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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Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally – 27 Nov
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.
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.
The Aircraft Unlimited Witbank Speed Rally 2021
Photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers and Russell Dixon-Paver
Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally – 28 Nov 2020
By Rob Jonkers
Photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers and Mary de Klerk
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with our main sponsor Aircraft Unlimited, organised the 2020 season finale Speed Navigation Rally on Saturday 28th November 2020.
Although strictly not planned to have been the end of the 2nd season, 2020 being a year what it is, with reduced events, we decided to review the events and shorten the 6 per season to 4, so season 2 started and ended at Springsin order that season 3 would start and end in 2021.
For the overall season, scoring the best of 3 events would count towards the season’s results.
Ivan van der Schaar in the Aircraft Unlimited branded Boeing Stearman celebrated the event with a brief display
The Pilot Insure Witbank Speed Navigation Rally – 2 Feb 2020
By Rob Jonkers (photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers)
This first of the Pilot Insure Speed Rallies for 2020 has been held at Witbank, the 2nd for Season 2, successfully organized by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. Planning for this event began in November 2019 with a reconnaissance to Witbank to review the logistics for the weekend. The Witbank team went out of their way to make this a memorable event for the weekend, their members having got involved in many of the aspects of achieving a great competition.
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By Rob Jonkers, Photos by Cheryl Smit
The South African Power Flying Association held a very successful Speed Rally at the Aero Club Airweek 2019 at Middelburg. Originally scheduled as an Adventure Rally as was held in 2018, SAPFA decided to change this to a Speed Rally given the popularity of the event, with this one being the 4th in the series.
Within days of the announcement, the first 28 places were snapped up by competitors having taken part in the previous events, not leaving any room for new entrants and it was decided to extend the field from the original maximum of 30 to 35, with an opportunity for the local Middelburg club members to take part. This event is one that is flown at full speed under handicap conditions and the course is around 120 nm long, has 11 or so turning points, with each turning point identified with a correct photograph.
Planning got underway in February to prepare the route, keeping in mind that with the Airweek as an event and an Airshow to coordinate with, in terms of take-off and landing slots of other arrivals and departures made the details challenging to plan. The route was kept to the north and east of the airfield, as most inbound and outbound traffic would be from the west.
Friday saw a fairly full day of test flights with some repeat test flights to reconfirm handicaps, with conditions mostly favourable although the cloud base was low in the morning. After the Safety Aviator Presentations which started just after 2 pm, Mary de Klerk had arranged to hold a training session on how to fly a Speed Rally and which was very well attended, and included a practical map preparation session on an example map, sharing the tips and tricks of how to follow the map features and timing points.
Thereafter at 6h30, Jonty Esser as the Race Master introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol and also how the scoring system would world work with expected weather conditions, which looked as if it would be good.
The evening ended with a braai hosted by the Middelburg Aero Club, before retiring for the night. Some were camping under the wing or in Neil Bowden’s tent area. Saturday morning saw low cloud and some fog although it started to lift and clear fairly soon, giving a go ahead to start the rally.
The briefing started at 8h30, which was a shortened version just to cover the basics of the route, radio procedures and weather. With the briefing over teams prepared their aircraft, with marshals assisting in parking sequence while the organisers got the papers ready. Each team would then receive an envelope with a map, turnpoint photos, a minute marker and a GPS logger to record their track. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices sealed up in bags and although no onboard systems were disabled, it relied on an honour code to not utilise onboard GPS as a Navigation aid. The course is was however designed in such a manner that GPS would be of minimal benefit.
The Rally line up getting ready to start
The scrutineers checking for illegal aids
Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Jean, Conrad, Frans and David were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, and also handing out papers at the allotted time time while simultaneously also checking that the fuel tanks were full. To assist the teams at getting their take-off roll accurate, a starting colour panel was used which was set up next to the start line on the runway by Chief Marshal Hans Potgieter and Mark Clulow, which would release them at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minute prior to take-off time, and then taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of take-off time. 1st take-off was at 09h55 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h50 with a planned arrival at 11h30. It was calculated that the fast Cirrus ZS-ACA would only need 40 minutes to complete the course.
With all the competitors off towards the north, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints to contend with to give competitors a chance to always be aware of where of their posistions. Some turnpoints were a challenge find, especially if the colour of the surrounding ground features had changed since the photos were taken. Although Turnpoint 2 was essentially along the road going past the airfield, it was still difficult to find apparently given how many were searching for it. Quite a few competitors cut the corners on turn points including Phil & Mary who during her training session warned everybody to “go round the TP”.
With everybody settling in for the VIP dinner hosted by the Middelburg Aero Club and opening speeches and starters enjoyed by the guests, the prize giving was coordinated by Jonty Esser acting as the MC for this time slot. Firstly aircraft judging certificates handed out by EAA’s Sean Cronin and thereafter a showing of a number of interesting flight tracks given by Rob Jonkers which for this rally turned out overall to be very good, with only one competitor having had some navigation trouble and for sure the overall standard is improving, with all aircraft over the line within 7 minutes. As the teams were visible approaching the field, first in view was Jonty Esser in the slowest aircraft a Foxbat being chased down by Phil Wakeley in a C210, who crossed the line within 8 seconds of each other. Some other interesting facts were that the full field also completed the course with an average of 7 nm overflown and the best performance against handicap time was 25 seconds.
After this the Speed Rally promo video was shown after which prize giving commenced and which was hosted by Frans Smit from Pilot Insure who was this Speed Rally’s main sponsor. First a Hard Luck certificate was handed out to Jaco Goosen whose C182 fell into a subterranean aardvark tunnel and damaged the horizontal stabilizer after which Jonty handed over the Club Trophy to Richardt Lovett and the Middelburg team.
The winning track – ZU-DYE
Having a bad day, but not bad considering the good recovery – ZU-LAX
The overall winners in the best handicap speed were the team of Jonty Esser and Jonathan Esser in a Foxbat ZU-DYE. Second place was Arthur de Kock and Freddie van Rooyen in their Jabiru J430 ZU-MEL while Hendrik Loots and Jandre Loots bagged the final step of the podium in their Sling 2 ZU-IHK. The first fourteen placings were the only crews who managed a clean penalty free round.
The winners in the accuracy category were the team of David Ross and James Braid in their Sling 2 ZU-JAR. Second place was Johan van Eeden and Cor Esterhuizen in their RV7 ZU-IHH, and in third place the skopgat team of Ron Stirk and Von Hamman in their C150 ZS-IWD.
Many thanks to the Middelburg Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Hans Potgieter with the ground marshals, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mark Clulow doing the scoring with our handicapping guru Chester Chandler, Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews and to Jonty & Lizelle for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Also thanks to Mary de Klerk for the time made available to do the training course held on Friday- it sure helped the teams to gain an understanding of what to expect.
A big thanks to Pilot Insure who were the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers and also to Pilot’s Post for sponsoring the team of Phil Wakeley and Mary de Klerk. Pilot’s Post Willie Bodenstein provided three key reasons for why they entered into the sponsorship agreement. The first one being that the Speed Rally is being marketed as a brand and will be seen as the future of competitive flying. The second being that the Speed Rally brand will add value to their brand and thirdly that Pilot’s Post believe that Phil and Mary are the perfect ambassadors for their and they will carry their flag high.
The next speed rally is in Bethlehem on the 8th June 2019
Springs Speed Navigation Rally – 24 Nov 2018 by Rob Jonkers (photos by Willie Bodenstein & Rob Jonkers)
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with the Springs Flying Club organised the second successful Speed Navigation Fun Rally on Saturday 24th November 2018.
The competitors after the Saturday morning briefing
Although originally planned as a fun rally, after the success of the Secunda Speed Rally held in October, it was decided to hold the Speed Rally format again for Springs. With the entries limited to 30, the list quickly filled up after the website entries opened, and even with some scratchings due to aircraft availability, the waiting list grew to refill the 30 places. We for sure have something going as far as excitement on this type of event goes. The entries also included many family member teams, four father & son teams, 2 teams with brothers, and 2 teams with husband and wife combinations, a very varied field for sure. There were also five teams that entered from the Springs based Mach 1 flight school, these budding CPL crews had their first taste of real map reading skills being put to the test.
Jonty Esser and Rob Jonkers busy with the competitor briefing
This event is one that is flown at full speed under handicap conditions, thecourse is around 120 nm long, has 11 or so turning points, with each turning point identified with a correct photograph. This is also an event where no GPS aids are allowed, thus for this event, all portable devices are sealed, although no aircraft units are deactivated, but discouraged in their use in an honesty system, although there would be little time available to attempt to program anything.
The intent is that everybody uses the basic skills of navigation plotting and flying, and operate as a team in terms of cockpit workload, and with the course layout with short legs it for sure makes the crew resource work sharing all the more important. The idea would be that each crew would receive a pre-plotted map already complete with the route, turning points, headings, altitudes, where the map would not have any lat/long or grid references. This would be provided 20 minutes prior take-off to allow route orientation and the plotting of minute markers.
In this format, there are two objectives, fly against a pre-determined handicap speed for each aircraft, and fly the shortest route around the course which would consist of a minimum of 10 turning points, and any aircraft would be able to compete, from slower LSA aircraft to the fast turbo singles or twins. The idea would be to test the speed capability and navigation skills of each crew against each other, where the most accurate flying and turn performance management would win the rally.
The team of Jason Boshoff and Sarnia Hattingh in their RV6 ZU-BVC
Friday was set out as the day to carry out flight tests to establish handicap speeds, and the day started out with low cloud and plenty wind, which delayed the start to the test flying, but eventually at midday or so the weather had improved sufficiently, although not ideal, making the test flight results problematic, especially with turbulence affecting achieving stability of speed in each leg. In any event between the test flight results and other event handicap history were able to obtain a starting grid.
The line-up of aircraft prior start-up
All the competitors were treated to a briefing on Steroids on Friday night with the Speed Rally organizer Jonty Esser having set up a show for the teams, with a real life lights, camera, action sequence, where each team were introduced with their team theme song, handed their race numbers. Jonty also introduced the teams to the Speed Rally website where a Speed Rally ranking system was created, with team profiles and their leaderboard position. After this excitement, it was the turn of Rob Jonkers the event planner to bring everybody down into serious mode and provided a briefing on the event and some training on how to fly the rally with some basic tools. After this some excellent live entertainment was provided and a braai/buffet dinner.
The father and son team of Piet and Willie Meyer busy plotting on the tail of their Jabiru ZU- DUU
See Insert story of Piet and Willie’s Flight Below
Saturday morning dawned with the wind pumping in from the north but predicted to reduce during the day, and after the host club providing a great breakfast, the briefing got underway just after 8h30, and prior to that ground marshalls were pointing out parking places, and refueling slots.
The team of Daniel Igun and Nkosi Fanti busy plotting in their Cherokee ZS-MKZ
The briefing was shorter than the previous evening, and focused on the procedures for scrutineering, the handing out of papers, starting line, and finish protocol. The aircraft were parked in order of slowest to fastest, with a 15-30 second gap as a minimum between them, with the idea to have all the aircraft cross the finish line as close to 12 noon as possible, given that everybody needs to achieve a perfect route around the course.
The team of Ala Buserwil and Tintso Mabunda with their C172 ZS-PED
Scrutineers Chareen, Kevin, Karyn & Sandy were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, and also handing out papers at the allotted time. To assist the teams at getting their take-off roll accurate, a starting colour panel was used (simple triangular three colour board – which was much improved over the daylight non visible light system used previously), which was set up next to the start line on the runway, which would release them at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minutes prior take-off time, and the teams taxied to the starting line. 1st take-off was at 10h25 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 11h20, with planned arrival at 12h00, the fast RV10 ZU-DSE only needing 40 minutes to complete the course.
Mary de Klerk and Phil Wakeley getting ready in their C210 ZS-CNY
With all the teams airborne and finding their way around, the first teams were back on schedule and were streaming in one after the other, some having overtaken others either having flown a good navigation route or having flown close to their handicap speed. For this event, with the wind and turbulence the lighter aircraft would have had a harder time to achieve their handicap speeds compared with the heavier high end aircraft which are less affected, but the wind started to die down from around 11 am onwards but the turbulence remained a factor.
The team of Bob Cohoe and Gerda Pienaar in their Stinson ZU-OZI
After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for many being quite accurate, although some had wobbles, only two teams got lost and had to switch their GPS on and press the Direct-to button to get back to Springs.
The take-offs of equally handicapped C210’s
The results were completed by around 14h45, and prize giving could start at 3 pm, and first up on the prize giving programme was to show some of the interesting tracks, some excellent and some not so good getting the audience in fits of laughter. Jonty first handed over the host club floating trophy to Eric Addison representing the East Rand Flying Club, and then the placings for the best handicap speed and thereafter the most accurate / shortest route flown.
Winners of the best speed and shortest distance flown – Phil Wakeley and Mary de Klerk in C210 ZS-CNY
The overall winners in the best handicap speed were the team of Phil Wakeley and Mary de Klerk in a C210, in second place was Ryan & Chris Shillaw in their Cirrus SR22 ZS-ACA, and in third place Johan van Eeden and Gavin Edwards in their RV7A ZU-IHH.
2nd placed Ryan & Chris Shillaw in their Cirrus ZS-ACA with Chareen Shillaw receiving the trophy
3rd placed Johan van Eeden and Gavin Edwards in their RV7 ZU-IHH
The most accurate / shortest route flown winners were the team of Mauritz du Plessis and Andre Kluyts in the C172 ZS-SYA, in second place was Wim Kotze and Rob Gobac in their Yak 52 ZU-AMC, and in third place was Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer in their Sportstar ZU-FBJ.
1st placed Mauritz du Plessis and Andre Kluyts for the most accurate route flown
Many thanks to the East Rand Flying Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Hans Potgieter as the Competition Director, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk de Vos and his wife doing the scoring, Chareen Shillaw handing out competition papers to the crews, Karyn Purchase, Kevin Cloete and Sandy vd Merwe for Scrutineering, Paul Sabatier as ground marshall, and Jonty for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Also to the sponsors Aeroshell, Flightline Weekly, Aviation Junction and Prompt Roofing for race stickers, caps, trophies, meals.
1st placed Phil Wakeley and Mary de Klerk’s winning track
Oops – We thought we had to go to Nigel
Our next Speed Rally event will be in Morning Star in the Western Cape
My Speed Rally flight with my father – Piet Meyer ZU-DUU
I thought to share my Speed Rally story of how our flight went with my father and I. This is the first time ever my dad flies with me. We get the maps and basically had no time to explain about navigation, and we use the stabilizer as a plotting table. We get in the plane and off we go.
Dad’s hearing aids are not working too well with headsets so when I ask something I just get a smile. He looks at the photos of turn points trying to find them. Me:” Dad, look at the map, where are we?” Dad:”I can’t see this house with red roof on the photo”, Me:” Dad, ignore the photos, concentrate on the map. Where are we?” Dad (only hears photo): “Maybe the photo is to the left. I see a house and it might have a red roof” Me:”Dad, we are still a while off the turnpoint, try to see where we are on the map. Ignore the photos”. Dad:” Yes, will try and find the places on the photo”.
Now I take photos away, take the map and try to fly and find location on map. Finally my dad figures out how to trace the route on the map and takes it from me. Now all is going well….. until we get to a turn point and I ask. “Dad, look at the photo and try to see what it looks like.” Dad (smiles as he is not sure what I said): “Yes, the map works better than the photo.” ……. fun times with my dad.
He loved and enjoyed every moment of the utter confusion in the plane. He was so excited the whole week before as he always wanted to fly but since I got my license 8 years ago we never seemed to be able to go fly. Life just got in the way, and when my normal navigator could not make it I thought I would take him with just for fun and finally got to fly with him.
When he received that participation medal he was all smiles, and Mom phoned me later and said that he could not stop talking about the day. Apparently he is this awesome navigator now and so proud that he got us into 8th place…… I loved spending the day with him and he does not need to know that the last 3 turn points his navigator was me just following the planes ahead and hoping they got it right….
I saw that awesome Kalahari orange Cirrus pass underneath us, and pointed out to Dad how amazing plane that is…… he said “Yes, very nice but concentrate on your own race”, and with that I burst out laughing and concentrated on my race. He gets very competitive at times….
HAVE CALLED OUT
ALL RALLY PILOTS!!!
Springs Fun Rally will be held on the 25th of November 2017. ———-> MAKE A NOTE TODAY IN YOUR DIARY.
Club Championships – Springs challenge all other clubs to come compete in this Annual event.
Great Prizes and enjoyable company
This is an even not to be missed.
24th November 2017
17h30 – Arrivals
18h00 – Class starts ( maps will be handed out to work out the route for the next day and Jonty Esser will give a full briefing on how to fly the rally. )
20h30 – Braai and Social
30th September 2017
08h30 – Briefing
09h00 – Short 1 hour class for the Pilots that could not make the evening class
10H30 – First Aircraft
15h30 – Prize Giving
See you all there!!