This past year SAPFA has been pretty busy having organised or hosted 17 events (PTAR , 2 Adventure Rallies – co-hosted with the EAA at Vryheid and Brits Sun n Fun, 1 Rally Nationals held at Stellenbosch in April with a further November training event where 10 International teams arrived to do training Navigation practice, 2 Fun rallies, 3 ANR’s with 1 of them ANR Nationals, 6 Speed rallies, 1 Navigation Training Event), which turns out to be more than two events per month.
Five National teams represented South Africa at the World Air Navigation Race Championships held in Santa Cruz Beach, Portugal.
The Speed Rally events have become hugely popular since the first two initial events held in 2018, with a further 6 held in 2019, where a climatic Season Ending finish was held at Secunda in September, and shortly after that Season 2 has started in Springs in November 2019. This event has become very oversubscribed in competitors, from the very first rally with 23 aircraft taking part having almost achieved 50 as the maximum for an event of this kind. The format and rules are also evolving as between the competitors and officials we are refining the way it works, and we have a healthy working relationship between us. This event will continue to go from strength to strength and has reinvigorated the General Aviation Sector. As a further development of the Speed rally concept, a first of a kind Grand Prix circuit was formulated limited to 20 nm with 3 laps, which is also flown under handicap conditions, which was tried out at Springs in November, watch this space for the next events.
The PTAR was held in Saldanha this year, and although a risky venue from getting the support of the up-country competitors, it did draw a good amount of competitors country-wide just short of 50, and many having heard of the planned format change - very much in line with what was being done on the Speed Rally circuit wanted to try this out and supported the event. Although a tough event in all respects, with the potential of adverse weather thrown in as well, the end result was very satisfying to all who took part even with one day having to be scrubbed, the West Coast Flying Club supported very well, and we also saw the return of Capital Sounds to provide race Commentary.
The Adventure Rallies has continued to be proved to be popular for the casual pilot who wants to have some fun. The fun rallies were also well supported, with navigation plotting and flying training events held for new entrants to the sport to get an idea on what is required, from this we hope to engender new blood to take part in competitive flying. Similar events are lined up for 2020.
There were a number of ANR events held this year, primarily to prepare for the ANR World Championships held at Santa Cruz Beach in Portugal, where our National teams were selected at the ANR Nationals held at Brits in July, and with the advent of real live tracking, anybody could watch our teams take part in Portugal which resulted in quite a following with the associated banter on the groups. SAPFA is also still looking at viable live tracking options for our future events to give some level of spectator participation.
One of the highlights since 2018 was that SAPFA had earned the prestige of hosting the World Rally Flying Championships (WRFC) to be held in Nov 2020, and thanks to the SAPFA team who put together an excellent final bid which was presented to the GAC in Denmark in November. Now that we have the event fully secured, the hard work on the organisation needs to be done, with less than a year to go. The biggest challenge will be obtaining +/- 30 rental high wing C150 & C712 type aircraft and ferry them all to FASH, thus any volunteers who can assist with this mammoth tasks to put their hands up. See the dedicated website http://www.worldrallyflyingchampionship2020.com/ . This event will complement the 2020 Centenary celebration of the Aero Club as one of the key events on the Centenary calendar.
We also need to prepare our teams to take part and would like to see a full complement of 10 teams in the South African camp, thus we need all opportunities to train teams prior to the Rally Nationals for April 2020. We did have a number of Rally events in 2019, of which two were in Stellenbosch, the first in April which was a practice Nationals, and again in November which included 10 foreign teams from France, Austria, Switzerland and Poland who were here to practice and recce the Western Cape Landscapes, and also allowed our own teams to familiarise with the mountainous scenery which is unfamiliar with most of the up-country teams.
As we close with 2019, the committee is working to make 2020 a bumper year, with no less than 20 events planned, culminating in the World Champs in November. The next AGM is planned for the 25th January 2020, details will be circulated shortly to members, the Agenda, Nomination form & Minutes of previous the AGM are on the website. We are also looking for nominations to serve on the committee, if you would please provide any nominations you may have to serve on the committee to the SAPFA secretary Leon Bouttell email@example.com by the latest 18th January 2020. I would like to thank our Committee and SAPFA Supporters who have worked hard at making each event and activity a success, without our team approach we could not make these happen on the scale at what we have achieved in the last year, and bodes well for our future.
Let 2020 be an exceptional year in our sport with your support.
All the Best