April 2005

Wings ‘n Tracks National Precision Flying Championships

Brits, South Africa – 28 to 29 April 2005.

By Adrian Pilling

Wednesday, 27 April

Competitors at the 2005 National Precision Flying Championships
Competitors and Officials.

The public holiday allowed some of the crews to arrive in time for the National Championships. Crews flew in from as far away as Durban and Port Elizabeth.

The enthusiastic town of Brits was the host to this prestigious event, again. This town is truly amazing as the marshals and all the officials are so dedicated to this sport that quite literally if they did not do what they did the sport would battle to survive. Thanks guys and gals.

The evening briefing was fun with most of the crews settling down for the night. However one of the crews, Nigel Hopkins, was still flying the Boeing back from Bombay and we were not sure he could make it.

Thursday, 28 April

The day dawned, cold and a little hazy. The first off for the day was Adrian Pilling, into flight planning at 8am. The rest of the crews followed with Nigel Hopkins racing across form Jhb International to make the competition and Frank Eckard arriving in time to join too.

Ron and Mauritz in the classroom.

The route was tough but fair. One mishap however got the competitors talking amongst themselves is that Mary de Klerk forgot to put her logger in the plane and in doing so scored maximum penalties for the day (OOOOOPS). The route featured 12 photos, 4 ground markers and 9 legs. A deceptive route to say the least.

The Competition was scored swiftly and accurately and before the evening meal was served by the Brits supporters, the results were out. 1st Place Nigel Hopkins, 2nd Place Barry de Groot, 3rd Place Adrian Pilling, 4th Place Jan Hanekom, 5th Frank Eckard, 6th Place Ron Stirk, 7th Place Hans Schwebel, 8th Place Ernie Alexander, 9th Place Mauritz Due Plessis, 10th Place Walter Walle, 11th Place Mary de Klerk (due to the logger story, otherwise Mary would have been 5th).

A great evening was had by all and after much merrymaking the crews retired for the night and prepared for the coming battle.

Friday, 29 April

Landing Champion – Adrian Pilling receiving his trophy from sponsor Barbara Friebose.

The day started with a bright and sunny morning and the usual Brits enthusiasm had everybody panting with anticipation for the coming competition. The start order was the same as yesterday with Adrian taking off first.

The route was again a deceptively simple route around the province, featuring much difficult terrain and difficult photographs, a typical tough Brits competition.

The day proved challenging with many mishaps occurring. Adrian had a problem with his logger which failed to record the flight and as a result scored maximum (OOPS), Nigel had a mishap in flight planning scoring maximum (OOPS).

2005 South African Precision Flying Champion - Nigel Hopkins
2005 S A Precision Flying Champion – Nigel Hopkins.

At the end of the navigation section the scores were neck and neck with Barry de Groot and Nigel Hopkins equal on 539 penalties each and everything to fly for with the landing competition in front of them.

The landings produced their own set of dramas with Ron Stirk clearly in the lead, but scoring a skip and putting him down the field (OOPS). Then with Barry slightly in the lead over Nigel and with one landing to go, Barry executed a perfect landing and was clearly set to pip Nigel at the post when it was discovered that he had taken off with ten degrees of flaps and had forgotten to remove them for the final landing and in so doing scoring maximum for this landing (OOPS), thus handing the championship to Nigel. Wow what a nail biting finish for the competitors.

Adrian won the landing competition thus making up somewhat for the logger problem earlier in the day.

That evening the competitors waited in eager anticipation for the results. A huge braai was enjoyed by all and then down to business. The final results were:-

2005 South African Precision Flying Squad
National Precision Flying Squad L to R – Jan Hanekom, Ernie Alexander, Ron Stirk, Adrian Pilling, Nigel Hopkins, Mary de Klerk, Barry de Groot, Hans Schwebel and Chris Booysen (Manager).

  • 1 Nigel Hopkins 583
  • 2 Jan Hanekom 635
  • 3 Hans Schwebel 670
  • 4 Ron Stirk 760
  • 5 Barry de Groot 772
  • 6 Frank Eckard 938
  • 7 Ernie Alexander 1509
  • 8 Walter Walle 1909
  • 9 Mauritz Du Plessis 2406
  • 10 Adrian Pilling ** 3387
  • 11 Mary de Klerk ** 3452

What’s more the provisional squad to the World Championships in France next year was announced. The squad comprises:- Hopkins, Pilling, Hanekom, de Klerk, Schwebel, Stirk, de Groot, Alexander. Well done to you all.

Thank you to the following for a great event. The Competition Director and Chief Judge was Chris Booysen ably assisted by his wife Denise. The Jury comprised Dicky Swanepoel, Thys Herman and Tony Peeters. The Chief Marshall was Jacques Jacobs. The Safety Officer was Ruben Knotze. The Route Planner was Deon Van Den Berg. The Fuel Officer was Paul Hermann. Of course a big thanks to the Brits Flying Club and all the supporters for their very hard work. A special thank you to Wings n’ Tracks for their sponsorship and of course to the marshals for all their hard work.

Thank you all.

Wings ‘n Tracks National Precision Flying Championships – Brits 2005 – Detailed Results

Day One Day Two Land Grand
Pos Name The Mkrs Photo Flight Other Tot The Mkrs Photo Flight Other Tot Total Total
1 Nigel Hopkins 0 20 20 57 0 97 350 20 60 12 0 442 44 583
2 Jan Hanekom 1 20 60 201 0 282 0 20 70 207 0 297 56 635
3 Hans Schwebel 0 0 120 336 0 456 0 0 40 123 0 163 51 670
4 Ron Stirk 7 20 60 306 0 393 0 20 120 144 0 284 83 760
5 Barry de Groot 1 20 140 66 0 227 0 20 100 192 0 312 233 772
6 Frank Eckard 94 20 60 177 0 351 0 90 100 195 0 385 202 938
7 Ernie Alexander 12 40 100 725 0 877 0 40 170 291 0 501 131 1509
8 Walter Walle 0 40 80 855 0 975 6 40 160 527 0 733 201 1909
9 Mauritz Du Plessis 4 40 160 770 0 974 0 40 140 943 0 1123 309 2406
10 Adrian Pilling ** 0 40 60 156 0 256 0 20 80 3000 0 3100 31 3387
11 Mary de Klerk ** 0 40 60 3000 0 3100 0 0 80 210 0 290 62 3452
Max score 350 80 240 2000 0 2670 350 100 240 3000 0 3690 1200 7560
** Note
 – M de Klerk was penalised 2 768 penalties due having to return to the field after take-off to collect a logger
 – A Pilling had a logger failure on Day 2 resulting in the allocation of maximim flight penalties

More Pictures of the National Precision Flying Championships
Click to enlarge
Jacques Jacobs and Walter Walle
Jacques and Walter
C172 - ZU-AFP
Marshall at AFP
2005 Precision Jury
2005 Precision Jury
Jacques Jacobs
Jacques Jacobs – Chief Marshall
Landing Marshals
Landing Marshals
Maurits landing ZS-MAE
Maurits landing ZS-MAE.
Landing competition 2005 spectators
Landing competition spectators
Jan Hanekom landing ZU-CNG
Jan Hanekom landing ZU-CNG
Barbara - Event Sponsor
Barbara – Event Sponsor
Nigel and Barry
Nigel and Barry
Hans Schwebel - 3rd Place
Hans Schwebel – 3rd Place
Jan Hanekom - 2nd Place
Jan Hanekom – 2nd Place
South African NationalPrecision Flying Logo