Frank Eckard

By Pamela Russell

11.05.2024


The Northern portion of the SA Nationals in ANR took place a few weeks ago out of Brakpan Airfield. This past weekend saw the corresponding Southern event at the beautiful Stellenbosch airfield. Running parallel competitions allows for greater representation from all parts of the country and will hopefully continue to fuel the growing participation by Western Cape pilots.


FASH – pretty as a picture
While a Nationals is there to allow pilots to attain a set standard and be available to the Selectors, it is also always important to encourage new participants. So, there was an Open and a Sportsmans class, and the field included a team that had not flown any type of aviation competition before.


Competitors studying the schedule
 

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By Andre Venter

13.04.2024


Competitors, judges and others

The Air Navigation Rally is a fun day depending on the weather, sadly this event was postponed on the scheduled day, due to the weather that was expected to reach the Highveld over the weekend. A new date was discussed and the event was moved to Saturday the 13th April 2024 which was to be held at the Brakpan Airfield.



I arrived fairly early to a sun filled airfield and found two entrants had already arrived and were sitting down to a hearty breakfast and a hot cuppa. The early birds of the day were two trikes who were out for their early tour of the countryside and a Giles G-202 that also on its way out.
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SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge Navigation Rally 2024

By Russell Dixon-Paver

27.01.2024
This was the 20th edition of this fun event! As per tradition and for this time of year, weather was expected to become stormy later in the day, but more of that later. The event base was once again the old customs hall, providing space for the briefing, preparation and direct access to the apron for participants. Many folks made use of the Harvard Café for coffee and breakfasts.There was a final field of twelve teams, some who entered just before the event started. Some were “old hands” and for others it was their first navigation rally. Frank and Cally Eckard have been running this event for 20 years now!

Cally assists some of the last-minute entrants with their paperwork. 


Frank handled the necessary roll-call and team briefing, covering the normal aspects such as expected weather, radio calls, overall event organization and safety.



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Flying aces Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe piloted the ‘Bok plane’ to the various city parades

17 NOVEMBER 2023 by MARK ETHERIDGE

Captains, my captains: Capt Alewyn Burger, left, with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Capt Steve van der Merwe. Picture: TANJA LUGG/SAFAIR

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The 23rd FAI World Rally Flying Championships 2023

The 23rd World Rally Flying Championships was held in Mâcon, France, from 31 July to 04 August 2023. A total of 45 teams from 12 countries were present, and South Africa was represented by 4 teams, Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe, Tarryn and Iaan Myburgh, Tony and Pam Russell, and Apie and Frederik Kotzee. They were accompanied by team manager, Leon Bouttell and 3 international judges, Rob Jonkers, Martin Meyer and Barbara Frieböse. Hans Schwebel was also present as the President of the General Aviation Commission.

The competition kicked off on Monday with a challenging route to the west of Mâcon. This wine region is a mix of vineyards and disjointed forestry areas subdivided by numerous small agricultural villages and farm roads. Navigation is difficult and the route includes a scored away landing at Montceau-les-Mines as well as a scored landing at the home airfield, Mâcon Charnay. The South African team ended the day with mixed results. Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe finish the day in 14th position. Apie and Frederik Kotzee had a difficult day where everything that could go wrong, did. A respectable navigation result from Tarryn and Iaan Myburgh contribute to South Africa now in 5th position in the Team Standings behind the Czech Republic, France, Poland and Spain.

The competition day on Tuesday had to be suspended due to a medical emergency for the Competition Director. Thanks to the speedy reaction from trained competitors a tragedy was averted, however, the organisers considered it prudent to cancel the day and reconvene on Wednesday for the second competition day.

High wind conditions started on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday as a cold front passed through the area. The Day 2 route took us to the west again. As the competing crews prepared for a challenging day, the organisers also included an adjustment to the timing of each leg to accommodate for the windy conditions. If the wind remained constant, the adjustment of 15 knots wind from 210° should have made the flight much easier as you now need to maintain your selected airspeed rather than ground speed. The wind certainly did not pay along, increasing in strength all day with strong gusts of over 35 knots. All the South African teams found the conditions extremely challenging, as was reflected by the scores for the day. As the wind continued to increase in strength and turn into a direct crosswind during the afternoon session, the landing scores at the home Mâcon Charnay Airfield also got cancelled for the day.

After the unfortunate cancellation of flying on Tuesday, Thursday would be the third and final day of competition. The route for Day 3 finally took us to east and would include two scored landings, an away landing at Bourg on Bresse and a home landing at Mâcon-Charnay. The winds remained strong, but largely improved from the day before. Despite this, an adjustment to the timing was still made, this time for 10 knots from 250°. The South African teams all dramatically improved their navigation scores from the previous day but other mistakes for landings, altitudes or observation proved costly.

Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe flew the South African flag high and finished in 3rd place overall for Landings. They accumulated a mere 40 penalty points overall for the 4 scored landings, resulting from one bingo, two 10 pointers and one 20 pointer. This is only 20 points behind the winners from the Czech Republic, Lukas Behounek and Krystof Bobek, who scored two bingos and two 10 pointers.

The overall winners of the competition Petr Jonas and Marek Velat of the Czech Republic with an incredible total score of 553. The were followed by two French crews, Olivier Riviere and Jerome Jireau, and Alexis Fuchs and Jean-Baptiste Trouche. France was crowned the team winners, followed by the Czech Republic and Poland.

The results for each day, as well as overall, teams and landings can be found on the website: 

RESULTS

If you would like to re-watch the live tracks, they are available (Days 1, 2 and 3) on the website:

TRACKING

The next World Rally Flying Championships will be held in Ferrara, Italy in 2025. A truly unforgettable experience, we hope to see our many new friends there and fly the South African flag high once again.


National Rally Championship 2023 – Western Cape Leg

By Pete van der Spek

11.03.2023


A view across the airfield

A grey morning greeted the competitors at Stellenbosch airfield on Saturday 11 March. A cold front had moved over Cape Town and the remnants were just moving over when we arrived for the Western Cape leg of the National Rally competition.


Frank gives a thorough briefing

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