SAC Nationals and Air Show 2023 New Tempe Bloemfontein
By Ricky Fouché
Photos by: Ricky Fouché, Jana Niemöller, Gregory Clegg and Kayle Wooll.
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Competition days 17 to 19 May 2023
Once again Tempe airport, just to the west of Bloemfontein, played host to the SAC National Aerobatic Competition. The event was organised by the local flying fraternity led by Conrad Botha and Machiel Du Plessis.
Two of the competitors were already on the field on the previous Friday. Andrew Blackwood-Murray and Pierre Du Plooy arrived at Tempe and started their practice. Pilots need to adapt to the altitude of the airport as air gets thinner the higher the altitude and thus there is a loss in performance of the aircraft.
Eleven pilots, using ten different aircraft, took part in the competition.
There would have been two competitors in the RV class but unfortunately Ian Beaton had to cancel due to work commitments. Therefor Div Visser was the sole competitor in that class.
Warren Eva, Roger Deare, Ingmar Bezuidenhout and Jurie Steyn was the contestants in this class. Jurie managed to fly his “Known” program and one “Unknown” program before coming down with a bug that made him decide to, for safety reasons, withdraw from the contest as well. Aircraft used in this class were a Yak 55, Extra 300, Extra 200 and a Zlin 50.
The advanced contenders were Barrie Eeles, Tristan Eeles, Elton Bondi, Pierre Du Plooy, Andrew Blackwood-Murray and Kayle Wooll. Barrie is actually an “Unlimited” pilot so his scores were not considered in the final competition results but he did score the highest points in the class. Well done Barrie. Aircraft used in this class were two Extra 330 SC's, one Extra 330 LX, one Extra 300 and a Giles 202.
Unfortunately this class drew no entrants and thus it was not contested. There were two pilots present that are capable of flying in the class but it was decided not to include it in the competition. Patrick Davidson and Barrie Eeles are both extremely competent unlimited pilots and it was a pleasure to see them fly.
The contest started on Wednesday afternoon and seven pilots managed to fly their known programs before the light got too low for any further competition flying. Thursday morning it was once again “All Systems Go” and we were treated to twelve flights in the morning and seven in the afternoon. Friday saw the conclusion of all the programs and the competition for 2023 was all over bar the prizegiving.
There were eight judges, three scribes, contest director, scoring director and videographer.
Chief Judge was Quintin Hawthorne. Judges were Johnie Smith, Mike Stark, Lazlo Liszkay, T-K Nicholson, Maritza Boswel, Nadine Brooker and Kelly McAuley. Contest director was Annie Boon and Scoring director was Natalie Stark. Scribes were Tertia Smith, Machiel Du Plessis and Gregory Clegg and myself as videographer.
The three days were spent as follows. Briefings in the mornings, Judges heading out to the judging point, pilots taking off and flying their programs, lunch and then briefings, judges getting ready and flying programs again.
Air Traffic Control ATC
The two controllers on duty was Benji Phukubje (Senior ATC from Lanseria International Airport FALA) and Phemelo Kgoale (ATC from Kimberley Airport FAKM). These two guys did a sterling job in controlling all the traffic for the duration of the competition as well as the following air show.
General Observations during the competition.
Pilots walking through their programs before taking to the sky:
Warren, Kayle and Ingmar looking like Kung-Fu figthers.
Judges' Positions (Literally)
Winter trousers in Bloemfontein
Ingmar brought his, Phalaborwa, winter trousers to Bloemfontein.
Claiming early victory
Warren displaying what is to come.
Checking out the competition
Warren and Ingmar and Barrie and Tristan keeping an eye on things.
Cleanest Aeroplane goes to!!!
Elton Bondi and his Extra 330 SC.
Time for some fun was also possible
Steel Wooll, Skydiving, Scooter racing and selfies was also part of the event.
Sponsors are the lifeblood of these events and we say thank you to SRM Fuel and Logistics for sponsoring a R3000 fuel voucher as a lucky prize for any participating pilot and also a R2000 fuel voucher for a lucky competitor that flew in from the Cape Town area.
The Salley's Group for providing bikes and ATV's for use as run-arounds.
Airborne Café for letting us make use of their facilities for our briefings, meetings and
And finally, the guys and girls from ER 24 Emergency services. They were there from day one and always ready to respond. These are the people you always want at an event but you never want to make use of their services.
World Advanced Aerobatics Competition WAAC
The team for the WAAC is:
Elton Bondi, Barrie Eeles, Pierre Du Plooy, Tristan Eeles, Kayle Wooll, Cliff Lotter, Andrew Blackwood-Murray and Leigh Le Gonidec with Annie Boon as Team Manager. Well done to you all and go make SA proud in Las Vegas during November 2023.
Chairman and Vice Chairman of SAC for the next term
The annual general meeting AGM was held on the evening of 19 May 2023 and Warren Eva was elected Chairman and Ingmar Bezuidenhout as Vice Chairman. Congratulations to you both. Thank you Cliff Lotter for your service during the previous term.
Air Show day 20 May 2023
With the frost still thick on the ground, things started coming to life on Tempe Airport. Tents and Gazebo's were being occupied, branding displayed, displays prepared, access control put in place and me waiting for coffee at the Pilots and VIP's tent.
To present an air show is a huge undertaking. Months of planning, meetings, arrangements and the hunt for sponsors are required to just get things started.
Emergency services needs to be arranged, fencing, exhibitors spaces demarcated, grass cut, volunteer helpers to be found and crowd control systems need to be put in place.
I arrived at 05:50 so that I could dodge the traffic. It was quite chilly and the winter woollies were donned.
The briefing is compulsory for all display participants. The program gets finalised and all safety aspects emphasised. The Organiser, Program director, Safety director, emergency services and Air Traffic Control each have a turn at briefing all those present. All this happens under the watchful eye of the Civil Aviation representatives. The ATC, Benji, is small in stature but a big man nonetheless. Conrad lifted Benji on to a chair so that he would be visible to all. Some fun before all the serious air show business starts.
CAA was represented by the very competent duo of Piet Fourie and Rowland Leibrandt. Program director was Rikus Erasmus. Safety Director was Cliff Lotter and they were assisted by Louise Hofmeyr and Belinda Lotter. The ATC's were once again Benji and Phemelo.
First up was the cavalcade of emergency services vehicles. The parade consisted of emergency response vehicles like the Rosenbauer Supreme Buffalo fire tender from ACSA (Airports Company of South Africa) and the Toyota Quantum Ambulance of ER 24.
Next was the skydivers jumping from the Atlas Angel aka Kudu on Steroids. The jumpers were led by the internationally renowned skydive instructor Graham Field, who also did the jump out of the inverted Yak 52 flown by Warren Eva later in the day.
Following the skydivers it was the turn of local Radio Flyers with a wide range of remote controlled aircraft. Amongst these were model J10 fighter jets, FIAZ Mirage and an Impala in the colours and squadron markings of 83 Jet Flying School with tail number 594.
Amazing displays which even included formation flying.
Glider Launch and Landing
Then it was time to go silent and graceful as the Lambada took off, from the glider field at Bloemfontein Gliding Club, with a glider in tow. Unfortunately winter is not the best time for gliding as there is little to no lift available. Thus the display was rather short but still very beautiful.
Extra 330 SC
Now came the time for Barrie Eeles to entertain us with some high energy aerobatics in his, blue and white, Extra 330 SC. He provided a great display even after flying four very challenging aerobatic programs in the competition over the last three days.
Hangar 51 was up next with Grant Timms flying a great display with the beautifully painted Aero L29R Delfin Jet trainer. Grant flew the jet out of Bram Fischer airport, did his display and landed back at Bram Fischer. Such a good looking aircraft.
Extra 300 LP
Once again we had an Extra aircraft entertaining us. Flying this well branded aircraft is ex fighter and SAAF pilot Andrew Blackwood-Murray. The aircraft is the Nashua branded Extra 300LP (LP for Low wing and Performance)
A first for the only formation team of the day. This is the RV Formo. The formation consisted of Mark Hensman in his, Liatt branded RV8, in number two slot was Johnie Smith in his RV8 and Eugene Du Preez completed the trio in his RV7. Patrick Davidson joined the team for the show and flew his Red Bull branded Game Bird in the number four slot. This was the team's first public display. They have been practicing the display for the days leading up to the show. Mark is based in Cape Town, Johnie in Hoedspruit, Eugene in Pretoria and Patrick in Sea View down in the Eastern Cape. So it was a truly National team. Well done guys.
Inverted Yak 52 para drop
The newly elected chairman of the Sport Aerobatic Club, Warren Eva, taxied out next with Graham Field in the back seat. Flying the robust Yak 52 they climbed to around 3000 foot above ground level. Warren pulled the Yak over to inverted and Graham made a hasty departure from the aircraft. This reminded me of the early air show days where we had the Flying Circus at all the shows and the had all types of different entertainment. It is always good to see new acts in the air show circuit.
Car Plane race.
This would have been Patrick Davidson racing his Game Bird against a Corvette but it turned out that Jason Beamish took up the challenge and taxied out in second of the two Extra 330SC's on the field. Alec Salley was the race starter and he set them off on their race. To the sounds of the Schumacher song, coming over the Capital Sounds PA, they set off on the race. I think the briefing failed to reach both parties and the Corvette left after the first lap. However it was still popular with the huge crowd and all enjoyed it. The end result was that the Corvette won and he then gave Jason a chance to display the Extra.
Red Bull GameBird GB1
The final act before the Lunch Break was reserved for Mr Red Bull himself Patrick Davidson. Patrick went out and did what he does best… Entertaining crowds with his high energy / high adrenaline display in his Game Composites GB1 GameBird. This is another beast of an aircraft. The powerplant is a Lycoming AEIO-580-B1A horizontally opposed, six-cylinder aircraft engine, 226 kW (303 hp). This engine is a 580 cubic inch motor that, if converted to metric, is a 9 and a half liter motor (That is more than three Ford 3 Liter V6's) JUST SAYING. The cruising speed is around 200 knots which is around 370 km/h.
After lunch the morning program was repeated to cater for those people that arrived late and missed some of the acts.
Those who must be obeyed
On the top tier of the control tower we had the two ATC's and a CAA representative. One floor below was the Program director or aka Air Boss, Safety director and their two very competent sidekicks. At the bottom was the Capital Sounds mobile broadcast unit and Piet Fourie keeping an eye on all of us.
A very big thank you goes to all the organisers and their teams. Well done on a very well organised and also a very safe show day. Let us hope the air show drought has now been broken in Bloemfontein.