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21st World Precision Flying Championships - 2013
The daily team manager reports are added below.
The South African Precision Flying Team is taking part in the 21st World Precision Flying Championships in Bautzen, Germany.
The SA Precision Team for 2013 was selected from the contestants of a series of pre-determined rallies that were held over the last 12 months. All of the team members have flown at world competition level in the past, either as navigators, precision or rally pilots.
The participants are not sponsored, and therefore they put their heart, souls and wallets into partaking in this competition. The team consists of Frank Eckard (captain), Barry de Groot, Mary de Klerk, Hans Schwebel, Ron Stirk, Henk Koster, Thys van der Merwe, and Cally Eckard (manager).
Jacques Jacobs and Ardyyn Moolman are international judges, specializing in the landing competition aspect of the sport, and Chelsea de Klerk is a judge observer. Supporter Ursula Schwebel is a great asset, as interpreter and assistant.
This year’s competition takes place in Bautzen, Germany. Bautzen is situated East of Dresden, in what was previously the Democratic Republic of East Germany, close to the Polish and Czech borders. The airfield is an old military airfield, and the runway is 2,5km long.
The first week is spent practising, and this is very important for our team, as we do not have the practise and competition opportunities that the Europeans have. We are also disadvantaged by the fact that the European team can fly their own aeroplanes, whereas we have to hire planes from the organisers. Many of the top teams are also heavily sponsored, but it is difficult for the South African team to muster financial support.
The championship week starts with three days of the precision contests, and then a day of landing competition. The precision contest tests pilot’s navigation, observation and timing skills, while the landing competition requires the pilot to land his plane on a line.