2012 Rand Airport Challenge2012 Rand Airport ChallengeThe rally season started this year with the fun rally at Rand Airport. This is traditionally a well-supported event in terms of both prizes and participants, and 2012 was no exception. Thirteen teams took to the Johannesburg skies and thanks to the sponsors, all received prizes.

Rand Airport hosted the event, presented the Rand Airport Winners Trophy , and waived landing fees. Karcher donated High Pressure Cleaners. Chris Linakis donated R3000 for cash prizes on behalf of his company, ACL Construction. AviMap donated 2 map books, 6 Pilot Destinations, and 6 Airfield Directories, and African Pilot 3 annual subscriptions to their magazine.

The competition was a bit different for this year, as Competition Director Frank Eckard chose a rally that asked questions about features along the route instead of identifying photographs. This was very popular with the participants, and lead to a lot of queries and discussion about the answers.

Last year being a Precision Flying year, all teams at Rand were taken by surprise with their lack of practise in plotting the route, and the word “rusty” was bandied around to excuse such mistakes as using tools designed exclusively for Slovakia, forgetting the difference between Magnetic and True, and using kilometres instead of nautical miles. All agreed that some extra hours need to be invested in plotting before Nationals.

Rand Airport Challenge 2012: Winners Johan Goosen & Esmond ErasmusRand Airport Challenge 2012: Winners Johan Goosen & Esmond ErasmusThe flying was good, and only one team had to use Frank’s hint that if they were lost and saw the Vaal River, to turn back and not cross it. Thys van der Merwe was thrilled to receive a total score of zero for his flying, meaning that he crossed every turnpoint exactly on time. Winners Esmond Erasmus and Johan Goosen and third placers Sean Murphy and Carl Dollenberg are faithful competitors, and it is good to see their dedication to the sport rewarded.

It was also great to see that of the 26 competitors, 7 were women, and we had 2 all-women teams competing.

The results were as follows:
1 Esmond Erasmus Johan Goosen
2 Thys van der Merwe Mary de Klerk
3 Sean Murphy Carl Dollenberg
4 Hans Shwebel Ron Stirk
The best First-timers, the father-and-son team of Dave and Aldo Naude finished in 7th. A creditable result.

The team of Lane x 2 and SlingThe team of Lane x 2 and Sling Thys van der Merwe Proud of his Zero ScoreThys van der Merwe Proud of his Zero Score