Articles Speed Rally

Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally – 27 Nov

Photos by Willie Bodenstein and Rob Jonkers
Participants, organisers and officials pose for a photo on Saturday morning after the briefing.

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) organised the 2021 Season finale Speed Navigation Rally on Saturday 27th November 2021 to take place at Springs, this being the 4th event in Season 3 of the Speed Rally series. As a season finale, it would end with a black-tie gala dinner on the Saturday evening against the standard already set in 2020 ending Season 2. Our Season 3 events were held in Witbank, Middelburg, Secunda and lastly Springs.

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The SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally – 28 August 2021

By Rob Jonkers. Photos by Willie Bodenstein and Rob Jonkers

This year we have returned again to the birth place of the Speed Rally, being the 4th time, this event has been held here, with 2018 the start of Season 1, and from 2020 having re-aligned the Speed Rallies to calendar year seasons, with this event being the 3rd event in Season 3, with the final event for Season 3 being at Springs on 27 Nov 2021.

With lockdown still at level 3, we limited the entries to 25 teams, and 22 had entered by the time the event entries closed on Friday 27th August. Our host club with Chairman Ashvir Kallis and Vice Chairman Lourence Mathee went all out to support the event, making the club facilities available and a braai for the Friday evening. The Aviation Junction flight school made their school facilities available for the scoring and officials’ team.

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The Aircraft Unlimited Witbank Speed Rally 2021

Text by Rob Jonkers.
Photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers and Russell Dixon-Paver

 

This first of the 3rd Season Aircraft Unlimited Speed Rallies for 2021 has been held at Witbank, organised by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. This event was held virtually a year ago at the same venue. The world of course has changed substantially since then, although it seems yesterday that we were last here. It has for sure been an event fraught with challenges, from the start of having to postpone it from the original planned date of 6 February as the last throes of cyclone Eloise was still drenching the Highveld, to having to line up a new support ground team (as many of the stalwarts were not available a week later), to having to ride through a number of mistakes on the day. Nevertheless, the end result was at least a safe and successful rally.






Some of the aircraft when we arrived 

There were 30 entries, quite a full field given the current situation, with a number of local aircraft taking part. Three flight schools entered, Legend Sky from Rhino Park, Mach 1 from Springs and a large contingent with 5 entries from Bird Aviation based at Vereeniging Airfield. The weather outlook seemed to be poor, and on Friday the wind was pumping at between 15 – 20kts from the north-east with 6/8 cloud, with the forecast for Saturday giving low cloud with afternoon rain – seems the next tropical depression was on its way from the east coast.






More competing aircraft 
The Friday afternoon initial briefing started at 18h00, with Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and a weather outlook. After this Jonty did his signature event promotion of handing out race numbers, where after the club provided a nice dinner spread, before retiring for the evening.When Kobus Jacobs on Friday after the test flights landed his Kitfox on the grass runway and found after stopping that he had somewhere picked up a puncture and that a wheel was completely deflated. That was no problem for the friendly people of the Witbank Aeronautical Society who in the spirit of aviation chipped in without being asked and soon the wheel was as good as new. 






Saturday morning dawned with more promising weather, the predicted low cloud did not materialise, and by 9 am the cloud base had risen to 6500 ft, with a still strong easterly wind. The briefing was held at 08h00 am and was concluded at around 08h30, where everybody dispersed first for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers. The route for the day was intended to be a scenic one, mostly north of the Loskop dam in the Groblersdal area which has many rivers and hills.






Saturday mornings briefing, competitors and organisers. Photos by Russell Dixon-Paver 
Each team were supposed to get their envelops with their loggers 20 minutes prior take-off, somehow the papers hand-out team received an incorrect time list which showed an hour ahead of when the papers were supposed to be given. Although the first 5 aircraft were given their papers early, once the mistake was realised, a reset had to be brought into effect. 1st take-off was at 09h53 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h40, with planned arrival at 11h30.









Some of the competitors prior to take off 
With all the competitors off towards the northwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints, especially TP6 which required good navigating skills to find the canal and road crossing, from the results this turn point seems to have been difficult to home onto. With the windy conditions the aircraft coming over the line were more spread out than before, most competitors were over the line within 10 minutes, with one straggler that decided a visit to Nylstroom was in order….






The start line, slowest starts first





 
Some of the competing aircraft taking off 
After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for a number being quite accurate, although some had wobbles, three had got significantly lost.


Nice perfect Track……………..Oops – Went to Nylstroom








Some of the competing aircraft returning

Getting the results out on time proved to be a challenge, with changes in the scoring system there were some gremlins that had to be fixed, and that required extra time, also with impending bad weather moving in, many competitors started to depart. Aiming for a 2 pm prize-giving was just not working out, and with too few left at the field, it was decided to postpone the prize-giving to later the day, however a small prize giving was held for the most creative route – which turned out to be the Cessna 310 that found its way to Nylstroom, the trophy for the host club, and the most enthusiastic crew which went to ZS-PJK.Given the additional time for scoring, and having to check of anomalies of the results, particularly the track error accuracy, it was decided to review gro-pro footage to assess any auto-pilot usage, which given the size of the files, could only be checked the next day. Once the review was done and no anomalies found, could the results be published, although some mistakes crept in when the prize giving information was compiled. Nevertheless the scores in the leader board results are correct (given on the website), and the trophies granted remain with the recipients as given. 

Best Flight School Bird Aviation. Photo by Russell Dixon Paver
 
Best Husband and Wife Tarry and Iaan Myburg
Best Father and Son Chris and Ryan Shillaw
Best Nav 3rd place Promp Roofing Team B Jonty and Jonathan Esser

Best Nav 2nd place Team Century Avionics Mary de Klerk and Phil Wakely with Century’s Mark and Sean between them
Best Nav 1 st place Team Fast Flame Henderik and Jandre Loots
Best Speed 3rd place Team Aircraft Unlimited Roger Bozzoli and Nadine Brooker
Best Speed 2nd Team Mighty Mouse John Sayers and Jack Coetzer
Best Speed 1st Team Mad Dogs Ron Strik and Von Hamman

Overall 3rd JB Team JB Switchgear Leon Boutell and Martin Meyer

Overall 2nd Mike Blackburn and Steve B

Overall winners of the Aircraft Unlimited Season 3 Race 1 Chris and Ray Shillaw

 

Many thanks to the Witbank Aeronautical Association for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with logistics and great meals available throughout the day, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos doing the scoring, Chester Chandler on handicapping, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw for taking on the role of starter, Clarissa for handing out competition papers to the crews. Although there were some hiccups, eventually the participants got airborne. Thanks also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us..
Also thanks to our sponsors, Aircraft Unlimited being our signature Speed Rally Brand Sponsor, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, and our team sponsors, Prompt Roofing, Fast Flame Laser cutting, Century Avionics, Beegle Micro trackers, JB Switchgear.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Middelburg on the 27th of April 2021

Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally – 28 Nov 2020

By Rob Jonkers


Photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers and Mary de Klerk

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with our main sponsor Aircraft Unlimited, organised the 2020 season finale Speed Navigation Rally on Saturday 28th November 2020.

Although strictly not planned to have been the end of the 2nd season, 2020 being a year what it is, with reduced events, we decided to review the events and shorten the 6 per season to 4, so season 2 started and ended at Springsin order that season 3 would start and end in 2021.

For the overall season, scoring the best of 3 events would count towards the season’s results.


Ivan van der Schaar in the Aircraft Unlimited branded Boeing Stearman celebrated the event with a brief display

As the event has evolved, changes have been brought into play, all with the participation of the organisers and competitors. For this season the overall distance was reduced to 138 nm (from 150 nm), a handicap overspeed penalty was instituted and allowance to fly with a GPS track-made-good magnetic heading reference. For this final season 2 event, 32 entries were received. Springs 2019 was also the debut of the Grand-Prix circuit and was also planned this year, a format that has also evolved over the last four GPs.

 
 

 
Some of the participating aircraft
The route was mostly to the east and south of the airfield, with a bit more of a scenic route than previous events going close to the Vaal Dam. The weather on Friday started out really well, the forecast giving an indication to late afternoon thundershowers, which were lurking towards the west. Test flights commenced with some new entries requiring test flights and some old entries wanting to retest to re-confirm their handicaps. The test flights were done by Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin and had to be curtailed after 3PM as the weather deteriorated.


Saturday mornings briefing

At 18h30, Jonty Esser, as the MC introduced Rob Jonkers, who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turn points, distance, departure and arrivals protocol. He also elaborated as to how the scoring system worked in terms of penalties as well as the expected weather conditions, which looked like overcast to start with but lifting after 9 am and 10+ kts of gusty northerly winds.

Aircraft on the field on Saturday


Mark & Shane from Century Avionics were on hand to block off / seal Aircraft GPS and autopilot systems. Scorers, Dirk and Louna de Vos taking a break


Rob during the Saturday briefing and Jonty during the Saturday evening’s prize giving


Jonty and owner Andrew Lester owner of the sponsors, Rand Airport based Aircraft Unlimited

Jonty Esser then took to the stage in his signature competing crew introductory theme song videos and race number handouts and also included introductions to the event and team sponsors. For this event, an event sponsor was secured in the form of Aircraft Unlimited, an AMO based at Rand Airport. Jonty proudly introduced the new owner Andrew Lester and his team and advised that they would also provide AMO support for aircraft during the event. Thereafter everybody was treated to a buffet meal before retiring for the evening to the music of one of the competitors Leon Joubert and his band re-living the 70s real music era.


Competitors and organisers before the start of the racing

 

 

 
Some of the competitors prior to the start of the rally

Saturday morning dawned with windy and low overcast cloud conditions. The decision was made to start the briefing an hour later at 9 am with the start to commence an hour and a half later at 11h30 for an over the field arrival at 1 PM. Once the shortened briefing was over, everybody prepared their aircraft and got themselves sorted into the parking bays. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices sealed up in bags. For this event Mark & Shane from Century Avionics were on hand to also block off / seal Aircraft GPS and autopilot systems.



The start line manned by Sean Cronin and Mark Clulow


Scrutineers Lizelle, Louna, Bernhardt and Adrian were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices

Scrutineers Lizelle, Louna, Bernhardt and Adrian were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, handing out papers at the allotted time and also checked the fuel tanks were full. Starters Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin set up at the starting line adjacent the threshold of Runway 03, who would release each aircraft at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at 20 minutes prior take-off time and taxied to the starting line within 10 minutes of brake release. 1st take-off was at 11h30 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 12h100 with a planned arrival at 1 PM.
With all the competitors off towards the east, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points with some river crossing also thrown into the mix and a little more scenic than previous Springs events. In general, the competitors found the course easy enough this time round, with the photographs now in larger format to identify the ground features more prominently and which can be seen in the results, where many had a clear round in their tracks. Just before 1PM, the first aircraft appeared over the line and was a little early. It was then followed by at least three quarters of the field all within a minute, with tail enders after that.
After all teams having returned, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, completing the individual scores by 3 PM. A season ending gala prize-giving evening was arranged, which turned out really well as most of the teams stayed over or got dressed in their finest black tie. The evening got under way at around 6 with starter platters and then at 7 with Rob Jonkers showing everybody’s tracks – from the most accurate to the most creative. Jonty had Andrew from Aircraft Unlimited and Rob Jonkers hand out certificates to each of the teams. Prize-giving got underway with three trophies going to best husband and wife team – Eric and Antoinette Addison, best Father and Son team – Apie & Frederik Kotzee and best school entry – Legend Sky from Rhino Park. The most creative track trophy went to the first-time entrant Chipmunk team of Grant Timms and Duncan Ritchie.


1st

 
2nd & 3rd

The GP race winners were Dane Laing in an RV4, Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuisen in an RV7 took 2nd place and Leon Joubert in a Lancair in 3rd place


Handicap season results placings


Accuracy navigation Season results placings


Season overall placings

This was followed by the Springs event results in navigation accuracy, handicap and overall. As this was the end of the 2nd season, the season results and winners in each of the categories were also announced. The final results for all the teams for Springs and the season will be posted on the Speed Rally website.


In the tower from Search and Rescue were Santjie White and daughter Jean Michelle with ATNS’s Marcus Pitner and Gladwin Sekgobela
Jonty then thanked all the officials who put in the effort to make the Speed rally what it has become which included Adrian Cronje as the Chief Marshall, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk de Vos doing the scoring, Mark Clulow & Sean Cronin for doing test flights and starting, Marc & Shane for Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Lizelle Kruger, Louna de Vos, Bernhard Jansen for handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering (we missed Chareen Shillaw who could not join this time round). Also thanked were Jonty & Lizelle & Sandy for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event and Gala Dinner on Saturday, the ATNS team for managing the ATC for the weekend and Santjie White for being everybody’s Guardian Angel. Thanks also to the East Rand Flying Club for the excellent airfield facilities.

 
 
 
More participating aircraft
Also to the sponsors Aircraft Unlimited, who was the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, team sponsors JB Electrical – Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, Fast Flame Laser Cutting – Hendrik & Jandre Loots and Johan van Eeden &Cor Estrehuiz, Beegle Micro Trackers – Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing – Leon Joubert and Sandi Goddard

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Witbank in the 6th of February 2021.


1st placed Race 5’s accurate track


Oops – We went to Nigel instead

The Pilot Insure Witbank Speed Navigation Rally – 2 Feb 2020

By Rob Jonkers (photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers)

This first of the Pilot Insure Speed Rallies for 2020 has been held at Witbank, the 2nd for Season 2, successfully organized by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. Planning for this event began in November 2019 with a reconnaissance to Witbank to review the logistics for the weekend. The Witbank team went out of their way to make this a memorable event for the weekend, their members having got involved in many of the aspects of achieving a great competition.

The competitors after the Saturday morning briefing
With the first event of the season behind us held at Springs, the SAPFA team and competitors held a further debrief to review options on further improvements, most notably to look at the scoring of navigation accuracy which is now normalised to ensure slow or fast aircraft types have an equal chance in scoring for navigation accuracy. Scores are counted for both Navigation & Handicap where before if you won in the handicap class in the first 3 places, the scores were excluded in the accuracy class.

 Piet Meyer and Adrienne Visser finished 2nd overall

Zwelihle Zondo and Nkululeko Sokweba was placed 17th overall


Entries for Witbank were 34, with 4 GPS class competitors and 8 more in the Grand Prix part of the event. There were also two schools taking part, the Mach 1 school from Springs and first-time entry from Rhino Park LST – Light Sport Aviation Training. The Grand Prix event is the 2nd event in this Season 2 and is proving very popular from the result of the 1st try out held in Springs.

Some briefing Pics
The route for this weekend was planned at 146nm, had 10 turning points and for added spectator value now included a crossover, this is where the course was anti-clockwise, to cross over the airfield and then clockwise to return from the east. The cross-over was planned to have the first of the slower aircraft already passing over while a number of the faster aircraft were still waiting to take-off.

Tintsalo Mabunda and Lehlogonolo Kekana was placed 21st overall
The route in the first portion was mostly to the north and west, at the starting point of some of the valleys and rivers meandering into the Loskop Dam, the second portion towards the scenic north-east towards the eastern shores of the Loskop dam, and then back around Middelburg and some not so scenic coal fields and flatter landscapes.

The weather on Friday started out really well, the forecast not predicting any rain, but there were plenty of thermals about. Flight testing was carried out all day with Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin, although with some strong thermals in the afternoon had to wait for this to die down before continuing.

The team of Johan Sayers & Jack Coetzer preparing to mount their Harvard ZU-WSE
The Friday afternoon initial briefing started at 18h30, David le Roux being the new race master and introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turn points, distance, departure and arrivals protocols. He also explained how the scoring system worked in terms of penalties as well as the expected weather conditions, which was predicted to be clear with a light and variable wind from the east swinging north east.

Race Master David le Roux

All the competitors were then treated to a briefing on Steroids with Race Master David le Roux introducing all the teams to come up to the stage with a fanfare of theme songs and handing out race stickers. thereafter everybody was treated to a lamb on the spit meal provided by the host club before retiring for the evening.

 

The team of Pierre vd Merwe and Neville Ferreira plotting on their wing of the Sling ZU-FWY

Century Avionics’s Sean and Mark who assisted with the blanking out of GPS instruments

Father and son Kobus and Jacques Botha’s Piper PA 28-140 in the foreground with the field in the background
Saturday morning dawned with perfect flying conditions, a clear day with virtually no wind, but as the morning wore on the wind started to pick up and from the South East which favouring Rwy 22, except the planned runway to be used was 04, as the cross-over was at the threshold of 04. 

A view of the field from the tower. Fuel to Witbank is supplied by Puma Energy



Some competitors at the start

The briefing started at 07h00 am and was concluded at around 8, where everybody dispersed first for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers and refuelers. The wind was remaining stuck in the south easterly direction and had increased in strength, with Rob fretting over whether to delay the start to a little later to allow the wind to swing more to the predicted north easterly direction, a quick phone call to Deon vd Mescht, our weather guru, confirmed the wind would swing but ever so slowly. By 9h30 the wind started to die down a little and it was decided to continue.

Witbank Chairman Fife Delport with first time Navigator Marga Lombaard in their Sling ZU-STT
Navigator James Braid in an unusual plotting position flying a Sling – ZU-JAR

Rob Osner flew his Allo III from Brakpan and flew as Navigator in Hilton Wolff”s Mushack

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Karen, Ardyn and Alex were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices and also handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were full. For this event we used a Grand Prix style flag to release the aircraft line up, with Christian du Plessis doing the honours, under starters orders given by the starter Mark Clulow.


Husband and wife team of Eric & Antoinette Addison in the RV7 ZU-LAX

Some of the Ground Crew that kept things going

Leon Joubert and Pilot’s Insure owner and main sponsor flew in both the rally and the GP event

Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minutes prior take-off time who would then taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of take-off time. 1st take-off was at 09h56 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h40, with a planned arrival at 11h30.

 

First Timers Kobus and Jacques Botha in their Piper 140 ZS – FHH
Franz Smith with new co-sponsors Warwick Wealth
With all the competitors off towards the norhwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points, especially TP 1 and 6 which required a descent into the Loskop valley, and then some hard to spot turn points 7,8 and 9 in among the mielie and coal fields. The wind had also picked up in the interim starting to favour those already heading in the westerly direction. Just before 11h30 the first aircraft over the line was a Sling ZU-IHK. The landing sequence was fairly easy to do with everybody joining right hand downwind onto Rwy 22 with good intervals.

The line-up of aircraft at the starting line

After all teams had returned and were safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for a number being quite accurate, although some had wobbles:- only two got a bit lost.
Starter Christian du Plessis waving off the Sling ZU-STT

In sequence take-off with 15 sec intervals of some close handicapped aircraft

Getting the results out on time proved to be a challenge, with changes in the scoring system there were some gremlins that had to be fixed which required extra time and with potential late afternoon weather on the reef put some time pressure to complete the results. Eventually at 4 PM the results could be announced. The tracks for the routes flown was also shown, pretty much everybody except 2 competitors did not get lost, although the eastern turn points were missed by a few.

Hendrik Loots

James Braid

Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman

Race Master David le Roux and our main sponsor Franz Smit from Pilot Insure handed out the trophies, first up being the winners of the most accurately flown route with father and son team Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK with 2nd place awarded to another Sling ZU-JAR with David Ross & James Braid. Son and father team Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV bagged the last step of the podium.

 

Piet Meyer and Adrienne Visser

Chris and Adriaan de Beer

For the handicap results, a double win was in order for Hendrik & Jandre Loots. Piet Meyer and Adrienne Visser in their Jabiru ZU-DUU were second and in 3rd place Michael Blackburn & Steve Briggs in their Sling ZU-IBM. For the GPS event the winner was local Witbank crew of Chris and Adriaan de Beer in their C182RG ZS-KUN. The club trophy was handed over by Jonty to chairman Fife Delport, with the winning school being the Mach 1 Training School who are becoming consistently better at improving their results at each event.

This weekend’s overall results has ZU-IHK in the lead followed by ZU-DUU and ZS-FVV. The overall season points standing has ZU-IHK in the lead followed by ZU-FVV and ZU-JAR.

 

GP Competitors

The GP Podium

Winners, Johan van Eeden and Gavin Edwards

Second place, Winners, John Sayers and Jack Coetzer

Third place, Dane and Wade Laing

Many thanks to the Witbank Aeronautical Association for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with ground marshals, logistics and great evening meals, the Pilot Insure team of Franz Smit David le Roux the Race Master at the registration desk together with the Warrick Wealth team, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mark Clulow doing the scoring, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering with their team, Jonty & Lizelle for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Thanks also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us.

Also thanks to our sponsors, Pilot Insure being our signature Speed Rally Brand Sponsor, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, team sponsors Excel E&I – Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, The Airplane Factory – David Ross and James Braid, Pilots Post – Phil Wakeley and Mary De Klerk Fast Flame Laser Cutting – Hendrik & Jandre Loots, Beegle Micro Trackers – Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing – Leon Joubert and Franz Smit.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Bethlehem on the 22nd of March 2020.


Nice perfect Track
 

Oops – Found Middelburg instead