We were greeted by a very overcast Vereeniging Airfield on arriving for the opening competition of the Sport Aerobatics Club’s season. The nasty weather was unfortunately quite widespread and as a result many of the competitors couldn’t leave their respective home bases. Some however did manage to get there, the first to arrive was Wim Kotze and Warren Eva in their Yak 52, followed by a Yak 55.
Pierre du Plooy arrived in his beautiful Giles 202, unfortunately it was the last chance we will get to see this aircraft as she has been sold and is due to leave the country very soon. Andrew Blackwood Murray also managed to get through the clag in his Nashua sponsored Extra 300L he arrived with Glen Warden in the newly restored Slick 360. Greg Clegg one of the young upcoming aerobatics pilots made his way from Kitty Hawk in a Pitts Special, Greg will soon be leaving to pursue a career as an airline pilot with Cathay Pacific, we wish him all the best in his new endeavours.
While waiting for the weather to clear I took a walk to the hanger of Jeff Earle and got to photograph his Harvard which hasn't been seen very often in skies of Gauteng. Jeff was taking the owner of Bird Aviation for flight while the Aerobatic guys were in limbo. A Chipmunk was another aircraft not seen in a long time. The Harvard and the Chipmunk did a circuit of the skies above Vereeniging and gave the photographers a chance see these two amazing machines in the sky.
The Aerobatics got the go ahead and the aircraft took to the sky in less than favourable conditions. This however was short lived and it was decided to call off the competition after only a handful of pilots flew their first sequence. The pilots decided to rather continue the competition the following day, unfortunately many of the pilot’s decided to rather give this one a miss.
Those who did fly on Sunday were not disappointed, Wim Kotze flew two brilliant sequences, In a Yak 52 with an average of 82% to comfortably take Sportsman Class, Tristan Eeles in his Extra 200 also scored above 80% taking second place, Greg Clegg came in third with a vastly improved score of just under 80%.
Intermediate Class was a two horse race with Andrew Blackwood Murray taking top honours in his Extra 300L followed by Conrad Botha in his Slick 360.
Advanced Class was won by Elton Bondi in his Extra 300, Pierre du Plooy manged a respectable second place in his Giles 202, in third place was Glen Warden in his Slick 360, Glen finished less than one percent behind Pierre demonstrating just how tight the competition is.
Unfortunately, Barrie Eeles was the only entrant in the Unlimited Class, hopefully the KZN Regionals will be blessed with better weather and draw a bigger field, the competition will take place on 7 March at Ladysmith Airport.