by Cally Eckard
The World Air Games were held in Dubai in the first two weeks of December, and were the first to be held since Turin (Italy) in 2009. The World Air Games comprises many disciplines, and new ones are introduced each WAG as new technology, apparatus and sports appear in the aviation world. Amongst these are various types of skydiving, aerobatics, and disciplines involving gliders, paramotors, microlights, balloons, air ships and helicopters. The selected South African team were Frank and Cally Eckard for General Aviation (ANR), Nigel Hopkins for aerobatics and Paul Jackson for paramotors.
The Eckard team were selected from their results in the World Rally Championships in Poland in 2014, but the discipline implemented at the WAG in Dubai is a new one, called Air Navigation Race (ANR) and this is the first time it has been used in an international competition. For most of the teams it was therefore a brand new sport requiring a brand new set of skills. Instead of flying along a track and crossing turnpoints, the planes are given a zigzag “corridor” on a map, and are severely penalised for infringing out of the corridor. Only the start and finish points are timed. The competitive section only takes about 15 mins, and navigation is on a much smaller scale than rally, and requires good communication and teamwork between pilot and navigator. Software has been developed to enable the map and track of the plane to be seen online in real time, making it more spectator-friendly.
For more information go to the World Air Games website at https://www.wagdubai.ae/ under the Press Section you can view all the photos and videos. The opening and closing ceremonies were spectacular and worth watching.
The Peter Hengst Memorial Fun Rally was held at Brits on Saturday 21 November with 7 teams having entered.
The event was split with 3 teams electing to be scored under Fun Rally scoring rules and 4 team being scored under advanced scoring rules.
The challenging route made for some interesting results.
Sean Murphy and Carl were clear winners in the fun class with a score of 560 followed in second place by Andrew and Hugh Lane with a score 1520 and with Nic Christodoulou and Andre Kluyts in third place with a score of 1648.
The competition in the open class was a lot tighter with the first 3 places being separated by only 61 points. Frank and Cally Eckard took first place with 532 points, Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk in second place with 562 points and Rob Jonker and Martin Meyer in third place with 593 points.
As usual the Brits Flying did not disappoint and provided a fantastic venue with good food and cold drinks.
This year’s EAA Sun & Fun flying event was planned somewhat differently from previous years where precision rallies were held, with a view that for EAA members a more fun flying event was needed to be tried out.
This task was left to Rob Jonkers and Martin Meyer to devise a new kind of rally format, a big risk to take in the realm of the tried and tested rally formats. The prime objective was to make it real fun, with easy to follow routing.
Thus over the last four weeks, a route schedule was hatched with a route proving flight undertaken to check that the route would be do-able and interesting to fly. The outcome was a route through the scenic Magalies valley, north up through the platinum belt, then south-eastwards along the crocodile river into game bush country.
The format was in the form of a pre-defined route map that was available prior to the event starting for everybody to either plan their route with traditional map plotting tools or to program their GPS’s.