Articles Landings

SAPFA SA Landing Championships, Stellenbosch and Brits 2021


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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– Venue : Brits Airfield & Stellenbosch Airfield

– Contact Persons– Brits : Ron Stirk ( 082-4450373) email ( ) Stellenbosch : Mauritz du Plessis ( 083-6011042 ) email ( )

– Competition will be run in accordance with FAI Landing Rules consisting of 8 landings:
1. Normal landing
2. Glide Approach ( with or without Flaps )
3. Glide Approach ( without Flaps )
4. Barrier Landing

– Morning 4 x Landings / Afternoon 4 x Landings

– Practice day : Friday afternoon (12th of November ) from 1400

– Briefing Saturday 0800 – clubhouse / Restaurant

– Entry fee : R450.00

– Banking details : South African Power Flying Association
– Bank: FNB
-Account no : 62879279307
– Branch code : 255625
– Type : Current Account

– 10 litres of Fuel will be sponsored.

– Results will be combined to determine the South African Landing Champion

– Entries close on 12th November 2021 @ 1200

– For any enquiries contact Ron Stirk or Mauritz du Plessis

Click on the following link to enter:

Click on the following link for the rules:


The SAPFA Landing Nationals – 7 November 2020

By Rob Jonkers. Photos by Jaco Pitout

SAPFA holds a Landing National Championships on a yearly basis and this year it was scheduled to take place at Stellenbosch, on this same day as part of the start of the World Rally Flying Championships. Sadly, as reported earlier in the year, this had to be postponed to 2021 in the same time frame. At least we have been able to redirect the original plan to hold the championships up here on the reef and Brakpan was chosen as the venue. 

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The day’s events kicked off with a SAPFA Spot landing competition, the competition was flown under FIA rules, the overall competition was won by Ron Strik in his Cessna 150 followed by Marcel Griffioen in a Pipistrel Sinus, they finished jointly on 22 points but Ron’s Glide approach was marginally better giving him the overall advantage. Allan Evans in a Super Cub and Rob Jonkers in Cessna 182 were third and fourth also had to be separated by the glide approach score. Frank Eckard, a former world champion obtained fifth place showing the level of competition on the day. Source and pictures


Position Pilot Score Glide Score
1st Ron Stirk 22 4
2nd Marcel Griffeson 22 8
3rd Allen Evans 150 80
4th Rob Jonkers 150 150
5th Frank Eckard 174
6th Ago Pereria 180 40
7th Wayne Van Rooyen 180 150
8th Gregory Cleg 210
9th Sean Cornin 227
10th W Van Der Merwe 245
11th Louis Jordaan 254
12th Nico Willemse 319


Ron Stirk Winner


2nd Place Marcel Griffeson


3rd Place Allen Evans


4th Place Rob Jonkers


BRITS – FABS – 3 & 4 JULY 2009

By Mary de Klerk

Jan Hanekom - 3rd Place
Jan Hanekom – 3rd Place

The South African Landing Championships were held last weekend at Brits Airfield out in the North West Province. This is a very popular venue with local Gautengers for many reasons. It is unmanned, the approach is clean and flat, there is plenty of parking space, fuel is on hand, but most importantly the club house always sports a friendly face with a hearty “bord kos” and hot coffee.

This year saw a record entry of 32 participants. The entries comprised five Microlights, seven Virtual Aviators, nine Sportman’s Class and eleven Open Class pilots.

The event was directed by the well known and respected aviation stalwart, Deon van den Berg. He was ably supported by Chris Booysen, the current chairman of SAPFA, as Chief Jury, and Jacques Jacobs, the infamous International Judge in the position of Chief Landing Judge. Antony Russell was the video judge.

Aircraft started arriving on Friday 3rd July from 12H00. A briefing was held and twice world champion lander, Ron Stirk, and Jan Hanekom, briefed the competitors on how to execute the kind of landings required for this competition.

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2008 SA National Landing Championships


20 – 21 June 2008

Walter Walle, Jacques Jacobs and Ron Stirk
Walter Walle, Jacques Jacobs and Ron Stirk

……and the 2008 South African Landing Champion is…….(drumroll….) WALTER WALLE!!!!

So who is Walter Walle? 

This young man hails from Germany. He started his flying career in Bloemfontein by winching gliders and soon progressed to flying gliders. He spent twenty years instructing on Glider Flying, four of which he acted as CFI and seven as Chairman of the Bloemfontein Flying Club.

It was at a Rally in Bloem sometime back in 1991 that Walter and his Navigator were first spotted on the radar when they won the event in their Superfalke Motor Glider. This was the beginning of Walter’s competitive flying career. The late, Andre Fourie, suggested that if ever he wanted to achieve his Protea colours, he would have to get his PPL. This Walter did in a heartbeat at the tender age of 60, and then set about his ambition to wear a Green Blazer. His high level of aviation, absolute commitment, and dedication to the sport earned him his first Green Blazer in 2003, when he represented South Africa at the World Rally Championships which were held in Sun City. South Africa won this event. It did not stop there – he went on to earn his Green Blazer for Precision Flying in 2004 and again in 2008 he will soon be flying the flag in Austria when South Africa competes at the World Championships in July.

About 3 years ago, SAPFA introduced a new discipline into the Sport of Aviation. This took the form of a Landing Championship. The objective here is to open the window of opportunity for pilots from around the country to achieve their Provincial Colours. Every pilot HAS to land – this is not an option, so why not get good at it? Those of you who have ever had the misfortune of running out of options in the air, and have had to put down very quickly in a field or on a road, will testify to the fact that the ability to land safely in a short space over an obstacle can be a real blessing.

At a Landing Competition you are required to do 4 basic landings being:
1. Power Approach using flaps
2. Glide Approach using flaps
3. Glide Approach without flaps
4. Obstacle Landing over a 2m barrier 50 m from the touchdown point.
These are all relatively simple and “all in a days’ work” for the average pilot…..but….the challenge does not come in HOW you land but WHERE you land. The runway has been pre-marked with a Landing Box consisting of a 2m wide Landing Line (Bingo) and 1 – 5 m Markings before and after the Bingo Line. Ascending penalties are awarded the further away from the Bingo Line that the main gear touches down.

Ideally you want to get “4 Bingos” to achieve a Zero Score. This is however not always as easy as it seems and does take a lot of practice.

This year the Championships, held in Brits, attracted nearly 30 aviators from various disciplines. The competition was a one day affair on Saturday on 21 June 2008 but arrangements had been made for the South African Protea Flying Team to be at the venue on Friday as a practice day. One of the first to arrive was CC Pocock who had decided to make a weekend of the event. CC was determined to use
his bush pilot experience to do well in the competition. Much to his dismay, every tactic he used was against the rules of the competition and was banned by the organisers. In addition, just because of his reputation he was placed in the Open Class even though it was his first competition.

The rain in the early morning did not deter the competitive spirit. The Competition is divided into following classes:
1. Open – 12 Entries. It is from this class that Provincial Colours are awarded for attaining a certain percentage in the overall Score
2. Sportsmans – 3 Entries. The is the Entry Level. Medals are awarded but not colours.
3. Microlights – 8 Entries. Medals are awarded but not Colours.
4. Virtual Aviation – 5 Entries. Medals and Provincial Colours are awarded.

Each pilot had to execute 8 landings (2 of each type) and the rules were set to allow competitors to discard the worst landing in each set. This set the stage for some very interesting results…

Provincial Colours were awarded to:
Walter Walle – Orange Free State
Mary de Klerk – Kwa Zulu Natal
Barry de Groot – Kwa Zulu Natal
Many awards were also handed out to the Marshalls who gave so tirelessly of their time. Special mention must be made of Jacques Jacobs who has been heading up the Landing Competition since its inception. He has also been awarded his Green Blazer as a Coach and International Judge for the Protea Flying Team.

Thanks must also go to the following
Competition Director: Deon van den Berg
Chief Landing Judge: Jacques Jacobs
Safety Officer: Andries Ehlers
Jury: Chris Booysen (Jury Boss)
Deon van den Berg
Jacques Jacobs
ATC: Mof van Niekerk

The event was sponsored by “Wings ‘n Tracks” so a Big Thanks goes to Barbara & Renier for their generosity.

2008 South African Landing Competition – Results

Held at Brits Airfield, Brits – 21/22 June 2008

Pos Pilot Total
1 Walter Walle 24
2 Schalk Kotze 30
3 Mary de Klerk 30
4 Barry de Groot 34
5 Ulie Gerth 49
6 Dale de Klerk 50
7 Frank Eckard 51
8 Ron Stirk 60
9 Hans Schwebel 76
10 Piet Smit 88
11 Jan Hanekom 118
12 CC Pocock 125

2007 SA National Landing Championships

Story by Johan Naude

Martin Deysel on his way to Provincial Colours
Martin Deysel on his way to Provincial Colours

A cosy fire was crackling in the fireplace, while the organizers of the National Spot Landing Championships discussed the final preparations for the event in the clubhouse of the Bloemfontein Flying Club. The go/no-go depended on two issues. One, will there be enough participants to make it a worthwhile exercise, and two, what will the weather be like.

At that stage we received 14 possible entries, but the weather forecast painted a gloomy picture of snow on the mountains of the Eastern Cape, and a light south-easterly that would bring the cold front to Bloemfontein on late Friday afternoon. But, we decided to push through.

As I was packing to leave my office on the Friday afternoon, I looked out my lovely panoramic window on the ninth floor of the office building. What I saw was black clouds rolling in, and the tree tops were swaying back and forth in the gusty wind. I saw people down in the street clutching their thick wool jackets, and I thought to myself that the competition was never going to happen.

I thought about the guys flying down to Bloem in this poor weather. Do they know what is waiting here for them? And I thought about Walter Walle and his helpers painting the runway markings in this sub-zero temperature. Things didn’t look good at all, so I called the weather office. The sky would be clear by 10:00 but the maximum temperature would be only 11°C. A 6 knot breeze from the south would be blowing right in the face of the pilots on runway one-niner.

And they were right! When I drew back my bedroom curtains early Saturday morning, I realized that it was going to be great weather for flying. I grabbed my cameras and stuff, and off I went to Tempe Airfield just outside Bloemfontein, where old familiar faces were basking in the sun.

I was greeted by Ron Stirk, current world champion, Mary de Klerk, Barry de Groot, Jan Hanekom, Schalk Kotzé and Hans Schwebel from Brits. Local club members Cobus van der Colf, Martin Deysel and Jack Onderstall were eager to give the experts a run for their money. Two participants, Gordon van Wyk and Radies Rademeyer arrived from the gliding club in a motor glider from the opposite side of the airfield. Unfortunately Jack Onderstall had to withdraw due to alternator problems on his Kitfox.

So after the pilots briefing, there were ten participants that were eager to get going. First out was Barry de Groot. From the start it was clear that these guys had put in lots of practice. Mary de Klerk rode the Cessna 152 as if it was a bicycle. Hans Schwebel seems to be looking at the box through a magnifying glass, as he almost hit “bingo” with every landing!

Local first timer, Martin Deysel did quite well with his Samba XL to finish in forth place, before the reigning world champion. Ron didn’t have a good day behind the stick, finishing in sixth position.

All kinds of confusion broke loose when the two glider pilots in the same aircraft swopped control during flight, and nobody on the ground knew who was in command at what time. The judges had to rely on radio comms and video replays to determine their individual scores.

According to Walter Walle, there were four bingo hits during the day. We saw excellent flying skills displayed throughout the day.

To round off the event, Jack Onderstall gave us a display in his self built Glassair that earned him the trophy of best home built aircraft in 2005. Zooming past at almost 450km/hour at 20’ above the runway, and then shooting up at an unbelievable angle really made all the slow flyers envious

Then it was decision time. The judges went ‘in-camera’ or is it ‘under cover’ for almost an hour, while everybody else watched on the big screen how the Free State Cheetahs demolished the WP guys on home turf only a few kilos away.

And then, in typical Free State style, the day was ended with a braai at the clubhouse. A beautiful trophy was handed to Hans Schwebel. It was a very chilly but fun filled day. On behalf of the Bloemfontein Flying Club, I want to thank all the participants who braved the cold to come and be part of this event.

Freezing Temperatures Evening FunctionEvening Function Mary de Klerk, Hans Schwebel and Barry de GrootMary de Klerk, Hans Schwebel and Barry de Groot

2007 South African Landing Competition – Results

Held at New Tempe, Bloemfontein on 28 July 2007

Pos A/c Reg Aircraft Pilot 1 2 3 4 Total
1 Hans Schwebel IWD C150 12 28 8 18 66
2 Mary de Klerk CMJ Jabiru 21 16 4 39 80
3 Barry de Groot IWD C150 15 12 46 9 82
4 Martin Detsel CVA Classic 150 70 46 0 36 152
5 Jan Hanekom BMI Kitfox 119 30 0 21 170
6 Ron Stirk CVA Classic 150 28 150 0 28 206
7 Schalk Kotze KCI A36 75 150 2 28 255
8 Pieter Rademeyer MOC C172 0 38 80 154 272
9 Gordon van Wyk CVA Classic 150 49 150 150 200 549
10 Cobus van der Colff IWD C150 45 200 200 400 845

2006 SA National Landing Championships

Cobus vd Colf - Short
Cobus vd Colf – Short.

The first South African Landing Championships was held at New Tempe Airfield on Saturday, 9th December 2006

The competition was run along the same lines as the landing section of the World Precision Flying Championships and comprised four different landings viz a normal landing, two glide approaches, one flapless and a normal landing with a two meter barrier 50 meters before the landing box.

A number of potential competitors and organisers could not make it to Tempe as the weather conditions along the coast from George to Durban were terrible, with low cloud and rain. Walter Walle had to give up his place as competitor to assist Hennie Stander and Jacques Jacobs with the organisation and scoring.

The landings are scored using a sophisticated “Bingo Box” that has a series of tubes across the runway linked to a control box that registers the point that the wheels first touch. Visual scoring is also necessary to detect abnormal landings, bounces and other events requiring penalties.

Weather conditions were very difficult for the event. There was wind and also a great deal of turbulence with up and down drafts.

There were only fourteen entries including an unofficial entry of a gyro. Numbers were low as the event was not well advertised. It was probably also held far too late into the year with most pilots thinking of Christmas holidays (or all the work that needed to be finished before the end of the year). There was an interesting selection of aircraft from a Bonanza to a Yak 52.

Competition was expected to be stiff with the current World Landing Champion, Ron Stirk expected to be the man to beat. There were five competitors that had been part of the Protea team that competed in France.

Ron Stirk, Hans Schwebel and Schalk Kotze. Top three finishers
Ron Stirk, Hans Schwebel and Schalk Kotze. Top three finishers

After the first landing (normal landing with the use of power, if needed) Ron knew he would not have it all his way. Ron scored 42 penalties and Hans Schwebel and Lucas Wiese performed good landings with 7 and 14 points respectively.

The second landing is a glide approach with the use of flaps permitted. After the second landing newcomer Schalk Kotze gave notice that he would be a serious contender for the gold medal. His landing was only 2 meters after the landing box resulting in 4 penalties. This feat was equalled by Mary de Klerk. Hans and Lucas maintained their positions as the top two pilots.

Then came the third landing, this time a glide approach with the use of flaps not permitted. With glide approaches the power is cut on downwind, abeam the threshold at 100ft. The use of power after that is not permitted (except of course for a go-around). Lucas missed the full landing box and incurred 150 penalty points. This put him out of medal contention. By this time the medal positions were becoming more obvious with Hans, Schalk, Mary and Ron all having good landings. Hans would have to have a bad final landing if someone was going to take the gold medal from him.

The final landing was the barrier landing. While the barrier does not interfere with a normal landing approach, it does psychologically. Frank Eckard and Jan Hanekom decided to show the participants how it should be done. Both hit the “Bingo” line and scored the only two zeros for the day. If only they had practised more! Once again the top contenders all had reasonable landings.

Gold went to Hans Schwebel, Silver to Schalk Kotze and Silver to Ron Stirk. Mary de Klerk in 4th position had the same score as Ron but a countdown starting with the more difficult landing gave Ron the medal.

As usual the Free State hospitality was excellent and the prize-giving function was a fun affair. Apart from the medals the top five competitors were awarded Provincial Flying Colours for complying with the requirements laid down by SAPFA.

Ron StirkRon Stirk – current World Champ Ready to GoAircraft ready to go Lucas WieseLucas Wiese
Lining UpLining Up Johan la GrangeJohan la Grange Johan la GrangeHugo Stark

2006 South African Landing Competition – Results

Held at New Tempe, Bloemfontein on 9 December 2006

Pos A/c Reg Aircraft Pilot 1 2 3 4 Total
1 Hans Schwebel IWD C150 7 12 20 35 74
2 Schalk Kotze CMJ Jabiru 51 4 12 28 95
3 Ron Stirk IWD C150 42 80 6 21 149
4 Mary de Klerk CVA Classic 150 77 4 12 56 149
5 Jack Onderstal BMI Kitfox 35 24 80 42 181
6 Jan Hanekom CVA Classic 150 77 150 20 0 247
7 Lucas Wiese KCI A36 14 17 150 49 275
8 Frank Eckard MOC C172 148 150 40 0 338
9 Hugo Stark CVA Classic 150 39 80 150 70 339
10 Piet Smit IWD C150 90 36 150 98 374
11 Deon Loots OIL Jabiru 175 150 64 75 464
12 Johan la Grange MTR C210 200 100 200 105 605
13 Cobus vd Colf BFJ Yak 105 150 40 400 695
14 Philipus Smith EGK Magni Gyro 200 150 200 400 950