Ladysmith KZN Regional Aerobatics - 21 April 2018

By Brian Spurr

On arrival in Ladysmith it was still very overcast as can be seen in the photo of ZU-CXK (Yak 52).

First on the airfield on Saturday morning.

Benji Phukubje, Tyrone Spykerman, Mike Stark, Bertus du Preez, Dustin Hughes, Martin Schulze, Adam Pucjlowski

Getting prepared for the day. Jonty Esser preflights his Yak 52.

Gary Glasson walks his sequence and has it taped in the cockpit of his Pitts Special

Bonding with his Zlin 50

ATC had been arranged for the competition and the two ATNS officials were Tyrone Spykerman from Cape Town and Benji Phukubje from Lanseria. Pilots were impressed and thankful to have the use of their professional services.

Judges for the competition were John Gaillard, Quintin Hawthorne, Helmut Ludwig, Laslo Liszkay, Cindy Weber, Jonny Smith and Mike Stark.

The judges set up camp

The scheduled pilots briefing for 08:30 was pushed back when it was apparent that flying would not commence for some time

On arrival pilots received sponsored shirts, hats and caps from Ecko Unltd and goodie bags provided by Honeywell Safety Equipment. Nigel Hopkins in the sponsored kit

It was hoped that the low cloud would burn off as forecast. Eventually the sun came out and the blue sky showed through allowing the event to begin at around 10:50. Only the first three competitors flew before a decision was made to put a hold on proceedings. The reason for this was small fluffy clouds that hung over the competition box. There were not many of them but enough to disrupt proceedings. Pilots did not want to be penalised for inadvertent entry into cloud even though it would not have been a safety issue due to their relatively small size. The issue was that the cloud was not moving at all due to the almost calm conditions.

Yak 52 ZU-CXK showing the clouds during the break in proceedings.

After waiting a while it was decided that lunch would be taken early. It was a good decision because immediately after the break the skies opened up completely allowing the competition to begin again at 13:30

After the restart it was all action to ensure that both rounds of competition would be completed before nightfall. The last man flew his second slot at 17:00 just as the light was beginning to fade. The afternoon produced some excellent flying and the afterwards the pilots spoken to, all said they had enjoyed the competition a lot, in the near perfect conditions.

The KZN regionals attracted 12 entries:

Dustin Hughes in the Zlin 50

Jonty Esser in the Yak 52

Roger Deare in the Extra 300

Wim Kotze in the Yak 52

Conrad Botha in the Slick 360

Martin Schulze in the Yak 55

Andrew Blackwood-Murray in the Extra 300

Adam Pucjlowski in the Zlin 50

Gary Glasson in the Pitts Special

Eugene du Preez in the Extra 330

Mark Hensman in the MX2

Nigel Hopkins in the Extra 330

After the last slot we were treated to a fantastic impromptu display of formation aerobatics by Nigel Hopkins and Mark Hensman flying extremely tightly in the late evening light. What a treat!

At the end of the competition everyone enjoyed some well-earned refreshments after the exertions in the air. A braai was arranged outside the hangar and everyone relaxed. As most had chosen to stay at the adjacent motel, there was no need to rush off anywhere.

Enjoying a well-earned beer. Roger Deare, Conrad Botha and Gary Glasson

The whole team, pilots, judges and ATNS

So ended another enjoyable and safe competition with some of the finest pilots and aerobatic aircraft in the country. A great day was had by all.

1 Dustin Hughes
2 Wim Kotze
3 Roger Deare
4 Jonty Esser

1 Adam Pucjlowski
2 Martin Schulze
3 Andrew Blackwood-Murray
4 Conrad Botha

1 Gary Glasson
2 Eugene du Preez

1 Nigel Hopkins
2 Mark Hensman

Events 2018
Sport Aerobatics

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