top of page

SAPFA Brakpan Air Navigation Rally (ANR)

Air Navigation Rally (ANR) is a fairly new sport aviation discipline recognised by the FAI, the second World ANR Championships were recently held in Portugal and our South African teams did very well considering the lack of practice they had locally, only one ANR was held before they left for the Worlds. The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) decided to not let that happen again and Brakpan was the venue chosen for the first of many ANR’s that will be held around the country. The ANR was originally going to be held with the National Landing Championships at Brits, a few days before the event it was decided to move the Landing Competition and ANR to Brakpan Airfield. The Landing competition was later dropped due to the large field and risk of thunderstorms in the area later in the day.

Video by Jaco van Zyl

SAPFA have really been going the extra mile to foster interest in all the disciplines of rally flying in the last year or two and one of the big driving forces behind this move is Jonty Esser. Jonty took it upon himself to set up the four courses for the rally, Jonty and his son were one of the teams that took part in the world Champs in Portugal so he has experience in what the world courses are like. Twenty one teams rose to the challenge and decided to take part in the two classes competing on the day, Sportsman Class and Unlimited. This is very positive for SAPFA as they will be hosting the World Rally Flying Championships in Stellenbosch next year and are hoping to have ten South African teams competing.

Sportsman Class is aimed at the beginners in the sport and the courses are set with a corridor of 0.4nm which is only 800m not wide at all. Whereas the Unlimited, for the more experienced teams, course were far more taxing at only 0.3nm wide for one of the two courses and 0.25nm for the second that is only 460m, no margin for error at all. ANR’s are designed to test both navigation and accurate speed control as well as pilot skill when landing, with a spot landing competition at the end of each round.

The idea is to enter the course at the exact time, stay within the corridor and exit the course at the correct time, sounds simple …. It definitely isn’t. For ever second that the team is late or early for the start they are penalized with 3 points, on the course every second that is spent outside the corridor 3 penalty points are added. As with the start 3 points are added for every second early or late at the exit gate.

Teams started arriving from very early on Saturday morning and all looked good for a great day flying, except for the forecast of some serious Charlie Bravo activity later in the afternoon. At 8:30 the briefing got underway and Jonty explained the rules to all the newcomers to the sport, many of the Protea teams were there and they had no choice but to compete in the Unlimited Class the rest of the competitors had the choice of which class they would like to compete.

After the briefing and a great breakfast served at the Runway Café, which has just been taken over by new owners, it was time to get to the aircraft and get airborne. The Sportsman Class were first to take to the air, the aircraft take off with four minute intervals between them and head for the starting gate of the 25nm course. Each aircraft is allocated 20 minutes in which to complete the courses and these being ten leg courses that means the turning points will be arriving every one to one and a half minutes, keeping things on track requires sharp team that understand each other.

In an attempt to open the sport up to more of the general aviation sections a rotar wing category was introduced, in this class helicopters and gyrocopters were encouraged to partake. Three teams took up the challenge one in an Aloouette III one in a Bell 66 turbine and a Magni Gyo. The course flown by the rotar wings was identical to the fixed wing course only the landings were judged separately, unfortunately the Robi 66 couldn’t land on the runway as he was on skids.

The weather behaved very well for the first course but when the teams got airborne for the second round thunderstorms were building to the south west of the field. The thunderstorms and a density altitude of well over 8000ft made the air very unstable and landings became very difficult with many of the aircraft floating far over the bingo line.

Once everyone was back home safely it was time for Jonty to calculate the scores, having such a large field made this a very time consuming task. Fortunately, Santjie White the iron lady from the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) was on hand to keep everyone occupied with a very interesting talk on search and Rescue in South Africa.

When Jonty had worked his way through all the logger downloads and completed the scoring it was time for the prize giving. The classes were divided up into Navigation and landings and the Sportsman Class navigation prize was taken by Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuisen in a Cessna 182. Hilton Wolff and Grant Timms took the laurels for the best fixed wing landing in the Sportsman Class they flew in Hiltons Mushak. The rotar wing landing competition in sportsman class was taken by Dougie Inggs and Tyrone Steenkamp in a Magni Gyro.

Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuisen

Hilton Wolff and Grant Timms

Dougie Inggs and Tyrone Steenkamp

Once the scores for landing and navigation were added together it was Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuizen that came out on top, closely followed by Dougie Inggs and Tyron Steenkamp and in third was Ray Wilford and Bernard Jansen.

The navigation prize in the unlimited class went to Rob Jonkers & Martin Meyer in their Cessna 182, the landing specialist team of Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk took the landing prize for fixed wings. The rotarwing prize went to Rob Osner & Sandi Goddard in an Alouette III.

Rob Jonkers & Martin Meyer

Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk

Rob Osner & Sandi Goddard

Overall winners with the Navigation & Landing scores combined resulted in first place Hans Schwebel & Ron Stirk, second place Rob Osner & Sandi Goddard, third place Rob Jonkers & Martin Meyer.

As soon as the prize giving was done a dusted it was a mad scramble to get away as there were some very menacing thunderstorms in the area.

Thanks again to Jonty for organising this wonderful event and Sandi and Lizelle form the Runway Café for looking after everyone’s food and drinks needs.

Please Browse our Gallery of this Event


bottom of page