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Pilot Insure Secunda Navigation Speed Rally

The Pilot Insure Secunda Navigation Speed Rally – 10 August 2019 by Rob Jonkers

This Speed Rally held at Secunda on the 10th August was the finale of the 2018/19 season, and the 6th in the series, where it had returned to the birth of the Speed Rally concept just under a year ago. This format of rally has gone from strength to strength with increasing entrants and popularity, with an initial entry list of 23 to over 40 at its peak at the Bethlehem event in June 2019.

This being the season finale, the season winners were to be crowned on Saturday at the prize-giving at the Secunda club. The Secunda club went all out to make this a memorable event, and between SAPFA and the club had also arranged Video recording teams to follow the preparation and the event’s proceedings. The entries started out at 40, but some competitors dropped out due to technical issues, and by Friday morning 32 entries were confirmed.

Club Chairman Hardie Voges made arrangements for food on site, accommodation and providing local members to assist with officiating. Some of the officials arrived early Friday to prepare the course and finalize the entries and their handicaps, where test flights were done throughout the day.

This event is one that is flown at full speed under handicap conditions, the course is around 125 nm long, has 11 or so turning points, with each turning point identified with a correct photograph. For this event the route was mostly to the northeast of the airfield, not in the most scenic part of the country, which is mostly dotted with power stations and coal mines, but then the competitors would have been more concerned about keeping track than looking at scenery.

The weather on Friday started out real well, as the competition director flew in as a first arrival at 8 am with virtually no wind and with a warm day unfolding, but by noon the wind started to pick up and became gusty in the late afternoon with a severe temperature drop, this being due to cold front moving through skirting the east coast. Arrivals started to pick up in the afternoon, and with four new teams, Mary de Klerk provided some dedicated training for these teams.

Thereafter at 18h30, Jonty Esser as the Race Master introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and also how the scoring system would world work with expected weather conditions, which looked like early morning low cloud cover but lifting towards the middle of the day.

Race Master Jonty Esser then took to the stage in his signature competing crew introductory theme song videos and race number handouts, and also including introductions to the event and team sponsors. With increasing popularity, more and more sponsors have come on board, and there are now 6 teams being sponsored by entities all vying for the teams to obtain top honors in winning, the latest being The Airplane Factory sponsoring the Sling team of David Ross & James Braid, and Beegle micro trackers sponsoring the team of Johan Whiteman & Quinton Kruger. A scrumptious braai was laid on by the club to end the evening with around the fire stories on a high note.

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For Saturday the briefing started at 8h30, which was a shortened version just to cover the basics of the route, radio procedures and weather. An opportunity was provided by the Speed Rally main sponsor Pilot Insure of the benefits of Aviation Life Insurance cover for pilots, followed by Beegle Micro Trackers, who provided some information on available flight trackers using the Iridium Satellite system, and would be tracking 6 aircraft in the rally to watch their progress on a screen in the clubhouse, that would provide spectator value to the event. The weather turned out to have low cloud develop in the north west, and some teams could not arrive in time to take part with most of Jhb & Pta showing rainy and IMC conditions, but as the morning wore on, the weather improved, although the wind started to pick up from the north as well.

With the briefing over, teams prepared their aircraft, while the organisers got the papers ready. Each team would then receive an envelope with a map, turnpoint photos, a minute marker and a GPS logger to record their track. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices sealed up in bags. For this event Century Avionics were on hand to also block off Aircraft GPS systems for those who volunteered.

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Karen, Conrad and Alex were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, and also handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were full. To assist the teams at getting their take-off roll accurate, a starting colour panel was used, which was set up next to the start line on the runway by Chief Marshal Jacques Jacobs and Mark Clulow, who would release them at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minutes prior take-off time, and then taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of take-off time. 1st take-off was at 10h40 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 11h10, with planned arrival at 12h00.

With all the competitors off towards the south west, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints. In general the competitors found the course easy enough this time round, with the photographs now in larger format to identify the ground features more prominently, which can be seen in the results where many had a clear round in their tracks. At just before 12 noon, the first aircraft over the line was the Harmony ZU-FWS with Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, followed 10 seconds later by two Slings with half a second between them followed by Jonty & Jonathan Esser’s C150. Within 2 minutes there were 15 aircraft over the line and within 6 minutes the remainder of the field, showing that less competitors had missed turnpoints or went wandering too far off course, however with the wind picking up, the first off and slower aircraft gained more speed on the downwind home stretch to clip their handicap speeds.

After all teams having returned, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, completing the individual scores by 3 pm, and then readied for the evening prize giving. The prize giving initially started with the MC Jonty Esser everybody involved in the Speed Rally series for the contributions, this was followed by Rob Jonkers showing some interesting tracks for the day. Thereafter certificates and medals were handed out to competitors and officials that contributed to the success of the events held over the last year. For this the final in the season, the overall winners with the best handicap speed was Leon Bouttell & Martin Meyer in their Harmony ZU-FWS, in second place were first timers Johann Horn & Deidre Batchelor in their Sling ZU-WMM, and in third place father and son Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK. The first twenty placings were the only crews who managed a clean penalty free round.

Final overall Handicap Results

Position Race nr A/c reg Aircraft Pilot Navigator
1 1 ZU-FWS Evektor Harmony Leon Bouttell Martin Meyer
2 26 ZU-WMM Sling 2 Johann Horn Deidre Batchelor
3 6 ZU-IHK Sling 2 Hendrik Loots Jandre Loots

Final overall Track Accuracy Results

Position Race nr A/c reg Aircraft Pilot Navigator
1 3 ZU-JAR Sling 2 David Ross James Braid
2 7 ZS-ACA Cirrus SR22 Ryan Shillaw Chris Shillaw
3 15 ZS-OZI Citabria Bob Cohoe Johann van Niekerk

Championship Final Results

Ranked Championship Points Pilot Navigator Aircraft Reg
1 1000 Leon Bottell Martin Meyer Evektor Sportstar Plus ZU-FBJ
2 935 David Ross James Braid Sling 2 ZU-JAR
3 885 Phil Wakeley Mary de Klerk C210 ZS-CNY

The winners in the accuracy category were the team of David Ross & James Braid in a Sling ZU-JAR, in second place was father & son Ryan & Chris Shillaw in a Cirrus SR22 ZS-ACA, and in third place Bob Cohoe & Johann van Niekerk in an American Champion Citabria ZS-OZI.

The overall season winners were Leon Bouttell & Martin Meyer with 1000 points, David Ross & James Braid with 935 points and in third place Phil Wakeley & Mary de Klerk with 885 points. For the entire series, there were 85 teams that competed over the 6 events.

Many thanks to the Secunda Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Jacques Jacobs with the ground marshals, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mark Clulow doing the scoring with our handicapping guru the honorable Chester Chandler, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering, Jonty & Lizelle & Sandy for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Thanks also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us, and the ATNS team for managing the ATC for the weekend.

Also to the sponsors Pilot Insure, who was the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, team sponsors Excel E&I – Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, The Airplane Factory – David Ross and James Braid, Pilots Post – Phil Wakeley and Mary De Klerk, Pilot Insure – Jonty and Jonathan Esser, Beegle Micro Trackers – Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing – Leon Joubert and Sandi Goddard.

ZS-OZI – third in the accuracy results

One of the tracks having gone a little pear shaped.

Photos by Charmaine Oliver Photography, Click here to view here Facebook page

Click To Enlarge photos

Middelburg Speed Rally 2019

The Pilot Insure Middelburg Navigation Speed Rally – 9 March 2019 by Rob Jonkers

The South African Power Flying Association held a very successful Speed Rally at the Aero Club Airweek 2019 at Middelburg. Originally scheduled as an Adventure Rally as was held in 2018, SAPFA decided to change this to a Speed Rally given the popularity of the event, with this one being the 4th in the series.

Within days of the announcement, the first 28 places were snapped up by competitors having taken part in the previous events, not leaving any room for new entrants, and it was decided to extend the field from the original maximum of 30 to 35, with an opportunity for the local Middelburg club members to take part. This event is one that is flown at full speed under handicap conditions, the course is around 120 nm long, has 11 or so turning points, with each turning point identified with a correct photograph.

Planning got underway in February to prepare the route, keeping in mind that with the Airweek as an event and an Airshow to coordinate with, in terms of take-off and landing slots of other arrivals and departures made the details challenging to plan. The route was kept to the north and east of the airfield, as most inbound and outbound traffic would be from the west.

Friday saw a fairly full day of test flights with some repeat test flights to reconfirm handicaps, with conditions mostly favourable although the cloud base was low in the morning. After the Safety Aviator Presentations which started just after 2 pm, Mary de Klerk had arranged to hold a training session on how to fly a Speed Rally, which was very well attended, and included a practical map preparation session on an example map, sharing the tips and tricks of how to follow the map features and timing points.

Thereafter at 6h30, Jonty Esser as the Race Master introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and also how the scoring system would world work with expected weather conditions, which looked as if it would be good.

Then all the competitors were treated to a briefing on Steroids on Friday night with the Speed Rally Race Master Jonty Esser having set up a show for the teams, with a real life lights, camera, action sequence, where each team were introduced with their team theme song, handed their race numbers. Jonty also introduced the teams to the Speed Rally website where a Speed Rally ranking system was created, with team profiles and their leaderboard position.

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Briefing on Steroids – race numbers being handed out

The evening ended with a braai hosted by the Middelburg Aero Club, before retiring for the night, some were camping under the wing or in Neil Bowden’s tent area. Saturday morning saw low cloud and some fog, although it started to lift and clear fairly soon, giving a go ahead to start the rally.

The briefing started at 8h30, which was a shortened version just to cover the basics of the route, radio procedures and weather. With the briefing over, teams prepared their aircraft, with marshals assisting in parking sequence, while the organisers got the papers ready. Each team would then receive an envelope with a map, turnpoint photos, a minute marker and a GPS logger to record their track. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices sealed up in bags, and although no onboard systems were disabled, it relied on an honour code to not utilise onboard GPS as a Navigation aid, however the course is designed as such that GPS would be of minimal benefit.

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The Rally line up getting ready to start

The intent is that everybody uses the basic skills of navigation plotting and flying, and operate as a team in terms of cockpit workload, and with the course layout with short legs it for sure makes the crew resource work sharing all the more important. The idea would be that each crew would receive a pre-plotted map already complete with the route, turning points, headings, altitudes, where the map would not have any lat/long or grid references. This would be provided 20 minutes prior take-off to allow route orientation and the plotting of minute markers.

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The skopgat team of Von Hamman & Ron Stirk in their C150 ZS-IWD

In this format, there are two objectives, fly against a pre-determined handicap speed for each aircraft, and fly the shortest route around the course which would consist of a minimum of 10 turning points, and any aircraft would be able to compete, from slower LSA aircraft to the fast turbo singles or twins. The idea would be to test the speed capability and navigation skills of each crew against each other, where the most accurate flying and turn performance management would win the rally.

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Father & Sone team of Hendrik & Jandre Loots

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Charlene, Jean, Conrad, Frans and David were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, and also handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were full. To assist the teams at getting their take-off roll accurate, a starting colour panel was used, which was set up next to the start line on the runway by Chief Marshal Hans Potgieter and Mark Clulow, which would release them at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minutes prior take-off time, and then taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of take-off time. 1st take-off was at 09h55 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h50, with planned arrival at 11h30, the fast Cirrus ZS-ACA only needing 40 minutes to complete the course.

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Scrutineering the team of Piet Meyer & Adrienne Visser in their Jabiru ZU-DUU

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With all the competitors off towards the north, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints to contend with to give competitors a chance to always be aware of where they were, but some turnpoints were a challenge find, especially if the colour of the surrounding ground features had changes since the photos were taken. Although Turnpoint 2 was essentially along the road going past the airfield, it was still difficult to find apparently given how many were searching for it. Quite a few competitors cut the corners on turnpoints including Phil & Mary who during her training session warned everybody to “go round the TP”.

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Chief Marshall Hans Potgieter at the Starting Point

After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, and with the new loggers were able to complete the scores by 1 pm, and everybody were given their score sheets. Prize giving would only be in the evening so the teams and officials could enjoy the Airshow for the afternoon.

With everybody settling in for the VIP dinner hosted by the Middelburg Aero Club, and opening speeches and starters enjoyed by the guests, the prize giving was coordinated by Jonty Esser acting as the MC for this time slot, with firstly aircraft judging certificates handed out by EAA’s Sean Cronin, and thereafter a showing of a number of interesting flight tracks given by Rob Jonkers, which for this rally turned out overall to be very good, with only one competitor having had some navigation trouble, and for sure the overall standard is improving, with all aircraft over the line within 7 minutes. As the teams were visible approaching the field, first in view was Jonty Esser in the slowest aircraft a Foxbat being chased down by Phil Wakeley in a C210, who crossed the line within 8 seconds of each other. Some other interesting facts were that the full field also completed the course with an average of 7 nm overflown and the best performance against handicap time was 25 seconds.

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After this the Speed Rally promo video was shown, and then the prize giving, which was hosted by Frans Smit from Pilot Insure who was this Speed Rally’s main sponsor. First a Hard Luck certificate was handed out to Jaco Goosen whose C182 fell into a subterranean aardvark tunnel and damaged the horizontal stabilizer, then Jonty handed over the Club Trophy to Richardt Lovett and the Middelburg team.

The overall winners in the best handicap speed were the team of Jonty Esser and Jonathan Esser in a Foxbat ZU-DYE, in second place was Arthur de Kock and Freddie van Rooyen in their Jabiru J430 ZU-MEL, and in third place Hendrik Loots and Jandre Loots in their Sling 2 ZU-IHK. The first fourteen placings were the only crews who managed a clean penalty free round.

The winners in the accuracy category were the team of David Ross and James Braid in their Sling 2 ZU-JAR, in second place was Johan van Eeden and Cor Esterhuizen in their RV7 ZU-IHH, and in third place the skopgat team of Ron Stirk and Von Hamman in their C150 ZS-IWD.

Many thanks to the Middelburg Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Hans Potgieter with the ground marshals, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mark Clulow doing the scoring with our handicapping guru Chester Chandler, Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews, Jonty & Lizelle for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Also thanks to Mary de Klerk for the time made available to do the training course held on Friday, it for sure helped the teams to gain an understanding of what to expect.

Also to the sponsors Pilot Insure, who was the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, also to Pilot’s Post for sponsoring the team of Phil Wakeley and Mary de Klerk, and provided three key reasons for this, the first one being that the Speed Rally as a brand is seen as the future of competitive flying, second being that the Speed Rally brand will add value to our brand, third being that they believe that Phil and Mary are the perfect ambassadors for Pilot’s Post and they will carry our flag high.

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The next speed rally is in Bethlehem on the 8th June 2019

The winning track – ZU-DYE

Having a bad day, but not bad considering the good recovery – ZU-LAX

 

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