Rally pilots and navigators took to the clear skies above Kitty Hawk for the first of the qualifying competitions before Nationals. Most of the Protea hopefuls competed, with the remainder having to take part in either or both of the Virginia or Parys rallies in order to be considered for participation in Nationals in May.
Nine pilot-navigator teams participated, with only one flying in the Fun Rally section. It is really gratifying to see so many serious contenders for Nationals.
Rally competition directors Frank Eckard and Mary de Klerk have been putting together rally flying and navigation workshops, and their efforts to inject ‘new blood’ into the team seem to be paying off.
The organisers were disappointed however that none of the Kitty Hawk contingent took part. Every effort is made to include everyone in these rallies, and special arrangements can be made for gyrocopters and helicopters. First-time rallyers are given plenty of help, and usually attain surprisingly good ‘first-time-lucky’ results.
Route planner Cally Eckard sent the competitors along a fairly easy nav route, taking into consideration that many of them had not flown in the Open Class before; meaning that the navigators had to plot the route in the cockpit, putting them under enormous time pressure.
Only one team returned, reporting that they had got “hopelessly lost”, but after repeating the route in their own time, gained a great score, meaning that they would have been in fourth place. Unfortunately this score could not be taken into consideration, but it means that the master rallyers have a lot of younger competitors coming through that are in serious contention to be in the National squad to fly in Spain in September.
The results were as follows:
|1||Hans Schwebel||Ron Stirk|
|2||Thys van der Merwe||Mary de Klerk|
|3||Rob Kennedy||Wikus Kritsinger|
|4||Tony Russell||Pam Russell|
|1||Candice O’Connor||Dustin Hughes|
|2||Bryan Belcher||Donald O’Connor|
The next Fun Rally is at Virginia on 17 March, and in Parys on 21 April. Mary will be facilitating a rally workshop at Virginia on Thursday 15th March, and there is a braai sponsored by Durban Wings club on Friday 16th March to which all participants are welcome.