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Peter Millenaar: (Junior) World Champion

Submitter: Jan Noordam
Description: The editorial policy of this Daily Image, the ASTRON/JIVE family chronicle, is to pay some attention to any family-member who does something extraordinary like becoming world champion. Today we are very proud of Peter Millenaar, the 24-old son of Rob and Janni. All three are shown in the left inset. Janni (or Janet) used to work for ASTRON, where she was scooped up by Rob, who now represents us at the SKA Project Office in Manchester. Obviously, their genes are a powerful mix.

Peter became Junior World Champion this summer in Leszno, Poland. A few weeks earlier he also competed in the European Championships against world-class seniors, and ended up in 4th(!) place. Remarkably, he does all these things in his father's old plane, so he must run on pure talent. We should keep our eye on this young man. He might rate another Daily Image next year.

Gliding championships consist of a number of races over a few hundred km, usually around a triangle. Gliders defy gravity by making use of rising bubbles of warm air (and thus of an impeccably green combination of solar energy and gravity). The trick is to find these invisible "thermals", to rapidly gain a few hundred meters of altitude by means of a few steep turns, and then to move on at a speed of more than 200 km/h(*). Peter "only" came in 4th against the seniors because it took him a few days to discover that his opponents, especially the local Poles, raced together in packs, thereby greatly increasing their chance to find the best thermals. He quickly caught on.

The picture shows the champ coming in to land. The fuzzy steak behind the glider is water ballast that is being ejected from inside the wings. The extra weight is needed to fly faster, but is hard on the long wings when landing.

(*) A far cry from the timid bumbling across the sky of your AJDI editor, in an earlier century.
Copyright: Rob Millenaar
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