The French mountains are popular!

Alphen aan den Rijn     March 21 2010     SPRING

As every year most of the Spring [training] camps  are in the French Mountains. Most popular is , when I look at the OLC, Vinon, where a  lot of young pilots like Alexander Spaeth , [JWGC] are flying to get in the soaring-mood for the 2010 season. But in that same area , Serres la Batie is popular as well , so is Sisteron. A bit amazed that St Aubain and Gap  are not so busy.

For the Italian high performance stage pilots  the week is over and I did not hear a lot of news. Saw on the European weatherstations that the North of Italy had not always the best soaring weather. Atleast they flew 4 days !
A competition under supervision of TOP pilots as their coach, is of course not bad. THE way to learn from experts how to fly in the mountains, like they do in St. Auban already for years. A good initiative from the brand new group CTF, with very familiar and wellknown names , as Giorgino Ballarati.

Last date to register for the Dutch Nationals is March 31. Only 53 days to go and the comps will start . Practise day will be on the 12th. At this stage 53 pilots are on the list of participants; 10 in standard class, 7 in club, 4 in open and 4 in the 20 m. two-seater class and  22 in 18 m.  and 6 in 15 m. class. For the 2d time in history the CAE NLS comps will be held on the former air base Twente. Long, very long ago I was there as my ex flew passengers for the Flying Syndicate of Twente. I remember some nice parties though…I was very pregnant in that time. So I am looking forward to see if something comes back to my “brain”.

103 days to go, for the Prievidza WGC where ALL 115 pilots are accepted . So after payment BEFORE March 31 2010, we hope to see indeed 115 pilots in club,standard and world class.
Szeged, where 15 m. 18m. and open class will fly, has no extra news and not yet a list of definite competitors. Will keep you updated!

I was a bit amazed to not see more and longer flights  on March 18 when we all felt in Holland that SPRING had arrived. Terraces were full, flowers popping up in all parks in all colours , but …as you all know , spring does not per defenition mean soaring straight away. Even in Holland nobody took the glider out for “a ride”, as in a lot of places the sun was covered by very high and thin clouds. So….glider pilots have to wait a bit longer here.

12.000 British Airways cabin staff started their strike  in the night from Friday to Saturday and for 3 days. They do not agree with the 70 million cut back. For next week another 4-day-strike is announced! Premier Brown is very unhappy with it and is scared this might cause the end of BA. Hope not!!! Lots of flights have been cancelled and BA has tried hard to ask help from other companies. 2 Dutch companies, Transavia and Arke Fly have answered with yes on that, making the union unhappy and “breaking the strike”.
This morning I saw that BA “thinks” , it is all not TOO bad, as some of the cabin staff went to work as well, but the Union claims 80% is on strike.

What about this………Have you ever seen the boxing kangaroo with a brown “glove” on green and yellow Aussie flags and PR material? Now such a kangaroo REALLY exists! A jogger was knocked down by ….a kangaroo not far from Canberra town !!! The young man does not recall very well what happened. He looked over his shoulder was hit by a direct punch in his face , was found unconscious by a passer-by and brought to hospital , where he was diagnosed with a blue eye , but no more harm was done!!!

And this…….In 1968 a hijacker forced a PanAm plane with 100 passengers to go from New York to Cuba instead of the planned destination , Puerto Rico. With a knife on the throat of a stewardess,  he arrived in Cuba to visit his sick father and stayed there. Now after 42 years  this 67 year old guy, has admitted his deed and might be in prison for maybe up to 21 years. A bit weird he moved back from Cuba to the USA.

Off to Arnhem now , for the 2d meeting  of the CAE -NLS- Dutch -Nationals- TEAM. Still impressed with the high quality capacities and expertise in different ways from the members of this TEAM.
Take care and have good beginning of the next week, and CU on Wednesday
Cheers Ritz

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