July 2004

Air BP Logo


Incorporating the 14th World Rally Flying Championships,
and the 16th World Precision Flying Championships

Herning, Denmark – 14 to 24 July 2004.

By Chris Booysen

Part 3 – The Precision Flying Championship

Tuesday, 20 July

Ron Stirk teaching the French to sing Shosholoza.

Exhaustion is starting to set in!! The rally closing function in the evening was the normal fun filled affair with SA teaching the rest how to sing Shosholoza. There is no break between the two competitions and this morning the official practice was held. We are satisfied with our performance for the day but found that some of the wizz wheels have an error which only showed up because they used 29 knots as the wind for the theoretical test.

Our results for the practice show that we have made some silly errors. Hopefully we will eliminate those in the competition. The pilots are finding it fairly simple to stay on track as the maps are accurate and there are plenty of features to use as navigation points but photo recognition is a nightmare. The photos are of trees and fields and there are thousands of places out there which could match the photo. There are no trig beacons! We are also picking up the ground markers.

It is interesting to see that the Polish pilots do not minute mark the track but rather put a time next to each feature that the track crosses. We mark every 30 seconds which means we have to interpolate the times past the features whereas they have the time on the map.

Wednesday, 21 July

The first competition day did not go well for South Africa. Bad luck and silly mistakes cost a large number of points.

Nigel leads the group with 94 points. A perfect track all around the course on time except for about a minute or so – at the secret. This costs unnecessary points. He is followed by Ron on 405 points and Hans on 496 (0 on CP’s but way out on secrets). Jan is on 516 (circling error for 5 sec = 200 pts), Barry on 607, Dale on 1 000 and Walter on 1 101. Ernie had a real bad hair day and returned with two empty loggers.

At the evening briefing we are told that two ground markers are cancelled. A “P” is thrown out because the wind blew the canvas and some pilots thought that it was a “F” and a secret checkpoint marker is cancelled because the marker is stolen during the day (and we thought this only happened in South Africa).

Poland takes the lead after day one with Krzysztof (Christof) Wieczorek ending the day with 6 points. He is followed by Marek Kachaniak (Poland – 32 points), Petr Opat (Czech – 33 points) and Janusz Darocha (Poland – 41 points). Nigel’s 94 points puts him in 14th position followed by Ron in 44th.

Thursday, 21 July

Nigel with one of the 3 SA Bingo’s.

The landing test comprises four landings. A normal landing, two forced landings (one flapless) and a landing over a barrier. To win in this competition you need to have at least two “Bingo’s” and the other two landings must be within a metre of the bingo line

After the first landing most of our team put themselves out of the running except for Hans who has 3 points for landing one metre long. Hans bingo’s the second landing and is given a +2 (4 points) for the third landing even though he clearly landed in the bingo box. At this stage two other pilots (M Bartler and N Strube) have 4 points so we are in the running. For the last landing Bartler gets a zero and Strube is marked as a +2 even though is appears to be a zero as well. The landing system used is unreliable but the points will be corrected after watching the videos of the landings.

The pressure is now on Hans who must zero the last landing. Unfortunately he gets a -6 metres which means he will fall well down the rankings

After all the protests (4 Polish and 1 French) the final results are published. First is Natalie Strube on 4 points after a successful protest. The French team had decided to accept the official results but were persuaded by adamant SA support to protest the scoring of one landing. Second was M Bartler (Poland – 4 points) and third Vahama Harri (Finland – 12 points). Nigel is the best from SA in 5th with 16 points followed by Dale and Hans in 27th and 28th. Poland loses 3 of their four protests. I can think of a better way to spend $100 per protest.

Friday, 22 July

I am starting to find out what it means to be a manager. It is the last day of the competition and you are expected to pay for flights still to happen at an office to which you have no access (in case you get some information that will help your team).

Apart from that it is the final day of the competition. There is a weather delay of 3 hours due to fog which only adds to the tension. We need to do well today to regain some lost ground. After the landings we have Nigel in 9th place and then our next position is 48th. At this stage we are lying ninth in the team competition.

The day is badly effected by weather. Ernie has to bale out after flying in IF conditions and some of our team (especially Walter) are badly effected by rain squalls that make it impossible to get to turning points due to low cloud and rain.

The results for the day are better with Nigel scoring 51 points. Jan also has a good day with a total of 200 points. The are once again a number of protests so final scores will be available tomorrow.

The day ended off well with an informal function. A number of fun awards were made recognising the officials and those that had had some slip ups. Walter was recognised as having the landing that delayed the beer drinking the most and Ernie received an award for having the best turned off logger. Brady and Chelsea de Klerk also received awards for the best junior assistants.

Saturday, 23 July

A bus tour to Legoland has been organised and most of the team are on this bus looking worse for wear. It has been a long two weeks but we are on the home straight.

From L to R: P Opat (2nd) Krzystof Wieczorek (Winner) and Waclaw Wieczorek (3rd).

The awards ceremony was held in the Herning Congress Centre. First is Krzysztof Wieczorek (Poland) with a total of 71 points followed by Petr Opat (Czech) on 93 points and Waclaw Wieczorek (Poland) with 108 points. Nigel Hopkins is 5th on 161 points. The team gold medal goes to Poland, followed by Czech Republic and France. South Africa end up in 7th position. The landing trophy (individual) as well as the trophy for the best woman pilot goes to Natalie Strube of France. The team landing trophy was awarded to France. Full results are available on theFAI site.

The team have been disappointed at the results as the expectations were high after the win (individual and rally) at Pilanesburg last year. There is no need for this as an analysis of the results since 1990 show that our rally results were only bettered last year and in 1999 while the precision results were only bettered in 1994 (individual). From a team result point of view we have ended in our average position since 1990.

The event has been a great learning experience and we will have to make adjustments to our training over the next two years if we want to improve our placing in the world rankings.


Pictures taken by various team members
Hans Schwebel & Ron Stirk
The Brits Shoe Dance
C172 - OY-AHY
C172 – OY-AHY
Sunset at Herning
Sunset at Herning Airfield
Herning Airfield
Herning Airfield
Herning Airfield
Herning Airfield
Dale de Klerk and Nigel Hopkins
Waiting for Take off.
Ron Stirk, Jan Hanekom, Hannes Czserveny
Ron and Jan with Hannes
Nigel Hopkins and Jan Hanekom
Nigel and Jan waiting for take-off
Hugo Stark
Hugo planning route to Mirabo

South African Rally and Precision Flying Team Logo

World Flying Championships Logo - Denmark

Air BP Logo


Incorporating the 14th World Rally Flying Championships,
and the 16th World Precision Flying Championships

Herning, Denmark – 14 to 24 July 2004.

By Chris Booysen

Part 2 – The Rally Flying Championship

Friday, 16 July

Frank Eckard and Quentin Taylor preparing for the first competition day.

The first day of the rally competition! Clear skies for a few hours and then the clouds rolled in again. Luckily the cloud base is high and the clouds scattered so the weather will not effect the competition. The wind is westerly approx 10 knots. All runways in Denmark are 09/27 as the wind is normally westerly. The wind is straight down the runway.

We have 3 teams in each group. Both groups fly under similar weather conditions and do reasonably well. Dale and Nigel plot a photo incorrectly (100 points) and with one photo missed they end with a total of 176 points. They have only 6 timing penalties. Barry and Mary are our second team with 536 points after missing a number of photos. Their timing points were 46. Hans and Ron also do well with 44 timing points and a total of 664 points. Frank and Quentin end up with 810 points after missing a checkpoint, Jan and Hugo with 918 and Ernie and Mike with 1596. In the overall rankings we are 6th, 27th, 28th, 36th, 37th and 45th. There are fifty teams competing.

The Czech team of Filip and Filip are lying first with 22 points, followed by another Czech team (Cihlář and Fiala) on 102 points and the Polish team of Wieczorek and Sketowicz on 146 points.

Saturday, 17 July

Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk taxi-ing to the start.

All I have heard about Denmark is not correct. So far we have had no roll mops, there are not thousands of beautiful blonde girls with blue eyes and today the wind is blowing from the south east. We have had some good news in that Air BP will be sponsoring the team with an amount that should pay for our fuel.

Today was the second official competition day. The teams swopped around so that those that flew in the morning fly in the afternoon. With the luxury of long days the organisers have stretched out the competition. The first aircraft of group one normally takes off at 9:15 after being parked on the side of the runway since 8:15. The afternoon group arrive at the airfield at approximately 11:45, park their aircraft at 13:30 (after a lunch) and only start taking off at 14:45. This means that the last pilot takes off at 16:00, al long wait.

Our teams have had mixed results for today. Once again Nigel and Dale have done well with a total of 122 points, 2 for timing and 120 for the landing/two missed photos and 6th place for the day. They are followed by Mary and Barry (25th) with 404 points, and Hans and Ron (31st) with 630 points. Frank and Quentin have not had a good day as they cut the start gate before their run in and miss a check point. They end up with 1 334 points in 41st place. Jan and Hugo also missed the finish. Luckily the finish is cancelled as the false photo was only 0.6nm away from the finish so instead of 1 389 points they have 789 points and are in 35th place. Ernie and Mike miss two points and end with 2 196 points. Our teams are still finding the photo recognition a problem.

The leaders for day 2 are the Filip brothers (Czech) on 22 points again followed by Darocha and Chrzaszcs (Poland) on 56 points and Opat and Rajdl (Czech) on 70 points.

Sunday, 18 July

Nigel, Dale, Mary and children passing the time in the tent.

The third and final day of the competition starts with a weather delay for the first group of over an hour. Here the clouds seem to be generated from the ground and visibility is poor (Is that catabatic fog?). The time between take-offs is reduced to two minutes to try to make up the time. The first group gets off well and our teams in the group indicate they are happy with the efforts for the day.

Prior to the take off it is announced that the cloud base is below the minimum of 1 000 ft as required by the rules. All teams are given the option to fly but two teams decline. After more animated discussion it is decided to go ahead with the flying and those not happy can protest after the event. As soon as the decision was made the cloud base started to lift and by the time the first aircraft took off it was within limits. The afternoon group is also happy with the results for the day

Our teams have generally done better. Nigel and Dale end up with an unbelievable total of 20 points in second place for the day – only beaten by Darocha and Chrzaszcz with 4 points for the day. The only penalties Nigel and Dale received were for landing approximately 1 ft out of the bingo box. An enormous effort. This means that they could be in line for a medal but it is too early to call. They are followed by Mary and Barry with 246 points (20th), and Frank and Quentin with 467 points (30th). This could have been much lower if it was not for a misleading sketch on the clue sheet. Hans and Ron have 546 points (36th) followed by Jan and Hugo with 552 points (37th). Ernie and Mike get their timing points down to 82 but still battle with the photos and end up on 972 points (45th), a huge improvement.

The evening is finished off with the Chilean Pisco Sours evening. The Pisco Sours had such an effect on Mike that he and Ron did a party trick in a gay bar. I am sure the full story will come out when we are back in South Africa.

Nigel with his first of two bingo’s in the practice.

Monday, 19 July

The manager job is getting harder. Despite all attempts I could not get everybody on to the bus by 6:45 and Mike, Mary and Quentin have to hitch to the airfield. It is raining again but the landing practice will go ahead as planned.

There is only time for a barrier and a flapless glide as we have to be back in town for the rally closing ceremony. Nigel, Jan and Ron hit two bingo’s which immediately raises the spirits that had been dashed by news that the Polish team (once again) had protested and one of their teams had overtaken Nigel and Dale in the final results.

The closing ceremony was held in the city square in perfect weather. The final results were announced by the Chief Judge, Heinrich Linkogel. The Czech team of the Filip brothers are first with 120 points over 3 days. An incredible result. They are followed by another Czech team of Cihlář/Fiala on 226 points and Wieczorek and Skretowicz on 298 points. Dale and Nigel end 4th a further 20 points behind. Barry and Mary in 21st place join Nigel and Dale as our representatives in the team results. Their combined points make us 4th in the team event after Czech, Poland and France. Full results are available on theFAI site.

Dale de Klerk and Nigel Hopkins receiving their award from the Chief Judge and Vagn Jensen.

The navigation trophy went to the Polish team of Darocha and Chrzaszcz who have only 32 timing points and 0 observation points over the three days. Thank heavens they did not land well (310 penalties) or we would be another position down.

South Africa and Chile get a special mention at the ceremony as teams who travel long distances to take part and always add some life to the competition.

We will all be taking the afternoon off so that we are ready for the Precision Championships that start tomorrow. We probably also need to get some sleep before the function tonight.




Pictures taken by various team members
Herning Marked landing box
The marked landing box
Walter Walle
Walter after a hard practice
World Flying Championships Herning
Day 3 Morning Group
2004 World Flying Championships Briefing
Briefing in the tent
South African Flying Team
Review of Flights
Italian Flying Team
A new look Italian Team
Ron Strik & Hans Schwebel
A Happy looking Ron and Hans
Ernie Alexander after Pisco Sours
Ernie after Pisco Sours
2004 World Flying Championships Closing cermony
Waiting for Closing
Heinrich Linkogel
Heinrich Linkogel with the results
2004 World Rally Flying Championships Herning
Top 3 teams
2004 World Rally Flying Championships
Top 10 teams

South African Rally and Precision Flying Team Logo

World Flying Championships Logo - Denmark

Air BP Logo


Incorporating the 14th World Rally Flying Championships,
and the 16th World Precision Flying Championships

Herning, Denmark – 14 to 24 July 2004.

By Chris Booysen

Part 1 – The Practice

The Air BP SA Flying Team departed from Johannesburg International on Thursday 8 July. After the long flight via Amsterdam (Frankfurt and London for some of the team) all arrived in Herning. After a quick shower the recce squad drove out to the airfield to see what was in progress. The French team had arrived the previous day and were practising. The UK and Polish teams arrived during the afternoon.

Only one aircraft was available so it was decided that the team would take the night off and start in earnest in the morning. The night was spent with some team building and the team went to bed early – or so we thought as we were back at the hotel before sunset at approx 11:00 pm

Saturday, 10 July

2004 World Flying Championships -Herning
Jacques Jacobs, Chris Booysen, Walter Walle, Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk sorting out the loggers

By 8:30 all the team were at the airport. We only received one of the aircraft, and this one with a flat oleo. The rest of our aircraft were supposed to arrive but the weather to the North was not good. Only the deliveries of aircraft from the South could take place. We were kept busy with initialising the loggers and plotting the practice route for the day. As the day progressed the weather got worse. Frank Eckard and Quentin Taylor managed to fly the practice route (at 300 ft AGL) and Walter Walle and Ron Stirk had an interesting flight after flying the owner of the aircraft he was using home. Chris Booysen took Jan Hanekom and Hugo Stark (by car) on an aborted attempt to collect an aircraft at Viborg. By 14:00 it was raining over the whole area so we called it a day and went back to the hotel.

Once again we made some (special) friends at the local pub – especially our judge observer – Jacques.

Lets hope it clears tomorrow!

Sunday, 11 July

2004 World Flying Championships - Practice conditions
Jan Hanekom and Hugo Stark flying in the rainy conditions.

The weather has cleared a bit – still a low cloud base and a temperature of in the low teens. We managed to get all teams to fly at least one practice route. Timing and navigation seems fine but all are battling with finding photos. Most teams have only found one or two photos per route. Frank and Quentin flew the same route again and this time managed to get the photo count up significantly. Still not good enough but if we improve at this rate we will be fine. The maps are extremely accurate but are road maps so do not have some features on them eg. power lines. The wind power generators are also not normally marked – but there are so many they are not good navigational features.

Most teams from the other participating countries have arrived so it is getting busier at the Herning airport. At one stage finals looked like Heathrow with 3 or four aircraft on finals appearing out of the gloom.

Some humour was added today when Ernie Alexander and Mike Ehrman went for their first flight. Ernie was battling a bit with the unfamiliar radio and was calling Herning Tower. Eventually he heard a reply “Ernie – can you hear me” Ernie replied – “Yes – where are you?” “Sitting right next to you” says Mike.

Monday, 12 July

Mike Ehrman plotting a practice rally
Mike Ehrman plotting a practice rally.

The weather reminds me of Port Elizabeth in winter, overcast with wind 290/25G29knots, and it is supposed to be the middle of summer in Denmark. At least the cloudbase has lifted which allowed some more serious practice.

Nigel Hopkins and Dale de Klerk joined the team today. For them, an eventful flight with Nigel arriving with some luggage missing. At least he now knows what it is like to sit in the back!

The practicing is starting to have some effect and we are now finding far more photos. We also have all our aircraft at last so we are more settled. The wind is causing a problem on the downwind legs but the organisers will probably be working a wind factor into the planning which will make most teams happy.

Our main competitors, the French and Polish teams are putting in some serious practice. We will have to pull out all the stops to retain out status as World Champions.

Tuesday, 13 July

Up early today as Ron and Hans wanted to practice without major traffic. When we arrived at the airfield at 6:30 we realised that it would not be fun today. The cloud base has increased to approx 2 500ft AGL but the wind speed has increased. The official wind at the airfield was 25G30 but at 1000 feet he wind was more like 35 to 40 knots. After our experience of the previous day wind was taken into account when calculating times so that it was easier to maintain time

We have made up two new routes and flown them taking photos. The photos for the routes that Nigel brought back from the Danish Nationals have already aged. The colours are all different and that is why we are struggling with photo recognition. Times and number of photos spotted is improving flight by flight.

Wednesday, 14 July

2004 Worls Flying Championships - Opening Parade
Opening Parade – Herning.

Not a very active day today. Hans, Ron and a few others were at the airfield at 6:30 to practice some landings. After that we had the first official briefing at 9:30 followed by lunch and then back to the hotel. The weather has closed in and it is raining again. We marched through the city center of Herning to the town hall in the rain. After a few speeches and the flag raising we were entertained by the Herning City Council. The food here is outstanding. Snacks and free beer made it difficult to leave but tonight will be an early one so we can be prepared for the official practice tomorrow.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is good but then deteriorating from Friday again. Hopefully we will get in enough flying to make it an official competition.

Thursday, 15 July

Jacques Jacobs – Judge Observer with Mike Ehrman

The official practice was held today. The field has been divided into two with three of our teams in each group.

The official practice is a dry run and is run according to the rules. At the marshals briefing it was recognised that Jacques Jacobs, our Judge Observer, was one of the most qualified so he was appointed to do the debriefing. This has only added to the permanent smile Jacques has had since leaving Johannesburg.

Once again the weather was poor and some of our teams battled in poor visibility. Overall the results were not what we have hoped for and a few silly mistakes need to be eliminated. Rather in the practice than in the event. Nigel and Dale did well with 18 timing penalty points but slipped up a bit on the photos. Hans managed to “Bingo” the landing so we have some positives for tomorrow.

The good news is that the weather is clearing and we now have all the aircraft for both events. As it is a dual event there is practicing allowed by the precision pilots during the rally event. Walter at last managed to get some practice in today even though he had lent most of his equipment to other members of the team.


Pictures taken by various team members
Herning Airfield
Herning Airfield
Hans Schwebel checking his mail
Jan Hanekom and Hugo Stark
Jan and Hugo
Herning Airfield - Finals
Finals clear
Herning Airfield - Finals
Finals rain
Hotel Eyde
Hotel Eyde
2004 World Flying Championships Herning
Ready for opening
2004 World Flying Championships - Opening Function
Opening Function
Frank Eckard
Frank Practicing
Walter Walle
Walter Walle
2004 World Flying Championships Post mortem
Postmortem of practice
Blue Sky at Herning
Blue Sky at last!

South African Rally and Precision Flying Team Logo

World Flying Championships - Denmark logo