SAPFA Rally Flying Training Camp

In the build up to the 2020 World Rally Flying Championship, which will be held in Stellenbosch, SAPFA have embarked on an intensive programme to raise awareness for the sport and attempt to entice new members into the rally flying fraternity and if they excel in the 2019 season and National Championships they stand a very real chance of being awarded National Colours for the World Rally Championships.

On 19 January the first Training Camp was held at the Aerosud training hall in the Centurion Aerospace Village on the Eastern boundary of Airforce Base Waterkloof.

SAPFA originally expected approximately 30 participants; this was a far cry from the 50 that eventually turned up for this invaluable opportunity to learn from the “Greats” of the sport in South Africa. It is really amazing to see the interest in Rally flying growing and credit for this must go to Rob Jonkers and his team at SAPFA.

Alan Evan Hanes the current General Manager of the Aero Club of South Africa opened proceedings with a short but informative overview of the Aero Club and its day to day functions. The Aero Club was formed in 1920 by a group of passionate aviators as the National Body representing Aviation. Nearly a century later, the very aims that were true then, still hold true today, and is the most important organisation to protect the rights of freedom of flight.

National Rally Flying Champion, Mary de Klerk asked everyone to introduce themselves and briefly explain their expectations of the training. These ranged from wanting to learn more to take part in Rally Flying to Pilots wanting to learn navigation skills that are not necessarily part of the stipulated PPL course.

Mary then outlined the theory on plotting procedures and described the tools and aids that would be needed. The enthusiastic delegates were then tasked with course plotting exercise , which had to be done from basic plotting principles of co-ordinates, bearings and distances. Each turning point then had to be found and identified and linked into legs, some of which could be arcs or follow map features.

The goal in getting to National level standard is to be able to plot in the aircraft with a papers time of around 30-40 minutes prior take-off, which means speed is of the essence in doing the plot, so that the navigator can assist with finding and identifying the ground photos.

Once the basics were grasped everyone were given their first route envelope, in the same format that could be expected in a FAI sanctioned competition. Everyone, armed with their newly acquired knowledge managed to plot the route very well, they were so enthusiastic that they decided to continue through lunch and by 14:00 the formal part of the course was done.

The course was ended off with an in cockpit video of one of Rob & Martin’s 2012 rally flights to show how the leg photo features match up with the real world outside to give the perspective of what one sees outside the cockpit from the flying height and distance.

Hopefully many of the delegates will be taking part in the Rand Airport Challenge on the 26th January and then going on to the National Championships in April. Many other Navigation Rallies have been planned for later in the year, the details are all available on SAPFA’s web site at or at our Events Calendar.

#SAPFA #AeroClubSA


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