2011 on it’s way!

Alphen aan den Rijn    Sunday October 31    ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

Last day of the month  and only 2 months to go and the year 2011 starts. The time is back to normal here [ since 3 this morning]  and the evenings are longer now. For a short while it felt like winter here with even temperatures under 0 in the night, and frost colouring the green grass white, but now we are back around 13 which is 2 dgr. above normal for here. We even had last Friday up to 16 dgr!!!!!!
The average for October here is a min. of 6 and a max of 14 dgr. Best ever temperature on the last day of October was in 2005 with 21.5 dgr. and the worst in 1983 with -3.4 dgr. Just to let you know!
Today it rains cat’s and dog’s with 12 dgr.

The Dutch Gliding Magazine Thermiek is out  and I enjoyed reading the different items. A lot about the more and more popular Euroglide,[ 10th edition!]  with specials about the DG 1000 by my former junior pilot Jelmer, who flew with 2 friends the 2.328 km in the companies plane  the new DG 1001M [after he finished his study at the University of Delft, Jelmer works for the DG business!]  and by the director for the the last 6 Nationals Max who flew the glider earlier at Terlet. Another new type of plane , the Pipistrel Taurus 503 was also new at the Euroglide. A good way for the producers to check their glider on long distance flights.
Further stories about the Dutch National junior comps[the 39 ‘s one!] , the Marianne [double seater for clubs] , a twin sister of the the Pegase both built by Centrair, aerodynamics by top professor in this area Loek Boermans, since last year FELLOW, from the Royal Aeronautical Society  and other news. Enjoy!It is online at www.zweefportaal.nl but…in Dutch.

You remember Julio Poch, the just retired Transavia airline captain  who was taken out of the cockpit in Spain just before he could fly the last “leg before retirement” back to Holland. He was accused of the fact that  he “maybe”  helped  to let 615 people disappear between 1976 and 1982 in Argentina. Colleagues had heard stories, he was supposed to have told on stops,  about his time flying as pilot for the Grupo de Tareas. But….for the time being it looks he will be a free man, as the judge could find NO proof he had done such terrible things AND accusations are NO proof. The judges have to find more proof first, till that time he is not allowed to leave the country but at-least he will be free! To be honest I am pleased with that as being involved-on-distance with Transavia and hearing inside stories about Julio, I could NOT believe he is that kind of  [bad] person.

Both the USA and Australia and I guess more countries have stepped up security and scrutiny   of packages at cargo planes coming from the Middle East [specially Adu Dhabi, Dohah, Dubai and Yemen, via another country as they do not have direct flights to Australia ] after 2 suspected packages , looking as from Al Quaida, have been intercepted in the UK and Dubai . Even the American president spoke about a potential terrorist threat. Australian president , Mrs Gillard, said these are precautions as there is no info that Australia is a target at this stage. This morning Germany has stepped up security around cargo from the Middle East as well.

Interesting story also yesterday in my paper, [AD] about our Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels, who travelled through space in the Challenger in 1985. Today it is exactly 25 years ago that he did so. The mission after him exploded as you might remember as well.
He is in his 6th life now. If you have indeed 7 he has one to go.
In 1982, he nearly died due to a bad bacterial infection called leptospirose in the USA, in 1985 he had the risky flight as astronaut, in 1989 he had an accident in France on the runway, with a propeller-plane,  as  an Airbus hit him in the back due to mis-communication of the tower and  bad visibility, in 2005 he got a heart attack and in 2008 doctors found a tumor in one of his kidneys.His daughter wrote a book about his life and they , father and daughter, went back to all places which had been important in his life. Nowadays he is a Professor on the University of Delft, involved in projects as the Nuna, [car driving on sun-energy] and the super-bus , driving 250 km/h. Interesting guy!!!

Good wave in New Zealand  where an LS 6 pilot flew yesterday 438 km. with a nice speed of 123 km /h. Even better wave on Friday in the USA where well-known Belgium pilot Baudouin Litt flew a 1000 km wave flight in an LS 8 from Mid Atlantic Soaring in the USA.
As far as I can see the first 1000 km flight in the 2011 season. In Australia’s East, good flights again yesterday with 451 km in the LS1f. What a pity, those bad rainy days a few weeks ago with the Nationals.
Talking about New Zealand today was the first flying day of the “Central Plateau 2010” in Taupo. Rain and only a base of 4500 forced the organisation to keep the 10 pilots on the ground. The forecast for tomorrow looks better for the afternoon.
I noticed one pilot with a very Dutch name;Roland van der Wal. He “belongs” to Taupo and flies LS 6, will keep an eye on him.
By the way, you might remember I was asked last year this time to fly to New Zealand to help out with PR for a new soaring-field. It is still happening and we are talking maybe December this year, now. Will keep you of course informed!!!

Sad news for the family of 4 French helicopter passengers at Antartica. The Helicopter crashed in bad weather and the pilot , engineer and 2 people from IPEV , an institute doing research at Antartica, died. The Australians took it upon them to recover the bodies.

Next Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day  and it feels weird to not celebrate it with my friends in Tocumwal like last year  and many more years before. I got phone calls and mail this week, to assure me they will drink a glass of bubbles on me as well, which is good. I will follow it on internet! It remains a special day over there down-under, where they still deal with quite a lot of rain.
Not too far from Tocumwal and Corowa is another good and well known  soaring place Benalla where in 1987 the WGC was. Due to the bad weather Benalla is at this moment an incident control centre for the regional area, as warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology have been issued for different areas in Victoria and  the border of NSW.
The containers for Corowa are delayed with one week, but with the wet circumstances, this is not a big problem. Hope after the wet,  the real Aussie spring/summer- weather starts!!!

Poor people in Haiti!!  First last year January the earth quake, with still more then a million people living in tents now, then the cholera and today hurricane Tomas is on its way to make everything even more bad. Feel so sorry for them!

See you on Wednesday. Slowly guests arrive at their overseas soaring resorts and dreams of wonderful flights might come true again. November and December are THE months!!!!! Let’s wait and see.

Cheers Ritz

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