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SAPFA National Landing Championships by Rob Jonkers

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:35 am
by admin
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) held the annual National Landing Championships at Brits airfield on Saturday 8 December 2018, as the final SAPFA fixture for the year. The weather was a factor throughout the week, but by Thursday it looked like Saturday would be a clear day with the usual summer convection weather systems around with isolated thunder showers forecast after 16h00.

The interest in the competition did not bring many new competitors this year therefore the pilots were mostly experienced SAPFA members some of them have been world landing champions in the past. The competition was run by the SAPFA chief landing judge Jacques Jacobs, who with his team of marshals, set up the landing scoring system on runway 02. After briefing at 08h30, the fun class of new pilots took part and their task was to do four normal landings as standard powered approaches with flaps as required.

On completion of the fun class it was the turn of the open class, who were organised into three groups and had to do two rounds of four landings each, the four landings had to be a standard powered approach with flaps as required, a barrier landing also as a standard approach (the barrier is a line of flags two metres high placed 50 m from the line), then two glide approach landings, one with and one without flaps with the power closed at 1000 feet abeam the landing line.

The wind was mostly under 10 knots with a right hand cross-wind and as the competition gathered pace a thunderstorm cell started brewing from the northwest and the wind got stronger to around 15 knots, with gusting conditions and turbulence. It was around 11h00 when the thunderstorm was closing in and Hans Schwebel on his last landing to complete round one when the rain started where the downdrafts upset his last glide approach and he landed short. Within five minutes the heavens opened with a cloudburst lasting around 15 minutes, clearing up again with good flying weather. It was decided to complete the competition with the round one results and Jonty Esser took first place.
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