Tag Archives: Speed Navigation Rally

The SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally – 12 September 2020

by Rob Jonkers

This year we have returned again to the birth place of the Speed Rally, being the 3 rd time this event has been held here, and appropriate that our Speed Rally event during these unprecedented times has come
back to its roots, with 8 months having passed from the last one held in Witbank. Although this would have been the season finale, SAPFA had decided to extend this 2nd season up to the end of the year to also
include Springs which will be held on the 28th November, this will then at least have had 2020 with 3 events, then we can start afresh with a new season in 2021.

Once after lockdown level 3 we were granted the means to hold events, planning started for Secunda, with competitors having snapped up the open spots of 23 teams within days, given the popularity of this
event. At least under Level 2 Covid guidelines, overnighting could also be done, with arrivals and test flights on Friday the 11th , as well as the extended briefing on steroids with the race number handouts.

Our host club with Chairman Johan van Niekerk went all out to support the event, making arrangements for food on site, and contacts for accommodation, and the use of club facilities. Arrivals started coming in
from just before midday with flight tests commencing in good conditions under the guidance of Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin, the wind however started to pick up with gusty conditions, which at least settled
down in the late afternoon.

Thereafter at 18h30, Jonty Esser as the MC 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 turn-points, distance,
departure and arrivals protocol, and also how the scoring system would world work and the expected weather conditions.

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, which has
unfortunately reduced over this last period, but was great to see that some sponsors were able to maintain their support for their teams. A scrumptious braai was laid on by the club to end the evening with around
the fire stories on a high note.

For Saturday the briefing started at 08h30, which was a shortened version just to cover the basics of the route, radio procedures and weather, which turned out to be pristine conditions with very little wind.
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, turn-point 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 Mark & Shane from Century Avionics were on hand to also block off / seal Aircraft
GPS and autopilot systems.

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle and Sean were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices,handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were full. Chief Marshall Adrian
Cronje and Starter Mark Clulow set up at the starting line adjacent the threshold of Runway 29, who would release each aircraft at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers
at 20 minutes prior take-off time, taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of brake release. 1 st take-off was at 10h10 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h40, with planned arrival at 11h30.

With all the competitors off towards the north west, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points. 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 11h30, the first aircraft over the line was a little early,and then followed by at least three quarters of the field within 1 minute, with tail enders after that.

After all teams having returned, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, completing the individual scores by 13:30, with prize giving at 14:00. MC Jonty Esser thanked everybody in the Speed Rally series for their contributions, this was followed by Rob Jonkers showing some interesting tracks for the day.

Thereafter trophies were handed out to firstly the host club for hosting the event, their club house now sporting 3 of these trophies, the most interesting track flown which went to Hilton Wolff and Rob Osner
and the best crew spirit going to Lourence Matthee and Christo Erasmus.

The winners in the handicap category were father and son Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK, in second place Eugene van Staden & Manaf Mubarak in their Sling ZU-IBH and in third place Leon Joubert & Sandi Goddard in their Lancair ZU-LNC. The first thirteen placings were the only crews who managed a clean penalty free round.

The winners in the accuracy category were again father and son Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK, in second place also father and son Johan Whiteman & Quintin Kruger in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, and in third place Phil Wakeley & Mary de Klerk in their C210 ZS-CNY.

Many thanks to the Secunda Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Adrian Cronje as the Chief Marshall, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk de Vos doing the scoring, Mark Clulow & Sean Cronin doing test flights and starting, Marc & Shane for 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, and the ATNS team for managing the ATC for the weekend.

The Pilot Insure Witbank Speed Navigation Rally

The Pilot Insure Witbank Speed Navigation Rally – 2 February 2020 by Rob Jonkers (photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers)

This first of the Pilot Insure Speed Rallies for 2020 has been held at Witbank, the 2nd for Season 2, successfully organized by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. Planning for this event began in November 2019 with a reconnaissance to Witbank to review the logistics for the weekend. The Witbank team went out of their way to make this a memorable event for the weekend, their members having got involved in many of the aspects of achieving a great competition.

With the first event of the season behind us held at Springs, the SAPFA team and competitors held a further debrief to review options on further improvements, most notably to look at the scoring of navigation accuracy which is now normalised to ensure slow or fast aircraft types have equal chance in scoring for navigation accuracy, also scores are counted for both Navigation & Handicap where before if you won in the handicap class in the first 3 places, the scores were excluded in the accuracy class.

Entries for Witbank were 34, with 4 GPS class competitors and 8 more in the Grand Prix part of the event. There were also two schools taking part, the Mach 1 school from Springs and first time entry from Rhino Park LST – Light Sport Aviation Training. The Grand Prix event is the 2nd event in this Season 2, and is proving very popular from the result of the 1st try out held in Springs.

The route for this weekend was planned at 146nm, had 10 turning points, and for added spectator value now included a crossover, this is where the course was anti-clockwise, to cross over the airfield, and then clockwise to return from the east. The cross-over was planned to have the first of the slower aircraft already passing over while a number of the faster aircraft were still waiting to take-off.

The route in the first portion was mostly to the north and west, at the starting point of some of the valleys and rivers meandering into the Loskop Dam, the second portion towards the scenic north-east towards the eastern shores of the Loskop dam, and then back around Middelburg and some not so scenic coal fields and flatter landscapes.

The weather on Friday started out real well, the forecast not predicting any rain, but there were plenty of thermals about. Flight testing was carried out all day with Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin, although with some strong thermals in the afternoon had to wait for this to die down before continuing.

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The team of Johan Sayers & Jack Coetzer preparing to mount their Harvard ZU-WSE

The Friday afternoon initial briefing started at 18h30, David le Roux being the new 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 worked in terms of penalties as well as the expected weather conditions, which was predicted to be clear with a light and variable wind from the east swinging north east.

All the competitors were then treated to a briefing on Steroids with Race Master David le Roux introducing all the teams to come up to the stage with a fanfare of theme songs and handing out race stickers. thereafter everybody was treated to a lamb on the spit meal provided by the host club before retiring for the evening.

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The team of Pierre vd Merwe and Neville Ferreira plotting on their wing of the Sling ZU-FWY

Saturday morning dawned with perfect flying conditions, a clear day with virtually no wind, but as the morning wore on the wind started to pick up, and from the South East which favouring Rwy 22, except the planned runway to be used was 04, as the cross-over was at the threshold of 04.

The briefing started at 07h00 am and was concluded at around 8, where everybody dispersed first for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers and refuelers. The wind was remaining stuck in the south easterly direction and had increased in strength, with Rob fretting over whether to delay the start to a little later to allow the wind to swing more to the predicted north easterly direction, a quick phone call to Deon vd Mescht our weather guru, confirmed the wind would swing but ever so slowly. By 9h30 the wind started to die down a little, and it was decided to continue.

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Witbank Chairman Fife Delport with first time Navigator Marga Lombaard in their Sling ZU-STT

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Navigator James Braid in an unusual plotting position flying a Sling – ZU-JAR

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Karen, Ardyn 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. For this event we used a Grand Prix style flag to release the aircraft line up, with Christian du Plessis doing the honours, under starters orders given by the starter Mark Clulow.

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Husband and wife team of Eric & Antoinette Addison in the RV7 ZU-LAX

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 09h56 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h40, with planned arrival at 11h30.

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First Timers Kobus and Jacques Botha in their Piper 140 ZS – FHH

With all the competitors off towards the norhwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints, especially TP 1 and 6 which required a descent into the Loskop valley, and then some hard to spot turnpoints 7,8 and 9 in amongst the mielie and coal fields. The wind had also picked up in the interim starting to favour those already heading in the westerly direction. Just before 11h30 the first aircraft over the line was a Sling ZU-IHK. The landing sequence was fairly easy to do with everybody joining right hand downwind onto Rwy 22 with good spacing.

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The line-up of aircraft at the starting line

After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for a number being quite accurate, although some had wobbles, only two got a bit lost.

Starter Christian du Plessis waving off the Sling ZU-STT

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In sequence take-off with 15 sec intervals of some close handicapped aircraft

Getting the results out on time proved to be a challenge, with changes in the scoring system there were some gremlins that had to be fixed, and that required extra time, and with potential late afternoon weather on the reef put some time pressure to complete the results, and eventually at 4 PM the results could be announced. The tracks for the routes flown was also shown, pretty much everybody except 2 competitors did not get lost, although the eastern turnpoints were missed by a few.

Race Master David le Roux and our main sponsor Franz Smit from Pilot Insure handed out the trophies, first up being the winners of the most accurately flown with father and son team Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK, in 2nd place another Sling ZU-JAR with David Ross & James Braid, and in 3rd place son and father team Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV.

For the handicap results, a double win for Hendrik & Jandre Loots, in 2nd place Piet Meyer and Adrienne Visser in their Jabiru ZU-DUU and in 3rd place Michael Blackburn & Steve Briggs in their Sling ZU-IBM. For the GPS event the winner being local Witbank crew of Chris and Adriaan de Beer in their C182RG ZS-KUN. The club trophy was handed over by Jonty to chairman Fife Delport, with the winning school being the Mach 1 Training School who are becoming consistently better at improving their results at each event.

This weekend’s overall results has ZU-IHK in the lead followed by ZU-DUU and ZS-FVV. The overall season points standing has ZU-IHK in the lead followed by ZU-FVV and ZU-JAR.

Many thanks to the Witbank Aeronautical Association for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with ground marshals, logistics and great evening meals, the Pilot Insure team of Franz Smit David le Roux the Race Master at the registration desk together with the Warrick Wealth team, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mark Clulow doing the scoring, 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 with their team, Jonty & Lizelle for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Thanks also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us..

Also thanks to our sponsors, Pilot Insure being our signature Speed Rally Brand Sponsor, 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, Fast Flame Laser Cutting – Hendrik & Jandre Loots, Beegle Micro Trackers – Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing – Leon Joubert and Franz Smit.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Bethlehem on the 22nd of March 2020.

1st placed Race 15’s accurate track

Nice perfect Track

Oops – Found Middelburg instead

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