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