by Rob Jonkers (photos by Willie Bodenstein)
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with the Superior Pilot Services (SPS) organised a successful Navigation Fun Rally on Saturday 29thOctober 2016.
Under the Stewardship of SAPFA’s Rob Jonkers who planned & plotted the course, a total of 16 entrants registered to partake in the rally, although only 12 eventually were able to take part, some of them having had to withdraw due to an Avgas shortage.
There were 7 crews from SPS, all commercial pilot students getting their first experience in the art of Navigation Rally flying. SPS instructors Leonard Edwards and Johann Oosthuizen provided the SPS students with two training sessions prior to the event to prepare them for the route which had to be plotted from a task sheet.
Most competitors arrived by 7:30 on Saturday morning to start the plotting activity which took the best part of 2 hours with the first aircraft off at 9:45.
The weather forecast for the day was given to be very clear, temperatures getting up to 34 Deg C with some wind. The wind, although starting out at less than 10kts increased during the day to around 15 kts, with the 2nd group of competitors taking the brunt of the turbulence and heat, with some of crews having to turn back feeling somewhat queasy.
The route was planned to go out north, into familiar territory for the Grand Central based crews as most of the legswere in their training backyard. The start and finish points were just north of the N14 in the narrow Special Rules corridor between the Waterkloof&Lanseria airspace, and from there the route went out over the Hartebeespoort dam, across the Magalies ridge and into the scenic Crocodile river valley, then east across to Soshanguve and back across the ridge to the finish.
From the GPS logger plot results, it could be seen the teams were struggling to slow down enough on the eastern & southern legs with many zig-zags being evident to counter the stronger wind at altitude.
There was one photo per leg that needed to be recognized, many of them were at least spotted by the crews, including a bonus photo which was one of those irresistible features (Stadium) that had to be found somewhere along the route, and which many crews did find in Attridgeville on the last leg.
After all the scores were tallied, prize-giving was held in the briefing area, where the first three places went to Leonard Edwards and DinokengSethusa who came 1st with 60 penalty points with no timing errors, Pierre Dippenaar & Martin Meyer who came 2nd with 124 penalty points, and Tristan McMillan & Andre Kluyts who came 3rd with 426 penalty points.
There was only one advanced entrant, that of Frank & Cally Eckard scoring 254penalty points under advanced rules of a 5 second window at each turning point, and two Precision Rally entrants who fly solo where timing accuracy is very key to attracting very few penalties.
With this rally with 11 turning points, an additional 13 secret timing points were added making a total of 24 timing points which the precision flyers were marked on. In this category Hans Schwebel came 1st with 513 penalty points with Mauritz du Plessis (with Bennie du Plessis as observer) coming 2nd with 1042 penalty points.
This event was for sure enjoyed by all, most entrants never having flown a rally before, getting an understanding of flying with more precision, especially in the slower flight regime, and having to deal with wind variation. Many thanks extended to SPS for making all the arrangements with Grand Central Management as well as to Leon Boutell for being the chief judge for the event.