After learning the theoretical side of Navigation plotting at the training camp held at Aerosud on the 18th of January, it was time to put into practice what was learned with a practical flight. The SAPFA national coach Jonty Esser put together a short route in the Brakpan/Heidelberg area with 4 turn points to be flown by participating teams.
The weather, however, did not play ball at all, restricting participants to arrive by air. However, many decided to drive in, to at least do some ground school. At the end there were 9 teams that participated. On hand from the SAPFA Protea members were Jonty Esser, Frank Eckard, Sandi Goddard and Rob Jonkers imparting their knowledge to the teams.
The theme of the morning was to gain knowledge on practical flying, how to accurately bingo each turn point in time, how to approach the start:- this always being the most difficult part of any rally, firstly to find it, and then to get there at the start time. Then the dynamics of keeping on time on each leg, approaching the next turn point and identifying the photo being correct or incorrect. First up was Frank Eckard who explained all the required strategies of flying and who elaborated that you have to be in the right frame of mind to take part in this sport and that extreme focus and concentration will get one to the winning post.
Frank Eckard - Strategies of Flying a Rally
Jonty then provided an outline to the planned flight route for the day. This could not be flown, but an explanation of how to set up the aircraft to fly the route, to get to the nominated 1000 ft altitude, set the flaps and power setting, adjust timing by changing the aircraft's attitude to speed up or slow down, rather than utilize power changes as power changes disturb the fundamental speed set up.
Jonty Esser - How to set up your aircraft in flight
After Jonty, Rob showed a short video of a practical flight demonstrating what photos look like on the ground and the visual angles and distances to be able to recognize them and from what altitude these would be best visible.
A practical out of the cockpit view of en-route photo recognition
After a short break, it was decided to carry out a real plotting exercise of the Rand Rally Challenge against the clock with a 30-minute deadline, essentially 2 minutes per plotting point. It gave everybody an incentive to attempt to beat the clock. With new teams this proved daunting, thus more focus was provided on techniques of using the tools and developing the skills to use them.
Clarissa & Kerry busy with their plot
Milan, Caroline & Andy busy with their plots
Karyn & Leon happy they have aced their plot in the allotted time