Grand Central Fun Rally - 4 September 2010

By Cally Eckard
Grand Central, with its olde-worlde air and historic significance was a perfect location for a rally designed to fly over some of our rich and famous locations. From Nelson Mandela Bridge to Soccer City, over luscious golf courses, and from townships of Soweto to Sandton City, the teams thoroughly enjoyed the sights of Jo'burg while also concentrating on timing, navigation and safety.

For the first time, we held a briefing on the Wednesday evening before the rally. Most of the pilots attended, and many of them achieved really good results. This briefing was really helpful, as maps and instructions were handed out, and we all “flew” the route together on Google Earth, finding most of the photographs, and identifying features which helped the teams to fly the route more accurately during the rally.

The fifteen teams included two helicopters, which were of great interest to everyone, spawning arguments over whether rally flying in a helicopter would be an advantage or not.

Praise must go to Superior Pilots Services Flying Club who hosted the event, and to African Outdoor Group, the main sponsors. Frank and Cally Eckard planned the route, and Mary de Klerk helped to organise the event on the day.

First-time rallyers Ernst Wolfaart and Jean-Pierre Rousseau won first prize of two nights at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa. Stephan du Plooy and Petrus van Graan won gift vouchers for Pooley’s Flight Equipment. Third place went to more experienced rally team of Esmond Erasmus and Johan Goosen. The Spot Landing Competition was won by the 3-man team of Dave Keijer, Ryno Visser and Ruan Visser.

Full results are attached.

The fun rally program was started in 2006 to try to attract more pilots to the sport. Many pilots are intimidated by the idea of rally flying, envisioning the flying version of Sarel van der Merwe doing handbrake turns with dust flying over the enthralled crowds. This is far from reality. Rally flying was designed to promote flying safety, and every effort is made to enforce safety first at all times. The slower a plane can fly the better, and there is plenty of time to navigate and find photographs. Pilots are encouraged and taught how to fly with “heads out the cockpit” instead of using navigational equipment. We give the teams a lot of time before they take off to ask questions, and we take each team through navigational tips and safety briefings. The aim of rally is to HAVE FUN, and it is not intended to intimidate or overwhelm pilots. Once a team excels at the Fun Rally level we then encourage them to try the Open Class, and we continue to nurture and train these teams right through their sporting careers.

2010 Grand Central Challenge - First Position2010 Grand Central Challenge - First Position 2010 Grand Central Challenge - Second Position2010 Grand Central Challenge - Second Position 2010 Grand Central Challenge - Third Position2010 Grand Central Challenge - Third Position
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Grand Central Fun Rally - Full results22 KB