Fun Flying alive and well in the Western Cape
This Saturday saw the newest step in SAPFA’s concerted efforts to reintroduce sports flying in the Western Cape. A Fun Rally was held at the Worcester Flying Club, and was attended by ten pilots and their navigators.
This was a slightly smaller field than anticipated, but a good start. Several aircraft from George sent late cancellations, due to the logistics of flying out of George airport during the current construction. However, they managed to send Carl and Debbie Basson to represent them. We hope to see more Southern Cape pilots next time.
The rest of the field was made up of pilots from Cape Town Flying Club, Worcester Flying Club and Stellenbosch Flying Club. Mauritz du Plessis, an old hand at Rallying, planned a long-ish but interesting route for us, and SAPFA sent down sufficient loggers for each competitor to take two along on their flight. Organizers included Meet Director Tony Russell, Chief Judge and Safety Officer Peter Erasmus, and Marshall Katie Russell.
The Worcester Flying Club outdid themselves on the hospitality. When the first people arrived at 7am, the clubhouse was already filled with the inviting fragrances of coffee and frying bacon! It did not take long before pilot after pilot was streaming in to be fed. Our hostess Alison said afterwards that as they heard each call-sign, they would check how many were on board and start cooking.
Well fed, the competitors assembled for the safety briefing. Final decisions regarding speed were made, and the organizing team disappeared to produce start times and finalise the rally packs. Once those were handed out, a mood of diligence fell over the Flying Club, as everyone frantically marked up their maps and sorted their photos.
The course itself was made more challenging by a strong headwind on the initial legs, turning into a tailwind later on. It made for some challenging flying but was handled well by all the competitors, most of whom were new to rallying. The terrain also presented some challenges, partly because the route went over a ridge or two, and partly because it made the wind more turbulent at lower levels. At least three navigators saw their breakfast more than once on the day, but even that did little to dampen the enjoyment of the event.
As today’s rallies rely on GPS loggers to mark the route and timing for each competitor, rather than marshalls in the field, judging was a swift affair. Within 45 minutes of the last aircraft arriving back, the results were available.