Tag Archives: Secunda Navigation Speed Rally

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

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