By Pamela Russell


The Northern portion of the SA Nationals in ANR took place a few weeks ago out of Brakpan Airfield. This past weekend saw the corresponding Southern event at the beautiful Stellenbosch airfield. Running parallel competitions allows for greater representation from all parts of the country and will hopefully continue to fuel the growing participation by Western Cape pilots.

FASH – pretty as a picture
While a Nationals is there to allow pilots to attain a set standard and be available to the Selectors, it is also always important to encourage new participants. So, there was an Open and a Sportsmans class, and the field included a team that had not flown any type of aviation competition before.

Competitors studying the schedule

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By Andre Venter


Competitors, judges and others

The Air Navigation Rally is a fun day depending on the weather, sadly this event was postponed on the scheduled day, due to the weather that was expected to reach the Highveld over the weekend. A new date was discussed and the event was moved to Saturday the 13th April 2024 which was to be held at the Brakpan Airfield.

I arrived fairly early to a sun filled airfield and found two entrants had already arrived and were sitting down to a hearty breakfast and a hot cuppa. The early birds of the day were two trikes who were out for their early tour of the countryside and a Giles G-202 that also on its way out.
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SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge Navigation Rally 2024

By Russell Dixon-Paver

This was the 20th edition of this fun event! As per tradition and for this time of year, weather was expected to become stormy later in the day, but more of that later. The event base was once again the old customs hall, providing space for the briefing, preparation and direct access to the apron for participants. Many folks made use of the Harvard Café for coffee and breakfasts.There was a final field of twelve teams, some who entered just before the event started. Some were “old hands” and for others it was their first navigation rally. Frank and Cally Eckard have been running this event for 20 years now!

Cally assists some of the last-minute entrants with their paperwork. 

Frank handled the necessary roll-call and team briefing, covering the normal aspects such as expected weather, radio calls, overall event organization and safety.

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Based on the incredible success of the Soutpansberg Air Show and Speed Rally this year, we are thrilled to announce the location of the 2024 Presidents Trophy to be hosted by the Soutpansberg Vliegklub and organised by the South African Power Flying Association.

Date: Friday and Saturday 24 & 25 May 2024
Where: Louis Trichardt Civil Airfield (FALO), Soutpansberg

Visit for more information or enter now!

Flying aces Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe piloted the ‘Bok plane’ to the various city parades


Captains, my captains: Capt Alewyn Burger, left, with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Capt Steve van der Merwe. Picture: TANJA LUGG/SAFAIR

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The 23rd FAI World Rally Flying Championships 2023

The 23rd World Rally Flying Championships was held in Mâcon, France, from 31 July to 04 August 2023. A total of 45 teams from 12 countries were present, and South Africa was represented by 4 teams, Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe, Tarryn and Iaan Myburgh, Tony and Pam Russell, and Apie and Frederik Kotzee. They were accompanied by team manager, Leon Bouttell and 3 international judges, Rob Jonkers, Martin Meyer and Barbara Frieböse. Hans Schwebel was also present as the President of the General Aviation Commission.

The competition kicked off on Monday with a challenging route to the west of Mâcon. This wine region is a mix of vineyards and disjointed forestry areas subdivided by numerous small agricultural villages and farm roads. Navigation is difficult and the route includes a scored away landing at Montceau-les-Mines as well as a scored landing at the home airfield, Mâcon Charnay. The South African team ended the day with mixed results. Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe finish the day in 14th position. Apie and Frederik Kotzee had a difficult day where everything that could go wrong, did. A respectable navigation result from Tarryn and Iaan Myburgh contribute to South Africa now in 5th position in the Team Standings behind the Czech Republic, France, Poland and Spain.

The competition day on Tuesday had to be suspended due to a medical emergency for the Competition Director. Thanks to the speedy reaction from trained competitors a tragedy was averted, however, the organisers considered it prudent to cancel the day and reconvene on Wednesday for the second competition day.

High wind conditions started on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday as a cold front passed through the area. The Day 2 route took us to the west again. As the competing crews prepared for a challenging day, the organisers also included an adjustment to the timing of each leg to accommodate for the windy conditions. If the wind remained constant, the adjustment of 15 knots wind from 210° should have made the flight much easier as you now need to maintain your selected airspeed rather than ground speed. The wind certainly did not pay along, increasing in strength all day with strong gusts of over 35 knots. All the South African teams found the conditions extremely challenging, as was reflected by the scores for the day. As the wind continued to increase in strength and turn into a direct crosswind during the afternoon session, the landing scores at the home Mâcon Charnay Airfield also got cancelled for the day.

After the unfortunate cancellation of flying on Tuesday, Thursday would be the third and final day of competition. The route for Day 3 finally took us to east and would include two scored landings, an away landing at Bourg on Bresse and a home landing at Mâcon-Charnay. The winds remained strong, but largely improved from the day before. Despite this, an adjustment to the timing was still made, this time for 10 knots from 250°. The South African teams all dramatically improved their navigation scores from the previous day but other mistakes for landings, altitudes or observation proved costly.

Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe flew the South African flag high and finished in 3rd place overall for Landings. They accumulated a mere 40 penalty points overall for the 4 scored landings, resulting from one bingo, two 10 pointers and one 20 pointer. This is only 20 points behind the winners from the Czech Republic, Lukas Behounek and Krystof Bobek, who scored two bingos and two 10 pointers.

The overall winners of the competition Petr Jonas and Marek Velat of the Czech Republic with an incredible total score of 553. The were followed by two French crews, Olivier Riviere and Jerome Jireau, and Alexis Fuchs and Jean-Baptiste Trouche. France was crowned the team winners, followed by the Czech Republic and Poland.

The results for each day, as well as overall, teams and landings can be found on the website: 


If you would like to re-watch the live tracks, they are available (Days 1, 2 and 3) on the website:


The next World Rally Flying Championships will be held in Ferrara, Italy in 2025. A truly unforgettable experience, we hope to see our many new friends there and fly the South African flag high once again.

by Willie Bodenstein

The PTAR, first held in 1937, then called the Governor’s Cup, coincided with the opening of the new Durban airport at Stamford Hill. Over the years it has evolved into a two-day race handicap race the aim of which is to go as fast as you possibly can around a given course. Held annually in May or early June, it is probably the most prestigious events on the South African aviation calendar. Like in the past the race, to keep up with new technology, has gone through a number of rule and other changes and this year, the 84th Race, was no different. By popular request from the racing community the accuracy element introduced a couple of years ago has been removed and a plotting element has been re-introduced. To achieve a fair competition and reduce the opportunity to circumvent 3D speed padding, the event format encourages crews to fly at their maximum potential by keeping key variables unknown. Two speeds are important to understand namely the 3D speed (the speed calculated in 3-dimensional space) and handicap speed (speed calculated based on the course). On Day 1 each crew received a 3D speed and a chart with a pre-plotted route, including headings rounded to 5 degrees. The chart scale and route distance will not be made available to the crews. The aim on day one is to complete the route in as quick a time as possible. Time penalties will be applied for cutting corners, altitude infringements and exceeding your start 3D speed by an unfair margin. 3D speed flown on day one will impact the start 3D speed for Day 2. Time gains or losses will carry over to Day 2. On Day 2 each crew received an updated 3D speed and a blank chart with a 1:250 000 scale and instructions to plot their own turn points. The start times for each crew will be adjusted for the day one time gain or loss, and the first plane over the finish line will be crowned the 2023 Presidents Trophy winner. Middelburg therefore was to be the testing ground for these new rules. Proof, if needed, of the popularity of the race is Cobus Broodryk and Mario Febbraio who flew from Mosselbay in the Cape to Middelburg a distance of 1377.06 km or 853.78 miles. Tarryn Myburgh with husband Iaan, as well as race master, David le Roux were largely reasonable for the organising of the race , a massive undertaking. The friendly ladies of SANTAM Insurance who helped by manning the registration marquee. It was a perfect day for air racing when I arrived midmorning on Thursday the 25th. Twenty-eight, down from last year and the year before had entered. I’m not going to speculate on the reasons for the rather disappointing support. Those that did entered were there to compete and enjoy themselves and that is what counts. Most of the day was spend with final speed testing to set or verify handicap speeds as well as to put the final touches to the venue. This is the second major event hosted by the wonderful people of Middelburg Flying Club and Richardt and Irene Lovett. Earlier they had hasted the prestigious Aeroclub Airweek and two weeks from now the EAA of SA’s Annual Convention will be held at this always immaculately maintained field. Kudos to the good people of this dynamic club!!! Race day one, Friday was a typical winters day. It was still cold but better than yesterday and the wind played ball. The good news is that there were quite a large contingent of first timers. That bodes well for the future of the iconic race. The PTAR is a handicap race with the fastest aircraft starting first on day one. The starting order for day two being reversed. Fittingly it was Middelburg’s Richardt Lovett and Alme’ro Calitz who was waved of first. It was their first time flying a rally. They were competing in Richardt and Irene’s stunning Vans RV14 that the two have built. I believe they are now busy adding a Vans RV8 to their fleet. It seems as if the building bug has really bitten them! They were followed in quick succession by
  • Husband and wife Adriaan and Elmie Kleyn in their Vans Aircraft RV-14A,  Richard and William Richard Day in their Cessna 210N,
  • Paul Marskell and Bill Bales-Smith in a Van’s Aircraft RV-10 Paul Marskell Bill Bales-Smith,
  • Johan van Zyl and Eric Addison in a Van’s Aircraft RV-7,
  • John Sayers and Dion Raath in the North American T-6G, etc.
One hour and fifty-two minutes later it was husband and wife Adriaan and Elmie Kleyn in their Vans Aircraft RV-14A who were the first to land at the field. ZS LML, the Cessna 182T of John and Judy Lehman who had departed at 10.06 landed at 12.13 having completed the course in two hours and seven minutes. ZU-ACP the Aermacchi AM3C of Frederik and Apie Kotzee completed the course in two hours thirty-two minutes. ZS-CZM Piper PA-28-180 flown by Thabiso Mongalo and Lindelwa Mdak completed the course in three hours and twenty-nine minutes. An impressive performance indeed considering the they have never flown in any rally before. The PTAR was their first attempt. Saturday morning arriving at the field it was all systems go for the final leg of the race. All aircraft was refuelled, some were getting that final shine hoping to get an extra knot or two out of them. The marshals were easing all electronic devices that may be used to assists during the race and the emergency services, were on standby. After a nail biting wait and a closely contested crossover the first gaggle of aircraft started arriving. The closeness is always proof that the handicap system works. The first fifteen to arrive were…..
  • Frederik Kotzee & Apie Kotzee.
  • Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman.
  • John Sayers & Dion Raath.
  • Stefan Lombard & Martiens Marais.
  • Henry Richard Daly & William Richard Daly.
  • Jakes van Strijp & Werner Vos.
  • Theodor Boshoff & Frans Boshoff.
  • Paul Marskell Bill & Bales-Smith.
  • Mark Bristow & Quinton Warne.
  • Leon Bouttell & Rob Jonkers.
  • John & Judy Lehman
  • Dewald Te Water & WA De Klerk
  • Fanie Scholtz & Herman Haasbroek.
  • Adriaan & Elmie Kleyn.
Except for one unfortunate contestant, a local fortunately, who had a flat on landing the race was without incident. From then to the gala dinner and awards evening later it will be nail-biting time for the contestants. The position I which an aircraft crosses the line is a good indication of its performance but it does not indicate it position on the leader board. The final results is only announced after the tracking and other data are scrutinised and analysed. That means another wait for the final results that are announced during a lavish dinner organised by Irene Lovett and held in their wonderful spacious hangar.
  1. And the winners were race number 4 ZU-ACP the Aermacchi AM3C of Frederik and father Apie Kotzee.

  2. With race number 45 ZS-WSE the North American T-6G of John Sayers and Dion Raath in second.

  3. Followed by race number 6 ZS-FVV the Piper PA-28-235C of Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman.

To Iaan and Tarryn Myburgh, David le Roux and all the others who have been working tirelessly to make the 2023 PTAR a success you have succeeded! It ran without a hitch and with almost, as far as I know, no complaints. I, for one am looking forward to the 2024 race.