The Sheila Taylor NAV Rally was hosted by the Krugersdorp Flying Club on the 16th of June 2012 with twenty entries on the day. The event was the initiative of Bryan Belcher to honor Sheila Taylor, flying club honorary member and wife of Jack Taylor after whom the Krugersdorp Airfield is named. Jack Taylor landed his Piper Tri-Pacer (ZS-CEX) on a small Krugersdorp field in 1960 and this area is the home of one of the biggest and most active flying clubs in South Africa today.
The event was conducted under the auspices of the South African Power Flying Association and in the capable hands of Frank Eckard. As always Frank and his wife Cally planned an exciting route and had our maps, photo sheets and score sheets ready when we arrived for the event. The photo sheets had a total 23 photographs and crews had to identify each during the rally. Except for a few, most had trouble either identifying the photos or navigating correctly and just could not do both together. Andy Lawrence and I were very pleased with our navigation efforts but our inability to identify most of the photos along the way placed us in seventh position.
The route started in the southern part of Krugersdorp with the first leg to a pan just outside Randfontein. The second leg took us to a road / railway crossing near Carletonville and although the checkpoint was difficult to identify, the leg was short and by religiously following the heading and keeping time, it was found relatively easy. Leg three took us south to the N12 highway and from there everyone could see checkpoint 4, the Boskop Dam in the distance. Checkpoint 5 was the most difficult turning point to find as there were no prominent features on the map to verify our position during the leg (well, for us amateurs anyway). Leg 7 took us back to Carletonville with a home run to Tarlton, just west of Krugersdorp.
With my limited NAV Rally experience I expected a score of about 200 penalty points to be in the silverware but I was speechless when Pierre de Klerk (a three-week PPL) and his father Dale completed the rally with a score of 47. Although this was an outstanding achievement, it was short-lived when student pilot Michael Wrathall and his navigator Chris Kyle returned with only 8 penalty points placing them if first place.
This was another truly fantastic event and I encourage all pilots to participate in the next SAPFA NAV rally coming to your area soon. You will be surprised to see how little you know if you have not done this before and how it can significantly improve both your flying and navigation skills while having loads of fun.