SAPFA Rally Practical Training Camp – Brakpan


After learning the theoretical side of Navigation plotting at the training camp held at Aerosud on the 18th of January, it was time to put into practice what was learned with a practical flight. The SAPFA national coach Jonty Esser put together a short route in the Brakpan Heidelberg area with 4 turnpoints to be flown by participating teams.

The weather however did not play ball at all, restricting participants to arrive by air, however many decided to drive in, to at least do some ground school. At the end there were 9 teams that participated. On hand from the SAPFA Protea members were Jonty Esser, Frank Eckard, Sandi Goddard and Rob Jonkers imparting their knowledge to the teams.

The theme of the morning was to gain knowledge on practical flying, how to accurately bingo each turn point in time, how to approach the start, this always being the most difficult part of any rally, firstly to find it, and then to get there at the start time. Then the dynamics of keeping on time on each leg, approaching the next turn point and identifying the photo being correct or incorrect. First up was Frank Eckard who explained all the required strategies of flying, explaining that you have to be in the right frame of mind to take part in this sport, extreme focus and concentration will get one to the winning post.

Frank Eckard – Strategies of Flying a Rally

Thereafter Jonty provided an outline to the planned flight route for the day – which could not be flown, but an explanation of how to set up the aircraft to fly the route, to get to the nominated 1000 ft altitude, set the flaps and power setting, then to adjust timing by changing the aircraft’s attitude to speed up or slow down, rather than utilise power changes as power changes disturb the fundamental speed set up.

Jonty Esser – How to set up your aircraft in flight

After Jonty, Rob showed a short video of a practical flight demonstrating what photos look like on the ground and the visual angles and distances to be able to recognise them, and from what altitude these would be best visible.

A practical out of the cockpit view of en-route photo recognition

After a short break, it was decided to carry out a real plotting exercise of the Rand Rally Challenge against the clock with a 30 minute deadline, essentially 2 minutes per plotting point. It gave everybody an incentive to attempt to beat the clock. With new teams this proved daunting, thus more focus was provided on techniques of using the tools and developing the skills to use them.

Clarissa and Kerry busy with their plot

Milan, Caroline and Andy busy with their plots

Karyn and Leon happy they have aced their plot in the allotted time

#SAPFA #Rallyflying

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