Jun 2004

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President´s Trophy Air Race

Pietersburg Civil, Polokwane – 10 to 12 June 2004

By Chris Booysen

Pietersburg Civil Airfield
Pietersburg Civil Airfield

The 2004 President’s Air Race was run from the Pietersburg Civil Airfield (FAPI). The change of venue from Tempe was a refreshing one. While it was a long trip to get to Pietersburg for a large number of competitors the flight was worthwhile. The change of venue also introduced the race to a number of new competitors from the far north of the country. I am sure the majority of these participants will become as hooked on the race as I am. Organisers Chris and Dries Briers had proposed some drastic amendments to the format of the race. These included a major reshuffle of the handicaps with most being reduced, the attempt to give some real benefit to sponsors and reduce the vast and growing number of trophies that were awarded.

A large cold front had passed over the country a few days before the race so the forecast for the flight up, both race days and the return flight was good with a high pressure cell over most of the country.

For those that have entered the race before pre-race day was a routine event with arrival, efficient registration with Antionette from Naturelink, refueling and scrutineering. Test flights were compulsory for non standard aircraft. The refueling was also a pleasure with the Naturelink “valets” parking the aircraft for you. This also enhanced safety as there were very few turning props in the parking area. Unfortunately we arrived just after Race 25, the Piaggio Albatros of the Marx brothers which meant there was a considerable delay in the fuelling. At one stage I was worried that they would use all the fuel in the underground tanks. After all this was handled it was off to the hotel to grab a few minutes of shut eye (or a few beers) before the briefing at 6:00pm

Roaul du Plessis & Dawid Viljoen - spot the team member that cleans the top of the wings
Roaul du Plessis & Dawid Viljoen – spot the team member that cleans the top of the wings

The organisers were pulling their hair out with the large number of late entries and arrivals. I know that the last entry posted on the internet site was received on Wednesday evening. Although the rules state that aircraft need to be parked an refueled before 12:00 aircraft were still arriving after dark during the briefing.

Briefing started at 6:00 as promised and covered the normal welcome, safety issues, procedures, weather, ATC, start and the route for Friday. This would take the crews from Pietersburg to Giyani (74,5 miles), Messina (66,9 miles), Alldays (55 miles), Mokopane (formerly Potgietersrus – 93,5 miles) and then home to Pietersburg (33,2 miles). Pictures of all turning points were provided. Some very generous sponsored prizes were drawn in a lucky draw. These included vouchers of R5 000, fuel for the race paid and some “goodie bags”.

After the briefing supper was provided and then most crews rushed off to plot and study the route. The main discussion in our hotel was the options on the Alldays-Mokopane leg. A decision had to be made whether to go over or around the large mountain that someone had put directly on track. Consensus was that the best option was probably to go right of the mountain down the valley but we decided to wait and see when we got there.

Turning Point 1 Day 2
Turning Point 1 Day 2

Race Day 1 dawned with temperatures that reminded us of Tempe. No surface wind to speak of but a light easterly at about 7000 feet. This immediately started the debate on the necessity to climb on the Messina-Alldays leg and make use of the tail wind. We were also kind enough to show Race 5 (George and Wally Brink) the two mines on the first leg just before Giyani that were not marked on their 1:500 000 map. These mines would make it simple to find the Giyani field as you had to fly directly over both just before the turning point.

Aircraft engines were started 15 minutes before the take of time. This might seem a long time but before you know it you are at the starting robot waiting for the green. Aircraft were launched at 30 second intervals with the fastest aircraft off first. There were 70 aircraft on the start list, proof that the race is maintaining its popularity. Much to our disgust the DI precessed about 20º to the left after take off putting us off track immediately. Luckily the railway line was a dead give away and after cursing the AMO who serviced our DI we continued using more navigation and the compass. A few minutes later we realised that the lack of vacuum might be the cause and turned on the standby vacuum pump. Much to our disgust there was no sign of any mines and we almost missed the Giyani turning point. A number of other aircraft were not as lucky as when they popped over the mountain at Giyani the turning point was covered by a small cloud that made it invisible. At one stage there were three aircraft circling over the turning point but unable to see it. Race 23 (Dave Mandel and Rod Crichton) wasted at least four minutes looking for that red cone.

Enroute Scenery
Enroute Scenery

The route between Giyani and Messina required a small climb over some mountains. At this stage a few aircraft became visible and we had the frustration of an aircraft with a lower handicap breezing past us. Dare I mention the handicapping now!!! Between Messina and Alldays the scenery was incredible. The “bosveld” at its best with thousands of enormous baobab trees.

After Alldays there was a large mountain to get over so the climb was started immediately. The view of the mountain cliffs was incredible. Once over that mountain the discussion of the previous night became irrelevant as it was obvious that the best option was to start a slow descent and pass to the right of the high mountain. Most aircraft chose this option. A notable exception was Race 4 (Jacques Vercueil and Chris Spencer-Scarr) who decided that the mountain was not marked on their map and that they would have to turn more and more to the left to get onto track. Once past the mountain there were enough features to make the run down the valley into Mokopane a straight forward affair.

Enroute Scenery
Enroute Scenery

After Mokopane the left turn took the aircraft back to Pietersburg. To avoid a big climb the best track was up the highway through the kloof. Thank heavens the power lines were well marked or there could have been an incident – or as we were told at the briefing “You could pick up some copper”. Pietersburg runway is visible from a distance and so the last leg could be enjoyed by both the pilot and navigator.

Results handed out for the first day showed Race 52 (Jay Bartholomew and Lawrence Bettesworth in a Cessna C172) in the lead followed by Race 30 (Harry Antel and Barry de Groot in a Grumman), Race 53 (Nico van den Berg and Johan Rautenbach in a Cessna C172) and Race 43 (Adrian Tomaz and Llewellyn Potgieter in a SAAF Cessna 185). An error in the original handicap dropped Race 52 down the listing and the team of Antel and de Groot therefore took line honours for Day 1.

The briefing was a repeat of the Day 1 event with emphasis on the circuit procedures that would become critical at the end of Day 2. Some transgressions of the first days briefing were noted but no penalties were applied. Once again all waited for the important announcement of the route for the next day. The route started with a short leg to Tzaneen (46.5 miles), then to Lydenberg (76.8 miles), across to Warmbaths (114.5 miles) and then back home to Pietersburg (87.7 miles). The distance totaling 326.4 miles. What worried the contestants was the grin on the faces of Dries and Chris Briers when they announced the route. Once again clear colour pictures were given of each turning point. After the briefing the evening meal was again supplied courtesy of the sponsors. Provisional start times were handed out but these were subject to change due to the correction of some handicaps.

Start line up on Day 2
Start line up on Day 2

Back at the hotel the reason for the smile on the route planners faces was apparent. While the first leg was similar to Day 1 the second leg took the aircraft over some enormous mountains. Also immediately after the turn at Lydenburg was a few contour lines that were very close indicating a quick climb over the mountains again. The long leg to Warmbaths (Warmbad/Bellabella??) had enough good navigation points to make sure that one did not get too lost. The last leg home paralleled the main road so would also not be too difficult.

Race Day 2 dawned with some high cloud cover and little wind to speak of. Winds at most altitudes were a light 3 knots – not a major factor for the days racing.

The start times for Day 2 are determined with a finish time of 13:00. If you fly at exactly your handicap speed for both days then you will finish exactly at 13:00. If you gained a minute on day one then your take off time would be determined by the time you need, at handicap speed, to cross the finish line at 12:59. This method can result in very close take off times. For example Race 38 and Race 19 took off only 3 seconds apart. While this sounds scary to new race participants the distance between the aircraft only increases on the take off roll. In fact, by the end of the runway the crew in the aircraft behind tend to feel if they did not start quick enough

Last leg on Day 2
Last leg on Day 2

On Day 2 it becomes apparent on how important it is to do well on the first day. It is very disconcerting seeing aircraft with handicap speeds equal or greater than yours taking off earlier than you. You know you will never see them until the end unless they get lost. This method means that the bulk of the slowest aircraft take off first. It is also not a good feeling seeing aircraft taking off an hour before your start time.

The first leg to Tzaneen was similar to Day 1. The heading was only a bit greater. The turning point was well hidden behind a hill making for some sharp action to make sure you cleared the red cone shaped beacon. Then the big climb over the Drakensberg. The scenery was stunning and the navigation fairly easy as in the zero wind conditions it was a simple “stay on heading” type of exercise. Some local knowledge made homing in to the airfield at Lydenburg an straight forward affair and then a steep turn and into the climb over the mountain. We turned with two other aircraft and each headed off in a different direction. When this happens the normal discussion with the navigator starts with predictable results. “Of course they are wrong and we are right!” – (I only wished we were the middle aircraft).

PTAR 2004 Medalists From L to R: Wessel Vermaas, Pieter Lordan, Harry Antel, Barry de Groot, Johan Rautenbach and Ni
PTAR 2004 Medalists From L to R: Wessel Vermaas, Pieter Lordan, Harry Antel, Barry de Groot, Johan Rautenbach and Ni

The “2 minute” calls now start indicating that the field is starting to bunch. The adrenaline starts pumping and you start willing the aircraft to fly faster. The calm was suddenly shattered by a Mayday call. Race 43 was doing a forced landing with engine trouble. There are immediate calls asking if they need assistance (how?) but indicated they would phone Race Control when they are safely on the ground. While on the subject of radio calls the low point of the race was some disgusting comments broadcast by one of the race participants. Unfortunately the culprit was protected by the anonymity of a radio broadcast.

The turn at Warmbaths required some care as it was approximately 130º and the traffic was getting more dense. Normally the last leg is busy. Just after Warmbaths we passed a gaggle of Cherokee 140’s and other slower aircraft and then seemed to hit a “bare” patch and do not see any slower aircraft. Once again the question to the navigator as to his ability and once again the predictable reply.

PTAR 2004 Winners - Harry Antel and Barry de Groot
PTAR 2004 Winners – Harry Antel and Barry de Groot

The last leg was a little more difficult than indicated on the map as the main road was not really close enough to help for accurate navigation. The little rivers, farm houses and roads etc had to be used to keep perfectly on track. Pietersburg runway came into view fairly far off and then it was over to the aircraft to make sure you passed more aircraft than passed you. The circuit was busy approximately 20 aircraft in the circuit at any time. By following the briefing instructions, ie keep approximately 100 knots and space yourself, meant that the whole procedure was safe and efficient.

Day 2 (only) saw Race 30 (Antel and de Groot) in the lead, followed by Race 53 (Nico van den Berg and Johan Rautenbach) and Race 19 (Sean Hughes and Harry Moos). This mean that Harry Antel and Barry de Groot were first overall followed by Nico van den Berg and Johan Rautenbach. Third overall was Race 38 piloted by Wessel Vermaas and navigated by Pieter Lordan.

The banquet was a smart affair at the Casino in Polokwane. Speeches were made by dignitaries and sponsors and the appropriate thank-you’s were made. The Awards were presented to the top three teams and other deserving participants. The number of awards was limited as promised by the organisers.

The overall conclusion? A Great Race!!! The venue, the organisation, routes and functions were fantastic. The handicaps – the jury is still out in that one. See you all again next year.

Day 1

From To Distance
Nm
Cumulative
Distance
Polokwane Giyani 74.5 74.5
Giyani Mussina 66.9 141.4
Mussina Alldays 55.0 196.4
Alldays Mokopane 93.5 289.9
Mokopane Polokwane 33.2 323.1

Day 2

From To Distance
Nm
Cumulative
Distance
Polokwane Tzaneen 46.5 46.5
Tzaneen Lydenburg 76.8 123.3
Lydenburg Warmbaths 115.4 238.7
Warmbaths Polokwane 87.7 326.4

Total Distance – 649.50 Nautical Miles

 

Attachment Size
2004_ptar_route.kmz 1.23 KB

2004 President’s Trophy Air Race

Held at Pietersburg Civil, Polokwane – 10 to 12 June 2004

Total Distance: 649.50 Nautical Miles

 

Pos Race
No
A/c Reg Aircraft HP H/Cap
Knots
Gain(-)
Loss
Speed
Knots
Pilot
Navigator
Province
Club
01 30 ZS-VYI Grumman AA1A 160 127.50 00:15.38- 134.37 Harry Antel
Barry de Groot
K Z N
Pietermaritzburg FC
02 53 ZS-NET Cessna C172K 150 108.94 00:13.43- 113.28 Nico van den Berg
Johan Rautenbach
Tvl
C F A
03 38 ZS-JTU Piper PA28 235 250 136.96 00:10.22- 142.14 Wessel Vermaas
Pieter Lordan
Cape
None
04 19 ZS-FVH Piper PA28R180 180 136.80 00:10.10- 141.86 Sean Hughes
Harry Moos
Free State
Maluti Air
05 33 ZS-FPB Cessna C210J 285 163.43 00:09.12- 169.99 Eugene Swart
Jannie Visser
Tvl
Kuruman FC
06 70 ZS-JCD Cessna C210L 300 164.70 00:08.12- 170.62 Thys Joubert
Henty Scheepers
K Z N
None
07 41 ZS-RMA Beech F33A 285 167.74 00:07.10- 173.08 John Mayer(Jnr)
John Mayer(Snr)
Tvl
None
08 11 ZS-FSR Beech 36 285 166.27 00:06.03- 170.67 Human Wentzel
Arno Stofberg
Tvl
Western Tvl F S
09 32 ZS-HJF Piper PA24 260C 260 161.72 00:06.01- 165.86 Henk Scheepers
Johan Scheepers
N/Tvl
None
10 3 ZU-LAJ Jabiru J450 120 116.48 00:05.43- 118.50 Leslie Jagger
Nigel Townshend
N/Tvl
Rustenburg FC
11 66 ZS-MLC Cessna C210L 285 163.43 00:05.17- 167.13 James Vorster
Daniel Jacobs
N/Tvl
Letaba FC
12 28 ZS-NBB Cessna R177 RG2 200 139.39 00:05.04- 141.96 Kobus van der Colff
Walter Walle
Free State
Bloemfontein FC
13 111 ZS-WBT Glassair III 300 213.07 00:05.00- 219.06 Lucas Wiese
Johan van Gruting
Free State
Bloemfontein FC
14 65 ZS-DVN Beech E55 285 195.49 00:04.15- 199.74 Koos Coetzer
Sarel van der Walt
Free State
Western Tvl FC
15 51 ZS-MTR Cessna C210M 285 163.43 00:04.12- 163.36 Johan la Grange
Yolande la Grange
Cape
None
16 54 ZS-NOY Cessna 182P 230 134.91 00:02.32- 136.10 Coen Ackerman
Willie Marais
N/Tvl
C F A
17 85 ZS-LXR Beech 58 285 195.64 00:01.30- 197.13 Braam van Greuning
Beau Basson
Tvl
Western Tvl FC
18 52 ZS-FNH Cessna C172K 150 117.00 00:01.25- 117.49 Jay Bartholomew
Lawrence Bettsworth
Tvl
C F A
19 1 ZS-JYB Beech V35B 285 167.27 00:01.02- 168.01 Ray Gleimius
Adam Pucjlowski
Tvl
Krugersdorp FC
20 8 ZU-CNG Jabiru SP 80 107.78 00:00.66- 108.01 Jan Hanekom
Hugo Stark
Tvl
Brits FC
21 60 ZU-CCO Urban AI Samba 100 123.52 00:00.23- 123.67 Pieter Hengst
Ulie Gerth
Tvl
Brits FC
22 27 ZS-DVT Beech B55 260 187.15 00:00.10- 187.29 Herman Klopper
Abrie Vlok
Tvl
Western Tvl FC
23 35 ZS-CHH Beech A36 300 173.48 00:00.03 173.44 Neil Hellmann
Mark Holliday
Tvl
Lanseria FC
24 22 ZU-SES Jabiru SP 80 107.78 00:00.30 107.63 Roual du Plessis
Dawid Viljoen
N/Tvl
Maluti Air
25 26 ZS-MOR Cessna C210N 285 163.43 00:00.50 162.86 Chris Booysen
Jim Tucker
Cape
Algoa Flying Club
26 39 ZU-SXL Urban AI Samba XL 100 125.72 00:01.04 125.29 Rainer Frieboese
Hans Schwebel
N/Tvl
Brits FC
27 67 ZS-LXV Cessna 182P 230 134.91 00:01.32 134.19 Francios Viljoen
Johan j van Rensburg
Tvl
Potch FC
28 61 ZS-DOS Cessna 182F 250 136.00 00:01.36 135.24 Ernie Alexander
Lala Alexander
Tvl
Brits FC
29 40 ZU-ZOI Zenair CH601 XL 120 106.41 00:01.41 105.92 Phillip Edgar
Rodney Young
Tvl
None
30 23 ZS-WZU Lancair 320 180 193.65 00:02.20 191.42 Dave Mandel
Rod Crichton
Cape
Algoa Flying Club
31 58 ZS-LCN Cessna T210N 310 176.60 00:02.22 174.73 Jacques Willemse
Diekie Schoeman
N/Tvl
None
32 47 ZS-MEJ Cessna T210M 285 170.34 00:02.32 168.48 Pieter Burger
Albri van Zyl
Cape
W/Tvl F S
33 18 ZS-ESU Piper PA28-140 160 112.93 00:02.42 112.05 David Steyn
Shona Hughes
Free State
Maluti Air
34 12 ZS-KHX Piper PA34-200T 200 175.31 00:02.48 173.12 Robbie L Myburgh
Robbie C Myburgh
Tvl
None
35 64 ZS-IYC Cessna 182P 230 134.91 00:02.58 133.53 Terrence Warmington
Anton Schonken
Cape
Border Aviation
36 5 ZS-KSZ Cessna R182RGII 235 150.90 00:03.09 149.08 George Brink
Wally Brink
Cape
None
37 6 ZS-DPY Cessna C172D 200 117.74 00:03.10 116.62 Kiewiet Vlok
Keith Bailey
Tvl
W/Tvl F S
38 15 ZS-EWZ Cessna C210G 285 163.43 00:03.16 161.22 J F van Zyl
Andre Middel
Free State
Harrismith FC
39 20 ZS-KMO Beech 58 285 192.75 00:03.27 189.51 William Einkamerer
Johann Scholtz
Tvl
W/Tvl F S
40 25 ZS-NHR Piaggio P166S 340 165.55 00:03.33 163.09 Ivan Marx
Martin Marx
N/Tvl
None
41 46 ZS-NXE Piper PA28RT201T 200 154.86 00:04.15 152.28 Dana Bensch
Jeanette Bensch
Tvl
J L P C
42 29 ZS-IAH Cessna 182N 230 134.91 00:06.27 131.96 Johan Steyn
Colin Sparke
Free State
Ficksburg FC
43 99 ZS-KMN Beech 58 285 192.75 00:07.02 186.27 Jacques Beukes
Shaun Kenny
N/Tvl
None
44 71 ZS-ORT Piper PA28-235 235 135.90 00:07.06 132.62 Wessel v d Westhuizen
Conrad Oberholzer
Free State
None
45 42 ZS-MRA Cessna R182RGII 235 150.90 00:07.22 146.71 Willie Cronje
Ray van Noordwyk
N/Tvl
Pietersburg FC
46 31 ZS-MWL Cessna C172N 160 108.94 00:08.28 106.42 Dicky Maritz
Willem Leeuwner
N/Tvl
Letaba FC
47 45 ZS-OSM Cessna 340A 310 185.27 00:08.57 177.71 Garry Hughes
Neil Bastiaanse
Tvl
Krugersdorp FC
48 14 ZS-EBC Piper PA28-180 180 122.77 00:10.07 118.98 Hein Raadt
Mark Tregenza
Tvl
Western Tvl FC
49 37 ZS-LES Beech A36 300 173.48 00:10.14 165.92 Pieter van Zyl
P G van Zyl
Tvl
Western Tvl FC
50 88 ZS-LAI Cessna R182RGII 235 150.90 00:10.19 145.10 Bryan Engels
Mark Hughes
N/Tvl
None
51 10 ZS-JBM Cessna 402B 300 190.90 00:11.00 181.14 Tertius Myburgh
Adrian Barry
Tvl
None
52 9 ZS-EUM Beech A23-24III 200 119.03 00:11.16 115.07 Emile h
Garry Millen
Tvl
Unitas FC
53 4 ZS-FRV Beech V35A 285 177.86 00:11.35 168.92 Jacques Vercueil
Chris Spencer-Scarr
N/Tvl
Rustenburg FC
54 77 ZS-ITL Beech V35B 285 167.27 00:12.38 158.66 Theuns van Rensburg
Beukes Wilhelmse
K Z N
Newcastle FC
55 24 ZS-FDZ Piper PA28-235 250 136.96 00:13.43 130.66 Christa Greyvenstein
Johan van den Berg
Tvl
None
56 56 ZS-KSO Cessna 182Q 230 134.91 00:14.06 128.62 Errol j van Rensburg
SJG du Preez
N/Tvl
None
57 44 ZS-CBX Mooney M20E 200 155.90 00:14.08 147.56 Phil Gidish
RE Gundersen
Tvl
East Rand FC
58 16 ZS-NGP Cessna T210M 285 170.34 00:16.43 158.75 Gert Ehlers
Anton Barnard
N/Tvl
Brits FC
59 34 ZS-JKY Mooney M20F 200 154.26 00:19.25 143.25 Pieter Hamman
Andre Liebenberg
N/Tvl
Polokwane FC
60 48 ZS-MOB Cessna T210M 310 176.60 00:27.49 156.83 Theo van Zyl
Kobus Kampman
N/Tvl
Letaba FC
60 48 ZS-MOB Cessna T210M 310 176.60 00:27.49 156.83 Theo van Zyl
Kobus Kampman
N/Tvl
Letaba FC
61 36 ZS-GYV Pipistre Sinus 912 80 118.98 00:31.34 108.52 Martin Grunert
Kobus Nel
Cape
Cape Gliding C
62 17 ZS-UMH Partenavia P64B 180 119.93 00:42.37 106.02 Kevin McBey
Gert Barnard
N/Tvl
Rustenburg FC
63 55 ZS-JIM Cessna C172B 145 107.52 00:50.55 94.27 Andrew Lawlor
Gerard Hoarau
Tvl
Lanseria FC

2004 President’s Trophy Air Race

Pietersburg (Civil), Polokwane – 10 to 12 June 2004

Trophy Name Awarded to Race A/c Reg Pilot/Navigator
Aircraft
President’s Trophy The Competitor gaining most time on Handicap 30 ZS-VYI Harry Antel/Barry de Groot
Grumman AA1A
Air Charter Trophy The Second Pilot Home 53 ZS-NET Nico /Johan Rautenbach
Cessna C172K
Vincent Maclean Trophy The Third Pilot Home 38 ZS-JTU Wessel Vermaas/Pieter Lordan
Piper PA28-235
Gatsby Trophy Best Handicap Performance on First Day 30 ZS-VYI Harry Antel/Barry de Groot
Grumman AA1A
Professional Aviation Trophy Best Handicap Speed on Second Day 30 ZS-VYI Harry Antel/Barry de Groot
Grumman AA1A
Wakefield Trophy The First Woman Pilot Home 24 ZS-FDZ Christa Greyvenstein>
Piper PA28-235
Kassie Kasselman Trophy The First Father and Son Combination Home 41 ZS-RMA John Mayer (Jnr)/John Mayer (Snr)
Beech F33A
Preller/Germishuys Trophy Handicapping Committee Award (Completing race despite technical problems) 111 ZS-WBT Lucas Wiese/Johan van Gruting
Glassair III
John Sayers Trophy The Crew of The First Turbocharged Aircraft Home 58 ZS-LCM Jacques Willemse/Diekie Schoeman
Cessna T210N
Bloemfontein Flying Club Trophy The First Team with less than 1000 Hours (570 hours total time) 41 ZS-RMA John Mayer (Jnr)/John Mayer (Snr)
Beech F33A
Dolf Kruger Trophy The First Homebuilt Aircraft Home 3 ZU-LAJ Leslie Jagger/Nigel Townshend
Jabiru J450
Kwa Zulu Natal Advertiser Trophy The Competitor covering the course in the Fastest Time 111 ZS-WBT Lucas Wiese/Johan van Gruting
Glassair III

Race
No
A/c Reg Pilot
Navigator
Aircraft Reason for exclusion
7 ZS-IXM Athas Karatzas
A E Georgio
Grumman AA5 Did not finish Day 2
13 ZS-CXP Kassie Kasselman
Jean Pierre Kasselman
Cessna C172D Did not finish Day 2
43 748 Adrian Tomaz
Llewellyn Potgieter
Cessna 185E Precautionary Landing Day 2
49 ZS-WSE John Sayers
Cilliers Manser
North AM T6 Harvard Did not start Day 2
57 ZS-CBB Leon Viljoen
Sias Delport
Piper PA28-180 Did not start Day 1
59 ZS-JBK Roland van Tonder
Marius Barkhuizen
Cessna 310R Missed TP1 and TP2 on Day 1
63 ZS-FZV Marius Crause
Gert Swart
Siai Marchetti S205-20/R Did not start Day 2

President´s Trophy Air Race

Pietersburg Civil, Polokwane – 10 to 12 June 2004

By Chris Booysen

As in prior years a number of aircraft were fitted with loggers. While it is difficult to come to any significant conclusions from the limited data, there is some interesting information that can be extracted from the logger tracks.

Erratic Flying Day 1 - losing places
Erratic Flying Day 1 – losing places

For those that have not yet come across the loggers, some general information. The loggers were designed by Jan Hanekom and are manufactured by him in Pretoria. They have been approved by the FAI for competition use. While there are two other loggers approved by the FAI, the South African one has the widest distribution worldwide. This is not only due to the quality of the equipment but also to the sophistication of the software that is available to analyse the tracks logged. The software is also local.

The logger basically records the longitude and latitude and altitude every second, in other words the three dimensional position of the aircraft every second. Using these plotted positions the software can calculate the heading, climb/decent and ground speed of the aircraft.

The logger information has been used as one of the tools for setting handicaps and as a tool to detect the use of GPS in aircraft. The shortage of logger units has been a problem as this has prevented their extensive use.

Lost - but still safely home
Lost – but still safely home
This year the logger was used in determining the handicap speed of non standard and home built aircraft. Loggers were also put into aircraft in the race on both days. On day two the loggers were put into the leading aircraft from day 1. We also have tracks from some privately owned loggers.

The total distance actually flown by the Race winners, Harry Antel and Barry de Groot for the two days was 651.957 miles. This compares to the actual distance of the race of 649.50 miles. The logger track shows that they did go off the direct track on occasions one must remember that at times slightly left or right of track might save an unnecessary climb. Their average speed over the distance they actually flew (ie including off track errors)was 134.9 as opposed to their speed achieved of 134.37 and handicap speed of 127.50

Another aircraft that had a logger for both days was LXR. The total distance actually flown by them for the two days was 651.8 miles. An additional distance of 2.3 miles. Their average speed over the distance they actually flew was 197.9 as opposed to their speed achieved of 197.13 and handicap speed of 195.64

FNH Day 2
FNH Day 2
FNH was slightly lost on the leg to Warmbaths on day 2. The actual distance flown by them on day 2 was 332.151 miles or 5.751 miles longer than the course. Their average speed for the distance they flew was 118.661 knots as opposed to their handicap speed of 117.0 knots. If they had maintained that speed for the two days and stayed on course they would have gained 4 minutes 39 seconds which would have moved them up four places.

WZU lost time at Giyani on the first day (approx 4 minutes). The actual distance flown by them on day 2 was 329.017 miles or 2.617 miles longer than the course. Their average speed for the distance they flew was 198.57 knots as opposed to their handicap speed of 193.65knots. If they had maintained that speed for the two days and stayed on course they would have gained 4 minutes 59 seconds which would have moved them up 17 places but they still had no chance of winning the race.

VYI Day 2
VYI Day 2
There was one track logged on day 1 that was very accurate. A bit too accurate for my liking. I am sure that if loggers were being used to detect GPS then this track would have been subject to investigation. The aircraft was never more than 100 feet off track for the whole race

I have drawn no conclusions from the facts above. I do not believe that there is sufficient data and information to make any generalisations. What is interesting to note that the aircraft that were test flown tended to be in the middle of the field and their actual speeds were close to their handicap. Does this mean that aircraft handicapped with the use of logger information have more accurate handicaps. It is the intention to introduce more and more loggers in the aircraft until every aircraft flies both legs with a logger and logged aircraft information is used for purposes of determining the handicap of the participants.