As is the tradition, in KZN, Ladysmith airfield was once again the venue for the KZN Regional Aerobatic competition. With the members of the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa arriving, from all over South Africa, it was time for the aviators to display their skills.
Five aircraft and six contestants were registered to take part in the competition.
Two Yak 55's, One Extra 300, One Extra 330 SC and a Giles 202. So we had two Russians, two Germans and an American aircraft being flown in this competition.
Tristan Eeles and Barrie Eeles, from Johannesburg, flew the “On The Move” Extra 330 SC ZS-XBE. The “Ecko Unltd” Extra 300 ZS-OLR was flown by Roger Deare all the way from Durban. Yak 55ZU-EHZ was flown by Cliff Lotter who is based in Klerksdorp. YAK 55 ZU-DYD was flown by Warren Eva from Benoni and the Giles 202 ZU-ZOZ was flown by Pierre du Plooy also from Johannesburg.
Friday 14 July was a perfect day for practice. Clear skies and very light wind made for excellent conditions. Saturday was slightly different with overcast skies, some gusty winds and low temperatures being the order of the day. A Quote I heard at the event was “If you want bad weather… Then organise an aerobatic competition”
Two categories were contested namely Intermediate and Advanced classes. Taking part in the Intermediate competition were Warren Eva and Roger Deare. In the Advanced class it was Barrie Eeles, Tristan Eeles, Pierre du Plooy and Cliff Lotter that competed.
With reasonably tough conditions they still managed to fly a “Known” program and also one “Unknown” program with some scoring high points and other not getting it, totally, right.
The “Known” program is a program that is compiled and published on the Sport Aerobatic website. All pilots have access to these programs and can practice them throughout the year. The “Unknown” program gets compiled the night before the contest and the pilots do not have an opportunity to practice these programs.
Seeing the pilots walk through their sequences is commonplace and the only way that they can familiarise themselves with the “Unknown” programs.
In order to have a contest one also needs judges and other staff. The judges were Quintin Hawthorne (Chief Judge) Mike Stark, Nadine Brooker and Maritza Boswell. The contest director was Greg Clegg and the scoring director was Natalie Stark.
The day starts off with a briefing conducted by the Contest Director and the Chief Judge.
The aircraft are then moved from the hangar to the flight line.
Propellers gets polished and engines gets warmed up.
And, of course, the judges also needed to be warmed up. Here Maritza, Greg and Nadine gets warmed up with lovely hot coffee.
Taygen and Eddie from the Kenmore Group of Companies assisted by towing the fuel bowser all the way from Johannesburg as to ensure that there would be enough fuel for all the participants. They also had the task of laying out the temporary, aerobatic box, markers. They also assisted with various other tasks. Great work done by these two chaps.
All in all it was a great contest and also provided valuable practice time for some of the “Advanced” category contestants that will be attending the World Advanced Aerobatic Championship (WAAC) in Las Vegas USA at the end of October 2023.
The results were:
Well done to all participants.
The contest was closed off with a friendly get together at the Platrand Game Lodge outside Ladysmith. Thank you to Cliff Lotter and also Warren Eva for these happy snaps.