Nearly spring ?!? Winter Olympics are over !

Alphen aan den Rijn    February 28   2010

The last day of February already and it still feels like 2010 only started yesterday. Time flies! And….March 1 is the day  the metereological spring starts and the 21st here is called the “real” beginning of spring. HURRAY!!! After a dark , cold and white winter we all need SUNLIGHT and if possible LOTS of it!!!!.
February was a typical winter month again.
What strikes me most weatherwise is the huge amount of rain in Europe with floodings and terrible landslides with several death as a result.
And world wide the earth quakes in Haiti , a shocking and unbelievable one and yesterday in Chile [ 8.8 and and after shocks 0f 6.3]  and one, but that seems pretty “normal” in the far South of Japan [7.0] . Tsunami-warnings have been given for all countries around the Great Ocean but have been lifted this morning except for Japan.
The International Airport from Santiago is closed for atleast 24 hours , as several terminal buildings have been damaged according to CNN.

Looking back at our winter  we had the coldest in 14 years with 55 days UNDER 0 C.[normal is 38 days].On top of that we had an average of 41 days with snow and even 55 days in the NE. Worst day had 40 cm of snow![ Source; KNMI Dutch weather station]
But….they expect the first real severe storm from this year today [9 Bft at the coast] and temperatures of minus 3-6 in the night , next week, so it is not over yet!

Now Corowa has packed it’s containers  the result of the OLC on airfields is a bit more defenite and with 901 flights by 75 pilots  and a total of flown kilometers of 507 .619.80, you can only say that Corowa was very active, had great weather , specially in January , enough enthusiastic pilots who wanted to fly and a TOP year.

The NZ Nationals have been flown  and in 3 classes we know the winners now. After an average start, Dane Dickenson showed what a good pilot he is and won in standard class flying the LS 8. In Italy both at the JWGC and WGC we noticed already the potential of this young guy! Keep an eye on him! Congratulations Dane! But…..The runner up in his class only missed out on 17 points in the overall scores, so not bad either !
Luckily day 6 gave “normal” weather with “normal” tasks and a 356 km was set as racing task. But… forecasted pilots could expect over- development as well. From ALL pilots only ONE  in club class, made it back home flying the 213 km. in 3 hours and 44 minutes, earning 1000 points.
Winner in Club class;Paul Schofield in PW5 with 3085 points out of  6 days
          Standard class; Dane Dickinson in LS 8 with 4197 points out of 6 days
                 Open class; Nigel Mcphee in duo discus with 4544 points out of 6 days
Taupo looks like a nice and interesting airfield just on the N East side of a huge Lake, which must give influences as well. When I read what Rob Lyon writes I have the feeling that I have to go there one day and look for myself;
—-Again todays task takes the pilots right out to the West of the area task,but with the botton turnpoint at National park , down beside the 3 main volcanoes of the central plateau.—
Volcanoes, lake, plateau, park; it sounds perfect.

On Thursday February 25  the disaster with the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 was remembered by around 300 guests .One year ago this terrible accident happened while landing  at the Schiphol Airport Polderbaan, killing 9 . A memorial stone has been placed at the spot , with the text; ” Your grief is our grief ” in 3 languages: Turkish and Dutch as well. Very simple stone but just right for this sad occasion.

Thanks for reactions on the story of the “bad fumes”! I hear that more pilots know about it , but that it is a ” fragile ” subject. It is a bit sad to hear from pilots, that “lawsuits against big companies are only won by the lawyers”.
When there is ” really smoke there could be fire as well, ” so hopefully the pilots in Belgium, Australia ,the UK , Holland and Australia and maybe more countries, go to the bottom to find the truth!!

Apologies when I am sometimes a bit TOO carried away with sport! But…when you are still interested in who won the 100st Dutch gold medal in total,  counting summer and winter Olympics , then I can tell you that this was in the end a surprise. For the first time in history , “we” won at the Winter Olympics, a gold medal in a snow sport. The very first also NOT on ice!!!Nicolien Sauerbreij won gold on the parallel giant slalom for snow boarders. Great effort, while our pursuit skaters both men [very unexpected!] and women failed to win gold! Again we were counting on them, as they won all races over the last years world wide, but……such is life!

Not a lot of soaring happening last week,  only and of course very important , a lot of talking at the IGC meeting this upcoming week in Lausanne, so see you next week…and I hope our friends in the Southern part of Japan and in Chile are OK!
Cheers Ritz

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