Tag Archives: SAPFA Rally

The 2020 Brakpan Airport Navigation Rally

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.  

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.  


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.    


ZU-DUU

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.  

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. 

One of the tracks of the participating aircraft!

Apart from the Robbie 66, another aircraft of interest was the Mushak, which is featured in the latest Pilot’s Post. 

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 home via Selcourt.  

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:

Landing Competition:


PilotNavigatorAircraftScore
1Apie KotzeFrederick KotzeR 660
2Andre KluytzDon LucasC 17210
3Antony RussellPamela RussellC 17220
4Jonty EsserSandi GoddardC 15030
5Von HammonAndy GouwsC15040

Class 3 (The Fun Rally section):


PilotNavigatorAircraftPoints
1Von HammonAndy GouwsC150974
2Hilton WolfRob OsnerMushak1374
3Roydon GilliesJustin DorringtonPA 28-1401781
4Clarrissa de CostaKerry MathysenC1521989

Class 2 (The Intermediate Section):


PilotNavigatorAircraftPoints
1Thys van der MerweSally ShawC172594

Class 1 (The Unlimited or Open Section):


PilotNavigatorAircraftPoints
1Jonty EsserSandi  GoddardC150435
2Antony RussellPamela RussellC172539
3Rob JonkersMartin MeyerC182709
4Hans SchwebelRon StirkC150741
5Andre KluytsDon LucasC1721085
6Apie KotzeFrederick KotzeR661210
7Hendrik LootsJandre LootsSling1214
8Derek BirdQuentin TaylorSuper Decathlon1586
9Milan DanizCaroline KollTC071856
10Piet MeyerAdrienne VisserJabiru J4001956
11Fanie ScholtzHerman HaasbroekSling 22800

A score less than 2000 indicates that with the training and discipline the pilots experience at Nationals, they should be able to be selected to represent South Africa in Stellenbosch in November.  

Nationals take place from Thursday 2 – 4 April, with training at your own discretion.  Look out also for our very exciting Speed Rallies. Please see our website sapfa.org.co.za for our events calendar.

By Cally Eckard

SAPFA Rally Practical Training Camp – 22 Feb 2020

SAPFA Rally Practical Training Camp – Brakpan 22 February 2020 – by Rob Jonkers

After learning the theoretical side of Navigation plotting at the training camp held at Aerosud on the 18th of January, it was time to put into practice what was learned with a practical flight. The SAPFA national coach Jonty Esser put together a short route in the Brakpan Heidelberg area with 4 turnpoints to be flown by participating teams.

The weather however did not play ball at all, restricting participants to arrive by air, however many decided to drive in, to at least do some ground school. At the end there were 9 teams that participated. On hand from the SAPFA Protea members were Jonty Esser, Frank Eckard, Sandi Goddard and Rob Jonkers imparting their knowledge to the teams.

The theme of the morning was to gain knowledge on practical flying, how to accurately bingo each turn point in time, how to approach the start, this always being the most difficult part of any rally, firstly to find it, and then to get there at the start time. Then the dynamics of keeping on time on each leg, approaching the next turn point and identifying the photo being correct or incorrect. First up was Frank Eckard who explained all the required strategies of flying, explaining that you have to be in the right frame of mind to take part in this sport, extreme focus and concentration will get one to the winning post.

Frank Eckard – Strategies of Flying a Rally

Thereafter Jonty provided an outline to the planned flight route for the day – which could not be flown, but an explanation of how to set up the aircraft to fly the route, to get to the nominated 1000 ft altitude, set the flaps and power setting, then to adjust timing by changing the aircraft’s attitude to speed up or slow down, rather than utilize power changes as power changes disturb the fundamental speed set up.

Jonty Esser – How to set up your aircraft in flight

After Jonty, Rob showed a short video of a practical flight demonstrating what photos look like on the ground and the visual angles and distances to be able to recognize them, and from what altitude these would be best visible.

A practical out of the cockpit view of en-route photo recognition

After a short break, it was decided to carry out a real plotting exercise of the Rand Rally Challenge against the clock with a 30 minute deadline, essentially 2 minutes per plotting point. It gave everybody an incentive to attempt to beat the clock. With new teams this proved daunting, thus more focus was provided on techniques of using the tools and developing the skills to use them.

Clarissa & Kerry busy with their plot

Clarissa & Kerry busy with their plot

Milan, Caroline & Andy busy with their plots

Karyn & Leon happy they have aced their plot in the allotted time

The Track shown of Route 2 – an anti-clockwise route

SAPFA Rally Training Camp

SAPFA Rally Training Camp – Aerosud Premises 18 January 2020 –
by Rob Jonkers – Photos by Flippie van Emmenis

SAPFA held a very successful training event on Rally Navigation on Saturday 18th January as the first SAPFA event of the year. Building on the successful event held last year at the same time, we decided to hold another one, particularly that this year is the year where SAPFA hosts the World Rally Flying Championships in November in Stellenbosch. There were 30 participants for the day, including many of the current SAPFA Protea team members who were assisting the trainees and our media friends. The Aerosud canteen was again the venue of choice lending itself well to this size of training camp.

It is great to see the sport being supported so enthusiastically, and the willingness to learn these basic skills of map reading and planning. The Chairman of SAPFA opened the camp with a brief outline of the plans of SAPFA in terms of events for the year, that the Aero Club also holds its Centenary year resulting in a packed calendar for the year, and from that look at developing and exposing particularly the youth to recreational aviation.

The Participants – 30 in total

With that Mary de Klerk took charge and laid out the objectives of the day, by initially going through the theory of plotting, and then to practice on an actual plot. With this year of 2020 having a full event calendar, and the Nationals coming up in April in Stellenbosch, this training event would serve as an excellent platform to entice new members to the sport and to start training for the Internationals and obtain Protea Colours.

Mary first started off with having everybody introduce themselves, and what they each had as objectives for training, some were there as newbies interested in taking part in the sport, some having taken part previously indicated they needed some formal and expert training, and some others indicated they just wanted to delve more in depth than what a ppl course would give on the art of paper based navigation.

From there Mary outlined the theory on plotting procedures and described the tools of the trade. Then it was off to plotting an example course which had to be done from basic plotting principles of co-ordinates, bearings (which could be in either true or magnetic) and distances (either in nm of km). Each turning point then had to be found and identified and linked into legs, some of which could be arcs or follow map features.

The goal in getting to National level standard is to be able to plot in the aircraft with a papers time of around 30-40 minutes prior take-off, which means speed is of the essence in doing the plot, so that the navigator can assist with finding and identifying the ground photos.

The morning’s training ended off at around 10h30 am, and after a short break, everybody got organized on plotting the example route provided which was the 2019 Rand Airport Challenge, got the laminated transparent tool, which they had to cut out, and proceeded to plot each of the turn points making up the route up until Turn Point 4, and after lunch at around 12, continued to finish the plot to the Finish Point.

After the plot was done, Mary opened up Google Earth, and “flew” the route along the plot lines to show where the photos were, and what they would look like against the photo sheets that are provided. This then effectively ended the day’s training at around 2 PM.

Everybody left with some knowledge gained on plotting and techniques of planning & flying a rally, and it is hoped that many will come to the Rand Challenge on the 25th January and Nationals in April.

The Rally Plotting Class of 2019 – with Teacher Mary de Klerk

SAPFA Rally Flying Training Camp – Brits Airfield 16 February 2019

SAPFA Rally Flying Training Camp – Brits Airfield 16 February 2019 – by Rob Jonkers

As a follow-on to the Rally Navigation Training events held at Aerosud on the 19th of January 2019, it was planned to fly the practice route that was plotted on that day. The 16th February was chosen and as the week unfolded with almost daily rain, it looked auspicious to get good weather, although it looked a little promising on Friday. As the day dawned, the clouds were on the deck throughout Gauteng, north of the Magalies in the Brits area was a bit better. The cloud base only started lifting around 9 am, and then only in patches, so even with 12 teams registered to take part, only 4 teams eventually were able to get to Brits. Frank & Cally Eckard prepared the route packs for the teams and were on hand to do the scoring. 

Frank Eckard – Presenting the Rally Flying Techniques Course

The focus of the day was more related to flying techniques and Frank Eckard provided an hour’s presentation on how to prepare the cockpit, roles of the crew in work sharing, organizing the photos, flying techniques such as speed management, altitude, approach to turn points.

Nigel Hopkins & Mary de Klerk preparing their maps for their flight

The teams then plotted the course, basically replotted the course that was previously prepared a month ago, and went to fly the route. Aerobatics ace & SAA Captain Nigel Hopkins who has been a previous rally world champion 15 years ago, flew with experienced navigator Mary de Klerk, and proved by his excellent score of 64 penalty points that he has not lost his touch in rally flying.

Leon Bouttell & Karyn Purchase preparing their Plots

Veteran Protea Pilot Thys vd Merwe preparing the maps with Navigator Frans Smit

As SAPFA is preparing for the World Rally Flying Championships in 2020, the focus on these two years prior the event, is to gain as many South African qualified teams to take part, and every event being held this year will be an event that can improve skills.

Nigel & Mary preparing the cockpit

To achieve world standard qualification, there is a route to achieve these skills in classes, with Advanced Class as the definitive level of competition, where existing Protea teams would compete and new teams would vie to achieve a qualification standard. The initial Sportsman’s Class is the entry level where teams gain experience to get to try their hand at the Advanced Class. There is also an Intermediate Class, which has a combination of Protea pilots and navigators that fly or navigate with new team members as further skill building in a step to achieve an Advanced level.

A competitive score for Nigel on a route with arcs and follow the feature

The next rally is being held at Virginia on the 26th March, and as the weather was not favourable on this weekend, SAPFA will look at rescheduling this event again at a future date.

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