Brits Air Navigation Race - 2 December 2017

By Rob Jonkers

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) held a very successful ANR (Air Navigation Race) at Brits Airfield on Saturday 2 December 2017. The weather outlook during the week showed promise to be good and then not, and eventually some overnight rain showers were still lingering over Pretoria at sunrise. Nevertheless, the early morning showers dissipated and could get competitors to join at Brits, at least most of the day remained nice and cool.

The Track shown of Route 1 - an anti-clockwise route

For this ANR, Rob Jonkers mustered the courage to plan his first ANR challenge, which involved a new type of logging and recording software, and had to look at integrating this into a field of different aircraft types with differing speeds, in any event it was hoped that the pre-work done prior the event would work out ok. There were nine crews taking part, five Protea teams and four fun teams, two of which were new to the sport. The course plots were then made available and the teams got work working out headings and minute markers along the track.

The Track shown of Route 2 - a clockwise route

In an ANR, there are only two objectives, the first being on-time at the start and finish gates, each second early or late attracts three penalty points. The second objective is to remain inside the corridor which in this case is 0.4 nm wide (+/- 800 m), any excursion outside the corridor also attracts three penalty points per second being outside the corridor.

Pierre Dippenaar and Martin Meyer busy with plotting

For this competition there were two routes to be flown, each at around 25 nm, so the course takes around 20 minutes to complete, which is nice and short but given the amount of concentration and focus required to stay within bounds, a very daunting contest. The navigator has the unenviable task of keeping the pilot on the straight and narrow, and the pilot has to keeping checking that the navigator is doing his jobÖ.

Team Frank & Cally Eckard with Team Leon Boutell and Mike Gamble Plotting

The first course was an easy route with only six turning points to get everybody into the zone, and the second route had nine turning points with very short legs, hardly being on one leg and the keep a time check and position for the 2nd leg.

The competing aircraft

First off was Hans Schwebel and Roel Jansen in a C150 at 09h30 followed by the rest of the field in five minute intervals, some longer if there were aircraft being used twice by different crews. The next round started at 11H30, with the last crews in by 13h00. Then the big task of logger downloads, analyzing and printing results, which was completed at around 14h30, with a short prize-giving and results.

The teams of competitors

The crew that performed the best in the day was Leon Boutell with navigator Mike Gamble.In the 2nd round which had the more difficult course and had a very low score of 165. They really upped their game from the 1st round.

Mary de Klerk helping Rob with the scoring

In the Fun Class, in first place was Leon Boutell and Mike Gamble (also third overall), 2nd was Pierre vd Merwe and Deon Calitz, 3rd was Chris and John Shaw.

The 1st 3 teams, Thys vd Merwe, Mary de Klerk, martin Meyer, Rob Jonkers, Mike Gamble and Leon Boutell

In the Unlimited Class, it was Rob Jonkers and Martin Meyer in 1st place, Mary de Klerk and Thys vd Merwe in 2nd place where the score difference was a mere 3 penalty points representing 1 second. In 3rd place were the same 2nd placed team, with Thys the pilot and Mary the navigator.

The Google Earth Live track screen, the yellow track being the best of the day, and the purple track with some wandering around the course

This event was for sure enjoyed by all, with a number of new entrants, who should quickly got up to speed given the improvements in scores between the easy route 1 and the more difficult route two. SAPFA will for sure organize more of these events in 2018, and get more club level participation.

Events 2017

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