Compiled by and with photos by Willie Bodenstein
2 to 9 October 2021
As has now become customary, the South African Nationals 15m, 2-Seater and Club Class Gliding Championships were again hosted at Potchefstroom Airfield by Akavlieg - Potchefstroom Gliding. October 2nd was the practice day with the competition starting officially on 3 October.
Thirty-two entries, seven more than in 2019, 15 in the 15 Metre Class, six in the Two-Seater, eight in the Club Class and three in the Stemme Class were received.
Competition classes in gliding, as in other sports, mainly exist to ensure fairness in competition. However, the classes have not been targeted at fostering technological development as in other sports. Instead, classes have arisen because of the popularity of certain types of glider and attempts to contain the cost of access to the sport as well as the need to establish a stable environment for investment decisions by both manufacturers and competitors.
The FAI Gliding Commission (IGC) is the sporting body overseeing air sports at the international level so that the same classes and class definitions are followed in all countries.
15 metre Class
This class was created specifically to end the trailing-edge airbrake controversy in the Standard Class. The class has been very successful, being since its inception a feature of all World and European Championships. The class has a sizeable following and official support into the foreseeable future.
A two-seater class appeared for the first time in the World Championships in 1952. The reason for having a separate class was that the drag of the larger fuselage put two-seaters at a significant disadvantage vis-ŗ-vis single seater. The IGC in 2005 voted to reinstate a modern Two-Seater Class with a span limitation of 20 metres and maximum all-up weight of 800 kg. This class has no relationship to the 'old' two-seater class; it targets the high-performance trainers that have been steadily gaining in popularity.
The formal recognition by the FAI of a handicapped class is quite recent, with the first Club Class World Championships having taken place in 2001. It is intended by the FAI as an affordable entry-level class. These Club or sports contests allow the use of gliders of widely differing levels of performance. The glider types allowed are not explicitly defined. The criterion for admission is given by an interval of performance handicaps, which may be adjusted by the organisers of each event. Water ballast is not permitted.
The Stemme class is for aircraft produced by Stemme GmbH & Co. KG. In 1984, Dr Reiner Stemme founded the company Stemme GmbH & Co. KG in the Berlin district of Wedding in order to realize his vision of a unique aircraft: the aim was to combine the properties of powerful motorized propulsion with first-class gliding characteristics.
Day One Oct 3 Sunday
Rain on Friday as well as on Saturday's practise day was welcome, but did not bode well for the start of day one on 3 October. However, clear blue skies and great visibility appear to be the order for the day. The start gates were opened from just before 13h00 and all the gliders were off on task.
Results day 1:
1st John Coutts at a speed of 124,29 kph, 2nd Rob Tiffin at 114,73 kph and 3rd Laurence Hardman at 114,54 kph.
1st Dickie Daly Jnr and father Dickie Senior 2nd with scores of at 94,32 kph & 94,98 kph repectively. Mike van Niekerk finished 3rd at 93.23 kph.
1st Martin Scharf/Robert Bristow, 2nd Maarten Jonker/Ronald Termaat 2nd, and AP Kotze 3rd.
The Stemme class was won by Mark Hardman, Peter Bailey 2nd and Albert Willemse 3rd.
Day Two Oct 4 Monday
Three pilots who had entered the 15m class, having opted to move into the Club class; these being Rene Coetzee, Richard Glennie and Wilhelm Mosehuus. The Club class from then on was contested by 8 gliders and the 15m class appropriately 15 gliders.
The day's task for the 15m class was a 410,3-kilometre task, the 2-seater class 335,9 kilometres, the Club class 248,8 kilometres and the Stemmes 309,6 kilometres. The start gates opened at approximately 12h40. All gliders were launched in just over an hour. All the pilots made it home after the completion of their tasks with the exception of a Janus in the Club class, which required a retrieve.
John Coutts again took 1st in the 15-metre class winning the day at 138,73 kph, with brothers Attie & Uys Jonker coming 2nd & 3rd at 137,37 kph & 136,77 kph respectively. In the Club class, Dicky Daly jnr. was the winner at 90.22 kph, Wilhelm Mosehuus 2nd at 90.96 kph and Rene Coetzee 3rd at 91.19 kph. In the 2-seater class, it was once again Martin Scharf/Robert Bristow winning at 130.21 kph, AP Kotze was 2nd at 112,9 kph and Jason Adriaan 3rd at 112,24 kph. Mark Hardman led the way in the Stemme class at 102 kph, Peter Bailey 2nd at 90.2 kph, and Albert Willemse/David Lentle at 76.21 kph.
Day Three Oct 5 Tuesday
Tuesday morning was distinctly chilly and initially the sky was invisible behind low cloud, but this cleared as the morning progressed. The day's tasks were shorter than those of the last two days and had been set predominantly to the south, with extra height needed to come around the final leg from Boskop and back to Potchefstroom airfield. Launching was delayed until12h15 when the first Club class gliders got airborne followed by the rest of the field.
John Coutts again took 1st in the 15-metre class with brothers Attie and Jonker in 2nd & 3rd. In the Club class, as in 15, the results were the same as in day two. Dicky Daly junior took the honours and was followed by Wilhelm Mosehuus in 2nd and Rene Coetzee 3rd. The 2-seater class also had the same three contestants in the same order as day two. Martin Scharf/Robert Bristow bagged 1st, AP Kotze was 2nd and Jason Adriaan 3rd. The Stemme class was won by Mark Hardman/Beatrice at 108,32 kph.
Day Four Oct 6 Wednesday
The forecasted weather for Wednesday predicted that winds might increase in strength as the day progressed. As a result, there had been at least two tasks set for all classes, a racing task as well as an AATs of 3 hours duration, both of which might change, depending how the morning progressed. When launching commenced at 11h40, the tasks had been changed to 3 hours AAT for all classes.
John Coutts was the fastest in 15m class at 141,92 kph, Dicky Daly jnr. in the Club class at 103,06 kph who was followed by Maarten Jonker in the 2-seater class at 146.66 kph and yet again Mark Hardman in the Stemme class at 102,24 kph. The overall leaders were John Coutts in 15m, Dicky Daly Jnr. in Club class, Maarten Jonker in 2-seater class and Mark Hardman in the Stemme class.
Day Five Oct 7 Thursday
One thing all the weather predictions agreed on was non-soarable conditions by 4 p.m. As a result of the weather not being as good or for long, all classes had a 2-hour 30-minute time limit assigned. Area Tasks went down to the south west of Potchefstroom, where the better weather was expected to be more conducive to soaring. For the 15m & 2-seater classes it was a minimum distance of 275,5 kilometres, 396.8 kilometres maximum and for the Club & Stemme it was a minimum distance of 195,9 kilometres and a maximum of 305,6 kilometres.
During the morning's safety briefing, there was yet again a comment about safety and the pilots were warned about ensuring that they knew where the other pilots were in the sky especially when entering thermals. Gliders had to be gridded by 11h30 with the 1st launch planned for 12 noon.
Prior to take off, a somewhat shorter Task B was set - still an AAT but for all classes. So, 15m. & 2-seater class distance was now a minimum of 207,6 kilometres and maximum of 317,3 kilometres and the Club & Stemme classes minimum of 158,7 kilometres and a maximum of 264,6 kilometres. Everyone finally got home with the last pilot landing just after 16h30.
The days results were announced and John Coutts remained the overall leader in the 15m class, followed by Anders Andersen with Uys Jonker in 3rd place. In the Club class, Dicky Daly retained his overall leadership followed by Wilhelm Mosehuus in 2nd with Rene Coetzee in 3rd. Overall leader in the two-seater class was still Maarten Jonker with AP Kotze in 2nd and Martin Scharf/Robert Bristow in 3rd. Despite undercarriage problems that prevented him from flying, Mark Hardman retained the lead and was followed by Peter Bailey with Albert Willemse in 3rd place.
Day Six Oct 8 Friday
The penultimate day of the 15m, Club, 2-seater & Stemme Nationals had arrived. Although the sky was clearing, the clouds were quite low and there was again quite a strong wind. The briefing was conducted and yet again, safety was highlighted.
Tasks had been set for all classes (15m. 382,7 kilometres, 2-seater 345.7 kilometres, Club 227,8 kilometres and Stemme 259,1 kilometres with the B tasks being AATs using the same turn points. Conditions were again expected to be better to the SW and it was expected that it would dry out during the course of the day. Gridding was completed by 11h30, with the 1st launch possibly from 12 noon.
Although the clouds did start breaking up and conditions did begin to look promising, the wind remained pretty strong. However, after two Club class gliders were launched, the cloud base was still not getting much higher. In the meantime, it was agreed that all classes would fly the AAT task B. Then before all of the Club class were launched, a further Task C was announced. Eventually all of the Club class gliders were in the sky. Sadly, with much grid sitting and cloud base watching, it was still not going up sufficiently and it was then decided to cancel the day's flying.
Day 7 Oct 9 Saturday
The final day. The leadership board remained as was on Thursday. Clear blue skies and sunshine, with hardly a breath of wind greeted everybody who arrived at the field.
Tasks had been set to the north and west and the cloud base was up to about 12 000 ft. The 15m class was 381,8 kilometres, 2-seater class 344,0 kilometres, the Stemme class 314,4 kilometres and the Club class 241,7 kilometres. There was very little wind and the skies were clear, but there were some clouds far off to the north. Launching was planned for 11h30.
All aircraft remaining in the competition were successfully launched. After all had returned the competition was over, the nail-biting waiting for the final results began, but the announcement was held over for the gala dinner later.
Of course, no contest or event can be run and organised without willing volunteers whose work usually starts long before the actual event and who usually work unnoticed in the background. Many thanks are extended to them all and especially Jannie Brink, who had been doing the catering, serving breakfasts and fantastic dinners every day.
On the flying side, thanks the tug pilots Dieter, Connie and Rowan in the Cessnas and then in the smaller aircraft Uys, Jason, Laurence and John. Without you, most of the competitors would not have been able to take to the sky. Contest director AP, meteorologist John, to Oscar, AP & John for task setting, Laurence & Oscar for scoring and of course the helpers on the ground AP, Johan, Andries, Theo, Julian, Tim, Darius & DJ whose hard work kept the competition flowing and especially to Carol who kept the Facebook page going and without who, this report would not have been possible.
15 Meter Class
1 74 John Coutts 5,151
2 IG Anders Andersen 4,708
3 UJ Uys Jonker 4,556
1 97 Dicky Daly jnr. 4,465
2 27 David Maver 3,194
3 82 Wilhelm Mosehuus 2,877
1 EN Maarten Jonker / Ronald Termaat 4,717
2 TDM Martin Scharff / Robert Bristow 4,291
3 LO Riaan Denner / Arjan Schaap 4,252
1 S10 Mark Hardman / Beatrice Schaefer 3,561
2 12 Albert Willemse / David Lentle 3,330
3 S12 Peter Bailey 2,681
BAT Laurence Hardman Magalies Gliding Club JS1 Revelation 100
EVO Rob Tifin Cape Gliding Club JS 1 Revelation 100
2R Michael Tiffin Akavlieg Potchefstroom ASW 27 95
JR Andreas Spielmann JS 3 TJ 1 99
YO Murray Paton Magalies Gliding Club Ventus 2 CM 96
EY Sven Olivier Cape Gliding Club ASW 27 95
UJ Uys Jonker Akavlieg Potchefstroom J S 3 102
XF Philip Jonker Akavlieg Potchefstroom JS 1 Revelation 1 100
OG Attie Jonker Akavlieg Potchefstroom JS 3 TJ 15 102
2T Mark Holiday Magalies Gliding Club ASW 27 15 95
LG Laurens Goudriaan Cape Gliding Club JS 3 TJ 102
SJ Peter Farrell Cape Gliding Club JS 1 Revelation 100
E2 Hanno du Toit Magalies Gliding Club Asw 27 95
74 John Coutts Magalies Gliding Club JS3-15 102
IG Anders Andersen JS 3 TJ 102
EN Maarten Jonker Nimbus 4D 98
TD Pieter Geldenhuys / AP Kotze Akavlieg Potchefstroom Duo Discus 91
TDM Martin Scharff / Robert Bristow El-mirador Gliding Club Nimbus4DM 98
KG Oscar & Charlene Goudriaan Akavlieg Potchefstroom ASG 101
LO Riaan Denner / Arjan Schaap Kroonstad Gliding Club ASG 32 101
EF Jason Adriaan Akavlieg Potchefstroom Duo Discus 91
82 Wilhelm Mosehuus Cape Gliding Club Mosquito 107
100 Richard Glennie Magalies Gliding Club ASW 20 110
WW Rene Coetzee Akavlieg Potchefstroom ASW 20 110
FG Mauritz Bonnet / Bernard Wenhold Janus 18.2m 102
1A Mike Van Niekerk Kranskop Gliding Club ASW 20F 110
27 David Maver Magalies Gliding Club ASW 20A 110
MW Dicky Daly snr. Akavlieg Potchefstroom LS6b 111
97 Dicky Daly jnr. Akavlieg Potchefstroom Std Cirrus 99
S10 Mark Hardman / Beatrice Schaefer Eastern Province Stemme S10 90
12 Albert Willemse / David Lentle Stemme S12 90
S12 Peter Bailey East Rand Gliding Club Stemme S12 90
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