SAC RV Training day Kitty Hawk 15.05.2021

By Willie Bodenstein

In his 2020 Sport Aerobatic Club Chairman's report Gary Glasson wrote; "At our last AGM, I outlined our objectives for the coming year. This basically revolved around grass roots growth and how we were going to achieve this. Training camps were organised throughout the year in the hopes of attracting pilots from the large RV fraternity in our country and its neighbours."

"We started in June 2019 with the Tzaneen training camp. We then moved on to Wings Park, East London, Swakopmund in Namibia and then two training camps at Kitty Hawk, Pretoria (one just before and one just after lockdown)."

"The interest in these camps has been startling. Most camps were over- subscribed, in particular, the Kitty Hawk camps."

There can be no doubts that this imitative is slowly but surely bearing fruit as more and more news faces are seen at almost all SAC competitions. The interest in aerobatics, either just to improve piloting skills or to make a start in this exciting sport was evident at last weekend's Vans RV training camp at Kitty Hawk Airfield.

The Raptors had a slot for practicing formation aerobatics.

Almost twenty RV owners plus two others, a Pitts Special and a Zlin, subscribed for the intensive two-day training program during which they were taken through the steps to prepare them for entry into the Sportsman Class at aerobatic competitions.

Some of the participating RV's as well as the Pitts Special and Zlin.

One may ask why those who fly a Vans RV are targeted. The answer is simple. By virtue of their wide speed range and relatively low wing loading, the RVs are quite good aerobatic aircraft. Roll rates are in excess of 140 deg/sec for the RV-4, RV-7/7A, and RV-8/8A and just slightly slower in the RV-14/14A. RVs can perform all the usual aerobatic maneuvers (loops, rolls, Immelman turns, horizontal 8s, etc.) very easily and gracefully at low G loads. That does not mean that they are suitable for advanced classes in aerobatic competitions but are ideal aircraft in which to start the sport.

The safety briefing as per usual was held in Kitty Hawk's impressive clubhouse. Besides general flying safety during the event, we are still in state of lock down and one of the most important requirements is to keep to the requirement COVID compliance requirements.

More participating aircraft.

Novice participants who have no previous aerobatic experience are not left on their own but take to the sky in the general flying area with an experienced aerobatic pilot. On hand to take the newbies and those that had attended previous camps through the steps were Garry Glasson, Larry and Jason Beamish, Barrie Eeles, Pierre Gouws, Glen Warden and Kayle Wooll.

Larry Beamish with participants.

Gary Glasson and a participant walking the sequence.

Kayle Wooll keeping an eye on a participant.

However, before taking off, all participants are taken through the steps on the ground of the sequence that may include loops, rolls, spins and stall turns.

Some of the participating pilots and instructors.

Those that have some previous experience fly in the aerobatic box either with an instructor or if judged sufficiently proficient, fly alone and are judged and critiqued by an instructor on the ground, who continually have them visual and are in constant radio contact with them.

Judges John Gaillard and Quintin Hawthorne were present to judge and grade those pilots considered ready and to qualify them for entrants into the Sportsman Class.

The clubhouse with some of the participating aircraft on the grass apron.

Kittyhawk, with its aerobatic box, wonderful facilities, large number of RVs and easy flying distance from all the surrounding airfields regularly and very successfully hosts aviation events of this nature and Saturday's practice day was no exception. Safety was taken care off by Nigel Musgrave, the club's and well-known event Safety Officer. Always on hand and always willing to assist where needed was Kitty Hawk's Airport Manager Dawie Pretorius. Kitty Hawk, with its restaurant, is indeed a jewel of an airfield.

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