Springs Flying Club in conjunction with The South African Power Flight Association hosted a navigation rally on a very wet Saturday 25 November. Pilots from Baragwaneth, Eagles Creek, Rhino Park, Kitty Hawk and Brits heeded the call, unfortunately the weather prevented members from Ermelo, the current club champions, from making their way to Springs to defend their title.
Fun Rallies are becoming very popular amongst the general flying fraternity and also serve as a proving ground for teams that show promise and would like to make the progression from “Fun” class to “Unlimited” and maybe even start competing internationally.
Jonty Esser, Chairman of SAPFA, has introduced training courses on the evening preceding the Rallies and judging by the much improved results that competitors have been achieving since its inception this programme is definitely proving to be a winner.
Saturday morning arrived and initially the weather looked good, with a high cloud base and a the odd patch of rain the all was made to go ahead, as always the pilots had the final call to take off or not. After all competitors were treated to a wonderful breakfast, sponsored by Springs Flying Club the briefing got underway and final rundown of the route maps were made.
The Unlimited class did not have the luxury of getting to plan their route beforehand as they are only given the their papers 40 minutes before take-off and have to do all their planning in the tight constraints of the aircraft cockpit.
First off the ground was the three unlimited entrants and shortly after they took to the grey East Rand the weather started turning and light rain started falling.
The onset of rain immediately eliminated the competitors flying in aircraft with wooden propellers as the rain would severely damage them.
Despite the worsening conditions seven of the nine teams got airborne, unfortunately conditions didn’t improve and three of the teams decided to call it a day as the cloud base dropped and the rain continued, two of the teams returned to their home base as the weather around Springs was detreating fast.
Jonty compiled a very challenging the route task list for the unlimited teams, Mary de Klerk after the event referred to it as a “monkey puzzle” The photo recognition on-route was also scrambled, which made the task of finding the ground features even more challenging. Flying competition of this level keeps the top teams on their toes and serves them very well in international competition.
A spot landing on the return to Springs is also incorporated in the competition unfortunately some of the teams had to land in pouring rain. Two perfect Bingos were recorded by the unlimited competitors and one in the fun class.
After a welcome cup of coffee back at the clubhouse and an anxious wait to find out the results Jonty started the prize giving, the unlimited results were announced first. The team of Rob Jonkers and Martin Meyer took top honours with a very good score of 288, Rob and Martin operate from Kitty Hawk.
In second place was Thys van der Merwe and Mary de Klerk with a respectable 769.
Third place belonged to the husband and wife team of Frank and Cally Eckard with a score of 953. All the teams in the unlimited class were flying in Cessna aircraft two C172’s and a C150.
Johan van Eeden and Cor Esterhuizen in a RV7A took the laurels in the Fun class with a brilliant 62, they were encouraged to start taking part in the unlimited class for the next rally.
Second place belonged to yet another Springs local team, James and Nicola du Preez they competed in a Sling 2 and did very well achieving 512.
Ensuring there was no question which team won the call out challenge David Ross and James Braid also from Springs came in third in another Sling 2 with a score of 837.
The Call out Club Rally was a great success and Thanks must go to Jonty as setting up this type of event takes many hours of plannin, all the sponsors Multi Metal – Springs, Delmas Drum and Interactive Trading – Wadeville, Eric Addison, Johan van Eeden, Cor Esterhuyzen,Gavin Edwards and last but not least Springs Flying Club the gracious hosts and to all the competitors who came out despite the bad weather.