Tag Archives: Springs Grand Prix Navigation Rally

Springs Grand Prix Navigation Rally – 23 November 2019

As an extension to the Speed Rally being held on the same day, the South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) decided to look at Grand Prix version of the Speed Rally, with the view to have more spectator value in two mediums, one being visual, and the other watching it on a live tracking screen. As a concept it was master minded by Jonty Esser to try out.

Thank you to Adelaar BlueStar and Sapphirus BlueStar from Sanlam Financial Advisory Services Sanlam Grand Prix Girls chaperoned our Elite selected Grand Prix Pilots and Navigators, making sure
they were well looked after and kept covered in the shade at all times with the Sanlam umbrellas.

The circuit is akin to a grand prix circuit in the sky, and of course easy to make one as the sky is the
limit…. The format remains exactly the same as the speed rally, any type of aircraft can take part, and is handicapped with the intent to look at a simultaneous finish over the finish line.

The course is around 60 nm long and consists of three laps of 20 nm each, so that at each lap you can
start to see how the competitors are closing up. The track is in fact a corridor, similar as is done in the Air

Navigation Race (ANR), and the idea is to keep within that corridor which if you go out of bounds then the
idea is to give an instant penalty – that is if the live tracking is working sufficiently well enough. Every
corridor infringement will result in a 15 second “close the throttle” penalty.

A track was laid out, and Jonty and a number of selected teams started to practice the concept, this kind of navigation is one that it is no longer looking for an intersection or a dam wall, now the resolution has to be such to be able to fly through a needle, looking for the red carport next to the green house roof. The track is 0.8 nm in width, this providing manoeuvring room in the sometimes constant turns and chicanes.

The way to win is as with a Formula 1 race, keep to the inside of the track to obtain the shortest route, as the handicap is based on the centre of the course, thus the objective is to fly a route shorter that the
median by hugging the inside track and keeping far enough away for not corridor infringements. The handicapping speeds were provide by Rob Jonkers who looked at the circuit, the turns and overall
distance to make an educated calculation.

The way to win is as with a Formula 1 race, keep to the inside of the track to obtain the shortest route, as the handicap is based on the centre of the course, thus the objective is to fly a route shorter that the
median by hugging the inside track and keeping far enough away for not corridor infringements. The handicapping speeds were provide by Rob Jonkers who looked at the circuit, the turns and overall distance to make an educated calculation.

After the main Speed Rally event, and a 2 nd briefing of the selected 7 competitors for the GP, all of them having practiced the route, the teams were set off by Jacques Jacobs as the flag man at the allocated
time, with the teams off into the course, and as they came around you could see them all getting closer to each other, up to the point of the last lap where Jonty’s Cessna 150 came over the line 45 seconds before
the remainder who came over the line very closely, with Nigel Hopkins & Mary de Klerk came in second and Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuizen in 3 rd place. After touch down, a Champagne cork popping
podium winners circle was held with trophies handed over, just like F1.

As a concept, this is still in its infancy, the Sport Aerobatics Club (SAC) has expressed great interest in being part of this new format, as have Airshows South Africa, as it will be great to have more sections of
the Aero Club be part of inter section support. The handicapping will still require some work, but with sufficient data, this can be developed, as does the live tracking system, which is still an elusive
mechanism not being robust enough and costly, and possibly our networks may have insufficient bandwidth, but am sure will converge onto a solution.

What was very visible at this Speed Rally weekend, was the enthusiasm of the aviation youth that were
present, and working on making the format of our events to be more exciting should bring in the youth to
take part more.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial