Participants and officials
Frank Eckard during the Safety Briefing
Rob Jonkers talked about the Aeroclub's 100th Anniversary to be celebrated during Airweek to be held at Middelburg 1st to the 3rd of May 2020
With the National Rally Flying Championships only two weeks away, most of the existing Protea rally team members took part in the Class 1, or "Open" category of the sport at Brakpan Airport. It was also encouraging to see that after all the training sessions held by Mary de Klerk, Rob Jonkers and Jonty Esser, many of the previous "Fun Rallyers" stepped up to Class 1 as well.
Von Hammon, Hans Schwebel, Andy Gouws and Ron Stirk plotting
Thys van der Merwe and Sally Shaw plotting
Rob Osner who flew with Hilton Wolf in the Mushack plotting
Novice ladies and the only completely female team Clarissa de Costa and Kerry Mathysen only got theirs wings late last year and were looking forward to this, their first rally. They have already entered the Bethlehem Speed Rally
Disappointingly, few of the local Brakpan pilots supported this event, even though one of the training sessions was held at the club recently. Hopefully, more of them will be inspired to put their flying and navigational skills to the tests, especially as this sport improves general flying safety.
Two tracks, both scored well in navigation
Organisers Frank and Cally Eckard kept the route fairly simple, so as not to discourage the first-timers. They all managed to complete the task sheet quite easily, except for one navigator who plotted the start point from the wrong Brakpan Airport, which found his pilot heading off to start at the finish point and was surprised to find another aircraft flying directly towards him.
Martin Meyer and Rob Jonkers busy in their Cessna 182
Quentin Taylor and Derek Bird who flew the Super Decathlon getting ready
Fanie Scholtz and Herman Haasbroek who flew a Sling 2 plotting
Fanie and son Frederick flew their Robison R66. Willie Bodenstein went along and took photos during the flight
The "follow-the-feature" (a railway line) was easily managed by most of the teams, except for one who followed the wrong railway line. Frank did not include arcs in the route, as these require more skills and will be incorporated into the next event.
Some of the competitors taking off
Derek and Quentin in the Super Decathlon
Rob and Martin in their Cessna 182
Anthony and Pamela Russel who again flew up from Cape Town and rented a Cessna 172 and Jonty and Sandy in the Cessna C150
Fanie and Herman in the Sling 2
Andre Kluyts and Don Lucas in the Cessna 172
The weather cleared in time for the scheduled take-off and the winds were light, with just a very slight cross-wind over the run-way. It was decided to judge the landings after the rally and the results showed that a lot of practise is required before the National Champs. For the first time in a SAPFA event, a helicopter set the record by winning the landing stage of the rally. (That's not hard for a chopper?)
Hilton and Rob taking off in Hilton's Mushack, the only of its type in the country
Apart from the Robbie 66, another aircraft of interest was the Mushack, which is featured in the latest edition of Pilot's Post.
Frederick just before crossing the starting line
The start line was this intersection just past the Ergo Slimes Dam
Then it was left to follow the highway for a while
Intersections makes good turn points like this where one had to follow the left road
Or this bridge, a number of which straddled that section of the railroad
Was this the one or the one we have just passed or the one in the distance? Calculating arrival time between turn points is absolutely essential
The route took them to a start point near Ergo Slimes Dam, then South towards Heidelberg, to a point along the N3, then East towards Leandra, then back North along the railway line to Delmas and then home via Selcourt.
Von Hamman and Andy Gouws won the Sportsman Class
Thys van der Merwe and Sally Shaw was placed first in the Intermediate Class
Jonty Esser and Sandy Goddard took the honours in the Advanced Class
Anthony and Pamela Russell took second placeÖ..
with Rob Jonkers and Martine Meyer in third place
Although the results were far from what is required from a National standard, the selectors trust that the skills the entrants will pick up at Nationals will enable them to put together five "A" team and five "B" team partnerships to give SA the best chance of a good team result.
The full results are: