As many will recall SAPFA held a training camp at Aerosud recently and at this event it was decided that it would be followed by a practical training day and Saturday 16 February was the chosen date. Unfortunately the weather did not play along and many of the teams could not make it to Brits Airfield due to an extremely low cloud base and patches of rain over most of Gauteng.
The cloud did lift at Brits but pretty late after many of the teams decided to remain safe at their home airfields, four teams however did make it to Brits and it was decided to go ahead with the teams that were there.
The previous training session focused on map plotting and preparing as muvh as possible so the workload on pilot and navigator is minimized once airborne, This session the main focus was flying techniques. Frank Eckard presented an hour long talk cockpit preparation, roles of the crew in work sharing, organizing the photos, flying techniques such as speed management, altitude, approach to turn-points.
Thys van der Merwe and Franz Smit hard at work
The course used was the same one that was theoretically plotted at the previous training session only this time they got to fly the course and put their newly acquired skills to the test. Nigel Hopkins SA’s Unlimited Aerobatics Champion and SAA senior training Captain joined for the day, Nigel is by no means a stranger to Rally Flying, he won the World Championship in 2003, proved that he hasn’t lost the skill flying a close to perfect round with only 64 penalty points. Mary de Klerk the current National Champion accompanied him as Navigator.
Nigel Hopkins and Mary de Klerk ready to go
With the World Rally Flying Championships being held in Stellenbosch in 2020, SAPFA are putting in a lot of effort to gain as many qualified teams as possible to represent South Africa by equipping them with as much knowledge and experience as they possibly can.
The next rally is being held at Virginia on the 26th March, and as the weather did not play ball this weekend, SAPFA will look at rescheduling this event again at a future date.