By Andre Venter
Arriving at Helivate’s base at Jack Taylor airfield in Krugersdorp we were welcomed with a very welcome cup of steaming hot coffee and rusks, especially welcome as it was rather cold and the windy conditions didn’t help much.
Once everyone had warmed up a bit Hayley got on with the business of the day, starting off with a briefing. Hayley did her best not to accidentally reveal any of the clues while explaining what would be expected of each team.
All the competitors were then given time to plot the best routes to the points they were given. The teams only received their clues once they were ready to board their aircraft. To make the event as fair as possible only one helicopter was allowed on the course at a time, teams had to wait until the previous team landed before getting airborne themselves and of course, returning teams were not allowed to aid their opponents at all.
When a team managed to find the first point they had to send a photograph of the point back to Helivate Base, Hayley would confirm it with a thumbs up if correct and a thumbs down if incorrect. The process was then repeated with point number 2, Point number 3. They had to land and pick up a clue from a Tupperware container, photograph it and return it back to the container.
I was offered an opportunity to fly with Gen King and Mark Mansfield in a R44, the challenge was real, definitely not an easy set of tasks. Teams really had to concentrate and fly the headings they were given and according to the time you had worked out. Unfortunately, we got totally lost, an exercise that should have taken us 20 minutes took us 70 minutes, thus we ended last in the competition.
Once everyone had completed the competition, lunch was served and prize giving was held, Rudi and Kim Marx in their Lama walked away with the Laurels. It was decided to not assign 2nd and 3rd place as the other teams did not do as well as expected.
A big thank you to Hayley and her team from Helivate Helicopter Services for organising a fun but very challenging competition. I'm sure the competitors will be back for Helivate Transverse 3.0 and will come prepared for whatever challenges get thrown at them.