July 2012

 width=The Nylstroom fun rally was combined with the Tail Draggers fly-in, 2012 at Modimolle airfield. A chilly 4°C start to the morning didn’t deter the early risers with a total of 14 competitors signing up for the challenge (5 Cessna 172’s, 3 Cessna 210’s, a Jora, a Qualt and an RV7 to mention a few). With breakfast, registration and the safety briefing
completed, it was time to put their skills to the test.

The route was designed as final preparation to challenge the Protea team members competing in Spain in September, yet easy enough to be enjoyed by new comers to rally flying. Making use of the beautiful area surrounding Modimolle, competitors were challenged from the start by flying the first of two arcs on the route seeking their first checkpoint, the elusive railway and river crossing.

Initially navigating the route was easy, following the many rivers and sand roads through the valley north of Modimolle. After a quick turn overhead “The Silver Building” of Cundi Ranch, the competitors turned south towards the town of Naboomspruit. Thereafter the terrain changed rapidly with one forest area looking much like the next, with even the best of the best getting lost, or rather “temporarily uncertain of their position”.

The home run was easy with all competitors finding the finish, an easy highway crossing north of the toll roads close to Bela Bela. After a total of 108 nm flown and 28 photos to identify, it was time to see if the GPS loggers had lied, if the en-route photo’s identified weren’t just an illusion and if the checkpoint photos were in fact true or false.

In the fun class, competitors are given 15 seconds to arrive over a checkpoint before being penalised. The winning team of Rob Jonkers and Pierre Dippenaar knew exactly how to use their map and stopwatch, flying within 1 second at 2 checkpoints, obtaining only 20 points for timing and 410 points overall.

This event was the final training for the Protea team’s ambitions for gold at the 2012 FAI World Rally Flying Championships. Adrian Pilling navigated his way to a world class score of just 21 penalty points for timing, arriving within the 2 seconds allowed at all but 2 of the checkpoints. Together Adrian and Mary scored a total of 51 penalties for the day.

The final standings for the event were as follows:

Fun Class
1st Rob Jonkers / Pierre Dippenaar
2nd Ryan Beeton / Gillian Beeton
3rd Kevin Phillips / Mark Strathmore

Open Class
1st Adrian Pilling / Mary de Klerk
2nd Hans Schwebel / Ron Stirk
3rd Jonty Esser / Sandi Goddard

The Protea Team comprising of Adrian Pilling, Mary De Klerk, Frank Eckard, Cally Eckard, Hans Schwebel, Ron Stirk, Leonard Edwards, Leon Weideman, Rob Kennedy and Wikus Kritzinger will be flying our nations flag high in Castellon, Spain in September. You can show your support and follow their progress on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/ SAWorldRallyFlyingTeam