By Garth Calitz Photos by Andre Venter
Brits in the Northwest and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape simultaneously hosted the two sections of the National Landing competition on Saturday 28 October. The reason for the split is the cost involved for a pilot to fly from Cape Town to compete in the North or visa versa would be absolutely prohibitive so SAPFA came up with this novel solution.
Brits Airfield was a hive of activity from very early in the morning as EAA Chapter 322 had organised a fly-in to coincide with the landing competition. This was in an attempt to encourage EAA members to take part in the landing competition sadly there were not many takers and only seven pilots took part in the inland competition. In Stellenbosch only six pilots took up the challenge.
The weather in Stellenbosch was very different to the weather in Brits, Stellenbosch was rather cool with the threat of rain and relatively stable wind throughout the day. Brits on the other hand experienced temperatures well in the higher 30’s° both locations whether was deemed acceptable for the competition to continue.
Landing competitions are decided over two sets of four landings all with different configurations, the first landing is a normal approach and landing, and the second is a glide approach with the pilot choosing to use flap if he likes. The third landing is also a glide approach but this time it has to be a flapless landing and finally a normal approach with a 2-meter obstacle placed 50 meters before the Bingo line. After the first round and a short refreshment break the competitors go out and do the second round of landings following the same format.
The landing area is made up of a Bingo line with lines at 1-meter intervals both before and after. The ideal landing is to land with both main gear on the Bingo line if over or under penalty points are allotted for every meter short or over. Dale de Klerk would have done much better if he managed to get both wheels on the ground at the same time.
After the second round of landings, everyone at Brits went to the clubhouse while the scores were calculated and the results from Stellenbosch filtered in. Ron Stirk was once again crowned as National Landing champion with a magnificent score of only 95 points, followed by Dale de Klerk very closely behind with 119 points, James Spilsbury came in third and first entrant from Stellenbosch with 288 points.
Once the announcements were made everyone at Brits made a very quick exit, I’m not quite sure if it was because of the predicted afternoon storms or people just in a hurry to start the World Cup rugby final preparations but either way the airfield became very empty very quickly.
I have to once again commend Brits Flying Club for hosting a great competition and special thanks must go to Dusty and his team of judges for braving the abnormally hot conditions alongside the runway to ensure the competition was free and fair.
Thanks must also go to Stellenbosch Airfield and their team of judges for their effort put in down South.
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