Soaring in Europe!Seminole-Lake !

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday March 10 2010

Last Sunday was another beautiful but VERY cold  day here in Holland. And again more parts of Europe were good enough to give the pilots a great feeling for this beginning of the season. In Germany a nice wave flight in a Phoebus B from Rheinstetten with 707 km. made me hold my breath!
Some top pilots from Germany have a spring camp to brush up their mountain-skills in St . Auban. Reinhard Schramme and Tassilo Bode are flying there,  as well as Bernd Weber , who flew in the past with us in Tocumwal. Bernd works for Schempp Hirth and has the ARCUS T with him!!!!

The latest USA magazine Soaring  had a lot of news about the Little Rock 2010 Soaring Society of America Convention,  I mentioned a while ago. I was most interested in the pictures and technical data from several planes, which were exhibited during this convention. You can get all the news about the ARCUS T , the HpH 304S, the Pipistrel Taurus, AMS Flight CARAT, the TST 14, the SparrowHawk and the Jonkers JS1 Revelation.
Soar Minden , the commercial premier gliding site is still for sale, including gliders 3 towplanes and land leases of 25 years.
Once my ex and I took over a commercial soaring center in Australia , Tocumwal, a few of our guests started later their own center in Corowa and they are still running it with success. I can tell you it is a lot of hard work, you should not do it to make money, but it is a fantastic life style.
So if you always dreamed of your own center, here is your chance, go for it!!

In Holland we might have a new Fokker  flying from 2015 onwards. As you surely know , Fokker was a good ” builder” of planes and in the past every 4 working days a new Fokker 100 left the factory, but unfortunately they got broke about 14 years ago, pretty sad as several of my friends were working there. It seems now, so I heard , that the Fokker 100 will be built again but with the latest brand-new systems, silent and ECO. There are orders already, the money  20 million,  comes from a loan from the government [economic affairs]and the rest another 70 million is organized for half of it. Will keep an eye on this ‘MAGIC’ FOKKER for you.

On March 6 the Australian Coaching Week  started in Narromine, with 13 in Australia well known and good pilots. After 2 days of practise the pilots flying in 2 classes, standard and 18 m. started yesterday.
Talking about Narromine, the well known “godmother” of many pilots,  Beryl Hartley,  living and working for soaring all her life in Narromine and International as Australian representative for FAI,  received during the last IGC plenary in Lausanne  the Majewska medal. Very well deserved!!! Congratulations Beryl! And…when I send congratulations I can add Ross Macintyre ,[NZ]  who I replaced once as juror at the WGC in Italy due to personnel circumstances in his life , he received a well deserved Lilienthal medal.

Last week I received the preliminary “results” of the IGC  by USA friend Rick Sheppe. He ia a long time “faithful “reader of my blog, as he calls it him self . He had to rush from Lausanne to Seminole -Lake for the USA senior comps ,where he is the scorer. Now…he also writes daily bulletins for us. Thanks Rick! And as we normally do not hear too much about the USA comps ,I am very pleased to inform you with this news as well.
So here are the first days;

2010 Senior Contest – Seminole Lake Gliderport, Clermont Florida

Report for March 6

It’s the 20th annual Senior Contest.  We checked, and this contest is still being held in central Florida – though based on recent weather you could be excused for thinking it had been moved to Wisconsin.  The past two days have seen near record low overnight temperatures and hard frosts at sunrise (few Florida vehicles are equipped with the windshield ice scrapers they needed to deal with this).

 In fact this has been the coldest winter of the past 30 years or so in this area – and cold days aren’t quite the thing for good Florida soaring.  But the Senior Contest has enjoyed a lot of good weather luck in its long history, and the forecast seems to be obliging again this year – if you believe current predictions, we could be looking at a week better than any during the past 3 months.

Today was the unofficial practice day, and featured bright sun and blue thermals to as much as 5000’.  A few pilots reported the odd 7-knot climb, but most were happy with 4 knots; best speeds around a 6-turnpoint “sightseeing” turn-area task approached 60 mph. It wasn’t a super day, but pilots who’ve been here for several weeks pronounced it one of the best of 2010.


2010 Senior Contest – Seminole Lake Gliderport, Clermont Florida

Report for March 7

Weather for the first competition day was, as forecast, little different from what preceded it.  We again awoke to a hard frost with substantial ice on windshields.  But the sun did its work and with lower winds it was actually rather pleasant by grid time (11:30).  No cumulus clouds were visible at any time, but lift in the blue was mostly dependable, 3 to 4 knots to 4000 ft being typical.  This is scarcely a match for last year (which featured 10 straight 500-km days in central Florida, something to be expected perhaps once in 25 years) but is about as good as anything yet seen in 2010.

The task followed a friendly course a bit east of due south, past such towns as Winter Haven and Frostproof (which this winter no doubt failed to live up to its name).  The boldest pilots got as far as Sebring (one reported seeing cars racing around the track there).  Best distances for the Turn-Area Task were around 150 miles; best raw speeds were just under 60 mph.

Pending handicap tweaking, Tom Kelley in his ASG-29 (flying with 15 meters of wingspan) did it best, edging out several other US Team pilots: Chip Garner, Karl Striedieck, Dick Butler and Ken Sorenson. Frank Paynter was the only one in the top 6 who has not (yet) been on a US Soaring Team.

Unlike some past years, there is no great influx of new designs in this contest.  One exception is the Arcus Turbo, the new Schempp-Hirth 2-place ship.  Most pilots think of this as the “flapped Duo Discus”.

2010 Senior Contest – Seminole Lake Gliderport, Clermont Florida

Report for March 8

Florida actually seems to have warmed up a bit.  With only a small shove, today could have passed for a pleasant winter day here.  To be sure, several blankets were needed last night – but there was no frost, and bright sun raised afternoon temperatures above 70 degrees.  It was again entirely blue in our task area, but thermals – and speeds – were generally good.

A significant feature today was fires.  In addition to temperatures well below normal, Florida has had plenty of rain (and even some traces of snow) this winter, so it’s a bit of a mystery why brush fires should be happening.  But pillars of smoke have been seen every day here, and today they affected areas south of home, where a Turn-Area task was set.  Those who used them (most of the fleet) reported restricted visibility, considerable turbulence, and often impressive lift – 10 knots was commonplace, and one pilot briefly saw 18 knots on his averager.

Yet the task also had some tricky areas, and spreading cirrus clouds caused problems late in the day.  A few pilots landed at Winter Haven airport, 25 miles south of home, and a couple of motor glider pilots invoked their “iron thermals”.

Familiar names were again at the top of the scoresheet.  Tom Kelley did 66 mph for first place, closely followed by Ken Sorenson.  Dave Nadler is a guest here (not yet of eligible Senior age) but he had the best speed of the day at 68 mph.

Day 2 was won by Tom Kelley , while wellknown pilots as Chip Garner, Dick Butler and Karl Striedieck were 3-4 and 5.

See you next Sunday with more news ,also about Seminole…….I hope , as I heard the weather is about to get weaker and……just got the message that yesterday’s flying [March 9] was cancelled!

Cheers Ritz

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