Bitterwasser Lodge & Flying Centre | December 23 Recap

The Bitterwasser team wishes you a happy new year 🎉 There is a lot to report from the last month. Hannah Schweckendiek keeps us up to date.
Bitterwasser Lodge & Flying Centre | December 23 Recap

An end to the year at its best! The Advent season has provided Bitterwasser with good thermals. So we can look back on a successful December 2023.

Many young talents found their way to Bitterwasser at the beginning of December. For example, German junior champion Eric Schneider and Jan Knischewski, both participants in the 2022 World Gliding Championships, flew several 1000k. Gerrit Neugebauer was a new face to Bitterwasser. Gerrit and Eric were sponsored in 2023 by the Wilfried Grosskinski Foundation. Through a 50% discount for juniors at the Rondavels, Bitterwasser sponsors the young talents as well.

Patrick Benoist visited Bitterwasser for the second time this year. He won the Bitterwasser Cup 2023, which financed an all-inclusive 8-day stay in Bitterwasser. Patrick put in one great flight after another - congrats!

In mid-December, a blue hole suddenly appeared over Bitterwasser for a short time. The clouds were further away, and it was supposed to stay that way for one or two days. But no pilot was put off by this. The temperatures were high and behind Gobabis the first clouds were waiting with a base of up to 4500 meters.  Despite the blue sky, many pilots managed the 600 kilometer mark, two teams led by Jan Knischewski with Guy Bechthold and Björn Gintzel with Uwe Wendt flew a distance of over 900 kilometers. Others made great use of the blue sky with an Asigned-Area-Task.   

On December 14, 2023, Hans Jörg Schweizer had his last gliding flight after almost 2300 gliding hours. With Carl Schönherr, he really enjoyed his last one over the Kalahari Desert. In total, pilot Hans Jörg flew 220,000 kilometers over Southern Africa. In the next few years, Hans Jörg will return to Bitterwasser as a pedestrian and friend.  

Shortly before Christmas, the thermals really picked up again! The cumulus clouds formed directly over Bitterwasser and the temperatures rose. Around 20 gliders were waiting in the pan in the morning for clearance to take off. On 17.12.2023, 11 aircraft made it beyond the 1000 kilometers.

On 22.12.2023, the first 1400 kilometer flights were flown. Simon Briel covered 1,412 kilometers with the EB 28 and even crossed the South African border. Nils Fecker and Hans Ulrich Meuters did the same and flew a total of 1,375 kilometers. Björn Gintzel managed a whole 1,402 kilometers. A very nice Christmas present for everyone!

Christmas is here

The Christmas party in Bitterwasser was a complete success, even apart from the flying! With 63 guests, there was delicious food, laughter and celebration at 2 lovingly decorated tables. Chef Lize van der Merwe created fireworks for the taste buds and a feast for the eyes   

To round off the year, the palm tree avenue grew by another palm tree. On 25.12.23, Björn Gintzel flew a declared triangle with a total of 1,112 kilometers. At the beginning, the pilot fought his way through the blue sky to the first clouds. The moderately good climb rates, as Björn describes them, then continued until the turning point at Gobabis. Isolated showers made his flight more difficult. At the Bukkaros crater, Björn then found strong updrafts for a relaxed final approach to Bitterwasser. On 30.12.23, Björn's flight was immortalized in the palm tree planting ceremony. 

A Palm for Björn

A total of 83 flights exceeded 1000 kilometers in December. With the big celebration at the turn of the year with nice people, campfire, fireworks and 7-course menu, the year 2023 was then duly bid farewell.

Bitterwasser wishes you a happy and healthy 2024!