Giders and pilots slowly out of wintersleep!

Alphen aan den Rijn     March 3 2010

Europe had some severe storms  last weekend  and ” Xynthia ” killed 62 people in different countries. Spain and even worse, France were hit by it; dyke’s broke and caused deadly flooding. Belgium ,Holland and Germany had their share but not so bad, we “only” had a damage bill of 23 million Euro.
Chile turned out to be really hit last week, with this 8.8 earth quake, even after they have built their houses ,after earlier bad experiences, more or less earth quake-proof. The tsunamis caused a lot of damage as well. After Haiti another huge disaster!

It is nice to see that carefully pilots here in Europe  think of gliding again. It is still a bit cold, but pilots used to fly in the mountains, don’t care and are “well-dressed for the occasion”.
I noticed on the last day of February “modest” flights in Germany [Koeningsdorf] with 137 km. in duo discus, Ocana in Spain  with 130 km in ASW 27 and Jelinia Gora in Poland with 94 km. in a Puchacz. Pilots were either using moderate thermals up to 900 m or hang / ridges or wave.
Yesterday was even more active with several pilots saying; ” What a great start of the new season” . Love it!
Italian kilometer eater Alfredo Giretti flew in Rieti 453 km . Belgium top pilot Jean -Luc Colson flew from St Hubert 313 km in his home country and French top pilot Gerard Lherm flew 350 km.  in France. A group of German pilots enjoys the nice soaring weather in France in Serres La Batie with a best flight of 398 km.

Like last year I will keep an eye for you on the “Oldies ” in the USA. In fact the first gliding competition of the Northern hemisphere is the SENIOR SOARING CHAMPIONSHIP in Seminole-Lake, Florida not too far, about 20 minutes  from Orlando ,where a few of them live , enjoying the “always” nice ” good- for- the -bones-climate.
A total of 55 pilots participates , while on a waiting list a few others are hoping for cancellations so they might enter as well. BIG names from former world champions are on this list as Karl Striedeck, Dick Butler and former WGC pilots as Tom Knauf  and Canadian pilot Ed Hollestelle. The practise day will be on March 6 and the comps will go till March 13 2010.

The fantastic book ” History of gliding in Vlaanderen”  has been sold already 600 times in 3 months. Only 800 have been published, so for my Dutch and Belgian friends , when you do not have it and you do wish to have it,  order it now, so you will be the lucky one to have such a real collectors-item as well . Just send a mail to

2 Days of after-celebrating  with our Olympic sport heroes, yesterday in Haarlem for everybody and thousands filled a huge square and today in The Hague where the guests will be  invited by the government, then by the Queen and after they go  through town  and then …. the end of the 21st Olympic Games ; it is  over and OUT! I enjoyed it to the fullest!!!! Look already ahead at the Summer Olympics in London in 2 years.

And then this….a 48 year old man in Malaysia prepared his model plane for a nice flight . Another guy was flying his  1.30 m.long  model ,  a Richmodel Quicky 40 RC , which can fly with a speed of 200 km/h and is made in China….but lost control over it and the poor 48 year old was  hit full on the head and sadly enough died. [source;New Straits Times] .
On the more “sunny site” , the IATA sees a grow with passengers for Airliners in January with 6.4 %, that is encouraging! Also freight went up with 28.3 %, even more encouraging! 

See you on Sunday

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