The 2019 South African National Gliding Championships was held at the Potchefstroom Airfield from the 5th of October to the 12th of October. An entry list of 25 glider pilots all but guaranteed for a great annual national gliding competition. This year the competition was wisely split into two events to get the advanced glider pilots to compete in the hotly contested 15m class. That accounted for 60% of the total entries received.
AKAvlieg Gliding Club House
The national gliding competition was divided into three categories namely:
Club Class, allows a wide range of older small gliders within a specified range of performances, with the scores being adjusted by handicapping. Disposable ballast (water) may be installed but must not be used in this class with a maximum all-up mass of 350kg.
15 meter class, where the wingspan of the glider may not exceed 15 meters with lift-enhancing devices allowed and a maximum all-up mass of 500kg.
The Double Seater class places no restrictions except a limit of 800 kg to the maximum all-up mass, it may be one- or two-seater and disposable ballast is permitted in this class.
The competition was held over an eight-day period with each class being given a task to complete for the day. The tasks differ slightly in distance and /or route for each class or might be the same. A task is points on the geographical chart which the pilots have to follow by using warm thermals for energy / momentum and lift / gliding ratio to reach those designated points efficiently and come-back home with enough thermal- and momentum energy conserved to land safely at the airfield on the designated runway. Tasks can range between 200 and 600 kilometers, depending on the weather for that particular day.
All classes have minimum altitude limits for the finish, which is normally in the vicinity of 150m above the airfield for the Double Seater and 15m Classes, but does vary from task to task; penalty points are incurred if the height restriction is broken. Each competitor carries a primary and secondary GPS logger so all altitudes, speeds and flight path can be accurately logged. Each day a shorter task is also published and the judges can decide to use the "B" or "C" or even "D" Tasks if the weather or other conditions are not favourable for Task "A" on the ground before launching commences.
15m and Double Seater classes flew exactly the same routes. This enhances the IGC Pilot Ranking List of glider pilots even more when more gliders fly together to compete in a combined group, albeit for a short period of the task. Double Seater is usually much faster th an Club Class gliders. This being a category 2 glider competition, all glider pilots scored IGC points in each class.
Task A, Day 1, 5 October:
Club Class: 399.55 km. Gypsum Dam - Bamboespruit - Ottoshoop - Boskop - Potchefstroom
15m Class : 501.16 km. N12 Traffic - Migdol - Zeerust Dam - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Double Seater: 399.55 km. Gypsum Dam - Bamboespruit - Ottoshoop - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Task C, Day 2, 6 October
Club Class: 195.38 km. Gypsum Dam - Werda - Rietpan - Boskop - Potchefstroom
15m Class : 306.59 km. N12 Traffic - Bamboespruit - Slurry - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Double Seater: 306.59 km. N12 Traffic - Bamboespruit - Slurry - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Task D, Day 3, 7 October
Club Class: No Task (Non-soarable weather)
15m Class: 140.68 km. N12 Traffic - Klerksdorp - Brakspruit - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Double Seater: 140.68 km. N12 Traffic - Klerksdorp - Brakspruit - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Task B, Day 4, 8 October
Club Class: 344.27 km. Gypsum Dam - Boons - Dudfield - Boskop - Potchefstroom
15m Class : 398.86 km. N12 Traffic - Boons - Swartruggens - Rooigrond - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Double Seater: 398.86 km. N12 Traffic - Boons - Swartruggens - Rooigrond - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Task A, Day 5, 9 October:
Club Class: 348.41 km. Gypsum Dam - Dominionville - Lichtenburg - Sannieshof - Boskop - Potchefstroom
15m Class: 426.25 km. N12 Traffic - Bona Bona - Bakerville - Sannieshof - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Double Seater: 348.41 km. Gypsum Dam - Dominionville - Lichtenburg - Sannieshof - Boskop - Potchefstroom
Task A, Day 6, 10 October:
Club Class: Cancelled - Inclement weather
15m Class: Cancelled - Inclement weather
Double Seater: Cancelled - Inclement weather
Task C, Day 7, 11 October
Club Class: 246.61 km. Gypsum Dam - Attie - Harrisburg - Potchefstroom
15m Class: 341.69 km. N12 Traffic - Edenville - Ancona - Potchefstroom
Double Seater: 246.61 km. Gypsum Dam - Attie - Harrisburg - Potchefstroom
Task A, Day 8, 12 October
Club Class: 318.86 km. Gypsum Dam - Mirage - Parys - Attie - Potchefstroom (Task B)
15m Class: 400.52 km. N12 Traffic - Balkfontein - Parys - Westleigh - Potchefstroom
Double Seater: 363.61 km. Gypsum Dam - Balkfontein - Parys - Heuningspruit - Potchefstroom
After many hours of flying in highly favourable flying conditions albeit mostly blue skies during the eight day period, the glider competition was concluded except for one day of the competition, due to inclement weather. According to FAI rules, if there are four days of results the competition is valid, for a day's task to be valid only one aircraft has to complete the task. In this case, the eight days of the competition that the given tasks were completed; counted overwhelmingly not to enforce the rule.
Wilhelm Mosehuus walked away with the honours in the Club Class with 4685 points followed closely by Phillip Jonker with 4647 points and third was Jason Adriaan with 4438 points respectively.
The 15 meter Class was closely won by Attie Jonker with a total of 5161 points , the battle for second place was taken by Oscar Goudriaan followed by brother Laurens Goudriaan with 5144 and 5026 points respectively
The Double Seater Class was won by Natalie Luebben with 5238 points, followed by Arjan Schaap & Riaan Denner in second place with 4020 points.
This event was well organised and handled professionally by all involved. Efficiency was of the highest standard. For more information about the second part of the 2019 South African Glider Nationals for 18m, Open- and Sport Classes to be held at Welkom from 13 to 21 December 2019, visit the website at www.soaringspot.com under Upcoming Competitions or on the respective Facebook pages, including South African Nationals and Soaring Society of South Africa.