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EAA Sun 'n Fun Adventure Rally

The EAA Fun and Sun weekend at Brits Airfield hosted, among other things, an Adventure Rally set up by master rally organiser and Protea pilot Rob Jonkers. Rob has set up two adventure rallies’ this year, the first was at the EAA Convention which was held at Vryheid earlier this year.

Unfortunately, the Rally wasn’t as well supported as they have been in the past with only seven teams entering, we believe the poor turnout was due to the forecast bad weather – that never arrived.

Adventure Rallies are a lot more relaxed than competition rallies; the main objective is to fly within a 1 km wide corridor while identifying ground features and learning more about the local area.

For this rally, the theme was the bushveld of the North West featuring the two key dams in the area, Roodekopjes and Vaalkop, both dams are situated in the Crocodile river valley. The went as far as the foothills of the southernmost area of the Waterberg mountains.

Roodekopjes Dam

The format was in the form of a pre-defined route map that was available prior to the event starting for everybody to either plan their route with traditional map plotting tools or to program their GPS’s – if they were more at home following the magenta line.

As was the case in the Vryheid rally earlier in the year, navigation accuracy was also a criteria in the scoring, where the teams had to make sure that they did not stray outside the corridor, time penalties were applied for any period spent outside the corridor.

One not so good course The best of the day

Each route’s leg had turning point photographs to be identified as being correct or incorrect, mostly Google Earth photos were used and were displayed as they would be seen as you approach them.

The booklet contained a section of wiki notes that would enable the crews to answer all the questions – with a warning – “Don’t read at your peril….”, and guess what…., some forgot to find the answers in the most obvious place…. or were too busy trying to keep on track.

After the briefing, and with 20 minutes prior take-off with handing out papers, the first competitors took to the skies at 09.30, with the last off at 11.10. The weather was windy and sweltering hot, with plenty turbulence over the route, but otherwise an excellent clear day for flying.

Everybody found their way around, and in general the scoring was good, I guess some of the competitors having had done this a few times now were getting used to the course designers thinking….

With everybody successfully home, it was time for marking the exam papers which was left to Mark Clulow to carry out, while Rob downloaded the loggers and scored the Navigation Accuracy.

On returning, the competitors had to carry out a spot landing where landing line judge Dave Lister was on hand to adjudicate, where Milan Daniz turned out to be the winner with only 10 penalty points landing in the first box before the bingo line.

When all was tallied up, the crew of Alan Evan-Hanes and Kathy Burke in their Super Cub ZS-ASI attained first place with 39 points, Pierre Dippenaar and Martin Meyer in 2nd place, with third place going to Pierre vd Merwe and Mark Clulow.

Alan Evan-Hanes and Kathy Burke

Pierre Dippenaar and Martin Meyer

Mark Clulow unfortunately Pierre vd Merwe had to leave early

The Sling floating trophy was handed over to Alan Evan-Hanes & Kathy Burke, this being the 5th event where this floating trophy has been awarded. Thus, came to the end of a very enjoyable day for everybody who took part, even with the reduce field size.

Many thanks are extended to Arjan Schaap & the Brits Flying Club for organising hangar space for the briefing and plotting tables, Mark Clulow for assisting in marking the answer books, DJA Aviation, Pilots Post & Wings & Things for goody bags for the competitors.