January 2019

The 15th Rand Airport Challenge 2019

By Cally Eckard. Photos by Willie Bodenstein

The SAPFA Committee, particularly Rob Jonkers and Mary de Klerk, who organised a very thorough workshop recently on Rally Flying, saw their efforts bear fruit at the annual Rand Airport Challenge, when a record 8 teams took part in the Intermediate form of the sport. In previous years most participants preferred to stick to the simplest and easiest form which is Fun Rally, but this year pilots and navigators were encouraged to enter the more difficult category. The reason for this is to elevate their skills levels, so that they can participate at national level, thereby building up a new breed of South African champion rally pilots and navigators.

Participants and organisers at Saturday’s Rand Airport Challenge

The navigators and pilots in the Intermediate category had one hour to plot the entire route, and had to do so in the cockpit, which was a first for most of them. They also had far more photo targets to identify, and these were mixed up instead of being sequential and only one per leg. The pilots had only a 5 second window to get through each turn-point, instead of 15 seconds for Fun.

Frank during the briefing.

Some of the participants during the briefing.

Participants hard at work plotting their routes.

Organisers Frank and Cally Eckard gave them the task of flying an arc, which is a curved track between two turn-points, and a follow-the-feature, where they have to fly along a road, river or railway line. Every pilot flew the arc perfectly, and really enjoyed the challenge.

Jonty Esser and son Jonathan finished 2nd in the Intermediate Section.

Rob Jonkers Martin Meyer won the Unlimited Section.

Don Lucas and Andre Kluyts were placed 4th in the Intermediate Section.

Phil Wakely and Mary de Klerk did not complete the course due to mechanical problems.

Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk were placed 2nd in the Unlimited Section.

Shane Britz and Karen Stroud were the winners of the Intermediate Section.

The route took them south from Rand Airport, around Suikerbosrand to Heidelberg, then down to two turn points on the banks of the Vaal Dam, and back again near Vereeniging to the Finish Point at Klipriviersberg Nature

Leon Bouttell and Karyn Purchase finished 5th in the Intermediate Section. 

Adrian Pilling and son Adam were placed 3rd in the Intermediate Section. 

Thys van der Merwe and Gerda Pienaar finished 2nd in the Fun Rally section. 

Kim Pratley and son Andrew finished 3rd in the Fun Rally section. 

Piet Meyer Pieter Kriel were placed 4th in the Fun Rally section. 

Mark Clulow and Renee Clulow were placed 6th in the Intermediate Section.

Antony and Pamela Russell who came all the way from Cape Town to compete finished in 3rd place in Unlimited Section.

RC and CJ Shillaw were the winners of the Fun Rally section.

Jakes Jacobs and Franz Smit did not complete the course due to mechanical problems.

Shane Britz and Karen Stroud the winners of the Rand Challenge.

Rand Airport, who sponsors the Rand Airport Challenge Trophy, also waived landing fees on the days for the participants. The trophy was won by the defending team of Shane Brits and Karen Stroud, who have been putting a lot of effort into their sport.The full results are:

The Fun Rally section:

Pilot Navigator Points
1 RC Shillaw CJ Shillaw 319
2 Thys van der Merwe Gerda Pienaar 870
3 Kim Pratley Andrew Pratley 1231
4 Piet Meyer Pieter Kriel 1410

The Intermediate Section:

Pilot Navigator Points
1 Shane Britz Karen Stroud 750
2 Jonty Esser Jonathan Esser 967
3 Adrian Pilling Adam Pilling 982
4 Don Lucas Andre Kluyts 1488
5 Leon Bouttell Karyn Purchase 1955
6 Mark Clulow Renee Clulow 2170

Unfortunately the two teams consisting of Phil Wakely and Mary de Klerk, and Jakes Jacobs and Franz Smit did not complete the course due to mechanical problems.

The Unlimited Section:

1 Rob Jonkers Martin Meyer 409
2 Hans Schwebel Ron Stirk 766
3 Antony Russell Pamela Russell 1344

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this sport, and is all very motivated to take part in the next events:

· 1-2 Feb – Cape Speed Rally, Morning Star
· 16 Feb – Training Day in Brits, with the focus on the role of the pilot, and cockpit-management
· 23 March – Virginia Rally, Durban (with a training course on 22 March)
· 4 – 6 April – Rally Nationals, Stellenbosch
Please enter online at Sapfa.org.za


SAPFA Rally Training Camp – Aerosud Premises 19 January 2019

By Rob Jonkers

SAPFA held a very successful training event on Rally Navigation on Saturday 19th January as the first SAPFA event of the year. Initially planned for a maximum of 30 participants, and at Grand Central, the eventual total participation was 50, and fitting everybody into the Aerosud training hall proved a challenge.

Alan Evan Hanes – GM of the Aero Club with a short Aero Club Intro
It is great to see the sport being supported so enthusiastically, and the willingness to learn these basic skills of map reading and planning. The GM of the Aero Club Alan Evan Hanes opened the day with a brief overview of the Aero Club and its functions, that the Aero Club has as its mission to protect all forms of Recreational Aviation, and supports Sections of the Aero Club such as SAPFA to be able hold successful events within the procedures governing recreational aviation in SA.

The Participants – 50 in total
With that Mary de Klerk took charge and laid out the objectives of the day, by initially going through the theory of plotting, and then to practice on an actual plot. With this year of 2019 having a full calendar of events, and the Nationals coming up in April in Stellenbosch, and with SAPFA having won the bid to host the World Rally Flying Championships in 2020 (which is also the Centenary year of the Aero Club), this training event would serve as an excellent platform to entice new members to the sport and to start training for the Internationals and obtain Protea Colours.

The Rally Plotting Class of 2019
Mary first started off with having everybody introduce themselves, and what they each had as objectives for training, some were there as newbies interested in taking part in the sport, some having takien part previously indicated they needed some formal and expert training, and some others indicated they just wanted to delve more in depth than what a ppl course would give on the art of paper based navigation.

From there Mary outlined the theory on plotting procedures and described the tools of the trade. Then it was off to plotting an example course which had to be done from basic plotting principles of co-ordinates, bearings (which could be in either true or magnetic) and distances (either in nm of km). Each turning point then had to be found and identified and linked into legs, some of which could be arcs or follow map features.

The goal in getting to National level standard is to be able to plot in the aircraft with a papers time of around 30-40 minutes prior take-off, which means speed is of the essence in doing the plot, so that the navigator can assist with finding and identifying the ground photos.

The morning’s training ended off at around 11 am, and after a short break, everybody got their first route in an envelope, got the laminated transparent tool, which they had to cut out, and proceeded to plot each of the turn points making up the route. It was decided to proceed right through lunch, and most had finished their plot by after 2pm. The course was ended off with an in cockpit video of one of Rob & Martin’s 2012 rally flights to show how the leg photo features match up with the real world outside to give the perspective of what one sees outside the cockpit from the flying height and distance.

Everybody left with some knowledge gained on plotting and techniques of planning & flying a rally, and it is hoped that many will come to the Rand Challenge on the 26th January and Nationals in April.

Daniel Ralefeta and his team of Rise Above Aviators getting ready to plot

Feverously map reading and plotting

Martin Meyer assisting Dave Thomas

Mark and Rene Clulow figuring the plot.


Newbies to the sport, Time Scharf, Conrad van Coller and Daniel Ralefeta

Mary de Klerk assisting Melika Mohapi with Franz Smit & Ashley Loynes at left

Kim Pratley and his son Andrew Pratley working their plot

Protea pilot Adrian Pilling and newly minted ppl pilot son Adam learning from the expert

Arthur Piercy working his plot

Michael Stofberg & Bryony Martin from 104 squadron

Virtual Aviators Johan van Wyk and Freek Stegman

Shaun Barron with Cally Eckard helping in the background

Rob Jonkers explaining some flying techniques