April 2018

EAA Vryheid Convention 2018 Adventure Rally

By Rob Jonkers

The EAA convention this year was held at Vryheid, which is situated close to the escarpment and in the heart of the Anglo Boer & Zulu war zones. It was decided to hold an adventure format rally which is becoming a signature EAA event in conjunction with SAPFA, which is a format that EAA’ers enjoy, as a more relaxed fun kind of event mostly involving observation out of the window recognition of ground features and learning about the area being flown over. The Vryheid area is rich in history especially in the war times at the turn of the 20th century. The Vryheid club were new to this type of event and a few members took part, as well as members from other local clubs and of course a number of EAA members.

The Competitors

The theme for this event were following railroads and rivers, and finding a few battlefield sites. The route was mostly towards the north and west, in the mountainous areas of the region, but is also the most scenic area as well, which was one of the objectives for everybody to at least enjoy the local scenery.


Plotting the route
The route started at the local Klipfontein dam just south east of the airfield, and then in an anti-clockwise manner followed the railway line towards the northeast until it disappeared into the mountainside, and then continued to follow the railway northwards until the crossing with the Bivane river, where the teams had to follow the river westwards until they found a prominent farm house complex. From there southwards with no real following features to the Kambule Memorial site, which required recognition of a photo taken at ground level from the air. It was this part of the route that a few of the competitors lost their bearings given the wayward tracks see from the loggers.


The competition map showing the route. From this first battlefield memorial, competitors had to climb a little onto a plateau to find the head waters of the Nsondo river at the top of the Aasvoelkrans gorge, and then fly descending into the gorge where three distinctive waterfalls could be seen, making this the most worthwhile scenic part of the route. At the bottom of the gorge another farmhouse was a waypoint and then to another battlefield memorial of Scheepersnek, and from there to a small farm dam to end off at the Stilwater railway station.

As part of this rally, it was decided that to add some spice as well, to track everybody with loggers to check how accurately they fly to keep within a 1 km corridor, which should have been easy given that one is allowed to fly with GPS. The map and task booklet were provided 20 minutes prior the take-off for everybody to either plan their route with traditional map plotting tools or to program their GPS’s – if they were more at home following the magenta line.

Each route’s leg had turning point photographs to be recognised (either being correct or incorrect), then a few questions had to be answered on ground features or sites that were historic or scenic, mostly cryptic in nature.

An example out of the task booklet for one of the turning points….The tracks of some of the competitors – the blue one flown the most accurately and the yellow track of a competitor that got lost

The booklet contained a section of wiki notes that would enable the crews to answer all the questions – with a warning – “Don’t read at your peril….”, and guess what…., most forgot to find the answers in the most obvious place…. Some crews of course were googling for answers on their cell phones – because they can – somewhat inefficient given everything was right in front of them.

There were 14 crews who registered by briefing time, with a broad spectrum of aircraft participating, from a fast Cessna 210 to slow open cockpit Bat Hawks.

Alan Lorimer assisting with getting the task booklets and loggers ready for the competitors

After the briefing, and with 20 minutes prior take-off of handing out papers prepared in sequence by Alan Lorimer, the first competitors took to the skies at 10:15, with the last off at 13.15. The weather was good for flying but the wind had picked up somewhat, which made navigation a little challenging.

With everybody successfully home, it was time for marking the exam papers which was left to Clive King to do, and Rob downloading loggers, and then printing the results.

When all was tallied up, two crews tied for first place, Carl Visagie with Navigator Mike Terreblanche in their Ikarus ZU-EOV and Shane Brits with Navigator Karen Stroud in their Jabiru ZU-FEP. Greg Clegg and Keaton Perkins in a Jodel ZU-UEK attained 2nd place, with third place going to Wayne Giles and Mark Clulow in their Bearhawk LSA ZU-IKO. In the spot landing that everybody carried out after the rally, the winner was Mike Ehrich flying a Bantam ZU-ADW.

Thus came to the end of a hopefully enjoyable day for everybody who took part, and given the interest in the event, should bode well for future rallies of this type and also gain an expression of interest in the more formal and timed rallies.

The Overall Results


2018 National Rally Championships

held at Brits from 11th to 13th April 2018

Competition Director: Frank Eckard


National Rally Champs 2018 – 13-Apr-14 – Brits – OVERALL RESULTS – Unlimited

1Adrian PillingMary de KlerkRSAZS-IFMUnlimited278003034015636
2Frank EckardCally EckardRSAZS-DOSUnlimited279050430150774
3Rob JonkersMartin MeyerRSAZS-IVCUnlimited185005658045875
4Hans SchwebelRon StirkRSAZS-IWDUnlimited36703358840301059
5Jonty EsserJonathan EsserRSAZU-DYEUnlimited555016765743301452
6Mark ClulowShane BritzRSAZU-FEPUnlimited4420097783301532

Individual Day results – National Rally Champs 2018 – 11-Apr-14 – Brits – Green – RESULTS – ADVANCED

14Adrian PillingMary de KlerkRSAZS-IFMUnlimited38000515200915
26Frank EckardCally EckardRSAZS-DOSUnlimited41401005901001114
31Hans SchwebelRon StirkRSAZS-IWDUnlimited6820100745001527
47Thys van der MerweSandy vd MerweRSAZU AFPUnlimited50401009751001589
53Mark ClulowShane BritzRSAZU-FEPUnlimited60800142510002133
62Leon BouttelFrans SmitRSAZU-FBJUnlimited100002009004002140
75Jonty EsserJonathan EsserRSAZU-DYEUnlimited102404009206002404

National Rally Champs 2018 – 12-Apr-18 – Brits – MDK – RESULTS

12Frank EckardCally EckardRSAZS-DOSUnlimited14400270200434
28Jonty EsserJonathan EsserRSAZU-DYEUnlimited21600280600556
33Hans SchwebelRon StirkRSAZS-IWDUnlimited11200440200572
41Rob JonkersMartin MeyerRSAZS-IVCUnlimited96003851200601
59Thys van der Merwe RSAZU-AFPUnlimited18400530200734
66Shane BritzMark ClulowRSAZU-FEPUnlimited362007753001167
111Leon Boutell RSAZU-FBJFun175010010902001385
25Bennie du PlessisFrans SmitRSAZS-DWZFun3680010806001508
310Pierre Dippenaar RSAZU-PLDFun2220100102020001542
44Nic CristodoulouAndre KluytsRSAZS-SYAFun646050012204002406

National Rally Champs 2018 – 13/04/2018 – Brits – Blue – RESULTS

11Adrain PillingMary de Klerk0ZS-IFMUnlimited17600906030356
24Hans SchwebelRon Stirk0ZS-IWDUnlimited30800580100901078
33Rob JonkersMartin Meyer0ZS-IVCUnlimited2740074540901149
45Mark ClulowShane Britz0ZU-FEPUnlimited35600730120901296
56Jonty EsserJonathan Esser0ZU-DYEUnlimited426010077010901396
611Nick ChristodoulouAndre Kluyts0ZS-SYAUnlimited14340300109020902934
112Thys van der MerweThinus Coetzee0ZS-DXZFun12000804090330
19Pierre Dippenaar000Fun242002151090557
28Markus JagerSteven Theron 0ZU-XYZ Fun1980041020090898
310Pierre van der MerweSandy van der Merwe0ZU=FWYFun32900410300901129
47Jan CoetzeeMax Coetzee0ZS-KNJFun75700260200901307
52Bennie du PlessisFranz Smit0ZS-DXZFun7790200117030902269