October 2004


Cato Ridge – 2 October 2004

By Chris Booysen

The Cato Ridge Airfield was host to this years KZN Inter-Provincial Precision Flying Championships held on Saturday, 2 October 2004. The airfield, although unlicensed, is an active one especially as the Pietermaritzburg Parachuting Club (the oldest in South Africa) is looking at relocating there to get away from the costs and hassle of the Pietermaritzburg Airfield.

Cato Ridge Airfield
Cato Ridge Airfield from the Clubhouse balcony

The competition was organised, and the route set by Barry de Groot who did not take part in order to give others the chance of winning the KZN title. As is expected from Barry, the route was difficult with a large number of ground targets and photos. The area around Cato is not easy for navigation and the turning points were difficult. To quote Walter Walle – “The territory was hostile”.

The field was small with only 8 entries, 2 of whom did not take part. This was disappointing after the interest and enthusiasm shown at the first briefing/lecture held by Barry with Mary de Klerk for pilots in the area. After starting with approximately 20 participants in the lectures the numbers dwindled down to only one entrant in the competition, who withdrew when he got flu just before the event.

Jacques Jacobs flew down from Brits with Ron Stirk to act as marshall and Chris Booysen flew up from Port Elizabeth to assist with the scoring.

Most of the competitors arrived on Friday to get in some practice in the area after which they enjoyed a social braai at the Cato clubhouse

Mary de Klerk, Ron Stirk and Jan Hanekom
KZN Precision – Mary de Klerk (3rd), Ron Stirk (1st) and Jan Hanekom (2nd).

Saturday morning started with a short briefing at 8:15 with the first papers being handed out at 8:45. Even though there was a small field there were two groups as Wayne Bond was sharing his Jabiru ZU-CLR with Jan Hanekom. Ernie Alexander was also waiting for his aircraft to be delivered to Virginia. The weather had closed in the previous evening but the day was clear with good visibility. The wind was Easterly at the airfield and this was built into the flight plan. What made it difficult for the competitors was that it was blowing Westerly on part of the route.

Wayne was off first followed at 5 minute intervals by the rest of the field. Most found their way around the route. There were a few missed turning points and secrets. Loggers were downloaded straight after the flights and the results after the flying had Jan Hanekom in the lead with 438 penalty points followed closely by Ron on 488 and Mary on 515. A close result like this made the landing competition even more important.

The landing competition was held after lunch. The landings were held in the following order: normal landing, followed by a glide approach, a flapless glide approach and the a powered approach over a 2 meter barrier. The entrants were divided into two groups with each group doing the first two landings and then the second two.

Unfortunately Mary landed very short on the first landing and Ron landed well taking a bit of pressure off him. After the second landings where Ron had a “Bingo” and Jan landed short meant that Ron was looking like a possible winner. A Bingo by Mary on the last landing was not enough to get her back into the running.

Another braai was provided and Barry made the announcement of the final results which were:

Wayne Bond - KZN Colours
Wayne Bond – new KZN Colours

Overall Results

  • 1st Place Ron Stirk
  • 2nd Place Jan Hanekom
  • 3rd Place Mary de Klerk
  • 4th Place Wayne Bond
  • 5th Place Ernie Alexander
  • 6th Place Walter Walle


  • 1st Place Ron Stirk
  • 2nd Place Wayne Bond
  • 3rd Place Jan Hanekom

The total possible points for the event were 4 990 which meant that Chris Booysen had the pleasure of awarding Wayne Bond his KZN Provincial Flying Colours

Thanks to Barry, Sam, Chris, Jacques and the Cato Flying Club for making this event a success. It is always a pleasure to visit KZN.



More Pictures
Ernie Alexander and Mary de Klerk
Ernie and Mary
using the background
KwaZulu-Natal Precision Flying Championships - Event complete
KZN Precision
Winding down
Mary de Klerk and ZS-LSP
Mary de Klerk
and ZS-LSP
Chris Booysen and Wayne Bond
Chris congratulating Wayne
KZN Colours