28 July 2011

Neil Allen's KZN July pattern monthly report

[The report and scores as promised in the more personal report:
with thanks to Neil]

KZN Pattern Round Results

July 24th 2011. A League round (which counts towards qualifying for the Masters event)

Held at DMAC Gromor field


Des Cooper, Fred Wilkinson, Bruce Bell, Johan Britz, Mike Cox, Colin Addis. Thank you for your help.

The results are tabled in this pdf file above. This scoring work was very well done by Fred Wilkinson. Fred is also interested in tabulating the results per judge, to send in to Ivan Olivier, to have our judges nationally graded.

This will be very useful to us, as when we have a provincial event, which we may well do in mid 2012, we will have qualified judges who live in our province. This reduces the costs and hassle of an event drastically. Also, our judges can be graded and promoted with time, and can become National judges and perhaps even International judges. Note that at the 2011 World Aerobatic Champs S.Africa have Bob Skinner as one of the three jury members, and Christo Rust as one of the 18 judges. No other country has more than this.

It is interesting to see that Fred has evolved into our "stricter" judge. We all know that it doesn't matter for one contest whether a judge scores high or low, as long as he is consistent and places the flyers in the correct order. Fred is quite correctly grading by the stricter judging as done nationally in S.A., particularly for the higher classes. I have just seen the first round scores at the 2011 World Champs, and note that Christophe Paysant LeRoux has got only 79%, and all three of our S A guys got 63%. So that means that even our national standards are too generous for international events.


A fantastic entry of 16 pilots hits a new record! With the pilots getting into the air in slick succession we managed three rounds, a braai, and finished by 3:00pm. Pilots needing to get away early were fitted in easily. We were lucky with the weather, as the day after the event was gales, floods and snow. There was some wind early on, but the F3A and Masters pilots took the brunt of this.

A lovely venu, and a sociable braai - thanks to DMAC and Clive Gager in particular.


We were delighted to have Eike have his first very competent try at pattern, quite appropriately with a Matt designed Saphir from 20 years ago. Clive has flown once before, and used his large scale petrol plane, to get the top score 0,6 percent ahead.


Speedy van Niekerk managed to get away long enough from fixing helicopters for the Durban Port, to get back on his Nats form, and break 60%, as did Lynton. Colin and Dave were just behind, with very good flying from Dave Greer with his .25 size electric Diamante doing his first try at this class. It had astonishing vertical performance, but I think he psyched himself out of doing a proper stall turn by declaring in advance that it wouldn't do one!


Johan de Lange flew with us for the last we will see of him before going to Saudi for a two year stint. His 2m Osmose was flown excellently. Arthur was less than a percent behind, and when he can get the distance flown correct, he will be as good or better. Clive, Alex and Ian all got over 60%


John was the only entry, with his 110 size electric Siebart WindS, and did well.


It is such a pleasure to have Jason to compete against in this class. He got a 68%, and I flew much better without my Nats nerves. We were both flying 2m electric planes.


None of our 16 flyers flew too far out. A small number of the pilots, such as Johan, flew the right distance out, and it is no coincidence that his score was very high. A 2 metre plane should be flown 140 to 170 metres away from the pilot, and a smaller plane proportionally less far out, so that it looks about the same. Nearly everybody else flew MUCH closer in than that. I know that when a plane gets very far out it is not so easy to see if the wings are level in flight. But just try and get used to seeing it further out. You may be surprised that you can let it go for a bit with level wings, even if you cannot see it as well as you would like. Certainly on a windy day you are going to find it totally impossible to exit from one turnaround manoeuvre, fly straight and level for a short while, do three rolls downwind, then another little straight and level, then do an end box manoeuvre if you are only 100 metres away. Give it some practice and try.


Neil Allen

27 July 2011

Experimenting with movies from recent posts

Rather than using up blog space, I am trying linking to these slightly bigger than normal movies at 3 and 5 megs respectively. It would otherwise make the movie very small if staying under 2 meg.

The first is Luke's foamy pusher at the recent Ziggynanda slope fly in, worth winding up the sound ;-)

This is Johan's quad taking off at parkie flying.

25 July 2011

e Sportsman aerobats at Kzn Pattern monthly

Whew, quite a weekend of e-flying, starting with Saturday early morning with Johan and Paul at Umhlanga, then off to Gromor for some flight orientation for the pattern monthly at same on Sunday. Paul is enjoying his Bug-e electrified R75 foamy and coming along nicely with it, shown at max concentration in the first pic.

Did not start well for yours truly as it was evident that the Dualsky driven Diamante had lost some of it's awesome grunt, almost like dropping from four cells to three but could be any of the three components. A quick call to the LHS revealed no spare battery, so it was a simple case of pressing on as is or risk the title of "chicken"..... ;-)

Progress with the Diamante had been spotty as your truly just could not resolve tearing out the undercarriage with regular monotony, which had put a damper on regular practice. It look some well glued in doublers by Russ, coupled with four mini self tapping screws and a lightweight "soft" carbon undercarriage to finally resolve this a week or two ago. An otherwise excellent sport E craft.

Arrived at Gromor to find Robbie Rowe and his mate Rob about to pack up after some magic flying in the glorious weather. Also blast from the past Gys Wygers, in the pic with Big Stik plane and Rob. Also up there were Ian Morris and Speedy to do some practice, which was a boon as it gave a chance to correct any bad habits from our "blind leading the blind" practice at Umhlanga.

Both Ian and Speedy were most helpful and also helped out with some calling, after a couple of runs. It was clear that I was unused to being instructed by a caller, despite my best efforts to adapt. The other thing was that practice had been on the basis of "flowing" the sequence for best slope style momentum, after all the objective had been to brush up for slope aerobatics, given the iffy Kzn winds over the past couple of years.....

Speedy was armed with the Sebart 110 in the pics and a useful 4th from Nats, so I was starting to feel that maybe I had bitten off a bit too much with my parkie plane against this immaculate, well flown, plane. The weather was so magic, we only departed the field at 2:30pm!

Arrival at the field on Sunday revealed the almost blown off wind sock in the pics and lots of folk gathered around in jackets. Neil's accommodating style of hosting events was again shown in putting up the F3A boffs first in the hectic wind and leaving us Sportman folk till later, when the wind had abated.

I was very, very relieved so see that was in fact quite a cross section of "clubbie" planes and pilots in Sportsman - Gys with Big stick, Colin and Mike with Zeniths, Clive Gager with Cap, and so on. Neil was also chuffed to have a record entry of 16 pilots and a group of new judges to blood. It was also magic to meet up Bruce and Missus from the Kingsburgh club again.

Johan de Lange kindly accepted to call for me and I immediately felt at ease with his calm, non "instructing" style of calling and the first round was completed with some relief despite a hiccup on the roll and completely blowing the stall turn - something that had been anticipated. There were some useful 6's and 7's but zeros and bum scores really hurt the average, so 48% became the start average for my very first Sportsman comp. The second round was pretty more of the same and a marginal increase in average. Fred alias "FW" (not as in Fred Wittstock" ;-) was particularly sobering on the scoring and hammered my wandering out the left edge of the box.

Johan put in some good flights in Advanced and had to leave early, so Arthur Eggar stepped in to call the last round. It is ironic that the only time he bullied me in the whole flight was for the stall turn and it was my first successful stall turn. The stern "right rudder now!" was not to be argued with and worked a treat! Man, it was nice to tot up some scores with no zeros lurking on the sheet and rewarding to have a top judge score of about 62% and lowest of 52%, averaging out at 56%. Does not seem a lot but top dog Speedy and Sebart had managed 59% the first two rounds and only cracked over 60% in the last, so it is tough to break in to the 60's.

All the folk were most encouraging and friendly and I will definitely be back for more, Neil and his hard working team have really put together an excellent formula for what previously seemed an elitist discipline. I would encourage all newbies to add this to their learning curve and it was interesting see Dudley watching most of the event and will no doubt be giving it a whirl at some stage.

Apologies for the selfish personal blow by blow report , rather than the event itself, but it was very much a big first step for this glider guider in disguise....

Neil's more accurate scoring and report published here:

18 July 2011

Russ's Ziggynanda fly and braai

Luke's Flying Fish molded slope flyer

Here's hoping IE9 somehow lets me publish this update...... Russ and Michel "rustled" up a suprisingly big group of folk for Sunday's braai and fly - this as a draft run for maybe getting the Cape lads up for an inter-provincial get together in September. Even the ladies present were quite taken with the pristeen site and idylic view. There were some brand new sloper faces, including the two Riaans, Reghard and Mike. The first Riaan with the gasbag flying above his head in one of the pics and the other with the flyer missus in the pics, which will gladden Michelle Goodie's heart. Reghard's scale Fox from Cloudbase Composites was also great to see.

As twice before, I thought the conditions too iffy to even leave home but was not about to be caught out for a third time - just as well because, although scary light, there was ample lift for the lighter soarers. The new Luke/Michel "Fish" sloper (the dismantled white plane in the pics) almost made a mockery of things by tearing around as if it was e-powered - just shows to go that the clean moulded craft with amazingly well sealed hinge lines is just the ticket, from China. Sean Ollermann had a ball with the smilar e-powered Swift that was scary fast, even with motor off. The third projectile of interest was Luke's foamy with e pusher motor that went like a banshee at 750 bucks complete, barring radio gear. All these available from Luke/Michel.

Johan Moelich even flew in the area behind the cars with his new quad copter and it was magic to see Hilton and Rudi Smook at the slope. Adi was furthest travelled from Port Shepstone and Mike Smith eventually worked up the courage to enjoy a flight with the Graphite 2 metre.

Enthusiasm is infectious and the Pietermaritzburg pair of Johan and Adrian were there bright and early with a bakkie full of slopies!

Ryan Nelson's Multiplex foamy was the only casualty although it took some careful fetching to retrieve the teeny little foamy Cessna which flew pretty well with no prop for pretty much a toy.

Russ finished off a magic afternoon outing by hosting us to a braai at his home, thanks Rascal. There is now talk of every second month, which would be magic.

Johan goes e quad flight

Johan certainly got the attention of the Saturday morning e folk, along with those present at Inanda slope fly in on Sunday. Mechanically simple but electronically brilliant, this beastie flies ala heli, requiring full attention to keep perspective on which way it faces. Quite fascinating.

Retro slope from Doug Irvine

"Hi Dave,
I know you've seen this picture before but it would be interesting if you posted it on the a sloping site & see who might be able to connect. It was taken at Kloof, overlooking Westmead Pinetown, late70s early 80s.
Just curious
Well, funny enough, I do recall three from the front row, starting with Doug himself and his "Silent Squire", Tony with Amigo 2 and Peter Firbank with the Graupner Cumulus. There is a Ridge Runner also lurking in the back row. Over to Russ and any other that era Kloof golf course flyers to offer up some more names.

12 July 2011

Flying Colours

[Click on pic for full size to read text - Natal Mercury 11 July 2011]

Some decades ago, Neil Allen in the early days of his "Neils Natter" motivated how one really only has oneself to blame if whining about a lack of material or outside support for one's publication. I have always subscribed to Neil's principle in my own efforts, especially for blog writings where one finds there is always a wealth of stuff to publish.

Recent submissions have been scuppered by Vodacom Red having the blues and the cockroach Vodacom Edge being useless for net access. For this bit of history in the making though, I just had to make a special effort to publish, hot off the press!

Michel has burst on the full size aerobatics scene with a couple of wins under his belt already and Russ has been charming us all to go support Michel at the Virginia Airshow this Saturday coming, hardly a hardship.

Despite succeeding at all kinds of flight related contests, Michel, along with another RC power aerobatics exceller, Marc Wolfe, have both been moved to mention to me that they both still like to return to their roots in RC soaring, even after all the heady successes. Kind of says it all for me. ;-)

Another name that also pops out of the magazines after he trounced us Kzn'ers in Toss 2011, is Louis Genade. With these three talents plus the proven Steve Muesel and the wealth of Cape slope skills, one can only gleefully look forward to an awesome TOSS 2012 aerobatics compo. Oh ja, not to forget the magic hospitality and special vibe that goes with it all.

My job is now to bait the Highveld and Eastern Cape in to fielding teams of their own for Toss 2012. It remains to be seen if they have the stones......?

04 July 2011

Another fine day at Winston Park slope

Two canterbury Sailplanes Darts, a CS Eraser and Mike Kirby's own design wing. Those Darts really carve up the sky.

A Weasel Pro looking well used - wish I could find mine - she is still lost somewhere on the Winston slope.

Mike de Lange charging his faithful old Brainstorm. Few slopes offer the convenience of park and fly like Winston does.

A Multiplex Easy Glider waiting to get airborne.

A Stargazer, not sure who it belongs to.

More wings, I think these are Windrider Bees.

Michel was also there flying a Pete Milne designed KISS, on loan from Russell - flew it like he stole it!!

My collection, a Windrider Bat, a dream Flight Weasel Evo and a Cavazos Boomerang. The more conventional plane is Alan's CMPro Kunlun - flies beautifully.

Despite what Windguru was predicting, the actual conditions were favourable for Winston slope, so a few phone calls later and 9 or 10 pilots pitched up to the very convenient Winston Park slope for an afternoon of good flying and the usual banter and bs that goes with it. All the usual suspects were there, plus we had three pilots named Mike present which added to the confusion. Late in the afternoon the wind dropped slightly, and the air smoothed out beautifully and the lift was strong and consistent. A great day at the slope, which made the prospect of work on Monday bearable.