Frank Eckard


SA National Rally Championships – Brits – 2022-06-16 to 18

By Russell Dixon Paver

The venue for this event for 2022 was Brits Airfield (FABS) and was hosted by Brits Flying Club. FAI competition rules were followed and this event was our preparation for SA teams’ selection for the World Rally Flying Championships also to be held in Brits in November 2022.

16 June was the first of three days and was extremely cold, but with clear weather and light winds. 17 June and 18 June produced excellent weather and warmed to normal fair winter days, great for flying. I only attended the Saturday 18 June final competition day.

Brits Flying Club were excellent hosts and the breakfast prepared everyone for the day ahead.


Brits Flying Clubhouse with Jonty Esser’s C150, still in pajamas, and some of the hangars as the sun started to warm things up.


The first two day’s results and maps had been posted on the notice board in the clubhouse.
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A wet and cold PTAR 2022 at New Tempe Bloemfontein

22.05.2022

Text by Rob Jonkers. Photos by Rob and Willie Bodenstein

This year’s President’s Trophy Air Race was held at New Tempe Bloemfontein and although traditionally held on the last weekend of May, but with the Botswana Air Show also taking place on the same weekend, it was decided to move it a week earlier. If we all had the perfect hindsight and with that event not happening, we could have held it on its traditional date and subsequently avoided these last few days of the most unseasonal weather that befell the race weekend.



We have had many of the planned aviation events disrupted by wet, cold, windy weather systems with the most bandied about term of “cut-off low” being used to describe the weather situation. This weekend, none the less, had a very large cold front coupled with an intense low-pressure system over the centre of the country which would affect the race.

I arrived on Wednesday in excellent weather conditions and started setting up for the race, mostly the race control room and preparing for test flights as some of the early competitors also started to arrive at the field. Thursday saw most of the aircraft arrive although some of the Cape based teams first had to wait for the front to pass before setting off, arriving just before dark. Most of the day was taken up by flight tests and registrations while also monitoring what the weather would be doing for the next day as the front was approaching.

During the first extensive Thursday afternoon briefing, which also included the SA weather services team being on hand to give us the best outlook, it appeared that there might have been an early morning flyable gap, thus the day was planned with an early 07h30 start. As Friday dawned, it looked promising: – the cloud base was at a reasonable 1000 ft and we proceeded with the pilot’s briefing. We also sent the turn point marshals to their locations, this being particularly important to get weather condition updates from them at the outermost corners of the route. As the morning progressed with a planned 10 am first take-off, the news from the turn points was not good. Light rain started and it was decided to scrub Day 1 with a debrief at 11 am to plan for the next day. The prediction for Saturday would be that the weather would improve from midday onwards. Everybody dispersed for some rest for the day.

Saturday dawned with flyable conditions and in fact, the window opened up from 11h00 onwards and the first take-off was planned for 11h00. The turn point marshals were sent out and who, from the previous day’s rain, had the challenges of negotiating almost impassable roads to get to their intersections. Fortunately, they all sent in confirmation of being in position prior to the first take-off.

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The Witbank Speed Navigation Rally – 26 March 2022

By Rob Jonkers. Photos by Rob and Willie Bodenstein

 




The field early on Saturday morning taken from inside Apie and Frederick Kotzee’s R66, my ride for the day.

This first of the 4th Season Speed Rallies for 2022 was held at Witbank and was organised by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. This was the 3rd event held at Witbank in the series, which also had to be postponed due to weather issues on the original date of 5th March, the weather forecasting being fickle at best, but looked eventually flyable on the 5th and as Competition Director, you are damned for making those weather-related calls…. one way or the other, especially up here on the reef where weather changeability is so prevalent within hours.
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After a 5 year break, Brits Airfield hosted the 2022 National Precision Flying Championships, over the long weekend of the 19th to 21st March 2022. While this was set up as Rally Training for the 2022 World Rally Flying Championships, most competitors decided to take on the challenge of the Solo version of this sport and entered the Precision Flying section.

Competitors
Moring Briefing

The weather cooperated and we had good weather on all three days.

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Our second attempt to hold the 18th Rand Airport Challenge 2022 was challenged by rain.

Many competitors will be flying the route during the week and thanks to all you persisted especially Tony and Pam who came up from Cape Town twice.

Let’s move forward to our next event.


 


photo by Athol Frans

I attended the briefing for the annual South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) Rand Airport Challenge on Saturday, but sadly due to the weather the rally was postponed. The scenic route would have taken the contestants south of Johannesburg to the Vaal River and Vaal dam, which is more than 100% full at the moment with several sluice gates open. However, with safety in mind the organisers decided not to proceed with the event. The photograph was taken when all the participants had completed the briefing outside the famous Rand Airport terminal building.

Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally – 27 Nov

Photos by Willie Bodenstein and Rob Jonkers
Participants, organisers and officials pose for a photo on Saturday morning after the briefing.

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) organised the 2021 Season finale Speed Navigation Rally on Saturday 27th November 2021 to take place at Springs, this being the 4th event in Season 3 of the Speed Rally series. As a season finale, it would end with a black-tie gala dinner on the Saturday evening against the standard already set in 2020 ending Season 2. Our Season 3 events were held in Witbank, Middelburg, Secunda and lastly Springs.

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SAPFA SA Landing Championships, Stellenbosch and Brits 2021

Stellenbosch

Pete van der Spek

The Stellenbosch Competitors

Precision landing competitions have been around for a long time but for me, this was a new experience behind my camera. I have always shied away from being too close to a landing aircraft for obvious reasons so when I was asked to do this photoshoot, I did so with an open mind – and with some trepidation. Having said that….

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The SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally – 28 August 2021

By Rob Jonkers. Photos by Willie Bodenstein and Rob Jonkers

This year we have returned again to the birth place of the Speed Rally, being the 4th time, this event has been held here, with 2018 the start of Season 1, and from 2020 having re-aligned the Speed Rallies to calendar year seasons, with this event being the 3rd event in Season 3, with the final event for Season 3 being at Springs on 27 Nov 2021.

With lockdown still at level 3, we limited the entries to 25 teams, and 22 had entered by the time the event entries closed on Friday 27th August. Our host club with Chairman Ashvir Kallis and Vice Chairman Lourence Mathee went all out to support the event, making the club facilities available and a braai for the Friday evening. The Aviation Junction flight school made their school facilities available for the scoring and officials’ team.

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