Rand Challenge participantsRand Challenge participantsThis weekend heralded the start of what is going to be an amazing year in Sport Flying in South Africa. The Rand Airport Challenge was held at Rand Airport under the direction of SAPFA committee members Frank Eckard and Mary de Klerk. Despite the threatening weather, 16 aircraft managed to participate in what turned out to be a rather challenging event. The event has been held every January for the past six years. Each year we have received very generous sponsorship from AFOS, Karcher, AVIMap, and African Pilot. This year African Outdoor Group also provided wonderful prizes, so at least half of the field went home with something special ranging from cash, to high pressure cleaners, Avimaps, African Pilot Subscriptions and various other aviation related goodies.

No less than 11 Check Points were included in the 120nm route, and this incorporated an away landing at Vereeniging, plus some interesting flying following tracks of railway lines and rivers. Storm cells dotted the landscape and depending on the take off time, forced a few crews to deviate off course in order to remain on the safe side of the wx……wise move…. as they will be here to participate in the next event. Unfortunately when some teams get through the sticky patches after the storm cell has moved on, other teams are penalized – the nature of the sport.

It is very heartening to see the teams that have regularly attended the Rally Program throughout 2009 start to rise through the ranks. The “by now expert” father and son team of Phil & Scott Wakeley took the honours in their 7th Fun Rally by finishing in 1st position despite having missed a couple of checkpoints due to the storms. The well oiled team of Emmie Oelofse and Andrew Lane flew home into 2nd place and the biggest surprise of the day came from Mark Shoesmith & Andrew Gray when they finished a close third to Emmie and Andrew. This was the first time Mark & Andrew had ever attempted to fly a Rally. This should be very encouraging to all new guys wanting to participate, but who are still apprehensive.

Full Results and Prize List 24.5 KB