Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Louw Smit on the 2005 EP Aerobatic Championships

Marcel Viljoen from Worcester (the same Worcester of Klippies Sauce fame) winged himself up to Uitenhage ('you-10-haigh' in the Colonial dialect) last year in his six-seater, and came back with a glowing report of the event. For the benefit of those who do not know about these things: If the Cape Town City authorities were in control of that part of the world, then PE would be a small suburb of Uitenhage... Anyway, we wanted to see for ourselves, and found ourselves (eventually - but that is another story) at the PERF field late on Friday morning. And NO, Koos, PERF actually stands for Port Elizabeth Radio Flyers... But boy oh boy, do these boykies have a setup! A 200m tarred runway - all flat and smooth, an old house being refurbished as a clubhouse with (sometimes) electric power, and grassed areas all around - and all on their own property to boot! And just to confirm what a classy set-up this is, Mr Botha (Burt to those who know him) comes practising in his business suit and tie. Jeez, these PE people really know about style... Do I sound just a teeny bit envious? Even the wind was 'just right' and thanks to Pierre Marais (who with SA-style knickerbockers and wife Amanda schelepped all the way down from Egoli) and Burt, some niggles with Josh's Swallow was sorted out. This already made the trip worthwhile.

Come Saturday morning, and the world is all out of shape due to a howling gale. Even the birds were walking to where they wanted to be. A few planes had to be tethered to flight boxes to stop them from going AWOL. I really don't want to know the story behind the following incident, but our esteemed Donners from Cape Town (Christo and Kas) were seen doing their own Judge's warm-up flight - with a Shotgun fun-fly nogal. The fact that the Shotgun was gathered in various arms-full after the warm-up flight, had no bearing on matters of course - or so I was led to believe at any rate. I rest my case, your Honour. Pierre had a serious case of the mutters regarding the wind that a certain party had allegedly dragged along from Cape Town, just like for the Gauteng Champs last year.

The actual flying eventually got underway, notwithstanding the fact that the anemometer (try that one after a few drinks, Koos) that Rick flashed around every now-and-then, went into overspeed mode, due to the wind velocity. If this instrument had wings, it would have taken off like a jet, complete with little screaming (wind) turbine. But needless to say, aero muddlers are a hardy (if not stupid) bunch, and some very respectable flying routines were delivered. Rick had a good tussle with the youngsters Wesley and Joseph in the Sportsman's category, but Wesley had some issues with a recalcitrant throttle response which threatened to cause the motor to quit most of the time - actually did once, too. Dad Dave tweaked and tweaked, but the classical Murphy's Law prevailed. Brett, Edward and Josh squared up to one another in the Advanced category. Brett unfortunately discovered in the first round that 'gravity sucks' and did not have much left of his kite after the earth rose up to meet him halfway. The remaining two had a very tight running battle. Edward showed just how it should be done when the chips (and feathered birds) are down/on the ground - if you catch my drift in this wind, ek sĂȘ. Although Josh just managed to pip Edward in the final flight on Sunday, I believe that we have a very serious contender in young Edward for great things in model aerobatics. Finally, I am not sure what the F3A category was all about, but it was clear that Pierre and Burt had a whale of a time (how does a 'whale' creep into aerobatics?). I believe that, as the 'senior' aerobatics pilots on the day, they set an admirable example of what competitions and competitiveness should be all about. Well done guys.

Finally (again), an event like this does not happen by itself. Glyn Rose-Christie seemed to have gathered a bunch of very capable bodies around himself, and organised an event to which we will definitely return to next year, all things being equal. During the course of both Saturday and Sunday, eats and drinks were available, capably handled by Dave and wife Lynn. Thankfully Glyn also managed to arrange for a power failure on Saturday evening, which allowed (most of) the party goers to engage in (meaningful?) conversation around the braai, which was held during the evening at the clubhouse. The catering was certainly up to spec. On Sunday afternoon at the prize giving ceremony, I was amazed at the quality and quantity of the prizes presented to the winners in the various categories - just about everybody who participated walked away with something (or so it seemed...) - even if it was only of limited capability like a six pack of beer. Just cast an eye over this lot:

Atlas Security
Port St Francis Estates
Calibra Security
Hobbies International
Brian's Hobbies

The sponsors of the prizes did the organisers proud - especially those entities whose activities are not even directly related to the passion erm, hobby.

Roll on 2006...

PRF Cape Town

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