On Sunday 21 January the Sport Aerobatic season opened when the Gauteng Regionals organised by the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa was held at Vereeniging airfield. Although extremely hot, there was almost no wind to interfere unlike during Ace of Base, the last of the 2017 events that was held on 3 December 2017 when the wind played havoc.
Vereeniging Airport is ideally suited for this type of aerobatic competition. Its two tarred runways, 03/21 (1605 x 22m) and 15/33 (1135 x 16m) are both in good condition and an Aerobatic Box has been assigned at the airport, situated (and adjoining) to the East of runway 03/21. The box is demarcated on the ground with white markers and is one kilometre square. Although a tower has been constructed at the airport it is seldom, except during competitions, manned. On Sunday Adam Griffiths of the ATNS Special Events Team manned the tower to ensure that the airspace was clear of any intrusions while the competition was underway.
Kayle Wool who flew an Extra 300 finished 5th in Intermediate.
Andrew Blackwood Murray finished 2nd in intermediate in his Extra 300
Cliff Lotter who recently purchased the Yak 55 was placed 4th in intermediate
There were a total of 121 entries across all our local aerobatic competitions organised by the club throughout 2017. The average number of competitors per competition was 15 which is not bad considering that the club had eight contests during the year. A far cry from the days when the SAC only had one contest a year that saw no more than 20 or so entrants.
Elton Bondi was placed 2nd in the Advanced Class
Andrew Fletcher in the Zlin 50 was placed 3rd in Intermediate
The Sportsman sequence
The Intermediate sequence
One of numerous highlights for the club was the Unlimited World Aerobatic Championships that they successfully hosted. It was also the first time in the history of international sport aerobatics that all competitors were able to fly all flight programs. The club received warm thanks and sincere accolades for hosting the event from many of the competing pilots as well as the international officials.
Dustin Hughes winner of the Sportsman's Class
Fifteen pilots entered the Gauteng regionals, five, Ivan vd Schaar, Dustin Hughes, Bernd Asbeck, Roger Deare and Derek Bird competed in the Sportman class. Dustin won the class followed by Derek with Roger in 3rd place.
Adam Pucjlowski winner of the Intermediate Class.
Five, Andrew Blackwood-Murray, Andrew Fletcher, Kayle Wool, Cliff Lotter and Andrew Pucjlowski competed in intermediate. Adam took first place with Andrew Blackwood Murray in 2nd and Andrew Fletcher in 3rd.
Neville Ferreira winner of the Advanced Class
Three, Neville Ferreira, Elton Bondi and Eugene du Preez competed in advanced. Neville took 1st place followed by Elton with Eugene in 3rd place.
Nigel Hopkins winner of the unlimited class
Two, Nigel Hopkins and Barrie Eeles competed in the unlimited Class. Nigel was placed 1st with Barrie in 2nd.
During the world championships a senior member of the Australian aerobatic club mentioned that she was in awe at the depth and breadth of talent, experience and most of all enthusiasm that we have in South African for aerobatics. She said that despite the size of the Australian economy and the large number of competing pilots and aerobatic aircraft that they have over there, she could not see them pulling off a world championship like we did.
All of this is because the club have a core of very knowledgeable and super dedicated officials and judges who have been around longer than any currently competing pilot and upon whose shoulders this club stands.