The Sports Aerobatic Club of South Africa started off the 2019 Aerobatic competition with the Gauteng Regionals at Vereeniging on Sunday 20 January.
Unfortunately the field was a bit smaller than expected, mainly due to the weather. After a week of wonderful flying weather the weather gods decided to throw a curve ball at the SAC on Sunday morning. It was icy cold and very misty competitors making their way from Kitty Hawk made it as far as Springs and were forced to turn back severely shrinking the field. As they say in the classics “The show must go on” and as soon as the cloud lifted the competition got underway.
Quintin Hawthorne got things rolling with a briefing under the tower and soon after that the first Sportsman Class pilots were strapped in and ready to get airborne for their known sequences. As soon as the judges had taken their places Johan von Solms took to the now blue skies in the Goodyear Eagles Pitts special.
Johan von Solms
Brothers Wian and Machiel du Plessis in their RV7 came up from Bloemfontein to compete; Conrad Botha has taken them under his wing and has spent a lot of time coaching them. It’s encouraging to see the more senior pilots passing on their knowledge to the younger guys this is the only way the sport will grow. Roger Deare in his Extra 300 and Simon Cowie also in the Goodyear Pitts made up the rest of the Sportman Class.
Wian and Machiel du Plessis' RV7
Roger Deare Extra 300
The Intermediate Class was a one man affair with only Conrad Botha taking part in his Slick 360, Jason Beamish would have joined him in a Yak 55 but unfortunately the aircraft was showing signs of overheating in the practice flights the day before.
Conrad Botha Slick 360
The Advanced Class was fought out between Elton Bondi in his Extra 300 and Pierre du Plooy in his Giles 202. They were followed by the “Big Guns” the Unlimited Class, both Barrie Eeles and Nigel Hopkins used Barrie’s Extra 330SC. Nigel’s aircraft had technical problems and is at Rand Airport being repaired.
Elton Bondi Extra 300
Pierre du Plooy Giles 202
After the known sequences had been flown there was a short break for lunch before the second round of the competition got underway, as always the Sportmans Class kicked things off. The nasty South westerly wind that made things difficult earlier in the day had subsided a bit and by now the cold morning was definitely been forgotten as the temperature climbed into the low 30’s.
All the Classes flew their Unknown sequences under the watchful eye of the judges, The judges give up their time to come out judge every competition sometimes in atrocious weather purely for the love of aerobatics and without their dedication no competition would ever take place. Thank You to Quintin Hawthorne (Contest Director), John Gaillard (Chief Judge), Natalie Stark (Scoring Director) and Judges: John Gaillard, Laszlo Liszkay, Johnie Smith, Cindy Weber, all their assistant judges and new trainee judge Michelle Burgess.
After the Flying was done and dusted it was time for the results to be announced at a very casual prize giving under the ATC tower. Quintin Hawthorne did the honours and handed over SAC medals to the first, second and third places in all the Classes.
Johan von Solms (Sportsman)
Elton Bondi (Advanced)
Nigel Hopkins (Unlimited)
The next aerobatics competition will be the Western Cape Regionals and will take place at Swellendam from 9 to 10 March 2019.
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