The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with the Springs (East Rand ) Flying Club organised a Navigation Fun Rally on Saturday 25th November 2017. The Springs Club had a call out to challenge the Secunda and Ermerlo Clubs for the top honour of being the Club Champions to end off 2017. Watching the weather predictions coming up for Saturday was showing possible interference, but as the day got closer the likelihood of having good morning weather at least was good.
Under the Stewardship of SAPFA's Chairman Jonty Esser who planned and plotted the course, a total of 13 entrants were mustered to take part in the
The Springs Club donated excellent prizes and trophies
rally. Out of the 13 entrants, 3 were in the unlimited class, being current Protea teams. On Friday evening Jonty provided a training course for club members and other new budding rally pilots, where they all were able to plot the next day's course.
The Friday night plotting training exercises
As Saturday dawned, the weather out east was good with some rainy patches on the West Rand, with competitors arriving at the field early. Some of the planned entrants from Secunda and Ermelo could not take-off due to low cloud and fog, thus had to withdraw. Briefing was at 8 am, and the order of departure were first the 3 unlimited teams, having the additional requirement of doing the course to International standards of plotting and preparing in the aircraft by getting papers handed to them 40 minutes prior take-off. The teams of competitors
Jonty gave the unlimited teams a challenging route task list, each turning point to be worked out was very scrambled but at least the first 4 turning points was worked out prior to take-off so the crews sort of knew where they were going. The photo recognition on-route was also scrambled, which made the task of finding the ground features even more challenging. Vans RV7 ZU-IHH with Johan van Eeden and Cor Esterhuizen
With the first take-off at 9 am, and the rest of the field following at 5 min intervals, ten of the field got airborne before the rain arrived, by that time the first teams were returning. By 11 am the rain came bucketing down and visibility became marginal, some crews chose to abort and 2 crews having to divert to other airfields. The rain storm passing over the field at 11 am with a big weather system moving in from the west
The route was mostly towards the south east of Springs, then going northwards to the coal fields, and then back west to end close to the town centre. With the landscape being very green, there was at least good contrast to be able to pick up map features, and as most of the pans were full, these being good landmarks to check against the map. Rally Organiser Jonty Esser briefing the competitors
In the fun rally rules, each turning point has a 15 second window to cross over to attain zero penalty points with a mile wide gate to go through, and along the route around 14 photographs had to be recognised and located on the map. The unlimited class has a 5 second windows and a half mile wide gate.
The weather was good for flying when the first competitors took off with minimal turbulence, the cloud base at around 6500 ft, and very good visibility, the wind was however around 10 - 15 kts westerly which was challenging to maintain constant speed in the east / west directions.
Good visibility and cloud base
After returning to the field, joining on final approach for Runway 03 a spot landing had to be carried out with lines fairly close to the centre of the field, the unlimited teams making real good scores in the worsening weather and approaching rain.
Bingo Spot Landings Frank Eckard in ZS-MOX and Rob Jonkers in ZS-IVC
After all the scores were tallied, the prize-giving ceremony was held inside the clubhouse, where the first three places and prizes went to Johan van Eeden and Cor Esterhuizen who were in 1st place with a total of 62 penalty points.
Winners Johan van Eeden and Cor Esterhuizen
James and Nicola du Preez were in 2nd place with 512 penalty points and David Ross and James Braid were in 3rd place with 837 penalty points.
In 2nd Place James and Nicola du Preez........In 3rd place David Ross and James Braid
The first place team finished with a really good score, and should start taking part in the Advanced / Unlimited class to aim for qualifying for the National team, as they have been consistent with good scores at previous rallies. They also took home the Club Trophy Prize.
In the Unlimited Class, Rob Jonkers and Martin Meyer placed first with 288 penalty points, Thys vd Merwe and Mary de Klerk in 2nd place with 769 penalty points and Frank and Cally Eckard in 3rd place with 953 penalty points.
In 1st place Unlimited Class Martin Meyer & Rob Jonkers
This event was for sure enjoyed by all, some entrants never having flown a rally before, getting an understanding of flying with more precision, especially in the slower flight regime, as well as getting accuracy in landing within a few metres.
Thys vd Merwe and Mary de Klerk aiming for the spot landing line
We look forward to Springs Flying Club organising a rally again next year, and gathering more clubs in the region to take part, and choose a better weather dayÖ.
The more prominent sponsors were: Multi Metal - Springs, Delmas Drum and Interactive Trading - Wadeville, Eric Addison, Johan van Eeden, Cor Esterhuyzen and Gavin Edwards