Articles Landings

SAPFA SA Landing Championships, Stellenbosch and Brits 2021


Pete van der Spek

The Stellenbosch Competitors

Precision landing competitions have been around for a long time but for me, this was a new experience behind my camera. I have always shied away from being too close to a landing aircraft for obvious reasons so when I was asked to do this photoshoot, I did so with an open mind – and with some trepidation. Having said that….

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The SAPFA Landing Nationals – 7 November 2020

By Rob Jonkers. Photos by Jaco Pitout

SAPFA holds a Landing National Championships on a yearly basis and this year it was scheduled to take place at Stellenbosch, on this same day as part of the start of the World Rally Flying Championships. Sadly, as reported earlier in the year, this had to be postponed to 2021 in the same time frame. At least we have been able to redirect the original plan to hold the championships up here on the reef and Brakpan was chosen as the venue. 

With the rain having passed earlier in the week, the weather turned to sweltering with 34 deg C as the high temperature for the day. With the airfield elevation at 5300 ft, this resulted in a density altitude of around 8500 ft, not the most ideal conditions for high altitude landing accuracy. The wind was at least relatively calm, although gusty at times.

 There were 14 competitors for the day – 8 in the Unlimited class and 6 in the Sportsman’s class. Many of the competitors were out practicing on Friday for a good part of the day to gain proficiency in their accuracy, as the previous week’s training camp was ‘winded out’ with high cross-winds. From the results, it showed clearly that practice makes all the difference. One has to create an airfield mind map of markers, turning points and altitudes especially for glide approaches – to get a repeatable landing point.

The competition consists of carrying out two sessions of four landings, one a normal powered approach with any flap, the second a glide approach that starts 1000 ft abeam the landing line with any flap, the third is also a glide approach with no flap and the fourth is a powered approach over a 1.8 m barrier located 50 m from the landing line. The barrier proved to be the most challenging for most – even though the glideslope represents a normal landing state.

First up just after 10 am was the Unlimited Class, which were in 2 groups of 4 and thereafter Sportsman’s Class in 2 groups of 3. The officials were also trying out video recording for the first time (high speed camera settings) as video recording will be the planned standard for World competitions, which is at least an improvement over the ‘gatsometer’ system previously used.

When session 1 was completed, lunch was served after session 2 commenced at 1PM, this being the highest density altitude conditions with turbulence thrown in. A C182 turning downwind to final on the glide at best glide speed saw more than 1000ft per minute rate of descent, which did not leave much space to do the final runway heading line-up and arrest the descent to stabilize for the flare – needless to say the accuracy was not easily achievable to hit the landing line.

Hans Schwebel

Fanie Scholz

Jonty Esser
After all the landings were completed, the officials debriefed the scores and reviewed the video footage to ensure the exact touchdown points were scored. In the Unlimited Class and in first place was multiple SA landing and world champion holder Hans Schwebel in a C150 ZS-NBT. Fanie Scholz in a Sling ZU-FZF bagged the runner up sport while Jonty Esser in a C150 ZU-BLL took the final step on the podium.

Andy Gouws

Hilton Wolff

Kevin Cloete
In the Sportsman’s class, Andy Gouws in a C150 ZU-BLL took the honours with second place awarded to Hilton Wolff in a Muschak MFI-17 ZS-OKR and in third place Kevin Cloete in a C182 ZS-KDC.Many thanks to the Brakpan Aero Club for hosting this signature event, the SAPFA team of Frank Eckard as the Competition Director, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Mary de Klerk, Sandi Goddard, Lizelle Kruger as scoring marshals and who were ably assisted by Tarryn & Iaan Myburgh, Martin Meyer, Hendrik Loot as line judges and barrier holders.

The KZN Provincial Landing Championships were combined with a fun rally.

See Here for the article on the event

5Barry de GrootC172ZU AFP-338OOB-2217620014311
6Andrew LanePA 140ZS IEI15GO AROUNDGO AROUND114515015033378
8Brendan AdamsYak18TZU BHROOBGO AROUND21302001504260452
7Mark CarstensYak 52ZS DTLOOBOOB-2502002001000500
9Leon KoekemoerC172ZS SDTOOBOOB32172002006451515
11Alistair MatthewsC 172 RIEMSZS JTA-15GO AROUNDGO AROUND-18105150150126531
10William O’DriscollYak 52ZS DSJOOBGO AROUNDOOB42001502004554
12Peter GilbertC182ZS SHV28GO AROUNDOOB 84150200150584
13Samuel SideaC182ZS FIX-22OOBGO AROUND1215420015084588
14Gavin BrownPA 34ZS KKTOOBGO AROUNDGO AROUND35200150150105605
16Roger DeareBE35ZS FSWOOBMAXMAXMAX200150150150650
15Barry KrugerYak 52ZU DTLOOBGO AROUNDGO AROUNDOOB200150150200700

BRITS – FABS – 3 & 4 JULY 2009

PosPilotA/c Reg1234Round 11234Round 2Drop
1H SchwebelIWD42103014960101412364290
2J EsserEIL206744028412001830206108
3J HanekomJAD3301049923040367049113
4R StirkIWD3516260779430489148120
5M de KlerkKNH1448701815014128154970129
6P SmitIWD57362827148752410911875191
7F EckardKNH6150607223120341015179150252
8B BelcherFJT282832112200481503621255150305
9W WalleCNZ28150428210772003028335200345
10J NeyschenFAX14150150105419200908105403200622
11T ThomasDED7520068754182002002200602200820

2008 South African Landing Competition

Held at Brits Airfield, Brits – 21/22 June 2008

1Walter Walle24
2Schalk Kotze30
3Mary de Klerk30
4Barry de Groot34
5Ulie Gerth49
6Dale de Klerk50
7Frank Eckard51
8Ron Stirk60
9Hans Schwebel76
10Piet Smit88
11Jan Hanekom118
12CC Pocock125

2007 South African Landing Competition

Held at New Tempe, Bloemfontein on 28 July 2007

PosA/c RegAircraftPilot1234Total
1Hans SchwebelIWDC150122881866
2Mary de KlerkCMJJabiru211643980
3Barry de GrootIWDC150151246982
4Martin DetselCVAClassic 1507046036152
5Jan HanekomBMIKitfox11930021170
6Ron StirkCVAClassic 15028150028206
7Schalk KotzeKCIA3675150228255
8Pieter RademeyerMOCC17203880154272
9Gordon van WykCVAClassic 15049150150200549
10Cobus van der ColffIWDC15045200200400845

2006 South African Landing Competition

Held at New Tempe, Bloemfontein on 9 December 2006

PosA/c RegAircraftPilot1234Total
1Hans SchwebelIWDC150712203574
2Schalk KotzeCMJJabiru514122895
3Ron StirkIWDC1504280621149
4Mary de KlerkCVAClassic 1507741256149
5Jack OnderstalBMIKitfox35248042181
6Jan HanekomCVAClassic 15077150200247
7Lucas WieseKCIA36141715049275
8Frank EckardMOCC172148150400338
9Hugo StarkCVAClassic 150398015070339
10Piet SmitIWDC150903615098374
11Deon LootsOILJabiru1751506475464
12Johan la GrangeMTRC210200100200105605
13Cobus vd ColfBFJYak10515040400695
14Philipus SmithEGKMagni Gyro200150200400950