SAPFA kicked off what is going to be a very busy year with a Rally flying training camp on Saturday 18 January at the Aerosud canteen in centurion. This was the second training camp of its kind and after the camp held last year the SAPFA board decided to have a series of these events this year to promote the sport and introduce “New Blood” into the fold.
South Africa will be hosting the 2020 World Rally Flying Championships in Stellenbosch in November this year and hope to enter a record number of teams from South Africa. To achieve this the sport has to be grown as there hasn’t been much growth over the last few years.
Rob Jonker welcomed the thirty odd participants, comprising of some Protea pilots and Navigators as well as a large compliment of newbies to the sport, after which Mary de Klerk gave a brief outline of what they could expect for the day. Mary then encouraged all the participants to introduce themselves and give a short description of the flying experience.
Mary started the formal training by explaining the plotting procedures and familiarising everyone with the “tools of the trade”. Everyone was then encouraged to plot a basic route, the type they can expect in an actual competition. There are many ways that turn points could be given in the competition points and all of these were covered. E.g. co-ordinates, bearings (which could be in either true or magnetic) and distances (either in nm of km). Each turning point then had to be found and identified and linked into legs, some of which could be arcs or follow map features.
In a competition time is a rear commodity, so plotting must be completed as quick and accurately as possible. Plotting is done in the aircraft as the papers are received between 30-40 minutes before take-off. It is crucial that the navigator completes the route plotting so that once the team is airborne both Pilot and Navigator can concentrate on identifying the ground photos.
Rob Jonkers provided a set of laminated transparent tools that could be cut out and used for plotting these included a Protector marked with True and Magnetic North, a rotating arm to be riveted to the protractor and a Grid tool to quickly marked with degrees, minutes and seconds.
Once everyone had completed their plots, Mary “flew” the route Google Earth to demonstrate what could be expected when identifying the on route photos and what they would look like compared to the photo sheets provided.
Many of the attendees decided to try out their newfound skills at the annual Rand Challenge which is to be held on Saturday 25 January, if you are interested in taking part please register on the SAPFA website or follow this link : https://sapfa.co.za/index.php/component/competition/?view=pilot