For the third year in a row the Pretoria Skydiving Club hosted the SA Nationals at its drop zone at Wonderboom Airport, Pretoria.
Eighty four competitors representing the twenty clubs affiliated to the Parachute Association of South Africa entered the competition that included Artistic Events, Accuracy Landing, Canopy Formation, Canopy Piloting, Formation Skydiving and Wingsuit Flying.
PASA is a non-profit association of members with the mission statement: "To foster, develop and facilitate sport parachuting, in all its facets, within South Africa, in the safest and most progressive manner, on behalf of its members."
For many people the words parachuting and skydiving conjure up images of adrenalin junkies and daredevils with little regard for their own safety. One of the questions most frequently asked of sport parachutists is, "who in their right mind would want to willingly throw themselves out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft?"
In truth, sport parachuting is a disciplined sport that operates within rigidly defined and enforced safety parameters as set out in PASA's Manual of Procedures. This Manual has been ratified by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and is the basis upon which PASA has been approved as an Aviation Recreation Organisation. The safety and training standards contained in the manual are on a par or better than international standards and must be adhered to by all affiliated drop zones and members in South Africa.
Left to right: Kate and Bob Charters & Claire King
Competitors were judged by Claire King (Chief Judge) and the very experienced UK and International judges Kate and Bob Charters assisted by Mohan Chudalayandy, Julie Teague, Bryetta Booysen, Steven Booysen, Michael Bonandrini and Michael Panaino. Wingsuit flying were first introduced at the 2015 SA Nationals and Kate has also kindly ran a Wingsuit judging course for the judges present at this year's event.
Scoring the performance of competitors depends on the event. For the freefall events (Formation Skydiving, Artistic Events, Wingsuit Acrobatics), and Canopy Formation (where the team must complete formations under an open canopy) a videographer jumps with the team to film their performance. The videographer transfers the video file to the scoring system. The judges' then review the video using the system collates all the judges' individual private assessments into a final score according to the rules.
In Formation Skydiving and Canopy Formation, the teams must repeat a randomly drawn sequence as many times and as accurately as possible within a given working time. The system plays back the video,- in normal speed and then at a reduced speed if necessary, as they individually record points and faults, freezing the video after working time completes, then it collates the individual judges' assessments into a score.
For the Artistic events, the team performs a set of compulsory manoeuvres or their own free routine and are scored by individual judges for technical merit and presentation merit. The viewing process is the same as above and the judges input their opinions, which the system collates into a result.
For Canopy Piloting, where the performance is judged live, the system integrates with lasers on the entry and exit gates to automatically record those parts of the run that can be automated, and the human parts are input as each run is completed, or the runs are recorded manually and all input into the system afterwards. For meets with few competitors such as this, competitors are usually just paper-score and the data captured after the completion of the round.
Scoring the Wingsuit discipline, where competitors compete for time, distance or speed through a competition window of 3000m - 2000m above Ground Level are more automated. In this discipline the wingsuit pilot wears a GPS unit that records data. This data is uploaded into the system which calculates the results. The judges really just verify wingsuit checks and GPS units going in and out with each competitor.
The competition was incident free, fierce but held with a sense of camaraderie seldom seen at similar events. A large number of competitors either camped at the clubs park like grounds or stayed in the bungalows which no doubt contributed to the success of the championships. The weather was mostly perfect except for some wind on the Saturday and the results were announced on Monday 2 May.
The winners of the various disciplines are:
10-Way Speed Star - Open
Team 701s United Nations consisting of Angelo Castignani, Dave Wright, Eddie Hanekom, Fuz Caforio, Giuseppe Zabotto, Jimmy Parella, Madaleine Viljoen, Marco Caforio, Michael Talerico, Nicolaos Karagianakis & Tony Straughan.
Artistic Events - Freefly - Intermediate
1st 302 Flying Gypsies: Angus Baiki, Cameron Gordon-Forbes & Travis Baiki
2nd 303 #thesemustfall: Amy Shaw, Julie Teague, Renier Viljoen
Artistic Events - Freefly - Open
304 Dark Star: Andre du Preez, Brendon van Niekerk & Pierre Badenhorst
Canopy Formation 2-Way Sequential - Open
601 Flying Gypsies CF: Angus Baiki, Peter Sharky Annandale & Travis Baiki
Canopy Piloting - Intermediate
1st Bailey Edmunds Jnr, 2nd De Wet Dawel & 3rd Gerrit van Zyl
Canopy Piloting - Open
1st Chris Teague, 2nd Ian Drennan & 3rd James Meyer
Formation Skydiving 2-Way - Novice
1st 201 Euro Mayhem: Christian Ferch, Clive Vardakis & Josh Stier
2nd 202 SpeedSloths: Brendon Nortier, Gerrie Pyper & Jess de Villiers
3rd 203 Flying Dutchmen: Gerry Snyman, Peter Hansen & Shaun van Wyk
Formation Skydiving 2-Way - Open
1st 210 CandyCrush: Beverly Cosslet, Ilke Greef & Robbie Stewart
2nd 211 Cookie: Gerrie Pyper, Jessica Langlands & Michael Walker
3rd 213 Limitation: Leith Welsford, Stavros Tzircalle & Wayne Ford
Formation Skydiving 4-Way - Intermediate
1st 420 Pucker Factor: Brad Price, Dirk Venter, Dylan Hemer, Gerrit van Zyl & Simon Schoon
2nd 421 Levitation: Daniam Henriques, Leith Welsford, Liesl Baben, Stavros Tzircalle & Wayne Ford
3rd 422 SYZYGY 4: Bradley Curnow, Erik Vliegenthart, Gregory Waspe, Martin Phelps & Robbie Stewart
Formation Skydiving 4-Way - Novice
1st 410 Vlakvark Express: Christian Ferch, Clive Vardakis, Constant Benade, Daniel Bakken & Josh Stier
2nd 411 PointBreak: Bertus Haring, Liza Hietbrink, Malcolm Keys-Transfeldt, Mark Peeters & Russell Vandrau
3rd 412 Indecisive: Bradley Curnow, Charl Coleman, Jess de Villiers & Marieta van der Vyver
Formation Skydiving 4-Way - Open
1st 401 Excession: Ian van den Berge, James Meyer, Mark Tretheway, Nico Hickley & Yolandi van den Berge
2nd 402 Tick Tick Boom: Michael Talerico, Peter Hansen, Riaan Bergh, Vinca Cox & Warren Dent
3rd 403 SAVOLO: Alex Jordaan, Amy Kirtland, Bailey Edmunds, Debbie Lamsley & Warren Hitchcock
Formation Skydiving 8-Way - Open
1st 801 SYZYGY 8: Bradley Curnow, Erik Vliegenthart, Mark Tretheway, Martin Phelps, Nico Hickley, Riaan Bergh, Robbie Stewart, Vinca Cox & Warren Dent
2nd 802 8-Kuk: Alex Jordaan, Amy Kirtland, Bailey Edmunds Jnr, Beverly Cosslet, Carmen van Vuuren, Ian van den Berge, Matteo Pagani, Warren Hitchcock & Yolandi van den Berge
Wingsuit Flying - Performance - Intermediate
1st Abby Holloway, 2nd Dylan Hemer, 3rd Luke Godfrey
Wingsuit Flying - Performance - Open
1st Andrew de Jonge, 2nd Jean Jacques Wallis, 3rd Oliver Nothen
Wingsuit Flying Acro - Open
1st 901 Clockwork Orange: Lehan Bornman, Sue Watts & Tamsyn Snyman
2nd 902 Bergies: Jean Jacques Wallis, Luke Godfrey & Waldo Prinsloo
Congratulations to Peter Lawson and his team of Hettie Blignaut and Mike Peague of the Pretoria Skydive Club for again hosting a successful, well organized SA Nationals that was enjoyed by all the participants.