Soaring world wide !

Alphen aan den Rijn     Sunday March 14 2010

Of course I do not have to tell you  that the weather sometimes is weird ! Only last week;
Flooding in the NE of NSW in Australia.
Heavy snow hit ” winter-rest-paradises” in France and Spain.
 Slippery roads caused  ONE kilometer of damaged cars and trucks in Germany.
And today; heavy thunderstorms in the East of the USA ; result delayed flights and/or no flights and no electricity for thousands of people, due to fallen trees on powerlines.
On the contrary, Orient in SA had a beautiful flight last Thursday with 769 km. in a Nimbus 3 DM.
But also in the USA the weather did not “help” in flying a perfect ” every-day-is-a-flying-day” competition in Seminole-Lake; rain was here spoilsport.
Official last day was yesterday with fly-able weather  but,…… as Rick wrote ” the talk is about runway conditions . The runway is very wet and we may not be able to launch the gliders”. In the end they did NOT fly. ” They had strong post frontal winds and the combination with the wet field was too much to allow for a safe and fair competition day.”
The official rest day, was [as rain was forecasted] on Friday March 12, but still a report from Rick. Thursday was cancelled due to rain and here is the news from Wednesday and Friday;

Report for March 10

Florida weather cooperated rather well today.  Some pessimistic forecasts of yesterday gave way to sunny skies and predictions of blue lift to 4000’.  Winds looked to be a problem: one forecast said we’d see 30 knots at 3000’ AGL. 

In the event, thermals were stronger (5 knots) and higher (5000’) than predicted, and winds aloft were about half of the dire values predicted.  Even better, some area had useful cumulus clouds – the first seen during this contest (local wisdom says that southerly winds will yield cumulus clouds in Florida even when soundings say the day must remain blue).

The result was the best winning speeds of the contest thus far. But area of suppressed lift and troubles at low altitudes also led to more abandoned tasks, outlandings and motor starts than on any previous day.

Dick Butler did the best job of handling the variable conditions, posting an unhandicapped speed of 68.5 mph over a task of 185 miles.  Like contest leader Tom Kelley, Dick is flying an ASG-29 at 15 meters span, which seems to yield a good combination of performance, wingloading and handicap.  (It also helps if you can fly as well as Tom & Dick consistently do.)

With three good flying days out of four, this easily qualifies as the best soaring week in Florida so far this year (a number of pilots that have been here for a couple of months have doubled their total flying hours during this contest).  The forecast for Thursday and Friday calls for rain, and so Friday has been declared the official rest day (a feature of the Senior Contest).  Based on current predictions, we have some chance of good flying on Saturday.

2010 Senior Contest – Seminole Lake Gliderport, Clermont Florida

Report for March 12

Florida rain continues unabated – we’ve had a total of about 4 inches in the past 2 days. We have some hope this may cease by this evening, though satellite images suggest this may not be worth betting on. 

There is lots of sand in the soil here, and it’s thus said that soaring can be possibly only a short time after strong rains cease.  But optimism for the chances of a task tomorrow seems to be declining.

We have been reduced to telling stories from contests past, and flying model aircraft inside the airfield office.  Just now, Karl Striedieck is maneuvering a 5-inch-long RC helicopter past the noses of surprised observers with considerable skill.

Tom Kelley is the winner, after 3 racing days out of the possible 6. He will be flying for the USA in the Szeged WGC this summer in 18 m. class. Other wellknown pilots were at  spot;
2 Chip Garner—–3 Dick Butler—–5 Karl Striedeck—-13 Tom Knauff—-17 Ed Hollestelle.
I foud it fun to work together with Rick and we are going to do this again. Thanks Rick!

Last Friday I had dinner with Frouwke Kuijpers. She is one of the delegates representing the Dutch NAC at the plenary in Lausanne. Caught up with all the stories and heard about the preparations of Szeged where she will be steward. She is since October 2009  the coordinator between ALL air-sports and the NOC NSF, in Holland. To receive money from this organisation, you really have to be at a TOP LEVEL. The next 3 year she will put a lot of her energy in helping the different air sports to get , or to keep this high level. A lot of people know her international as the Dutch TC during WGC and EGC and I know she is a great and dedicated coach as well. And…a pilot who flies the Military comps in Holland ….and ……a mum of 3 flying kids and ….the wife of a pilot who flew international comps.

I was very pleased to see the Kookaburras from Australia win the Hockey WGC in India.They won from the young German players in a high standard match and as the German hockeyers  have won the last years it is good to see that somebody else won this time, though a hattrick would have been fantastic as well for our “neighbours”. The Dutch were first unhappy not being in the finals, but after being behind in the game for bronze they turned 3-1 behind around to a 4-3 win over England and that made  them feel good again.
The Aussie coach won years ago the world title as player and now as coach. He is the second achieving this as a Dutch player did in the past the same. His name was Jorritsma and he won as player in 1973 and as coach in 1990 and 1994.Not bad! And both Aussie players who made the goals are playing competition- hockey in Holland!
Looking also ahead to the new Formula 1 season starting today in Bahrein.

John Roake’s Gliding International for March is published, which again very interesting subjects. Here are a few ;
sailplanes as unmanned areal vehicles—new sustainer for all sailplanes—-grand prix final in Chile—ELT’s success rate investigated. Further on of course all international news for glider pilots, the Stemme, the progress on the PIK 27 home built tug , my report from Europe and the report on the world membership on gliding.[]

Good to see Hiroko back in Tocumwal. For her nothing has changed. She always arrived twice a year , sometimes “only” for ONE weekend, all the way from Japan with heavy luggage , to not miss out on whatever she needed for her soaring.For sure she will have an evening out with Dieter Dundee, who is in Tocumwal already since September and will leave, after some more travelling around,  in the beginning of June.

My Aussie friends are preparing for the different comps down-under for the new season and for them I have the latest about the Club class nationals in January 2011. Thanks Jo !A pity I can’t show pictures as she sent me a beauty from the airfield Bacchus March, where a lightning hit the ground. Luckily all gliders were in the hangars before this severe thunderstorm hit the town , after hitting Melbourne first last weekend.Here’s what Jo has sent me;

Hi all, 
The 2011 Club and Sports Class Nationals will be held at Benalla from 10th-21st Jan 2011.  Details of entry fees are still being finalised but all details will appear on the website at Please keep checking the site – it does not have a lot of detail at present but that will change rapidly.  Entries should be available around the beginning of May.  We will accept a maximum of 60, and the cutoff date for normal entries will be 30th November.GCV looks forward to welcoming all competition pilots to this event.  Please note that we operate every day during the summer months, and you are welcome to come early to practice or just take advantage of the weather and local area. Hope to see you there. Tim Shirley     Contest Director
Yesterday a pilot flew in his LS 4 a nice distance from Benalla, from 427 km. He went to the East to enjoy the mountains and flew over the great area of Mount Beauty. I flew there myself in the back of a Blanik with Bill one of our tuggies and instructors in the past. In that period we had a spring camp in the mountains at Mount Beauty, with some of our guests. Very nice!

Do you remember Kees Musters? He won the WGC in Hobbs in New Mexico. Sometimes I read the local papers and one day I found an article about a new to make Wall of Fame here in my town even in the KeesMusters street. I reacted on that article that they should nor forget Kees. They did not and last week the Wall was opened and Gretha , Kees wife, was there to be part of it. She was very proud and said she was sure Kees would have loved it! Kees and Gretha and George and I have lived for many years in Alphen in the past as this was close to Schiphol Airport were both “boys” worked.
Unfortunately the organisation forgot to invite me !!!! MINUS point for them!

That’s about it. Busy enough with the preparations for the Dutch Nationals, but NOT as busy as some of the others!!! I am only a small part of a very dedicated and hard working team.
Have not heard from Szeged anymore, so for the first time in a few years I will be not writing about the WGC, weird, but I will read all about it on the sites from both Szeged and Prievidza , where they have invited local writers, which is maybe even better and of course I do have some friends over there who support me with news for
And…I will not be bored , as I have a lot to do and made other arrangements already! But I will be writing my blog on every Wednesday and Sunday . I believe I am close to BLOG 300  !!!
Cheers Ritz

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