The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with the Superior Pilot Services (SPS) organised a successful Navigation Fun Rally on Saturday 9th September 2017.
Under the Stewardship of SAPFA's Rob Jonkers who planned & plotted the course, a total of 9 entrants registered to partake in the rally, although only 6 eventually were able to take part, some of them having had to withdraw, and many of the rally stalwarts were in Spain at the World Air Navigation Race championships.
There were 4 crews from SPS, all commercial pilot students getting their first experience in the art of Navigation Rally flying. SPS instructor Leonard Edwards provided the SPS students with some training sessions prior to the event to prepare them for the route which had to be plotted from a task sheet.
Most competitors arrived by 8.00 on Saturday morning to start the plotting activity which took the best part of 2 hours with the first aircraft off at 10:45. The weather forecast for the day was given to be clear with some slight haze, temperatures getting up to 29 Deg C with very little wind.
The route was planned to go out north, into familiar territory for the Grand Central based crews as most of the legs were in their training backyard. The start and finish points were just north of the N14 in the narrow Special Rules corridor between the Waterkloof & Lanseria airspace, and from there the route went out past the red and white radio mast, up through to Soshanguve, west to the fork-end tip of the Roodekopjes dam, then south through granite quarrying territory, across the Maglies northern ridge, then east across the Hartebeepoort dam, then south to the finish point being an obscure dust road and creek crossing.
There was one photo per leg that needed to be recognized, somehow for this rally not many of them were spotted by the crews in this year. After returning, the teams had to carry out a spotlanding, and it was apparent that this year's teams were having some difficulties in getting close to the line, given either landing short of the line or sailing very far past it.
A livetrack session was also set-up using Livetrack 24 and a cellphone app, so competitors were able to be tracked in real time while flying, watching how the course being flown of some on them going wayward, interesting for the spectators to see on the big screen.
After all the scores were tallied, prize-giving was held in the briefing area, where the first
three places went to Matthew Gray-Wilson & Leonard Edwards who came 1st with 200 penalty points with no timing errors, Nick Christodoulou & Andre Kluyts who came 2nd with 265 penalty points, and Marlo Kruyswijk & Ernst Muller who came 3rd with 560 penalty points.
This event was for sure enjoyed by all, most entrants never having flown a rally before, getting an understanding of flying with more precision, especially in the slower flight regime, and having to deal with wind variation. Many thanks extended to SPS for making all the arrangements with Grand Central Management.