Sports

March 7, 2013

From wings to water

Tags:
Tech. Sgt. Hollie Hansen
162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. David Neve)
Royal Netherlands Air Force Lt. Col. Maurits Schonk, Commander of the Netherlands Detachment at the 148th Fighter Squadron, is greeted by Maintenance Group Commander Col. Andrew MacDonald at the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson. Lt. Col. Schonk had just delivered the first of ten Dutch F-16 Fighting Falcons to the Wing to be used for pilot training.

Royal Netherlands Air Force Lt. Col. Maurits Schonk will be competing in the Gaastra 52 World Championship regatta off South Beach in Miami, Fla., taking place March 4-9.

Known to many at the 162nd Fighter Wing by his call sign, “Skunk,” Lt. Col. Schonk is a lifelong sailor, “I started doing small regattas in a small dinghy when I was six. I became several times a Dutch champion while sailing. When I was 18, I quit sailing and went into pilot training for the Air Force,” explains Lt. Col. Schonk.

Now Commander of the Netherlands Detachment in the 148th Fighter Squadron, Lt. Col. Schonk trains the Royal Netherland Air Force F-16 pilots here at the Wing. Though he is happy to have returned to Tucson in 2010 for pilot training, the dry climate has affected his ability to train for sailing competitions. “The only bad part about this assignment is no water,” states Lt. Col. Schonk, though this fact has not held him back.

While visiting his home in the Netherlands last summer, Lt. Col. Schonk competed in races using his own sailboat and brought home a trophy for the Northern Netherlands Championships. “Everybody wanted me to go back to the United States,” he joked.

The upcoming regatta, widely considered to be the Formula 1 of water sports, is a competition between 8 teams, represented by 6 nations, in a boat class designated as the Transpac 52. Also known as the TP 52, the boats raced are 52-foot long, lightweight sailing yachts, used for competitive racing and were originally developed to race across the ocean at high speeds.

Though he has never worked with the other members of his racing team, he has competed against many of them. The 14-member Gaastra Pro Dutch All-Star team will begin training together early Saturday morning, only three short days before the first race. “I will fly in on Friday. The rest of the crew is flying in from the Netherlands. We will meet in Miami and train Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, we will start the races.”

When asked how sailing compares with flying an F-16 fighter jet, Lt. Col. Schonk states, “It’s basically the same, you work with multiple F-16s to compete against an enemy. Here, you are with your team in one boat, competing against other boats. You’re going slower, but since the boats are high tech, the feeling is the same. Speeds can reach about 25 knots, which is fast for a sailing boat. You still need the situational awareness as to what is happening, “ he said.

Though the last day of races falls during a UTA weekend, Lt. Col. Schonk is absolutely dedicated to his military life. “I will fly home early in the morning [Sunday], and I will be at work for Drill to brief the maintainers,” he said.

For more information on the regatta, you can go to http://www.52superseries.com/.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Local Briefs July 2, 2015

Sunset Horseback Ride August 8, 4 – 8 p.m. – Outdoor Rec Saddle up and enjoy a 2-hour sunset horseback ride through the Saguaro National Park. Single Airmen can sign-up beginning July 6. All others may sign-up beginning July 13. Final deadline is July 31. Minimum age: 18. Cost of $25/person. Call 228-3736 for more...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

F-15E Strike Eagle students complete training at D-M

Student pilots from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., have been training here since June 17. Fourteen F-15E Strike Eagles from the 334th Fighter Squadron, as well as pilots and Weapons Systems Officers came to D-M to com...
 
 

D-M’s Fourth of July Celebration

For July 4, D-M is scheduled to hold a few evening events to celebrate the holiday. Shuttles for the fireworks are scheduled to start running at 5:30 p.m. from Heritage Park, the Sonoran Science Academy and Borman Elementary School. Pre-firework events are slated to begin at 6 p.m. at Bama Park featuring live music by...
 

 

Giving life through the Living Donor Program

  As Airmen, it is our responsibility to help each other, as well as our civilian counterparts from day to day. But what if the need was greater than something as simple as a ride to work? What if it was as great as a kidney donation? Located in Sacramento, Calif., The University of California...
 
 

Balancing career, family through career intermission program

  KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) — Being in the U.S. military can be a tough balance between career and family. For some, it comes down to a choice between the two; however, for Katie Evans, a temporarily separated captain and the former 18th Force Support Squadron manpower and personnel flight commander here, it’s about...
 
 

One AWACS lands at D-M for Boneyard Storage

One NATO E-3A AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) departed NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany and landed around 1 p.m. June 23, for storage in the ‘Boneyard’. This is the first ever NATO AWACS to be retired. The decision to retire one E-3A was made by the North Atlantic Council in an effort to modernize the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>