in Greece where AND pilots AND  cabin crew AND  air traffic-controllers are on strike and on top of that the UK cabin crew union has announced a strike for guaranty of their jobs and a better CAO.

Most of the OLC flights in gliders were from Lake Keepit, where the Lake Keepit Regatta started last Sunday. Over the last couple of days they enjoyed very pleasant soaring weather with flights up to 350 km..
Great to see Rieti is already early active with a 433 km.  flight from Alfredo Giretti, flying up and down over the ridges of those great looking mountains  reaching a height of 2800 m.

In Taupo, [ NZ ] the Nationals finally had some better weather  and Dane , in standard class, straight away set the record straight , by winning day 3 with 1000 points.
Also for Dutch born Tony van Dyk,  day 3 was a good one getting 4th. and…an even  better day, was day 2 which he won! He climbed up from last place [22] overall on day 1 to 15 and is on spot 12 today. He is not the youngest anymore, but still shows how good he can be.
They have had ,between showers 5 soaring days and Dane…is on top NOW.

Only a few more days and a regular life with normal sleep will start again. Olympics are great but you have to have nerves and stamina, when you are a sports-fan.

Cheers Ritz and enjoy the rest of your week

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