Friday, December 15, 2006

Resolving problems with non-SAMAA flyers -- Piet Le Roux

The chairman has said a few unfortunate things this year. In the September issue of SAMAA News he used the term “FREE LOADERS” and went on and said they were “breaking the law” and that they will be “dealt with by the SAP”. Maybe if the” SAP” still existed and a law had been published in the government gazette, but the SAPS definitely does not have the time, will or resources. In the November issue he happily reported that the commissioner of Civil Aviation formally delegated his authority over model aircraft operations to SAMAA. I do not whish to debate the pros and cons of this but the fact is we have seen nothing on paper. I do not for a moment believe that in this day and age, with our present constitution, one can even consider to force someone to belong to an organization and pay them money. If we really want to resolve this matter I think a formal apology would be a good start.

Excepting that there will be SAMAA and non-SAMAA flyers would be step two, finding a way that we can co-exist would be the third and final step.

Although SAMAA never formally acknowledged that there can be serious consequences if we were to use the top six channels in conjunction with the bottom six channels of the 35MHz band, on the same field, I see that the top six channels had been left out on the suggested frequency board advertised in the November issue of SAMAA News. If we were to, with the cooperation of ICASA and the Dealer SIG, hand these six channels (105 to 110) over for the exclusive use by park flyers we can solve this problem.

The six channels in question will then be illegal to use at any registered field which will make these fields safer. I can see no problem if they were to be used a few kilometers away from a registered site by park flyers. The criteria for a park flyer craft would have to be established, let’s say anything that weighs les than 1Kg would be classified as a park flyer. If someone whish to buy a park flyer and he or she does not have a valid SAMAA card only the top six channels may be sold with the craft. If any crystals or equipment is sold that uses the lower channels (60 to 104) a valid SAMAA card must be produced. The SAMAA number must be recorded by the dealer to enable ICASA to follow up any complaints if necessary.

Piet Le Roux



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What authority does SAMAA have?

This came from Piet le Roux in Bloem. It shows the difficulty some of our members have with the direction of the SAMAA
Any comments from the management committee?

What authority does SAMAA have?

To establish this we first have to analyze the application made by SAMAA to the CAA dated 15/11/2005.
In this the following is stated: “SAMAA’s control function is linked to the operational requirements referred to in regulation 94.06.11 (b) of the civil aviation regulations.”
The commissioner then just states: “Having gone through your comprehensive submission on the above request for recognition. I would to confirm that the CAA is satisfied with your presentation.” (Not a typo on my part)

Ok let’s look at regulation 94 and see what is relevant to model aircraft:

(This part has not yet been promulgated)
Part 94



Conditions for Flight
94.05.1 Except when stated otherwise on the Authority to Fly, a non-type certificated aircraft may not be flown –

(a)(a) by night;

(b)(b) in meteorological conditions less than those prescribed as suitable for flight under VFR;

(c)(c) within controlled airspace, unless cleared by and on conditions prescribed by ATC; or

(d)(d) Within 5 NM from the aerodrome reference point of an aerodrome, licensed or approved in terms of Part 139 of these Regulations and situated in Class G airspace, unless established unmanned aerodrome procedures for the particular aerodrome can be adhered to.

Operation of model aircraft
94.06.11 Exemptions

Model aircraft are exempted from these Regulations –

(a) Except from regulation 94.05.1; and

(b) provided that no model aircraft shall be flown –

(i) Higher than 150 feet above the surface; or
(ii) From or above a public road;

Unless –

(iii) With the prior approval of the Commissioner and on conditions determined by him or her; or
(iv) In airspace specifically approved for the purpose by the Commissioner and on conditions set by him or her for the use of such airspace.

It says more or les what part 101said. Now let’s look at SAMAA’s Manual of procedures dated February 2001:
“2. Operating procedures
No model aircraft may be flown from any site or location other than a S.A.M.A.A. approved and registered model flying site. Model aircraft may only be flown at public displays/functions with the specific permission of the S.A.M.A.A. Flying from such an approved and registered flying site is also subject to any specific or local provisions that have been imposed on such a site by the S.A.M.A.A., the Civil Aviation Authority, or municipal authorities.”
It also states:
“Operation of powered model aircraft at all S.A.M.A.A./CAA-approved and registered model flying sites:
Should not exceed an altitude (above ground level) of 350m. Operation of soaring model aircraft should not exceed 1 500m.”

SAMAA absolutely jump the gun then they wrote these procedures! We did not have the authority then nor do we have it now. SAMAA’s control function is linked to the operational requirements referred to in regulation 94.06.11 (b), so if anyone flies below 150 feet, not Within 5 NM from an aerodrome or registered site, not from or above a public road, in the day time and he or she is not contravening any municipal by-laws this person is doing nothing wrong. The 350m and 1500m altitude limits may be applicable to registered sites but I can not find any CAA documents to verify this.

Piet Le Roux

Monday, December 04, 2006

2006 aerobatic Masters -- Andre Stockwell

Report is here, complete with pictures (1,7 meg pdf)

Friday, December 01, 2006


2008 F3J qualifying procedures are here.

Where is the SAMAA going?

The November issue of SAMAA News arrived the other day. Peter Joffe has done an amazing job; it really is a first class magazine. The contents show that there is good work being done by the SIGs and others. We are better organized and have greater energy than ever before.

So why do I have these nagging feelings of unease? Why do the hairs on the back of my neck sometimes prickle? Do we sometimes lose sight of our original purpose, to act in the interest of the members? I hope not, but I wonder. I don't want to take away from the excellent work being done. But I think some things may need to be re-examined.

There have been straws in the wind. Here are two:

Straw number 1. One of the great strengths of SAMAA is that membership is voluntary. Members join because there are benefits in joining. I made a comment on some of these. There are other benefits for those interested in international competition. If you don't want or need the benefits you don't have to join.

Our chairman has made much of the idea that it is illegal to fly model aircraft if you are not a SAMAA member. (I have doubts about the legal soundness of this view, but that's another matter). Assume for a moment that it is true. It would mean that Aeromodellers must join the SAMAA whether they like it or not. Some members would then be reluctant, resentful and grudging. This must increase the potential for internal strife. How can this be in the interest of members?

The response may be that it will increase our size. How will being bigger benefit members? We are already the largest sub-section of the Aero Club. At over three thousand members we are a powerful lobby group. What effect will there be on the average club pilot if we grow to five thousand? I suggest very little if any.

If there is any merit in growth we might do a lot worse than follow the "Skinner Doctrine". A few years ago Bob Skinner almost doubled our size by the simple expedient of face-to-face contact. He visited clubs and talked to people. Surely this is better than heavy-handed prescription?

Straw number 2. The MGA has said that SAMAA insurance will not cover pilots who have not achieved a SAMAA solo rating. Insurance is one of the key benefits of membership. It is low cost, simple and effective. I'm not aware of any changes to the policy. (There may have been changes but Johan Sieling's club rep. report suggests not). There was no solo restriction in the original policy. Also, we have been warned against making a link between insurance and proficiency. It might lead to the repudiation of a claim on technical grounds.

Where did the idea of restricting cover arise? How is this in the interest of members? (Unless it leads to lower premiums, but this doesn't seem to be the case).

Is anyone else worried, or am I the only man in the army marching in step?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Some feedback from Joe Coetzer

I had an email from Joe today.
He mentioned two things that might be of interest to members.

(i) The management committee has charged Alan Fraser with the task of suggesting a policy for the SAMAA on Park Flyers. Ideas from members will be welcome. You can email Alan

(ii) We have made an application to the CAA for an increase of the maximun height at which we are allowed to fly above registered sites. This is good news. More info here.

Hermanus 2006 -- Dave Greer

Back to the salt mine and thanks to the AFC lads for another excellent Hermanus event. Special mention is made of the ever cheerful and helpful Andrew Basson and missus, Andrew's back seen below at prize giving, sporting the even more natty annual T shirt:

For a change, the team Sharkey armament was reasonably ready ahead of time but still meant a visit to the legendary "even more packed than normal" Hobby Warehouse and a cup or two of coffee with Andy and Alan Imrie. Still not caught them out on spares and was even able to procure a roll of Graupner hinge tape! Thanks guys.

I must admit most of the time was spent on the foamy side - the new el cheapo Easy Coat white iron on doing its best to unravel of the at last completed Adrian Baker Chapter 2 crunchy Sharkie wing..... The Brian Duckitt Assagai correx wing providing the most fun on the Bird Work's Zipper fuse and managing to stay out of the way of the marauding foamies, the sky often like below..... Brian low flew down in a new Alfa GT and managed to loose his Assagai some where along the way, much to his chagrin as the lighter foamies were not quite in the same league in the awesome conditions. His cute little Fokker triplane managed to snaffle a prize early Sunday, thanks sponsors.

The attendance seemed a bit lighter on away folk but, apart from Pinetown's oom Dave Hooker driving down all the way on his own, local lad Pete Netterville remains a honorary Maritzburger, despite having been down south for some years. Pete's glassed and heavy (real heavy) Little Devil was probably the most impressive change of pace plane I saw, for me on the weekend. Did alright in the spot landing compo, too.

The speed run attempts revealed Charlie Blakemore and Sithebe still to be the speed king combo at 140 miles per hour - so bragging rights remain there, all ye Prodij, Toko and other moldie folk.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Loss of email -- Bob Skinner

A few days ago, I experienced a power supply blow-up on the PC that contains a lot of SAMAA data. The resultant power surge caused damage to the hard disk. Luckily there were back-ups of the data and all of it could be re-loaded onto a new hard disk. Unfortunately all the e-mail messages prior to 10th November, which were not archived, are lost.

I know there were many messages from existing members of the SAMAA, and prospective new members, who either renewed their membership or applied for membership. And of course other requests perhaps too.

If anyone has sent an e-mail message that required action, please re-send so that I may attend to it promptly.

Thank you

Bob Skinner (SAMAA general manager).

PO Box 1961
Alberton 1450
Tel/fax 011-907-4652

Saturday, November 18, 2006

An alternative source of epoxy resin -- Evan Shaw

Recently, I discovered an Epoxy Adhesive called Sikadur AP at Builders Warehouse. ( See photo, they are yellow tubs with red lids and one tub is attached onto the lid of the other. Made by Sika ) .

It is extremely strong and light weight and bonds just about anything to anything.

It is not a quick-set epoxy, with a 40 minute pot life and a cure time of a few hours. So really nice for those jobs when you don't need a quick fix. It is easy to mould into shape and cleans up with water. Yup, just wipe away the excess with a wet rag, so no more grubby epoxy finger marks all over your pride and joy. Dries as hard as a rock and sands very easily without clogging up the sandpaper, unlike other epoxy's that stay a bit rubbery. It eats planer blades though.

It comes in two pots of total 250ml and cost about R50,00. So it is very much cheaper than standard Pratley's which costs anywhere between R25 and R30 for the two tubes (about 50ml I think! Maybe less when all the air bubble come out!). You do the math! It is also available in bigger tubs.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Lightfoot / Street connection -- Dave Greer

Paging through a 1984 Brit model mag, the names John Lightfoot and Rob Street popped up on the subject of 3D extreme slope aerobatics, with some really far out maneuvers like vertical eights with quarter rolls and four leave clovers. All way ahead of the current electric foamie theatricals.

All pretty much out of the reach of us lesser slope mortals apart from two which are kinda fun and attainable with foamies, the cute names escaping me now.

The Street one was a close in bunt (half outside loop) coming down wind with a half roll out right at the bottom, tween the grass blades. All toward the pilot himself with the completion low and very fast. This is one I had fun with on the Wing Warrior Zipper foamie but these lads must have been awful brave on the crunchie models in those days.

A popular local party trick is the quick knife edge along the slope with hard down elevator to whip away from the maddening crowd but Messrs Street and Lightfoot took it one step further. Quick quarter roll flick to knife edge along the slope face, hard down elevator to do a FULL knife edge circle and carry on, completing with a roll to normal flight.

Could probably source and scan the little ribbon drawings if some would like. Something to chew on for Hermanus and other such fly ins, just for change of pace for the half pipe folks. ;-)

Kind regards

Dave Greer

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Flying clubs should support the SAMAA

There was some discussion at the AGM about the value of the SAMAA to the ordinary club flyer...

In my view there are three main reasons for flying clubs to support the SAMAA:

1. The SAMAA insurance scheme covers members against third party claims. The scheme is very good value for money. Of course you can take out your own insurance. But this will be much more costly.

2. The CAA has given official recognition to the SAMAA. This means that registered SAMAA flying sites are protected by CAA rules. It is against the law to fly model aircraft near SAMAA sites. This is a key benefit. In the past the SAMAA found it hard to restrict this kind of off-site operation. Not any more. A stroke of the pen removed a possible source of radio interference.

3. The SAMAA has an effective link to ICASA. It secured a wider 35MHz band solely for model aircraft use. It has used the link to track down and remove illegal users of the band. Again this means safer flying.

SAMAA membership is of great value to "Sunday Fliers" - the great majority of Aeromodellers in South Africa. Membership gives safety and peace of mind at a low cost. Join the SAMAA now.

Biggest Electric Aircraft in South Africa -- Jonathan Spratley


40% Aeronca Champ
Wingspan - 168 (4267mm)
Weight - just over 16kg
Motor - AXI 5360/20
Prop - Menz 32 x 18
ESC - MGM Compro 12032-3
Batteries - FlightPower 5S1P 4900 x 2 in series

The Aeronca at Oudtshoorn 2006

This model was scratch built. It was started in April 2006 with the hope of finishing it and flying it at the annual Oudtshoorn Scale event held 22 - 25 September. It was successfully maidened on the 18th September and is a beautiful flier. Take off is around ¾ throttle and she happily flies around at ½ throttle. Expected flight times would be about 10 minutes comfortably.
This model was built by myself, Jonathan Spratley with help from Chris Freeman, Colin Matthysen, Alex Jones, and laser cutting done by Alan Ralph.

I am proud to announce that we entered our 40% electric Aeronca Champ into the first yearly Model Motors (AXI) worldwide competition and it WON!!!

SAMAA AGM 2006 -- Louis

As threatened I did indeed attend the AGM, rain and slow traffic couldn't keep me away.

Although the agenda was followed the meeting was very relaxed and informal. Not a single whiff of politics anywhere. Tony from PRF attended the meeting as well since they are thinking of joining SAMAA due to the CAA delegating R/C related matters & safety to SAMAA. Tony pointed out that ambiguities exist in the current constitution and after some discussion SAMAA management undertook to put a group together to look into this. Tony also asked the question about a quorum and it was stated that no quorum is needed due to a record of poor attendance from members. And herein lies the danger - the very few members who attended the meeting could have suggested changes to a very important document like our constitution. Sure, a due process would have been followed but time as well as your SAMAA subscription fees would have been wasted to undo the suggestion. As I always say, ban Futaba & mode 2. Maybe electrics and heli's as well.... ;-)

Some concern was expressed about the age profile of the SA R/C hobbyist - we are a bunch of old toppies that is only interested in Sunday flying. SAMAA mangement also expressed their commitment to serve the hobby but very few, if any, suggestions from the members are forthcoming in order to improve & promote the hobby. The chairman's annual report was tabled and the SAMAA financial affairs were discussed. Some discussion around e-copies of the SAMAA News also took place. All questions and comment were handled in a mature and professional way.

The meeting lasted a slightly longer than an hour. I have just stated the points that interested me and I think it was well worth it to attend.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

2006 Jet Nats

Results and photos on the SAMJA web page.

(So come on Ehlers, what about one of your celebrated reports?)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2006 Helicopter Masters

Link to scores

(And I'm trying to get Johan to come up with a report and photos)

Monday, October 16, 2006

...and let's be very careful out there -- Lez reminds us.

I don't want to be alarmist but Mike Warren recounted a particularly harrowing experience at Switchblade yesterday afternoon. He apparently surprised a mob of car thieves who were striping a couple of cars on top of the hill. Mike had passed the water reservoir and as he drove down into the dip he surprised the mob, their initial reaction was to flee but when they realized that the odds where in their favour they went on the offensive. Mike was able to execute a u-turn and beat a hasty retreat, at least one the bandits' vehicles set off in pursuit of him. A fair amount of time had passed when Mike recounted the incident to us but he was understandably still more than a little stirred, he fortunately remained calm when he needed to be.

One can only wonder how the scenario would have unraveled if there where a few more potential victims, we are going to have to seriously re-think our approach to visiting Switchblade, I know I've foolishly pushed on and flown alone, unbelievably stupid in retrospect. It would be a great shame to abandon Switchblade but if we offer ourselves as "sucker targets" this will only serve to embolden the bandits.

Best regards


Thursday, October 12, 2006

SAMAA Insurance

From time to time members ask if the SAMAA insurance scheme is good value for money. Here's an update from the managment committee:

Dear all

This message was received from Jason Grove at Roxsure. He has been
investigating the insurance options with other insurers/re-insurers, and
it would appear that our present policy is the best that is available,
for our particular situation/needs.

The insurance sub-committee will of course continue to strive to bring
the members the best possible insurance solution.

Best regards



I Regret to tell you I have explored all avenues in order to place this
policy and I am afraid the insurers Just don’t want to do this Kind of

The company below was the last place that I could try.

If I can be of further help please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Jason Grove

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianne H. Kirk []
Sent: 09 October 2006 12:23
To: Jason Grove

Dear Jason,

We have had a chance to look at your request and advise that we would
prefer not to offer a quotation as we feel that the premium currently
being paid by the Insured is reasonable and we would not be able to
match or better this premium.

Kind regards
Dianne Kirk
Stalker Hutchison & Ass
Switchboard Tel (011) 731 3600
Direct Tel : (011) 731 3650
Fax : (011) 447 0082
Cell : 083 647 0356
E-mail address:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A visit to the SAMAA Office, aka Bob Skinner's home

I visited Bob Skinner today. As usual he was busily dealing with membership matters. He gave me details of the formal relationship with the CAA. You can find a composite document here.

Amongst other things it protects legally SAMAA registered flying sites. The protection is spelled out on the last page under 101.01.3 paragraph 1(d). This is a substantial benefit.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

2006 Fun Fly Masters -- report scrounged from Warren Gardiner, photo from "Deathbunny007"

2006 funfly masters happened again this weekend, tons of fun. It sure is quite a change from the usual with the sportsman class now. Started off with cloud cover and some drizzle and remained overcast most of the weekend, keeping the weather at a nice comfortable level, and for a change not much wind. The flying was at it's usual high standard again this year with Chris Harris taking first with some really spectacular flying including a spot of afterhours hovering and torque-rolling inside the club house.

Congrats to the organisers, as usual a truly enjoyable experience. I only managed a ninth with my muskiet, and if it were'nt for some genius's idea to have an F3A event thrown in I would've done a little better, muskiet got no fus, can't do 4 point rolls.;-p

We had a bit of an interesting time with the limbo, the wool limbo line just would not break for anyone, with the end result being some impromptu prophangs and sudden stops. Most made it through though. Gotta feel sorry for the guys who hurt their planes on this one, Hennis de Klerk for one, 90size ultrastick got stuck on the line and had to ditch to prevent going into the crowd, ouch.

Anyhow, I can't remember the exact final placings, but in open class it was:
1st: Chris Harris
2nd: Shaun Fraser
3rd: Matt Hirst


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Oudtshoorn 2006 -- Morne sets the record straight

I didn't attend but by all accounts Oudtshoorn this year was as good as ever. There was a comment on SARFLY, can't remember from whom, that flying safety may not have been up to "Airshow Standards".

Here is Morne's reply:

Neville is correct! This is not an air show. Just a get together of scale RC pilots. Just as difficult as implementing SAMAA book of safety, just as difficult will it be to implement proficiency! The insurance company will always find a loop hole! I can not remember 1 time that a SAMAA (committee) representative has actually visited the Oudtshoorn event. Even now that we have representation in the WC!

We, CFC, have always played by the rules of SAMAA and enforced strict flying discipline and safety standards. Yes some will argue that all are not up to standard. But we can state that in 35 years no loss of life or injury was reported. Last year's after hour incedent was the closest!

I think most people attending Oudtshoorn are disciplined pilots. Most of them know the rules and stick to them. Some pilots do not like flying in a circuit all the time and like to "show off". We have found these pilots will not attend Oudtshoorn or change there style to fit in with the crowd.

The event is bigger than individuals and this is the success story. We never want to have an air show or commercialize the event.

We thank all loyal supporters and hope that all modelers will go to there workshop and start building a good scale model for next year. We will try and bring some international friends to Oudtshoorn next year.

Thanks again and safe flying...

Chairman CFC

(Well said Morne)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

2006 F3B Gliding Nats

Not much new in the way of designs.
Slideshow of more photos here.
Malcolm's inside story here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Info on 2006 Gliding Nats -- Evan Shaw

Entry form here
Program here
Directions to Groengoud field here
(All pdf files)

Ventus 2ax maiden flight at Rosendal-- Mike May

(Photo by Charl Viviers)

Hi all,
Some feed back on the maiden flight of the VENTUS 2 AX, after some minor setbacks (the captive nut that holds the tailplane on fell down into the fuse) this was built-in so some minor surgery was required to reposition it and epoxy in place. A check over by Norbert also revealed slop in the flaps (damaged splines on the control horns) these replaced and we were good to go. At 15.00 we moved to the cliff edge and did another round of preflight checks, with my heart in my mouth I called launching and immediately noticed the spectators fell absolutely silent. With Evan , Don King and Norbert holding things steady Evan gave 3 2 1 count down and a mighty heave. The aircraft nosed over and down I let it gain speed touched left and right to check on control authority and fed in some up , the glider levelled out and started gaining altitude in the lift band , the crowd errupted and I took a deep breath W.O.W. . The VENTUS was then gently flown for thirty minutes and required no additional trimming. The landing was textbook smooth barring a small scare as I crossed a line of small trees on the approach, a photo shoot followed with lots of handshaking etc. I really would like to sincerely thank all the people who gave valuable assistance with the build, de-snagging and first flight, most notibly EVAN SHAW who followed day to day the project and kindly cut the blue foam cores, PIET and CHARL from B.E.R.G, NORBERT whose large scale gliders at Volksrust started this inspiration. DON KING who I noticed holding the wing on launch and the tall fellow from the Eastrand who kindly led me back up the hill while focused on the plane whose name I dont know. A BIG THANK YOU ALL.


For the record I used 6 ltr of epoxy resin
500 pairs of latex gloves
Built it without plans, on the garage floor in 8 weeks including fuselage plug and moulds

For me the highlight of my model gliding career was that first flight off Rosendal. The VENTUS will now be fitted with an onboard video and vario with the intention of getting airborn film footage of raptors, vultures and any other thermalling birds that come close watch this space.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Notice of SAMAA AGM

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the South African Aircraft Association will be held on 1 November 2006 in the Aeroclub Board Room at Grand Central Airport starting at 18h15.

All SAMAA members in good standing are invited to attend.

The Agenda will be:
1) Welcome
2) Chairman’s Report
3) Financial Report (Budget,Fees)
4) General Manager’s Report (Statistics)
5) Previous A.G.M. Minutes
6) Matters Arising
7) General

Monday, August 21, 2006

Spring Pylon Race -- Theo Marnewick

As sent by SAMPRA chairman

Hi all,
Just a reminder that the Spring Pylon Race meeting will be held on the 9th & 10th September 2006 at RMAC. The program will be as follows.
1. Scrutineering will be held between 7.00 & 8.00 am on both days.
2 Pilots briefing at 8.30 am on both days.
3 Racing starts at 9.00 am on both days.
4 The intention is to fly 9 heats of each class, weather permitting, as follows. 5 heats of each class on Saturday 9th and 4 heats of each class on Sunday 10th.
5 Entry fee R100.00 for single class entry plus R20.00 for extra quickie class and R30.00 extra for Q40.
6 A payment of R50.00 per day will be given to each of the helpers for food and refreshments.
7 Fuel for both Quickie and Q40 will be supplied.
8 Gauteng's electronic timing system will be used and timing will stopped at pylon 3 on the 10th lap.
9 Racing and course layout will be as per the current rules.
10 Helmets are to be worn by all pilots and callers.
11 No test flying after 8.30 am each day.

Please not that lunch and refreshments will not be provided.

We look forward to seeing you all for a great weekends racing.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Glider Winches - can they be called safe? -- Howard Callaghan

I am by no means an expert on this subject, but they say that "only a fool will not learn from experience" and I now consider myself to be experienced in the dangers inherent in the use of glider winches.

The use of a bicycle speeds up line retrieval at Jomac and, whilst engaging in this simple exercise one Sunday, I found myself up-ended on the bike with the winch line happily eating away at my right leg. Field administering of the wound effectively prevented further complications, although the doctor consulted certainly informed me that accidents such as this can have disastrous consequences.

So what have I learnt?

The winch must be made safe when persons are handling the line!

Many winches do have very effective means of dis-enabling the motor. This includes key-locks and isolating switches attached to the winch frame.

Where no such mechanical means of dis-enabling the winch is available, consider the following when the winch is to be disabled..
A length of tube is attached to the winch and into this is inserted a red flag (similar to that seen at active shooting ranges)
Also, a simple cap (I used an aerosol spray can cap) is placed over the activator button, rendering this harmless.

Whatever the means of de-activating the winch, my advice is do this whenever anybody is handling the line -- I have proved heavy duty nylon takes no prisoners when it is abused.

Howard Callaghan.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lionel Brink's report on the F3J World Champs

“Working time will start in 5 seconds..., 4..., 3..., 2..., 1..., ping! The tortured sound of line stretching & the snap of parachutes seconds later.”

In 2006, Slovakia played host to the F3J world championships & in true style, managed to achieve a magnificently organized event, with some of the best RC glider pilots from all over the world competing against one another.

Read more....(600k word DOC)

Friday, August 11, 2006

The 2006 Control Line World Champs -- Keith Renecle

This time the world champs were held in Spain in a city called Valladolid. The name is pronounced “Vaya-dolleeth” and it’s quite easy if you remove your teeth and thspeek like thees! Our South African representation consisted of myself, Loren Nell, and our chief supporter, my wife Bokkie. We normally have a 3 person team, so this time we were down to just two, and we entered in F2B aerobatics. There are four FAI categories for control-line events, and they are F2A speed, F2B aerobatics, F2C team racing, and F2D combat. An interesting fact is that the C/L world champs are the biggest event on the FAI sporting calendar, with around 350 competitors plus support crews. You can imagine the organization required to arrange for such an event. It takes around four years to prepare for this, and you need a really good crew of helpers. Well done to Yolanda Garcia del Fuentes, and her team for doing this. Just by the way, to see all the results, they are posted on the web on many sites, but a good one for all things control-line, is Goran Olsson’s Hemisphere of Fun at

Read more here..., (400k word DOC).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

F3J World Champs

Evan sent in this photo of Craig, Simon and Ilma.
There's more where this came from. I'll ask Evan to post them on Flickr.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

SA F3J team in Slovakia

Peter Eagle sent me this fine photo. I'm not sure who took it but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
More info here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Aaaaaagh! and you thought LiPo batteries were dangerous -- Andre Kilian reminds us to be careful

Here's a pic of my 12V charging battery that was short-circuited and the results on my workbench a few minutes later.

My mistake was to leave the poles open - would not even think of doing that with a Nicad or Lipo battery, but without realising it I left a much more dangerous source of energy open.

Needless to say that I now intend to keep the battery poles covered at all times...
Fortunately I had a car charger connected to the battery (I leave it connected permanently) and the electricity tripped when the cables burnt through, alerting me to a problem. The concrete ceiling also helped - if it was a normal house or garage the whole place would have burnt down.




It took me a week to clean up my workshop. Most damage was done by smoke and soot!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2006 World Control Line Champs -- update from Peter Lott

The World Champs results can be found here

Keith and Loren who are flying F2B have flown 2 flights each of the 4 at this stage. Currently Keith and Loren are placed about mid-field: Well done! Interesting to see Loren's first flight placed him 26th out of 83, a good show!

Best regards,

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Skunk Works

You will have heard of the Famous Skunk Works. Home of the prototypes of the U2, the Blackbird and the Stealth Fighter.

It thrived on informality and low cost solutions. The best aero engineers in the US worked there, including according to urban legend, Joe Wurts.

Well, SA has its own Skunk Works. It is within spitting distance of the Cradle of Humankind. It operates under the keen eye of Evan Shaw. It is the home of the Tsotsi. The aircraft that filled most of the top spots at the last Highveld Thermal League.

In so doing the Tsotsi beat exotic imported models costing many times as much.

This is the Skunk Works with an engineer hard at work. For obvious resons of security, I cannot name him.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lost Model -- Jim Patrick

Greetings, I was yesterday given a somewhat wrecked model that had obviously got lost. The lady who gave it lives in Roodepoort, but she got it from somebody else, so she does not know where it was found. It is a high wing trainer type, with "Magnum" stickers. Please be so kind as to post a message that anybody who can positively identify the model can collect it from me in Centurion.

Best wishes,
Jim Patrick
Contact 082 446 6073 or (012) 662 0083

Friday, July 14, 2006

Good wishes to the SA F3J team -- Piet Rheeders

Hi all F3J Team members,

To all our RSA F3J team members/pilots, Senior/Junior Team Mangers and Helpers, on behalf of the MGA I wish you a safe and successful journey to the World F3J Championship in Martin, Slovakia.

You have worked and practiced hard over the past 7 months and now the time has come to show your mettle against the worlds best soaring pilots.

I for one has never been in a SA team or a SA team that left our shores but on the eve of your departure to Slovakia, if I could give some advice, this is what I would suggest.

a) First of all please remember that you are Ambassadors of our country South Africa. Your behavior in Slovakia will not only reflect on you but also on the rest of South Africa. (So no Head butts please !!! :) )
b) Secondly you are Sports men/women and there to display good sportsmanship. Remember that in most sports their is only one winner ( may it be one of you !!!). Be humble if you are the winner, be as humble if you are not.
c) As a Team, support each other both physically and morally, listen to the advice of your Team Managers and never give up doing your best.
d) The only thing that remains now is to bring back those World Championship Trophies to the RSA.

My all the thermals you get be strong ones and all your spot landings be spot on.

Piet Rheeders,

MGA F3J Rep.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Suspension of flying at Groengoud on Sunday 9 July 2006 -- Joe Coetzer

Hi Everyone,
SAMAA is suspending any R/C flying at Groengoud on Sunday 9 July 2006, between 9:30 and 15:00. This instruction is issued in the interest of safety and if not strictly adhered to, the provisional registration of the Groengoud field will be jeopardised and the matter will be reconsidered at the SAMAA Management Meeting, first week of August 2006. Dave Armitage have been requested to ensure that the required spectrum scans are done ASAP. The results will be considered at the aforementioned meeting. Formal registration of the site will only be completed once the results are available.This is the standard procedure to be followed for any deviation from the prescribed 5 km division between flying sites.
The posting of this instruction on the MGASA site is done in order to advise everyone (in particular the members of Groengoud) of the final decision on the matter.
Kind regards,
Joe Coetzer

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Volkrust Freeze -- Gert Nieuwoudt

The long weekend of 16 June provided an opportunity to visit the slope of Tamatieberg. A note on Mgasa and Sarfly revealed that many more had the same idea. The weather prediction for the weekend was -6 deg as Volksrust can get very cold and normally enough wind during winter time. It turned out not to be so cold and we had a pleasant weekend with lots of sun. The wind was not as strong but produced enough lift on the Friday for lots of stick time. The Saturday we only flew the floaters. Twenty or more pilots from BERG, Brits, ETB, Vaal and Secunda joined the gathering over the weekend with some only coming one of the days. Slope soaring has become quite popular also with power pilots here in upcountry. I believe Jaques van der Linde of Nelspruit have a slope in the Lowveld area as well. We were treated with some large scale airplanes in the air on Friday. As always Norbit was there, this time with a 6m wingspan SB-10. Dion maidened his scratch built 4m ASW-22. The procedure is:

1. Get someone to throw the glider off the mountain.
2. Trim the model to fly straight and climb to horison height.
3. Make one pass to test the CG
4. Roll it on the next pass and say "it looks pretty ok",
5. keep on flying for the next 30 minutes and do a perfect landing in the rotor.
Well if you can fly you can FLY!

Can't wait for the next time

More photos here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Epoxy resin safety -- Craig Goodrum

I got the fright of my life today. Mathew managed to climb on our dining room table where the SLC60 glass bottle was that was won this weekend at the NATAL Champs. The bottle was glass and he broke it, placed his hand in the hardener then on his mouth.
We still are not sure how much went inside but the stuff is pure poison and the reaction with his lip has caused it to swell and the skin to peel off.

A few things are important to note:

- Keep your resin's far away from the reach of the kids
- if someone does get the resin in them then the typical solution is NOT to induce vommiting but rather drink lots of water or milk (this is for epoxy hardeners) but always get an MSDS (material safety data sheet) for these things as the guidelines are in there. Get to the hospital as soon as possible!
- Flush surface skin contact with water for 15 minutes.
- Don't store resin in glass containers if possible - more easily broken.
- Love life while you can - you don't know what lies in waiting around the next corner.

I advise you all to read the MSDS for whatever resins you are using so that you know what to do in case of emergency and also have them handy wherever you work.

Wishing you all well


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A cautionary tale from Louis

With Father's Day approaching it thought it appropriate to buy myself a JR 9X II. Phoned around, average price varies between R4800 and R5000. Some joker even quoted me R5600. An out-of town crowd quoted R4350 and since I was going in that direction for business I popped in and collected the set. Beforehand I was assured that it is the synthesized type, latest software, not soon to be replaced by JR and ultimately blessed by the local sangoma. Since these people place regular advertisements in SAMAA News I had no suspicion in my heart at all. Besides, hobbyists are usually decent honest people.

On reaching home and studying the manual I discovered that the synthesized receiver was replaced by a crystal-based PCM unit. JK Products confirmed that the set was indeed shipped with a synthesized receiver and if the hobbyshop replaced it with a crystal-based unit "it is out of our control". On inquiring at the hobbyshop I was told that this is the reason for the good price. I acknowledged the fact that the box was opened and shown to me in the shop but what do I know about synthesized TX and Rx units? Besides, I wrongly relied on the said hobbyshop to serve me with good advice.

In the end I paid in an additional R150, drove the 200km roundtrip from Jhb and paid R13.60 in toll fees to upgrade the crystal-based RX to a synthesized Rx. True, I am at fault for not thoroughly inspecting the set but the hobbyshop left a bitter taste in my mouth - even the spec sheet in the manual referred to the synthesized Rx. I felt cheated in the end since a local shop quoted me R4500.

Bottomline: not all hobbyshops are evil seekers of evasive profits but be careful - check the servo types, Tx & Rx battery capacities, switch and receiver thoroughly. Even check the box (packaging) for dents. Don't let the momentous occasion of looking at the set for the first time blind you like it did me. Be assertive because some unscrupulous hobbyshops will swop out components in your set for lesser units.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Great Bushveld Fly In 2006 -- Martin van Tonder

The date for this event was mistakenly given as 29 / 30 June in SAMAA News. In fact it should be 29 / 30 JULY.
For more info get in touch with either Noel Booysen on 082 921 2711 or Martin Erasmus on 083 628 6114.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Aerobatics Clinic -- Andre' Stockwell

MAASA is busy with a process of improving the standard of judging and flying.

Judges, pilots and officials are invited to participate in a clinic where we can get back to basics, gain a better understanding of what the judges are looking for and improve interaction between pilots and judges.

Bob Skinner will also assist during the clinic and he will give us first-hand feedback on the practical interpretation of the rules.

The contest after the clinic will be used to apply what was discussed at the clinic and to align the theory with reality.

This is an opportunity not to be missed.

Please bring your own chair as seating may be limited.

See the details from Ivan.

We would like to thank Ivan for taking the initiative in arranging this event.

A similar clinic will be held in the Cape. Detail to follow soon.

See you ALL there.

Kind regards


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Erratic behavior of the SAMAA web site.

The SAMAA web site has behaved in an erratic way over the last few days. At first it was not available, then all that you could see was an old version.

I have finally got to the bottom of what went wrong and everything should be back to normal early in the week.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

SAMAA membership subscription fee

Members and prospective members are asked to note that the membership subscription fee for ordinary members has increased to R210 (from R200) with effect from 1st May 2006. Unfortunately this change was not made in the May-issue of SAMAA News.

If you renew your membership electronically, please use a reference that we can identify. Too many entries simply read "Subs", or "Renewal". In these cases We cannot match the payment to a member. Preferably use your surname and membership number, like: "Jorrisson - 2569".

If you are a new member making a payment electronically, use a descriptor like "PJ Geyser - new member".


Marietjie Skinner

Membership form here (pdf)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Das Elle Twig -- Jacques van der Lingen

Das Elle Twig is a small electric powered "Stick".
Read more...(90k pdf)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Some personal comments on the proposed Safety Code -- John Godwin

1. General comments:

It's a pity the idea of enlightened common sense has disappeared.

The code has moved away from the concept of Giving Advice to that of Being Prescriptive.
The proposed code does not encourage members, clubs and SIGs to act responsibly. It appears to assume that they must be told what to do. Surely the people on the ground have more insight into what is safe at their sites and what is not, than a central body? The job of the central body must be to apprise local operators of best practices, not prescribe detailed procedures.

2. There are some aspects of the proposed code that are impractical and/or incapable of being enforced. There is a danger in such rules. Members simply won't follow them, and if one rule is seen to be invalid, the whole code looses its authority. Rather have a few rules that are obeyed than many of which some are suspect. I mention again the idea of enlightened common sense.

Some impractical rules are:

Clause 1.1 7). The restriction on flying from a SAMAA registered or sanctioned field.
What about ad hoc safe flying on a private farm? Is it really practical to say a SAMAA member may only fly from a SAMAA field?
Rather re-phrase this rule to draw members' attention to the consequences and additional responsibility of flying from a non-SAMAA field.

Part 2 a). The restriction on the number of aircraft/helicopters airborne at any one time. What about the various slope soaring events run around the country? Here many more than five aircraft may be in the air at any one time.
Rather re-phrase the rule to allow the site operator to determine the number. However, suggest a best practice for conventional power sites of not more than five flying at once.

Part2 p). The restriction to one operating runway.
Strict adherence to this rule is not possible at JOMAC where power aircraft and gliders fly from the same site simultaneously. There is no absolute reason why a site should not operate two runways. It just depends on the local geography. Having said that though, for most sites this is a best practice.

3. I support the recommendation of getting special dispensation and insurance for a public display or event.

4. The code should state clearly that failure to follow it will not invalidate SAMAA insurance. Or if it may do so, the circumstances must be spelt out in unambiguous terms.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Converting a PC power supply -- Christo vd Merwe

The cold weather has it's advantages. One of them is that one gets time to do those things that you really want to, but put off because the weather is too nice to stay indoors.

This past weekend gave me the opportunity to do just that: to convert a PC power supply and document it for a website. I even had time to do some research on the web and found out how to modify the PSU to ensure that the output stays at 12V (or close to it), even when charging HARD. eg. I ran tests with the "mod" and also without it, and the outcome was an eye-opener. Without the mod, while charging 8 Ni-CD cells at 5A, the voltage dropped to just over 10V. With the mod, the voltage only dropped 0.1V (11.9V). Even when charging 15 Ni-CD cells (equiv. of 5 LiPo's) at 5A, the voltage drop was around 0.3V. I believe that this might be the answer to the Swallow charging problem that a few chaps mentioned, where the Swallow wouldn't reliably charge off a PSU.

Here is the link:

Best regards


Comment invited on proposed new Safety Rules

SAMAA members are invited to comment on the new proposed SAMAA Safety Rules. These are the abridged rules, which must be applied in conjunction with rules and regulations of each club, and those of each special interest group. Comments must be made before 31st July, and after alteration, modification, update and addition, these will become the official SAMAA Safety Rules.

Comments may be submitted either by fax, letter, or e-mail, to the SAMAA general manager. Fax number 011-907-4652. Postal address: PO Box 1961, Alberton 1450. e-mail address:

Link to 64k pdf with new rules.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rustenburg Model Flying Club

Public Flying/Display Weekend & Dance
23rd, 24th and 25th June 2006


We have a Public Flying/Display Weekend on the 24 and 25 of June 2006 and would like to invite you and your club members to come and enjoy a weekend of flying.
Caravan and tent stands will be available for sleeping over. Please see below for fee structure.
You can pre-book a stand directly at the BOOKING SITE . Only 30 stands available.

Preliminary Program:
23 June 2006 (Friday):
1) Arrivals,
2) Some music the night to keep you busy and rock you to sleep,
3) Open flying for everybody,
4) Security Guards on duty to ensure your safety.

24 June 2006 (Saturday):
1) The big day with lots of demostration flying by invited VIP guests,
2) Prize giving event,
3) Lots of singers and entertainers till late. Rustenburg Model Flying Club Runway Shuffle. (Dance)
4) Security Guards on duty to ensure your safety.

25 June 2006 (Sunday):
1) Open flying day,
2) Fly as much as you can.
3) Security Guards on duty to ensure your safety.

To reserve your stand you can visit the RMFC website and reserve your stand. Follow the links or CLICK HERE to go to the booking site directly.
You can book your stand on-line.
Select you stand number.
Stands will only be reserved once prove of payment has been received. First come first served.
Points to take note of:
1) You must have a GOLD proficieancy and SAMAA membership to be allowed to fly the Saturday and/or the Sunday.
2) You must provide your SAMAA membership card before you will be allowed to fly.
3) Pilots briefing will be held the Saturday at 09H00 and again at 13H00.
4) Pilots briefing will be held the Sunday at 09H00 and again at 13H00.
5) All radio's to be booked in at the transmitter impound on arrival.
6) PEG-ON frequency control.

CARAVAN & TENT STAND FEE (Includes Daily Entrance Fee).
If you are a member of another flying club you must produce your club membership card and SAMAA membership card and aircraft at the gate to qualify for the discounted stand fee.
Rustenburg Model Flying Club Member R50.00
Member From Other RC Flying Club R70.00
Normal Public R90.00
VIP (Invited Guests) R00.00

If you are a member of another flying club you must produce your club membership card and SAMAA membership card and aircraft at the gate to qualify for the discounted entrance fee.

Saturday Sunday
Rustenburg Model Flying Club Member R30.00 R20.00
Member From Other RC Flying Club R20.00 R10.00
Normal Public R30.00 R15.00
VIP (Invited Guests) R00.00 R00.00


Johan de Klerk
Cell No.: 082 8913912
Fax No.: 014-5974485
E-Mail :

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Report on the 2006 Aerobatic Nationals -- Quintin Schroll

I would like to start off by saying a huge thanks to all the pilots. 56 pilots entered the competition and each pilot had to fly 4 rounds, thus giving the organiser a nightmare from the start: 224 flights had to be completed within three days.
To start by saying this was a huge undertaking is an understatement. With only a couple Northwest comps behind my name and dare I forget my better half, we tackled this mountain step by step.
To take all the credit would not be fair, a lot of communication between lots of parties made this event a huge success; Andre Stockwell, Pierre Marais and Ivan Olivier, Burt Botha and Nico Erasmus (my right hand man) need to be mentioned.
Then to make a competition work I need to thank the following people:
1. Judges- Ivan Olivier, Nick Dreyer, Kas Hamman, Noel Booysen, Neels Bergh and Paul Hern
2. Scorekeepers- Roy de Beer, Andrew de Beer and Elaine Martins
3. Score runner and Mr DO EVERYTHING - Stephan Malherbe
4. Chief Official and Mr ANYTHING ANYTIME - Thys Du Preez
5. TX control - John Trethewey and Piet Malherbe
6. Cd - Danie Potgieter Snr
7. Food and Catering - Klerksdorp Spur
Then one final BIG thank you goes to the four ladies that helped tremendously during the week of the Nats: Nikki Schroll, Louisa Schroll, Phelani and Petro Erasmus. These ladies ensured the smooth running of basically everything behind the scenes.

The wonderful atmosphere and camaraderie between the pilots was present from the official practise day that took place on the Thursday, and continued right through to the closing banquet on Sunday night.
All the classes proved to be very competitive till the final round.
Sportsman class- (17 pilots) was huge with Jonathan Vosloo 1st, Mark Hubbard 2nd and Divan de Kock 3rd vying for top honours.
Advanced class- (9 pilots) saw the local boys (Stephen 1st, Siggie 2nd, Quintin 4th and Nico 5th) competiting for positions with Dirk van Rhyn clenching the third place.
Expert class- (11 pilots) saw the two young guns Josh Smit 1st and Calvin Schroll 2nd battle it out for the top two with Pierre Fouche closing the top three positions.
F3A class- (8 pilots) saw a once off class that flew four rounds of PO7 schedule and the top three were Dean Grobbelaar 1st, Walter van Huysteen 2nd and Burt Botha 3rd.
F3A Master class- (11 pilots) saw the old faithfuls taking the top three positions Andre Stockwell, Pierre Marais and Danie Potgieter with Ian Wentzel and Mark Wolfe snapping at their heels, this class flew two rounds PO7 and two rounds FO7 schedules.

Best wishes and many more flying hours till the next competition,

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

2006 Gliding Nats -- Evan Shaw

Hi All

Let me just remind everyone that the Glider Nationals will be held at BERG on the 14th to 16th July.

Time to start planning and getting you models ready. Please remember that no entries will be accepted without two frequencies per event. So make sure you get your crystals in good time.

Are we going to see anybody from the Cape Town, PE or East London areas this year? I wonder? It would be nice!
Also all you old timers! How about you lot? We have a class for especially for you guys - RES/100 (A model with Rudder, Elevator and Spoilers only or any model not exceeding 100 inches (2540mm) span) Planes like Aquila's, Olympic's, Grand Espri's, Viking's, Sagitta's, Wind Drifter's, Spectra's, Bird of Time's, etc. There must be hundreds of you guy out there who haven't flown in a comp for ages because you didn't have a class where you could fly with similar models. Having to compete with fancy molded ships all the time was always putting you off. Well now is the time to dust off those old "Gas Bags" and come and have some fun again!

It is also the first F3B qualifier. F3B will be held on the Friday with as many rounds as we can squeeze in and any spill over will be first thing on Saturday & Sunday mornings.
The main emphasis of the NATIONAL will be Thermal Duration, which will take place on the Saturday and Sunday. F3K will also be squeezed in there somewhere.
There will be no electrics at this event as there is an Electric Nationals planned for end of October at Groen Goudt.

The days are short in July with sunrise at just before 07h00 and sunset at just after 17h30, so we have to try and get as much flying as possible in about 11 hours of daylight.
Because of this we need to keep a tight schedule. We would also like to work out the program so that everyone can get as much flying as possible in a day, without having to sit around for ages waiting. We need to cater for Open, RES/100 and 2 Meter in the Thermal Duration. Open & RES/100 - 12 minutes working time with 10 minute flights. For the 2 meter - 8 minutes working time with 6 minutes flights. (Maybe)

Now for the main reason for this email:
It would help a lot if we can have some sort of indication as to how many people will be attending and who will be flying what. Open and 2 meter is pretty much a given. There will more than likely be enough pilots to fill three slots per round.
My concern is that there will not be enough pilots to make up 3 slots per round of RES/100.

So, can I ask you to please let me know what you are going to fly. Just your name and which class/classes you would like to enter.

Club Chairpersons, please gather the information from people who are not on the mgasa and SARFly groups and send it to me as well.


Joe Blog - F3B, Open, RES/100 & F3K
Joe Moer - Open & 2 Meter
Joe Wie? - RES/100 & 2 Meter

The main entry forms will be made available shortly here and in both the SAMAA News and South Easter. This is just a prelimmmery request to try and judge the entries and to help us plan the event so everyone is catered for.

Many thanks
Evan Shaw
083 254 1809

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

LiPo batteries, a cautionary tale by Andre Beukes

Many of you have seen the Hobby Trailer in which I transport my models.

My trailer stands underneath my carport, with the following planes in it:

2. 40% EDGE 540
5. 10 L Petrol
6. 2 l Moto 800 Oil
7. 15 L of Morgan Fuel with 15% nitro.

The Ultimate has 2 x expensive lithium polymer packs in it to supply the radio in the plane with power.

Yesterday at approximately lunch time, I decided to start charging all my planes. I first balanced the 2 lithium packs, and then hooked up the chargers as I always do, while the planes is still in the trailer. I went to check on the chargers @ +/- 18H00, and smelled electric fire. After investigating, I found that one of the packs inside the Ultimate burnt. Luckily for me, the only damage I sustained was to the Ultracote that was melted at four different places due to the heat.

Learn from my experience. This time I was very lucky. All my models could have burned, including my trailer. And to top this, my carport is next to my garage, where my 2 cars were parked, and all my other models are stored hanging from the garage roof.

Please charge your LiPo batteries in open space.

I had one of the best lithium polymer packs inside the plane, and I'm using decent chargers, and it still burnt.

These things are volatile. Please handle with care.


Andre Beukes

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

2006 Boland R/C power champs

Link to entry form (word DOC).
Contact person Dirk Coetzee 076 471 4617

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dirk Meyer acts as chairman of the SAMAA management committee

Joe Coetzer will be out of the country between 3rd and 26th May 2006.
During this time Dirk Meyer will act as chairman of the SAMAA management committee.
You can get hold of Dirk on 031 560 3111 or by email at

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Blinkpan Coal Field Model Air Show -- Morgan Kruger

This info on the event received by email from Morgan:

Die byeenkoms word aan gebied deur Komati Radio Flyers te komati kragstasie Blinkpan.
Ons begin die event op die 03/06/06 en om 09:20 het ons 'n static display van die vliegtuie. Om 09:30 is daar pilots briefing en 10:00 open die flight line en begin ons lekker saam vlieg. Ons is ook besig om te reël vir 'n vlooimark saam met die vliegtuie. Ons aanloopbaan is 900 meter lank en 12 meter breed so dus kan die manne met die jets en gaint scale vliegtuie ook kom saam vlieg. Almal is welkom en vra net 'n naam lys van almal wat wil saam vlieg om ons voorbereiding net vir ons self maklikker te maak.
My sel no: 082 556 8185
Tel/faks :013- 295 3525
E-pos :

Morgan Kruger
Komati Radio Flyers.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

2006 G2K Jamboree -- John Monk

The 2006 G2K Jamboree was held last Saturday at Gert Nieuwoudt's awesome VMG field. The wind was relatively light and variable as was the lift. This made things nicely interesting. The tasks were one 6 minute and one 3 minute flights within a 20 minute working time. Multiple launches were allowed but only the last two flights counted.

Gert and his club mates had demarcated the field and set up two tents by 08:00. Fred Wittstock was up from Durban for the weekend. Due to a number of cancellations, broken models, F3J practice, sick, kids, etc (thanks to all who contacted me to let me know) we were down to 8 pilots for the day. While this was a small turn-out it makes the matrixing very easy! One slot G2K and one slot G2Kplus or four pilots each.

Pilot's briefing was held a little after 09:00 and at 10:00 the first of six rounds got underway under the able leadership of Cornelius. By after 15:00 despite a reasonably leisurely pace (and a few small breaks for me to capture scores) it was all over.

The various rule changes were discussed afterwards to assess their merits and the final placings were read out.

The top placing pilots were as follows:

1. Fred Wittstock 4979
2. Rudi King 4590
3. Chris McNeel 4389

1. Piet Rheeders 4973
2. John Monk 4756
3. Evan Shaw 4384

Congrats to Fred and Piet. Once I have received the floating trophies back from the previous winners (we know who they are:-) they will be handed over to the new winners.

All the prize winners (top two places in each category) agreed to donate their winnings to the F3J team fund. Thanks guys.

Overall I believe a great deal of fun was had by all. Thanks once again to Gert and Cornelius for all their hard work.

A more detailed report with pictures will be posted off to John Lightfoot for inclusion into the Southeaster.

That's all for now


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Policy statement from the SAMAA Management Committee on the use of the 2,4 GHz radio spectrum

Cell phone technology is now catching up with our model radio control equipment and these new systems are soon to be released onto the South African market. It is a Spread Spectrum transmitter and receiver operating on 2.4 Gigahertz band.
A similar three-channel system is already on the market and is being used very successfully in model cars. The latest development is a six-channel, 10 model memory set designed for small model aircraft. The transmitter has all the usual trims and mixers, and except for the short stubby aerial, it looks very much like the standard 35mHz equipment we are used to.
This equipment has been in use in the USA for a while with encouraging results but there are quite a few limitations with its use
The 2.4GHZ band is license free and the use thereof does not need to be approved by ICASA or SAMAA.
For those who are interested in the workings of these sets, some of the finer points are as follows: -
1) They use some 80 spots on the 2.40Ghz band.
2) When switched on they automatically search and find an unused open spot and latch on to it.
3) The transmitter and the receiver must be "bound" to each other before its first use. Once bound the receiver will only obey the signals from its "bound" master transmitter.
4) More than one receiver may be bound to a transmitter
5) They operate on that spot almost interference free (according to the manufacturers)
6) They have a range limitation, dependant on the weather, the terrain and the number of sets of the same type transmitting at the same time.
7) The useful operating range of these sets reduces with the number of sets in use at the same time. (These range limitations are still to be verified and confirmed but with many sets in use simultaneously, it could be as little as 200 metres).
As these sets are coming, it is inevitable that they will appear at our flying fields, so it is proposed to set down a frequency control procedure for SAMAA registered clubs to control these 2.4ghz sets.


1. 2.40ghz transmitters are approved for use at SAMAA registered fields.
2. The frequency control system of "Card/peg on" or "Card/Peg Off" will remain in force.
3. When not in use transmitters will be switched off and returned to the TX pound.
4. A maximum of four (4) 2.40ghz sets may be operated simultaneously.
5. This radio equipment may only be used with Shock Flyers, Park Flyers and Electric Micro Helicopters.
6. Any of the model aircraft types specified in (5) fitted with this equipment should not operate at a distance of more than 300 metres from the pilot when flying at a SAMAA registered field.
NOTE. These are provisional rules only and may change, as and when the equipment in question is in use and other limitations, if any, are found.
For the frequency control board at the clubs, the suggestion is that a sticker be made in Green and marked "Spread Spectrum". This sticker will cover pegs on the frequency board and could be applied over some of the now extinct 60mHz frequency spots.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March Model Massacre -- Lionel Brink on the second Highveld Thermal League

The two days of low cloud and drizzling rain did nothing to dampen our spirits prior to Sunday for the competition which yielded a record HTL field with some of the best flying and weather we have had all season. With a friendly atmosphere and relatively challenging albeit informal format, the Highveld Thermal League proved again to be one of the finest intermediate level competitions on the MGA calendar.
Read more, 650k pdf.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Sterkfontein Slope -- Charl Viviers

It started with a met report predicting 10kts out of the north and a short trip to Evan ‘Lead-Foot’ Shaw’s house, at the base of the slope, to pickup Piet ‘Prepetation’. With Evan mumbling something about having to join a fuz first, Piet and I took off to the slope. The off-road track to the slope gives new meaning to the phrase boendoe bashing, but my trusty Bantam served us well......
Read more here , 320k pdf -- the photos are quite large

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

2006 Black Eagle Slope Weekend, the whole story from Evan Shaw

Link to Evan's loooong write up, Sixty pages of photos and thousands of words. The bad news is that the pdf is about 7000k in size.
Worth every bit of time spent though, it is a masterly piece of work.

Monday, March 13, 2006

2006 Black Eagle Slope Weekend

The flag men and woman at base B during the Zagi racing.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Full set of gliding postal results from John Lightfoot

Link to postal results

2,4 Ghz DSM radios

First from Wessie vd Westhuizen:

DSM 2,4 Ghz radio legality

Just spoke to Bob Skinner, so you can take this as the OFFICIAL SAMAA standpoint.

The Spektrum system DSM radios are 100% approved, and you are covered insurance-wise if you are using these systems.

SAMAA reccomends the following :

That Clubs have a GREEN area on their peg boards, where DSM users can place their peg, to indicate that wide spectum users are flying. (this is their only must-have provisio, Club managers take note)

That no more than 4 DSM systems are in use at the same time at one field, as the range of these systems is influenced by the number of users.

That's it.
From a HOBBY SHOP and FLYER point of view, we encourage the DMS systems to be used for PARK FLYER applications only.


Now a technical view from Mike vos:

I have a lot of telecom experience in the 2.4GHz band...or shall we say headaches or maybe even nightmares.

Tom, you made a good comment…do you need a peg for your Blue Tooth? What is that ­ I thought someone mentioned the colour green. I think rather use red. Or polka dot or stars, because you will see more of that…..maybe green was the right colour….The Grass…oh so painful.

The 2.4GHz band is known as the ISM band. Set aside for Industrial, Scientific and Medical apparatus generating noise. Any device in this band must accept the noise levels of the band ­ not protection will be provided.

Although it sounds quite romantic the way these sets select an open channel and avoid the interference consider the full picture before you sell your 35Mhz on next week's hot specials. Equipment like these radios, wireless video cams, WiFi, BlueTooth other wireless links and network equipment could not be properly managed by the regulators so they said go manage yourself. It is something like opening all 6 lanes on the N1 (Pta to Jhb), yes North Bound and South bound and you go pick your "free slot" and get to the other side. You might just get there. But size is going to matter.

Consider this: The radios probably transmit something like 100mW, similar to WiFi equipment. (the legal approved ones ­ not the ones people put up with large grid pack antennas making them illegal in power output) These devices look to each other like noise. So the more radios the more noise and thus distance comes down. Maybe this is where the park flyer caution comes in…stay close. Now….Switch on your Microwave Oven! 1000 Watt!! 10 000 times the power, slap bang in the 2.4GHz band. The pie is going to be nice and warm you are going to buy now just after you pick up the pieces. There are illegal links running many kilometres and ICASA can't close them all down, they pop up everywhere. So with 4 pegs on the green board….what about the link running over the club's flying field drowning your radio's signal when you pass through it.

To go back to Tom's comment. Why even put up the green space? Why stick to a club's flying field? Any one can switch on his Bluetooth, WiFi router or Microwave oven without telling the neighbours.

So be careful ­ this band is VERY much FULL of INTERFERENCE but only looks like noise and as long as you can see a bit of signal you maybe ok. I will certainly not try it out just yet. The radios do seem to have great features.

I just think that after the first couple of pilots are going to try those on planes this group is going to make nice entertaining reading, please add pictures and video….uhm, will that mean then just 3 planes in the air? Just do not mail it with Bluetooth then only 2 planes can fly.

A word of warning from Eric Arnaud

Just a word of caution,

I bought a Rc plane from one of the advertisers on sarfly, one of those radio+plane thingy jobbies. Plane package R 399 + R100 postage.

Turned out the range was crappy and the plane would not fly more than 10m away ! Contacted the guy and asked for some assistance. This is the reply I got

""All goods come with a 24 hour, self test guarantee."

So as you can se there is not much I can do, you are welcome to return it at your cost for postage, as well as the return postage at your cost, so I can take a look at it. If I am unable to solve the problem there is not much I can do, sorry about that."

So as you can see, another R 200 on postage back and forth and I may as well buy another from a local Junk shop in Randburg. Just be careful what and where you order, as Charl says, if its available locally in your area, and it costs a little more, pay the price but at least have the no nonsense return or exchange policies, as they carry the volumes and are willing to exchange.



Monday, March 06, 2006

Gliding Postals -- Pam Lightfoot

John is in hospital but has asked me to send out the results below just to let you know the rest will be sorted out/posted when he is back home which hopefully will be next week.


1 C. Goodrum MMS 2291 0
2 A. Sneedon DMAC 2280 0
3 M. Stockton MMS 2251 0
4 T. Potter DMAC 2187 0
5 P. Rheeders BERG 2187 0

1 Midrand Model Soarers 6671
2 Durban Model Aircraft Club 6476
3 Black Eagle Radio Gliders 5873
4 Southern Soaring Club 5517

Unallocated subs payments

Please help Bob Skinner if you can with these subs payments he has been unable to identify.
Here's a link to the splendid version of the information, a 700k pdf.
Here's a link to the utility version, 120 k pdf

Monday, February 27, 2006

A rainy Sunday

Two desperate characters flying in the rain at a secret location near Sterkfontein.
A clue to its whereabouts is Evan Shaw's house in the background.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Results of monthly Large Scale comp at Barnstormers, from Rob Hearn

Sportsman's class
Max DeWeijer 61.36%,
Warren van den Fyfer 57.57%,
Bert Strydom 53.96%,
Mark Buckthorp (KZN) 46.8%,
Arthur Colby (KZN) 46.01%,
Andre Louwrens 36.5%.

Expert class :
Ian Edwards. 62.75%,
Mike Hearn 52.0%.

Open class :
Neville Wright 65.42%,
Gavin Walton 63.94%,
Lawrence Robinson 54.24%.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Monday, January 30, 2006

Volkrust 28 / 29 Jan 2006 -- Warren Butler

After a very pleasant drive up to Volksies, the group decided that the severely waterlogged field as well as the pretty strong wind would have to be given up in favour of some casual slope flying.

Driving up to the slope (these okes are severely spoilt with such a magnificent site in all aspects!) saw a few chaps carving it up already. Russ, you would have had an absolute ball with a heavy Toko! I only had my Zagi (from Ev a few years ago) to play with and a few seconds into the blustery first fling, revealed that it's gonna need more than just a sliver of lead to get it going. The second fling, revealed that it's gonna need even more! Having upturned my flight box in the hunt for more lead had the Zagi at more than double it's original weight (450g + 500g lead!!) I heaved it into the wind and up it went. I must have got the ballast position smack on since I didn't need even one click of trim, it was getting on-step with no effort at all. Loops were using the whole sky! Not normal for a Zagi. Now for a few speed runs........the first one came whistling past and quite surprised me and the pull-up was the best I've seen in a Zagi. Deciding to gain a bit more height for the next one saw it coming in from the left and as I levelled out, a strance buzzing sort of noise was coming from the elevons! This is exciting! Correx must have some sort of 'sweet spot resonance' at a particular speed. Let's see if it will do that again.......! Climbing a bit higher this time and also coming in from the left saw distinct signs of elevon flutter, this time quite a bit louder and as I levelled off, BANG!!, the whole thing exploded! The wing split in 2 and flipped up at 90 deg. to the airflow, battery pack still going straight!! Confetti and bits raining down. What a sight! At least the R700 Rx was still dangling by one servo lead!! The battery pack was from my Cobra (4 cell NiCd) and needed replacing anyway. Never found it. This was the same Zagi (sans lead) that had the 'most amazing last flight' at Rosendal last year, using the valley release till it was dark. I have another set of this space!

There were a few Nelspruit chaps there with a funny looking thing (name escapes me) made from EPP. Sort of curved leading edge delta, central fin with huge elevon surfaces. There were about 4 of them in the air, and all of them had one wing's underside panel painted with a big red "X" and later I was to find out why(!!) I was offered a stir on the sticks since the one I saw flying seemed pretty nimble. You know how it's done. You sneak up next to the guy and tell him how nice his aerie looks then after 30 seconds mention casually that you also fly the same mode. If he then doesn't shove the Tx in your hands, he is either deaf or is silently saying 'bugger off!' I got the tranny! I tried a gentle roll and all I can say is "What the #$%&* was that?!" This thing redefines the term "twinkle rolls!" Now I know why you need to clearly mark one wing panel's underside!! The roll rate must have been about 5 rolls per second, I kid you not! They bounce quite well too since the one I saw plonked it squarely onto a rock more than once with no apparent damage. Further questions revealed that, in my opinion, R650 would be better spent on a new JR R-700 Rx and a micro servo!

The chaps had boerie rolls and refreshments laid on as well. A very friendly bunch.

Just checking to see if anyone is keen on Volksies for the Black Eagle Slope weekend on 11th and 12th March. Dave said that it clashed with something else he has planned but I'm keen to go. Anyone else? This weekend was my first taste of Volksies and certainly not my last. Come on chaps, let's get planning.

Warren Butler

Friday, January 20, 2006

The South African F3J team BLOG

Have a look at the SA F3J team BLOG -- inspiring.

Almost a quiet day at JOMAC

On Thursday I had arranged to meet Kelvin Reynolds at JOMAC for some relaxed flying.

I drove out along William Nicol, not much traffic, slightly overcast with a gentle breeze, perfect.

This desirable state of affairs lasted until the Dainfern turn-off. There, Metro Police were blocking all traffic along the R511 in the direction of the field. I turned around and came home.

The seven o'clock E News told the rest of the tale.

In Diepsloot members of two Taxi Associations had exchanged fire. In the melee shots struck passing motorists. A lorry hit a Metro Police office killing him. Metro Police arrested several men after a skirmish on the veld.

From some points of view we do live in desperate times.

John Godwin

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

LiPo balancing -- Andre Kilian

You have probably not picked up much on the subject on the internet, as it has not been much of an issue at the charge/discharge rates used. One of the reasons for the limitation on the charge rate of 1C on lipos was to ensure that they stay balanced - you will note that some of the manufacturers are using higher charge rates possible with lipo balancers as a "selling point" - I have seen charging times advertised as 20 mins! I have personally checked the voltage on idividual cells on an old Kokam 1500 3S pack that has more than 100 charge/discharge cycles, and cells were within a few milli volts of each other.

The problem comes in with the new 20C packs (20C continous rating - 30C peak), as at these high discharge rates the cells tend to become unbalanced. I have noted that the problem also arises when running a number of cells next to each other, e.g. 5S packs. I suspect that the imbalance arises from the different internal resistance of the inner cells that are running at higher temperatures.

You also need a seperate lipo balancer that normally works with any lipo charger. These monitor the voltages on each individual cell - that is why the tags are used. An added advantage is the safety feature - the better ones cut off before overcharging the batteries if you have chosen the incorrect settings!

My advice is not to worry about lipo balancing unless you are using the 15 - 20C rated cells and are pushing them to their limits! As a precautionary measure I have soldered tags on all my batteries and only charge through the tags - accidents are bound to happen, as I am charging 2S, 3S, 4S and 5S packs! At about R10 a tag I view it as a worthwhile investment, as i have enough "fat packs"!



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

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