Monday, November 22, 2004

Gert Nieuwoudt on "where next?"

Seems like most builders have disappeared in the jump to moldies. With a limited budget it IS possible to build a competitive glider in your ownworkshop. There are still a few builders around and some with lots more experience than me, like Theo Woluters and co. You will laugh if you see myworkshop. I have a bench in a space of 1.8m x 2m where I work and if I make dust I get a hiding from the wife. I have a few primitive tools and a fridge compressor for bagging. If I had more energy I would have built parts forothers as well, but I am always willing to help with the limited experience I have. There are other options as well, like buying parts. A Mantis fuz fromTerry Luckenback and a set of bagged foam wings from Phil Barns can save you some time. Pity we can not get similar deals around here.
We calculated the past weekend you can build a foam and glass 3m Bubble Dancer for less than R800, including the CNC cutting of Wings. The only difficult part is the wing spar, but hope to solve this problem with the next wing to start soon.
Willem brought a 2.5m Thermic from Art hobbie in and the quality of the kitis pretty neat. I do not think it was maidened yet, but will report back. Think the Art hobbie kits is a good choice, but the landed cost vs. what you get is debatable.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Andre Kilian on electric conversion

I converted a standard Shotgun 5000 to electric as a proof of concept, asone of my objectives was to prove that I can have similar weight and performance to glow by using electric power. The only change I made to astandard off the shelf Shotgun kit was to ask Mike Hirst not to cut off thenose but to leave it the length of a standard balsa plank (I wanted to keepthe distance between the prop and the wing leading edge the same as on aglow model, and to provide space for batteries in the nose just in case I ran into CG problems.)

An Aveox motor (1200rpm/v) was bolted to the nose, and I started with 10 CP1700 cells, which I had available. On this combo the CG was no problem, anda 13X4 APC electric worked fine (it hardly flew with the same wooden prop),with the amp draw about 30A max. Only problem was that I was slightly heavier than a glow version (although the CP1700s are a 4/5 sub-C size andweight), and flight times were about 5 mins. Next move was to install 3S3PKokam 1500 packs. Performance was up (prop hangs very easily, fantasticacceleration) and flight time was about 30 mins. Only problem was cooling on the motor, which overheats when prop hanging continuously. With hindsight it was not a good idea to use the plastic Robbe mount (very easyto mount, but shields about 50% of the motor from any airflow). A standard540 motor RC car heat sink solved the problem of overheating, but I also sourced some alu tube mounts that I intend using.

The greatest performance improvement came when Mike showed me how to set up the plane. It really helps when you know how, and whichever version you build it would be worthwhile getting some expert assistance with the setup!

My conclusion was that electrics are now able to compete on an even footing with the glow versions, and I suspect that it will not be long before ourtop pilots realize the advantages of electrics and start competing using electrics.

The only problem is that the Shotgun really shows up my lack of flying skills, which I am now working at with a Shockflyer (fantastic way to improve flying skills at very low risk and costs).

For the serious competition flyer I would recommend using a Axi 28/20/12o utrunner motor(new version) or similar, and Kokam 2000 packs, which will bring the all-up weight down well below the glow versions and have better performance on a 4S pack. The cheaper option would be to use a Jeti 30/3 motor with 3S2P Kokam 1500 batteries, which would enable you to have similar weight and performance to the glow versions, and about 15-20 mins of flying time.



Friday, November 05, 2004

Rudolph du Toit on the 2004 Fun Fly Masters

Hi guys I would just like to mention to the members of the group some of the results of the masters which was held at Welkom model aircraft club over the past weekend. Guess the reason for sharing this info is also mainly attributed to the fact that the winner is one of if not the youngest to our knowledge to ever win it and well because he is a friend of mine and a valuable member to our club Rosslyn Aero Modelers. It was a very stressfull competition for all of us as the top 6 pilots were a really close knit group considering the scores in the last 6 or so rounds of the 15 flown over the weekend.

I have to apologize if I do not exactly have all the facts correct but I was also competing and with this being my first year flying a shotgun and flying in the competition I was so consumed by the madness I might have missed a couple of things. Well onto the facts our own Ricardo da Silva at only 13 years of age managed to pull through at the last moments and snatch 1st place this year. It is hes 3rd year competing. The top 3 pilots were seperated by very little points so much so that there was something like an 8 point difference between 1st and 2nd place. A big congratulations goes out from me to everyone that participated in the competition this year. Out of the 21 pilots that qualified for the masters we really got to see alot of skill this weekend. Weather conditions had us all really nervous throughout the weekend with wind blowing 25kmp/h plus the entire event. I think at some stages it could have easily gusted close to 40 or 50 kilometers per hour but I didn't have a windmeter handy so maybe Dave Armitage will help me out on this one some time.

Anyways this is what I could remember from the standings and I'm sure it will be posted somewhere soon so we could get the exact positions of all the pilots soon. Unfortunately I am unsure of all the exact positions and would rather not lie to anyone. I do recall where all our pilots ended up and I'm very proud to say that I think RAM also had the biggest number of competitors this year. Maybe Dave will correct me on this one as well if I am wrong? :-)

1) Ricardo da Silva (RAM)
2) Mathew Hirst (Barnstormers)
3) Hennie Viljoen (Barnstormers)
4,5) Christopher Harris and Rob Hurlin (Not sure which way around)
6) S. Frazer
7) Rudolf du Toit (RAM)
8) Arney Sieling (RAM)
15) Herman Smit (RAM)
21) Johan Sieling (RAM)

Like I said I can not remember the correct placings of all the pilots and I apologize for that. The results should be posted soon so we would have the correct positions of everyone. I guess most importantly I wrote this message to congratulate and spread the word about Ricardo who managed to pull such an amazing accomplishment off at hes young age.

The fun fly is the most attended competition I know of in the country where after only the first two rounds already 67 pilots were participating. I'm sure more pilots joined in the fun in the 3rd round as only the 2 best rounds out of 4 counted.

As soon as I get more if I'm not beaten to it I will post the full list of results.

RegardsRudolf du Toit

Dave Armitage on the 2004 Fun Fly Masters

I measured windspeed at a maximum of 30 Kms/hour on the Saturday morning and 28 on Sunday morning. On both days the wind abated.
Minimum I measuredwas 11 Kms/hour during Saturday afternoon.
Positions were:
Ricardo da Silva 1091.3184
Matthew Hirst 1084.6120
Hennie Viljoen 1035.6490
Chritopher Harris 1026.3267
Rob Hurlin 1012.3979
A full report will be in SAMAA NewsRegardsDave A

Jet newsletter from Boet Denysschen


Once again a big thank you to all modelers and dealers that participated in making the expo such a great success.
The feedback received from every dealer was that they enjoyed it tremendously. It was not all about sales but mainly about exposure to the modelers, public and possible future modelers. Watch the press for a date for 2005. We have learned a lot from the first and it can only get better next time around.


The time has come that we Jet pilots in the Gauteng area get a field suitable for Jets to fly on a regular basis. At present we have to travel great distances to far away areas or have to get permission to fly at certain venues with a lot of red tape involved.There is also the occasional flight at O.D.I but it is tied to a great security risk.
A proposal was put to the R.M.A.C committee to develop their runways and make them suitable for flying jets. As the club is fairly central to the Vaal Triangle as well as P.T.A and all the necessary infrastructure already exists, we feel this will be the most suitable venue.
A request is being made to all Jet pilots interested in fund raising for this project to contact Boet 082 449 4623.
The idea is to extend the main runway to 200m and a width of 10m as well as re surfacing the existing runway no 1. The run off towards the existing quarry will be filled and smoothened off.
I will keep everyone informed on the progress of negotiations with R.M.A.C
The year is drawing to a close and we have come to the end of our organized flying programme. The Jet weekend that was arranged for 20th - 21st November has been cancelled. The dates for Tedderfield for 2005 will be published in due course.
The Jet modelers in the Cape have put together a qualifying round for this coming weekend at Bredasdorp. For any further information regarding the event you can contact Ross on 082 881 3183.Well done to the guys in the Cape for taking the initiative to get the ball rolling in another Province.


Second qualifier is on the 14th November at AFB Zwartkops. The pilots briefing will start at 09h00 with the first flight directly afterwards.
Third qualifying is on Sunday 30th January 2005 at Witbank Model flying field.
S.A invitational Masters is on 5th - 6h March 2005 A.F.B Zwartkops
S.A National championship 25th - 28th March 2005 A.F.B Zwartkops


1 Dominator - OS 91 completes ready to fly only needs receiverContact Awie Muller 083 32276204
Sparrow - OS91 ready to fly contact Hugh Wylie 082 892 8539
Byron F16 kit in box contact Juni 082 514 3024

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dion Liebenberg on the F5J Extreme comp at WHRF

The "correct" model still has to be found. I am not convinced that an expensive brushless setup is the answer. Adriaan's Toko is awesome, showing that a non thermal soaring model can compete because the motor runs are 3-4 sek at a time for 2 to 3 minutes glides. The problem with geared brushless is with a big powerful prop you are still climbing relatively slowly. Malcolm's Fun400+5/1 provides plenty pull, but its slow pull if you know what i mean, same for mine. With a SPD 400 + gearbox the motor time is handicapped by 3.

My Cumulus can definitely get close to the same height in 1.5 minutes than the Eish in 30 sek. The Americans are using light built up models, geared brushless, 2,5m, maybe this is closer to to the ideal. I think you need a 2.4/2.5m built-up but stiff model, ungeared, small prop diameter with large pitch and lots of revs in order to climb faster.

Definitely agree with Malcolm's comments in the second paragraph.
Another comment, I find it much nicer to receive a piece of hardware than a voucher, goods (eg. quick links) etc. I remember years ago Dieter always had a token for every participant in the XC's he organised. Also at Soar J this is a nice touch (anybody for a knife?)For virgin competitors this is much nicer than often seeing the same experts take the stuff all the time.

Well OK maybe a Rand or two

Malcolm Siebert on the F5J Extreme comp at WHRF

F5J Extreme at WHRF

The inaugural (for us at least) F5J Extreme competition took place at the WHRF Electric Fly In on Sunday with just a few intrepid airmen taking to the skies.

Run in a relaxed and unhurried atmosphere with conditions giving us a mixed bag of small bubbles to super lift mixed with a little sink, plus variable winds, made for some interesting flying at times.
Although only four of us flew the competition, the range of models could not have been wider. Dion was there with his Eish, Gert with his Speed 400 model, Adriaan with his pocket rocket ­ vertical climb to spec in around 5 seconds - and Malcolm with a home brewed R/E floater.

Unfortunately, Gert's gearbox/motor decided that it was not prepared to allow him to fly the final round and expired with little fanfare 30 seconds into his final flight. One of the penalties of a really fast plane is that the landings are sometimes equally fast and Adriaans plane suffered a bit of damage after his second round.
The fly off for first place was then between Dion and Malcolm with Dion taking the honours by 17 points and Adriaan taking third.

I believe a few valuable lessons were learnt this weekend. Firstly, this is a fun competition with zero stress attached. Secondly, you do not need to have the very latest in airframe/motor technology to be reasonably competitive, a basic RES ship will suffice. Thirdly, I believe that even a moderate pilot could participate, and make a good showing.

To those that participated, it was great having you. To those that had car trouble, commiserations and we look forward to having you at a future date. To those that were thinking of participating but were a little nervous, F5J has about as much stress as a normal Sunday afternoon's flying.

Till the next event

Saturday, October 23, 2004

2004 Scale World Championships
Koos and Humphrey in psychological preparation Posted by Hello

2004 Scale World Championships
Third round flight line ready boxes Posted by Hello

2004 Scale World Championships.
Lunch in the"Casino" Posted by Hello

2004 Scale World Championships.
Team RSA under the flag at the opening ceremony Posted by Hello

2004 Scale World Championships.
Team RSA models in the hangar Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Johan Ehlers on the 2004 World Scale Championships


Report on the 18th World Championships for Scale Model Aircraft, Deblin, Poland. 23 July to 1 August 2004.
--Johan Ehlers

The 18th World Championships for Flying Scale models was held at the Polish Air force Academy in Deblin in Poland from the 23rd July to the 1st August 2004. Preparations for the participation of the South African Scale Team started in January 2004 even before the composition of the team was finalised at the Scale and Jet Nationals which was held late in March 2004. As usual, the transport of the model boxes proved to be the biggest hurdle to overcome in order for the participation at the event to be realised. There are no direct flights to Poland. Getting there entails a flight to some or other capital in 'Western' Europe followed by a 'commuter' flight to Poland. Initially KLM agreed to transport the boxes for free as additional baggage, as was done so many times in the past. Upon later enquiry about the boxes and the 'commuter' flight the offer to transport the boxes was retracted. Enquiries with British Airways, SAA, Lufthansa, Swiss and a few others resulted in the same negative answer. President Busch, Osama Bin Laden and the aftermath of 9/11 were all held up as excuses but the bottom line was that the boxes were not going to get there for free.

Meanwhile the team had crystallised as Glen Roberts, Koos Pretorius and Humphrey le Grice with Johan Ehlers as Team Manager and first and only reserve. Enquiries with freight companies and baggage brokers all brought in quotes to the order of R24 000 to get the boxes there and back. (Freight is calculated on a mass or volume basis depending on which criterium is the most lucrative for the freight company. Our less than 75 kg of boxes added up to an equivalent of more than 400 kg by volume). An appeal to the SAMAA Committee for some additional funding fell on decidedly unsympathetic ears and the participation of the team hung in the balance. The team obtained a short term loan for the amount needed from an interested party, but Glen decided that all things considered, he would rather resign from the team under the prevailing circumstances. A quick meeting between the remainder of the team brought the decision that Johan would take Glen's place in the team and function as manager as well. This also ensured a scene by scene replay of the almost forgotten 1996 refurbishment of Johan's ancient Turbulent. Thanks to some groundwork by our chairman, Bob Skinner, the Polish Organisers accepted our by now late entry without penalties.

Team transport was finally arranged by the long suffering Yzelle of Harvey World Travel, Montana, Pretoria with British Airways since they granted us a 10% discount on our airfare due to our status as a sports team representing the country. Baggage Brokers won our box transport contract due to the good price, enthusiasm, friendliness and always quick response of their Mauritzio.

After obtaining an 'International Carnet' from SACOB, to facilitate the duty free importation and exportation from Poland and re-importation into SA, at a (mostly refundable) deposit of more than R13 000, the model boxes were delivered to Baggage Solutions a week before the departure of the team to ensure that they would be in Deblin upon our arrival. The team said good-bye to family and friends on Wednesday evening of the 21st July for the overnight flight to Heathrow feeling strangely unencumbered by the absence of their model boxes in the departure hall. Arriving unrefreshed by our cramped accommodation on the flight, we decided to make a sortie into London and went on one half of the London Bus tour to see some of the sights and hear some of the sounds of the great city before rushing back to board our flight to Warsaw. Thanks to the long summer days at that latitude we could make the 120-odd km to Deblin in two hours in our little 1000cc powered Corsa in daylight along a secondary road passing through a village every now and then and quickly learning the basic road rule in Poland i.e. 'Faintheart is the one to give way'.

Upon our arrival at the base we were welcomed by the organisers and shown to our pretty good lodgings which were only a stroll away from everything. All other formalities could wait for Friday. After a good nights' sleep we could sort out our registration, meet up with our model boxes and start assembly of the models while meeting old and new acquaintances as they started arriving. The model storage/display was in a large hangar with sufficient space for each team in its demarcated area while the models were separated from sight-seers by proper barriers. The three daily meals were served in the 'Casino' and these proved to be of good quality and sufficient quantity most of the time albeit a bit cheesy, sausagey and cabbagey compared to our SA taste. The first Team Managers meeting was scheduled for Friday evening and after welcoming speeches by the whole hierarchy of officialdom involved, each of which was translated in English, the normal arrangements were explained as well as the fact that the judges were going to be very strict regarding the aerobatic/non-aerobatic status of aircraft. The draw for the flight order was made and RSA was the last name out of the hat.

Saturday was set aside for scheduled to the minute test flights for each team according to a set program as well as model processing. We spent some time during the morning in Deblin town to unsuccessfully change some travellers cheques. Our turn was around 14:00 and nothing untoward presented itself except some minor needle valve adjustments that were necessary to compensate for the lower altitude of the venue compared to our home conditions. Processing also went off smoothly with Humphrey's FW 190 safely within the weight limit of 12 kg. The Opening Ceremony followed at 18h00 and this was about one and a half hours long with a parade lap around the sports field followed by innumerable translated speeches of welcome, the taking of the oath of good sportsmanship by one of the contestants on all our behalf and also the taking of an oath of unbiasedness taken by one of the judges on all their behalf. Thereafter one of the Polish team had to run a lap with a burning torch (stick with flames type) and then climb a long ladder to light the 'Championships Flame'. We were also entertained by a few 'Lazy Eights' over the stadium by a restored Polikarpov Po 2 . After the ceremony entertained continued in the form of a folk singing and dancing group of the University of Lublin doing their thing in the amphitheatre behind the stadium. This was barely completed when we were whisked off by bus to the runway for an impressive formation aerobatic display by the Polish Air Force team in their 'Istra' jet trainers and then to the 'Pilots House' barbecue venue elsewhere on the base where there was food, drink and music a plenty.

Sunday saw the start of flying at a civilised 10:00 due to the position of the sun relative to the flight line and static judging soon after the first flight. All aircraft close to the weight limit were weighed again after their first round flights. Johan was the first of the team to fly just before 18:00 in quite a breeze which was however straight down the very wide runway. A solid flight gave a score just below 1400 points. Flight scores were posted within ten minutes after the end of a flight.

On Monday Johan spent more than two hours in various banks in Deblin town during the morning and with the aid of two interpreters eventually managed to change some travellers' cheques. The Turbulent was static judged and Humphrey and Koos flew their first round flights late afternoon and last flight of the day respectively. Humphrey also scored a useful 1396 and Koos a very good 1449 to herald the end of round one. A number of 'big' names got a rude surprise when they scored zero for their non-aerobatic options with their aerobatics capable aircraft. The weather was hot and fairly humid for the whole time up to this point.
Tuesday saw a complete weather change with cool, continuous rainy weather. There was no sympathy from the officials and the show continued as per program. Johan flew his second round flight in a steady drizzle with at least the wind straight down the runway. The flight score was slightly less than the first flight score, despite it feeling better than the first. Humphrey flew in worse rain which necessitated the use of a plastic shopping bag over the Tx to protect it from the pelting rain. During the landing roll, pulling the throttle stick right back caused the bag to pull the retract switch resulting in a slow retraction of the undercart. Not good. Koos flew in less rain, with a strong 30degree off the runway wind and the score was also not what we wanted. No weight checking was done during this round. Static judging was also completed around this time, but posting of the scores were delayed to ensure that all three static judges had time to scrutinise the scores before signing them off as correct.

Once the static scores were posted a number of anomalies were noted, among them a mediocre score of 1497 for Humphrey's FW 190 which was fourth highest in Canada in 2002. An amended static list was posted during the following day, to be followed by a final one with the excuse that 'the computers communicated with one another incorrectly' during the process of computation. At least Humphrey's static score improved to 1662! At this point the team was placed in fifth position behind Germany by only 24 points.

The third round flight order was flown in the reverse order of individual positions as computed at the end of the second round. The rain had stopped but a blustery wind was now blowing at right angles to the runway direction. The flight line was shifted to a wide taxiway/run-off at right angles to the runway. This direction made over flying the spectator area and TX-control virtually impossible for the faster flying aircraft. Johan was scheduled to fly near the end of the daily activities. On the flight line, while choking the trusty OS 90 FS which had run without missing a beat up to that point, there was one revolution with compression and then nothing as if the elastic had snapped. Nothing would work and the flight scored zero. It was up to Humphrey and Koos to do the job. A semi-seized exhaust valve was later identified as the cause.

The next morning Humphrey did a splendid job to fly a 1478 flight score under less than ideal conditions to clinch fourth place for the team, since none of the Germans could improve on their previous round scores. Koos' third round flight was not one of his best and a nose-over on landing on the runway verge did not do his score any good. Last flight of the competition was flown by the 2000 and 2002 World Champion, Andreas Luthi of Switzerland. After his flight he was pulled in for a weight check. This resulted in consternation and controversy. His model was over the weight limit. No amount of de-fuelling and shaking and poking in the innards of the model would get it below the limit. He was eventually disqualified as far as his third round flight was concerned. The German team, with much to gain with Max Merckenschlager in the second place, lodged a protest to have him also disqualified from the second round as well. The jury ruled that since his model was not weighed after the second round, there was no proof that it was overweight at that time. Protest dismissed. Andreas was World Champion for the third time in succession albeit with some undercurrent of discontent from certain quarters.

Saturday was spent on a sight seeing tour to a turn of the previous century country mansion at Kozlowka followed by a picnic in the woods. Late afternoon saw the Prize Giving and Closing Ceremony based on the template of the Opening Ceremony with young ladies in traditional costume presenting certificates, medals and bouquets to the first three placers in the F4B (Control Line Scale) and F4C (Radio control Scale) classes for individuals and teams. With the Po 2 puttering overhead we marched out of the stadium to spruce up for the Closing Banquet.

This was a grand affair with a few speeches, some more folk singing and -dancing by the university group as well as some serious solos and duos by opera artists. The evening came to an end with a spectacular fireworks display and it was once again time to say good-bye to old and new friends till perhaps we meet in Sweden in two years time.

Sunday was a lazy day during which a visit was made to the Majdanek Concentration Camp in Lublin to satisfy the morbid curiosity of some members of the team. Monday dawned cold and rainy and after packing up and ensuring that our boxes were ready for transport, we took our leave of the organisers and set of on another death defying road trip to Warsaw where some uncanny navigation in defiance of non-signage got the team to the airport with time to spare.

Shopping for mementoes passed the time 'till we could board the delayed flight to Heathrow and rush to the departure point for the flight home. At Jhb International our arrival was spiced up with the news that our luggage did not run fast enough between the two connecting flights and would arrive later. Koos was fortunate to get his on the Wednesday, while Johan and Humphrey had to wait till the Next Monday evening and Tuesday morning respectively to receive their 'pre-soaked for wash' luggage. All due to a freak thunderstorm at Heathrow on the previous Tuesday, if BA is to be believed. The model boxes arrived safe and sound during the same week together with correctly filled in documentation which allowed the deposit to be liberated from SACOB.

The Word Championships once again was a great experience in a very foreign country with fine people, fantastic evenings with friends and serious days of competition. We were a close knit team with excellent team spirit, where each member contributed to a great result despite all the obstacles along the way. Sincere thanks to friends, family and colleagues who all supported and sacrificed to make this trip possible.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Claude on the Aerobatic Masters

The Official “Junk mail” Pattern paper
To all & Sundry you are invited to air your views about Pattern or flying in general, send me your stuff & I will circulate it…(but no calling Blind Deaf & Dumb judges horrible names)…

1. More thoughts about the Nationals & Masters… I had a re-think about the hosting of the nationals, me thinks that as this is in some instances a competition of opportunity, by that I mean if it’s held in the Gauteng area u would naturally get more competitors from that area, normally in the “Novice” (a word I detest…as I think that this is a derogatory term, as most of the pilots that fly this category are not novices, but fairly good pilots,) …lets not digress, because they had their first experience at National level the “good & passionate” ones obviously get hooked, & will attend future nationals at any cost……..
2. With this in mind I feel that the centres that will attract this type of entry would be Gauteng, CapeTown, Bloemfontien as well Durban, but I’m unaware of the flying numbers in Natal, nevertheless this is not the matter I wish to bring to the table right now…
3. It’s about the Masters…I feel that as this is a competition is by invitation, it should be held in a more Central venue such as Bloemfontien, as all those that qualified to fly would make an effort to go to the Masters as it is in fact a honour to be invited to fly, in this way not many flyers would have a home advantage (except those “Bloomers” from Bloemfontien) but it would be easer for those of us that that have to travel long distances
4. The “Donn” (Ivan.O) would be able to invite judges from all round the country & use this opportunity at the “Donner’s” convention to re-calibrate the judging……….I think that as pilots are invited to fly in this comp, this opportunity could be used to train more “Donner’s” “live” (PS Cape Town’s Judges need re-calibrating I keep coming last)
5. The second “Thing” I wish to bring up is that Pattern flyers are becoming Younger & younger as the Masters that falls in the later part of the year, as a result it always falls inside of the exam period and this makes it impossible for these young pilots to fly…. Can we not change the Masters to fall on a long weekend at a time of year when there are no exam problems?
6. PLEEEZZZZE would those in charge of competitions in your area please send me the results, with points, not normalized so that I can start putting together a national rankings list…Just so that we know who’s the “enemy” at the next Nats or Masters…
7. Please forgive all grammatical spelling & other errors
8. Regards Claude MacKrill Capetown.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Claude on Aerobatics

Just a thought about the Nationals & the Masters Aerobatics events

If our sport is to go anywhere, I think we need to become professional about our competitions. By this I mean, what we should do, is do as Chris suggested - move the main comps around each year, or Louw Smit’s suggestion that it be held at a central point ……Dam in the OFS on a full size airfield that can be hired for the time that we require for the comp to be run… a sort of “Oudtshoorn” for pattern.

The problem with this is the fact that, irrespective of where such a comp may be held, not all of us are cut out to be organisers, especially me ….as Louw puts it, I cannot organize a pi**up in a brewery. And I know that I’m not alone in this. So what to do? I want to suggest that the Nats & maybe the Masters be organized by the “Professionals” .

Lets take the last Nats at Helderberg, done by Jean Vos & his team. All and sundry that attended this event, agreed that it was the best organized Nats for a long time – ‘The Donn’ gave it world-class status in his de-briefing at the prize giving event. All the expertise that was used and/or developed for this event, will now be lost until maybe the next time when the Nats come to Cape Town again, which may still be a few years down the line. What I would like to suggest is that those people who are capable of organizing the Nats, or any other big comp, be roped in do so on a semi-professional basis…

Just having been to the last few Nats it seems that Danie P. Snr always does the Line Control; Ivan O. is in charge of Judging, & the local/resident Joe Bloggs, who is good at catering, will do so… get my drift…?
Now lets say Durban has to “do” the Nats: What will happen is that Ivan & his team of judges will rock up at the venue a day or two ahead of time to check the field, flight lines etc…. The registration will be done by Digby, who has been at this job for years, and is well versed in the art of registration (the point here is that the Registration Officer does not have to be attached to the host club) who on the day of the comp will do the all the duties associated with the registration process. There can also be a commercial angle to this if a commercial interest wants to have his brand displayed – he/they may do so at a price & profits made out of such a venture could help to pay for our National team’s expenses going to the World Champs, or even help in some ways to spread our hobby to more youth at schools….
The setting up of the field would be done by the host club.
I think that MASAA… will then have its hands free to promote the sport, as well as have an annual showpiece where it can generate funds.
The crux of the matter is that if the Nationals as well as the Masters will be done in this way, then this will also let people into the organization of the Nats who are not necessarily pattern pilots, but who may want to be part of the “thing” and at the same time, may bring skills that we, the pattern fraternity, my not have… We may be good at pattern but that does not necessarily make us good at running a successful event… as shown by the last Nats that was run by Helderberg - they who hardly had a pattern pilot in their ranks – Louis counts for two, but that doesn’t count - but did a totally brilliant job nonetheless…

What I think should happen then is that we should get a blueprint of what an excellently-run Nats & Masters event should look like (ask Jean Vos to do this as the last Nats were great), split it up into its various categories, and ‘employ’ the most capable people who are willing to do the job.

This sport is becoming bigger by the day, so I think we need to re-think some of our old traditional ways & let our thought processes fly outside the “Box” a bit…


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Chris Theron on Aerobatics

Just some quick thoughts ----- It was indeed very nice to see this brilliant pilot from "down under" participating in the Gauteng champs. Weather could not be ordered but Sunday was lovely.

With reference to a central venue - I fully support this idea. We are already use to travel to Gauteng (+- 300km) for the monthly and other competitions (and we have regular participation from Klerksdorp & Bloemfontein) and making the travel a bit further for these two important competitions would not bother me a bit. As far as the scenery/something to do, I normally use the competitions as break away from work / wife / life / etc and would love just to "Frot" a bit - if this were at a central venue where we can attract more participation (definitely required) it would be a bonus.

The only obstacle as I see it is the organisation of the events - Louw referred to some issues but skipped (I think) the most important one, being the local organisation (venue, food & drinks, accommodation, etc. etc.) I have now organised three pattern events and several Bushveld fly-ins over the past 10 years and think that you cannot organise things properly when done remotely. If say Bloem is the venue, then you have local guys that will assist, but something like Hendrik Verwoerd might just not be possible.

Another proposal could be that we indeed plan these events to be travelling events for all - this will mean that we rotate between say Durban/PMB, PE, Cape Town, Bloem, Polokwane, Gauteng (Basically the Provinces) - and then joining all discipline again??

What do you think?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Louw Smit on Aerobatics

I am currently contemplating my navel for a bit here at Sun City for a day or three so far, after the recent Gauteng Champs. During that event, I raised the issue of future venues for specifically the Nats and Masters events in conversations with both 'The Don' and Savas (now the top dog in MAASA - by default, he says). After having traveled from Cape Town for this event (and previously for the 2003 Nats at Xtreme in Pretoria) I am very aware of the logistics in this regard. Which, by the way, makes me also that much more appreciative of the guys who traveled from here ('upcountry') to attend 'our' Nats earlier this year in the Cape. The point which I am trying to get to, is that, maybe, the powers-that-be should consider electing a more centralized venue for these two major events in future. Ideally, a place like Gariep Dam (formerly Hendrik Verwoerd outside Colesberg) would be perfect as far as being literally nearly in the middle of SA. Mention was made, during conversations in this regard, that such a venue may be lacking 'outside interests' but I am sure that those who may not be able to find something to play with while they are not flying, can always play with themselves. Alternatively, we Capies, I am sure, would be prepared to travel to Bloem, which is still a lot closer to home than e.g. Gauteng. Just think about it...

Another point which I think should be raised, is the matter of organising such events, irrespective of where they may be held. To this end, this wonderful new dispensation which we are now entering - MAASA - should become involved in such arrangements. Yes, yes, I know all at MAASA also have day jobs in order to support their addiction, erm - hobby and/or passion, but I am sure that at least some effort can be made available e.g. towards organising corporate sponsorships for prizes, trophies etc., as well as ensuring that the required number of judges are available, and maybe also some sponsored arrangements towards covering expenses for these worthy individuals. In view of the considerable expenses which would already be an issue from a participants' point of view, I, for one, would be quite happy to consider a reasonable 'extra' to the cost of entering such an event, if need be to 'cover' such expenses. And yes, I am aware of the fact that the Nats is technically a 'SAMAA' event, but am I correct in understanding that the necessary common ground now exists between the two entities where such arrangements can be concluded without too much pain? Hope springs eternal.

As an aside (finally!) I was rather disappointed in what appears to be a lack of interest, especially in the lower echelons of aerobatic flying at this recent event. I do not have a magic potion or plan to offer, other than to actively encourage, and cajole if need be, those lethargic and other potential aerobatic pilots to get their arses into gear and join in the fun. Competitive flying is not about winning only, but also about enjoying the camaraderie of other like-minded souls, and as a major bonus, to gain from their expertise and knowledge. To this end, a very big thank you to André who was prepared to walk the (very long) extra mile with Josh. That alone made the trip worthwhile!

Happy Landings
PRF Cape Town

I am grateful to Claude for making Louw's post available on his personal mailing list.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Does size count?

One of the pre-occupations of the current SAMAA Management Committee is that of increasing SAMAA membership numbers. This activity had been very successful. A few years ago membership stood at just under one thousand. Now it is just over three thousand. There is a kind of unwritten objective to get to five thousand members.

However, I wonder if this drive isn’t misplaced? Is the average member “better off” now with the larger association than he or she was a few years ago? I don’t think I am.

The SAMAA Management Committee is elected by members to look after their interests. All of the Committee members serve unpaid. Most of them have full time jobs. They can devote a limited amount of time to SAMAA affairs. In practice this means that the Committee must set priorities for what it does. Some matters, deserving of the Committee’s attention are given a low priority. Others get more immediate action. Growth is seen as a high priority matter.

But is it?

Is growth in numbers more important than, say, meeting with the Sports Council to agree on International Colours and Team Funding? Or than, say, the revision of the safety code to remove ambiguities with respect to the SAMAA insurance policy? Both these last two matters have been on the agenda for some time, but at low priority.

I can think of one situation where our increased size may not have been to the advantage of members:

The administration of a thousand members can be done part time by one person – just. To run membership administration for three thousand members needs a full-time paid employee. The cost of such an employee adds around R30 per year to members’ subs.

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against a large Association. I do question whether growth is a high priority matter with our limited resources.

For example a focus on growth leads to an unquestioning willingness to be part of Air Shows – “to get exposure”. SAMAA members give up their time and money to man such events. What benefit to the majority of members was the effort put in at the recent AAD air show? Could we have put the volunteers to a better use?

What do you think? You can use the email facility at the bottom of the SAMAA home page to let me know.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Hobby Expo by Boet Denysschen


The organizing and advertising for the event is well under way. The response received from dealers in Pretoria and JHB is 200% more than was expected. A total of 29 trade stands have been booked so far, which puts the value of the spot prizes to be given away at over R30000. We still have a request for some urgent needed helpers to assist in the selling of beer’s and cold drinks.
If you are not yet part of this first ever Hobby Expo remember the dates are 9th – 10th October and just BE THERE!!!!

1 x New OS01
1 x BVM Pipe
1 x BVM mixture control
1 x Ramtec fan unit
Contact Boet 082 449 4623

At a resent SAMAA meeting we were approached by a fellow modeller that has started a project at a school or two in Pretoria area. The project is based on teaching the pupils how to build model aircraft and then to take that model and actually get it to fly. It is also aimed at fostering awareness of aviation amongst the scholars. This is offered as a subject at these schools. A request is made to all modellers for any old modelling goods that you have collected and stashed in your hobby room throughout the years and have no more use for. Lets pass it on to these kids and let them also experience the joy of modelling. The idea is to get the project running in more schools around the country so if you can help please contact Boet regarding the matter.


Those of you who attended the air show at Waterkloof on Friday last week will surely agree that it was a great feast to see such a verity of aircraft flying. The hobby was well exhibited by various dealers and organizations and seemed to draw a large crowd throughout the weekend. It was unfortunate for those who chose to go on Saturday as the wind caused a serious damper on the event which was forced to close by midday.

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