This past year SAPFA has been pretty busy having organised or hosted 17 events (PTAR , 4 Adventure Rallies - co-hosted with the EAA, Rand Airport Easter, AeCSA Airweek, 1 precision landing event, 1 Rally Nationals, 5 Fun rallies, 2 ANR's, 2 Speed rallies, 1 Navigation Training Event), which turns out to be almost two events per month. Four National teams represented South Africa at the World Rally Championship held in Dubnica, Slovakia.
SAPFA also brought into effect a new constitution at the 2019 AGM, which is complementary to supporting the requirements of a registered Non-Profit Organisation, the principal objects and purpose of SAPFA are:
∑ To encourage, develop and promote powered flying in all its forms throughout the Republic of South Africa;
∑ To co-ordinate and control all forms of aviation sport, as well as to popularize, co-ordinate, develop and administer powered flying and to encourage the participation in all activities of powered flying of all South Africans.
∑ To encourage participation in powered flying sport aviation at National and International level;
∑ To hold or to arrange for aviation meetings, competitions and other meetings of a like nature whether for the benefit of SAPFA, or the Aero Club of South Africa, or charities, or other objects and to offer and to grant or contribute towards the provision of prizes, awards and distinctions;
∑ To promote airmanship and safety in the air amongst the members of SAPFA and others, and to hold lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions;
∑ To act for the Federation Aeronautic Internationale (FAI) on all matters affecting powered flying in the Republic of South Africa;
∑ To control the award of international, national, provincial and regional colours and awards;
∑ To give members the advantage of collective representation and control in all matters of moment and importance in the furtherance of the objects of SAPFA.
Rallies (Fun, Adventure & Nationals)
The Adventure Rallies has continued to be proved to be popular for the casual pilot who wants to have some fun and mostly in collaboration with other Sections of the Aero Club such as the EAA, or with Rand Airport's Easter Fly-in, and attract up to 20 entries. Fun Rallies have also been well supported for those who wish to be more competitive, and have worked in collaboration with Clubs and Flying schools, many being first timers, and mostly coupled with a training session to prepare the maps.
The Rally Nationals were held over 3 days at Brits, with some new teams trying their hand at qualifying to an International level. We have further developed a competition class system to allow progression with emphasis on having experienced crews mix with new pilots or navigators. This system will be an encouragement to new pilots and navigators to compete at their skill levels while enhancing them and ultimately growing our sport we love.
In the 2018 season a full day session for navigation training was held at Grand Central, to provide an outline of how to prepare maps and use navigation tools, and a further training event was held on utilising electronic maps and map tracking on GPS devices. More training events will be planned to improve the navigator's proficiency in plotting, also how to fly a rally and cockpit workload management.
A new format of a speed handicapped Rally was devised in 2018 now known as a Speed Rally with a 120 nm course distance allowing virtually any type of aircraft to take part. This rally has two performance categories, firstly to beat a handicap speed, and secondly to fly the course as accurate as possible. The first three were held at Secunda, Springs and Morningstar respectively, and have proved to be immensely popular with participants, with mostly the 30 available aircraft slots sold out at each event.
President's Trophy Air Race
The PTAR this year held at New Tempe was not too well supported given that it attracted short of 50 entrants, the format having had difficulties to draw entrants this year, and with some serious introspection and a survey held with competitors, an overhaul of the rules had been envisioned, much of these have already been brought into effect with the Speed Rallies on a trial basis, with some further communication going out to competitors for the next event, to inform what is in store for the 2019 edition of the PTAR to be held in Saldanha in early May 2019.
Air Navigation Race
The newest form of rally flying is the ANR (Air Navigation Race), which are short zig-zag corridor routes which is starting to gain popularity, especially where there can be some spectator value on the ground using live-tracking displays. The future will for sure have improvements on making live-tracking the norm in our sport.
At every event where possible when rallies are held, depending on airfield suitability landing accuracy competitions are included, with the objective of improving landing skills, normally the most challenging aspect of flight, this year's National Championships were held at Brits, although weather prevented a big field and an early afternoon thunderstorm limited the competition to a single round.