In Memoriam

Manfred E. Reinhard, † 1 October 2015

Dr. rer.nat. Manfred E. Reinhardt

A life for gliding and atmospheric physics

(January 26, 1927 Wildberg/Schwarzwald – October 1, 2015 Herrsching/Bayern)


The eyes on this picture of Dr. Manfred E. Reinhardt reflect his brightness and scientific curiosity, and the resulting enormous knowledge about “Segelflug und seinen Kraftquellen im Luftmeer” (Gliding and its power in the atmosphere) - quote: Prof. Dr. Walter Georgii; photo: Ute Löb).  

His fairness and neutrality gave him worldwide recognition, enhanced by his long-standing position as President of OSTIV, “Organisation Scientific et Technique Internationale du Vol à Voile” (International Organization for the Science and Technology of Soaring), the indispensable advisory body of the International Gliding Commission of the FAI.

The first OSTIV aerological measurement campaign (1985) in the Himalayas with Joachim Kuettner, Alvaro de Orleans-Borbon and his Valentin “Taifun” as flying laboratory, and Bruno Neininger, with his mobile measurement system, took place during his presidency. From 1962 Manfred Reinhardt laid the foundation as director and later co-director of the Flight Physics section, which is now the widely recognized Institute for Physic of the Atmosphere (IPA) of the German Aerospace Center DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, in no small part due to his leadership in developing the aircraft used for atmospheric research, from motorgliders to the Falcon jet used for the famous flights in the ash clouds of volcanoes.

Bruno Neininger said of Manfred, “…..his enthusiasm for measurements and observation from aircraft was always a shining example. With Joachim Kuettner and other researchers, Manfred Reinhardt was for us young scientists at that time, an appealing source of inspiration for the meteorology and physics of the atmosphere. I admire him for his optimism in the scientific work up to an advanced age.”

And from Alvaro de Orleans-Borbon, who “admired Manfred Reinhardt for his lack of boundaries between “big” and “small” science:  he was equally happy using a highly instrumented Falcon or a hand-held psychrometer. To me he embodies the kind of man and scientist that is becoming exceedingly rare in our current times – thinking of him, a “Renaissance person” comes to my mind. He impressed me with his unique humanity: I saw him explaining weather concepts to Nepalese children and their attentive wide eyes when they posed all kinds of questions to him.”

He served as team captain and meteorologist at five world championships. Even after retirement, his worldwide contacts with the main scientists in the physics of the atmospheric sought out his knowledge and advice. And he put a great deal of effort into storing documents of all kinds on the history of gliding in Germany and in the world, as well as all kinds of atmospheric influences and research results which have become a basis of the statistics on climate change.

With Dr. Manfred Reinhardt the scientists on the Physics of the Atmosphere and the soaring world has lost a great man, a never tired researcher and an active promotor of good sporting behavior who always put the others in the first row. Thank you, Manfred, for all you gave us!

Manfred E. Reinhard, 1997 St. Auban, Photo: via Fred Weinholtz
John Ashford, † 20 June 2015

John Ashford

(February 8, 1942 - June 20, 2015)

On June 20th in the afternoon, the sad message was spread that Mr. John Ashford had passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and his friends, our deepest sympathy is with them all.

John started his professional career working as a mechanical engineer, designing and developing large fans for ventilation in the mining industry both in Australia and overseas. But undoubtedly, John dedicated the biggest part of his life to glider aviation.

In 1966, he joined the Geelong Gliding Club, one of the largest sports flying clubs in Australia. After spending a period in Europe, in 1970 he returned to Australia and continued to be active in many positions of his club, such as flying instructor, committee member, competition pilot, etc..

The Victorian Soaring Association, overseeing all the gliding clubs in the state, saw him represent their activities as a councillor and as a representative for airworthiness and instructing training.

At the Gliding Federation of Australia, he was the Chief Technical Officer and responsible of all the Victorian State Regional Airworthiness Officers.

He was currently spending a second period as chairman of the Bacchus Marsh Group for the Geelong Gliding Club, Beaufort Gliding Club, and the Victorian Motorless Flight Group, and as such,  responsible for all the operations of the Bacchus Marsh Aerodrome.

John joined in the activities of OSTIV during the Congress in New Zealand in 1995. From his predecessor, Alan Patching, he took over the membership in the Sailplane Development Panel and joined the OSTIV Board in 2003, contributing with great dedication, especially to the improvement of safety in gliding.

John was also very much interested in aviation history. In 2000 he joined with Alan to drive from Los Angeles to Elmira to fly the 'Golden Eagle' at the IVSM. This involved a round trip of over 6000 miles and included visiting over 13 museums, including the Smithsonian and the Experimental Aircraft Museum at Oshkosh, with interest in both Aeroplanes and Gliders. Incidentally, the glider and the trailer were both 63 years old. Following that visit, the Gliding Museum of Australia was formed, for which John had been a very active contributing member.

A most remarkable achievement was the completion of the translation into English of 'Werkstattpraxis,' by Hans Jacobs and Herbert Luck, along with compiling all illustrations and a section on modern glues.

John was working on the details of his annual trip to the OSTIV SDP meeting at the “Wasserkuppe” and to Tehachapi, where, at the “Mountain Valley Airport”, John had a second "home". It is so sad that he will not make this trip, as he was looking forward to it so much.

Responses to the sad message reflect how much John was appreciated by his friends:

“John's great contribution to many facets of gliding over the years will be long remembered, as will his friendly smile and wonderful sense of humor. He was a highly skilled aeronautical engineer and gave all his experience to our sport of gliding. He will be sorely missed.”

On the 20th of June 2015, aged 73, John Ashford passed away quietly. Services for him will take place on 1st July at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia.

John Ashford, Member of the OSTIV Board and OSTIV SDP, * 1942, † 2015
Ruediger Kunz, † 28. July 2013

Ruediger Kunz

(* 17. November 1926 - † 28. July 2013)

OSTIV-Prize winner Ruediger Kunz died on 28 July 2013 at age 87. Obsequies were celebrated on 8 August 2013 at Bad Voeslau, Austria.

Ruediger Kunz won the OSTIV-Prize in 1960 for the design of the Standard Class Sailplane “Standard Austria”. OSTIV president de Lange handed the prize to him during the WGC 1960 at Cologne, Germany where the Standard Austria performed extremely well.
Ruediger Kunz was a glider instructor, the head of the Aeroclub workshop and later worked for AIRBUS and took an important share in the EUROFIGHTER design.
In the last years he consulted the certification of the Superdimona and Katana aircraft. He helpfully consulted in amateur airplane development. We lost an enthusiastic and important aircraft designer.

Gerhard Waibel, Bad Hindelang