FINALLY……Flying again !2010 FCC Gliding !Ash-Damage bill….1.3 milliard Euro!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Wednesday April 21 2010

When something is for bidden , you long for it more! You remember when you were small? Sunday the skies were open again for glider pilots here in Holland and they went for it!! Flights into Germany and all over Holland, the day was blue but better then expected and all loved their flight . After 4 hours flying , even no grey dust on “their nose” or wings and nobody had seen “ash”. 27 Dutch pilots felt happy to be in the air and flew distances between 57 and 406 km [LS 6]

Still no commercial flying here on Monday but negogations on high level ! European ministers had a video meeting on monday afternoon to see how to continue with this “Ash”, as more people get angry/impatient. The German and French have like the Dutch president of their airline made test- flights without problems. So hopefully they will look now at better/ more flexible  ways to deal with this.Last Sunday some KLM freight was flown from Schiphol to Asia without problems.
Safety first , that ‘s what we all want and expect, but, when the evidence is there that is is possible  , the authorities should allow flying within the possible marge’s.

On Tuesday morning the first passenger flights  were a fact here in Holland but also in other parts of Europe. For every flight the company needs permission, but al least some of the stranded passengers come home , or go home after 5 days of waiting.
The UK is not so lucky. A new cloud is on its way to them. A huge UK Marine frigate has moored in Bilbao – harbour to take 2000 passengers home over water. 3 More ships are on their way as well.
 Hurray… Holland is more or less “ash-free”!!!! Today ???!!!! But…. it is not over yet with this volcano with the too difficult name, it “spits”out of 3 craters, lava now, but that is not so bad for Europe , only unfortunate for the people in Iceland.
Agrarian farmers here are happy with the ash as it is a very good and “for free”  fertilizer. So at least a few are happy.Not the ones in Iceland as it is a too thick layer over there.

German carrier Air Berlin cancelled some  flights  on Tuesday not because of the ash but…because passengers did not show up !!!!!They hope within 3 days to be back to normal, with all stranded passengers back home.

According to a diplomat, who wants to be “unknown “,  a few F16 planes from the NAVO have been badly damaged by the ash. So it seems not all “a bed of roses “.

This morning most European airfields are open, pilots happy to fly and stranded passengers happy to finally go home wherever they were. Night flying is allowed as well and the volcano has worked hard enough , has slowed down and might need time now to think how “he” can hit again one day.
  It will still be a bit of chaos , which is clear when 90.000 flights have been cancelled, but with extra flights and all planes back on their base , this chaos should be over soon. Well that was a volcano outburst, we will not quickly forget this one!!!!
According to IATA it has cost the international- aviation-world 1.7 milliard dollar which is 1.3 milliard Euro!!! “A disaster” they call it!Striking!!!! The question will always be; was it necessary to close ALL airspace!?

It is great to see that so many glider pilots have flown great distances  so early in spring. Last Monday 88  flights have been entered on the OLC over 500 km. NOT BAD!!!!!!
Some of them Dutch glider pilots practising for the Nationals. Really hope this good weather continues !!! Nationals are from May 13 till 23.
So not only wave or ridge flying , but also thermal flights!!!!
Hans Werner Grosse gave “his ETA ” a nice run ” in Germany from Lubeck Blankensee;619 km.
Former WGC director in Bayreuth   , Walter Eisele tried his luck in Lienz with a nice 753 km flight in a Ventus CM 18m. and yesterday a “just not” 1000 km.; 988 km.
Yesterday another 1000 km flight was flown from Lienz Nikolsdorf in Austria by a German pilot in a Discus 2 T/ 18m. . This place for sure has put its name on the map.
And what is the best news; Europe is going to more sunny , nearly summer – weather according to the meteo. The SW wind will bring glorious weather  for the weekend. So go for it glider friends!

Wonderful to see that a Japanese pilot topped on Tuesday the OLC list. From Nagano he flew up North and back; 686 km. in a DG 505 M/22 m. A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting 3 glider airfields in Japan and was amazed to see how they have to fly. Nothing wrong with their [grass] runways but they are mostly on windy spots on the beds of a river. Japan has a few very active clubs and the most well known pilot from Japan is Mac [Makoto Ichikawa.]

Preparations for the next WGC in Prievidza can be done during the 2010 FCC Gliding. In 2 classes, mixed and club this competition will be flown from April 17 til 28. After the first  day Sebastian Kawa is on top in the mixed class and in club the first place is for  UK pilot Ge Dale , who just won the Pribina Cup. He is “hot” and will be a pilot to look at as he has lots of practise in the area now. In this class 52 competitors, under them also female junior pilot Nathalie Hurlin from France  and in the mixed a great amount of 68 pilots have entered.
 Sebastian also won the 2d day , yesterday. Good on him! He flew an AAT with 2 hours [ 167/396 km. ] in 2 hours and 6 minutes and 237 his Discus 2 A. Who will /can stop him during the WGC ?????
 Ge was 7th and is after 2 days number 2 total with 9 points less. A difficult day with a 2 hour AAT between 120 and 309 km. Todays winner Boris Zors is also leading in this class now.
More days to come , so you can read more news here as I keep an eye on it.
By the way FCC stands for Flight Challenge Cup Gliding 2010 and the 121 competitors are from 12 different countries.

Take care , enjoy your soaring ,
cheers Ritz

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