National Postals results for 2007

Herewith the Postal Scores for 2007.

Ranking, Club, Score
1, Durban Model Aircraft Club, 20359
2, Silverton Gliding Club, 19595
3, Midrand Model Soarers, 18183
4, Black Eagle Radio Gliders, 18143
5, Eastern Thermal Busters, 17533
6, Southern Soaring Club, 15204
7, White Hills Radio Flyers, 6499
8, Groengoud S&EFC, 6180
9, Klipriver Model Soarers, 3916
10, Travelling Mulberries MGC, 3727
11, LHGC, 2052

Ranking, Individual, Club, Total
1, A. Sneedon, DMAC, 6834
2, C. Adrian, SGC, 6814
3, P. Carnall, ETB, 6802
4, B. Conlon, DMAC, 6757
5, M. Stockton, BERG, 6746
6, D. Bird, DMAC, 6717
7, I. Theron, ETB, 6643
8, C. Goodrum, MMS, 6638
9, V. Klintworth, SGC, 6571
10, T. Potter, DMAC, 6556
11, C. Klintworth (jun), SGC, 6529
12, M. Goodrum, MMS, 6524
13, L. Brink, WHRF, 6499
14, D. Slatter, DMAC, 6232
15, M. Siebert, GSEF, 6180
16, H. Weber, ETB, 6169
17, K. Stockton, BERG, 6133
18, P. Rheeders, BERG, 6115
19, P. Boswarva, DMAC, 6016
20, W. Steffny, MMS, 5923
21, E. Shaw, BERG, 5689
22, B. Fanning, DMAC, 5616
23, J. Bruwer, SGC, 5511
24, N. Smith, DMAC, 4633
25, J. Coulson, DMAC, 4402
26, R. Goodrum, MMS, 4359
27, J. Coetzer, SGC, 4317
28, E. Valperga, SSC, 4295
29, B. Mulder, SSC, 4177
30, J. Lightfoot, SSC, 4067
31, R. Nelson, DMAC, 4025
32, D. Marusich, BERG, 4014
33, M. May, BERG, 3911
34, P. Joffe, BERG, 3905
35, H. Edmunds, TMMGC, 3727
36, S. Valperga, SSC, 3358
37, P. Munn, DMAC, 2961
38, S. Nelson, DMAC, 2217
39, D. Liebenberg, ETB, 2161
40, R. Nevin, KMS, 2044
41, I. Lessem, MMS, 1976
42, R. Henderson, DMAC, 1962
43, D. Bird, DMAC, 1957
44, P. Rheeders, BERG, 1927
45, A. Smith, BERG, 1916
46, S. Tladi, MMS, 1907
47, R. Nelson, DMAC, 1873
48, J. Nevin, KMS, 1872
49, F. Wittstock, DMAC, 1815
50, W. Tavill, SSC, 1812
51, E. Shaw, BERG, 1705
52, T. Roberts, BERG, 1542
53, L. Thomas, BERG, 1523
54, D. Denly, DMAC, 1354
55, C. McNiel, BERG, 1335
56, H. Nothnagel, BERG, 1294
57, J. Wright, DMAC, 1203
58, P. Munn, DMAC, 1114
59, H. Nothnagel, MMS, 1024
60, T. Roberts, BERG, 884
61, G. Prahm, BERG, 589

Please note the final part of the "Comments" about changes for 2008.

The MGA have sanctioned the changes I proposed.

I repeat below the justification which I sent Evan and which he posted on the MGA blog, for the benefit of any who may not have seen it ...

I have since had the idea of separating into A and B Leagues, so that the clubs which can't field four pilots can strive for the top of their own heap ...

  1. Allow only one attempt on any day of the month ---
    Clock running on first flight means committed to that day's score.

    I have had so many comments about pilots not being able to fly on the official day(s) that I started wondering about why two attempts at all? The idea is to fly the Postal! So why not allow pilots to fly when they can? But then allowing more than one attempt would make it all too easy, so only one attempt, decided when the clock is running on the first flight.

    One objection seems to be that some clubs like to make an outing of the postals, with everyone flying together. No problem --- a club is welcome to add its own rules within the framework, but the guy who can't manage the (club's) scheduled day is not prevented from flying on another day (and counting his score in the team score if it's good enough)!

    The idea is to get out there and fly the Postals --- the fewer restrictions the better!
  2. Have four pilots scores count for the Team Total. (I originally thought 'five' but ...)

    The idea behind this was ---
  • To give more members of each club the opportunity of feeling that they have contributed something
  • To try to persuade the top pilots in clubs with relatively few members to encourage and coach their less experienced pilots in order to get four (or more) pilots eligible for the Team Score. Isn't coaching one of the more important aspects of development?

Having just finalised the 2007 results, you might find the official scores of interest, (only showing the top contenders) compared to counting the top four scores (easy enough to do in retrospect) ...

(3) (4)
1 DMAC 20359 26874
2 SGC 19595 26112
3 MMS 18183 21966
4 BERG 18143 24669
5 ETB 17533 17533
6 SSC 15204 15204

Note that the only change is BERG displacing MMS from 3rd position,
but more pilots were involved in the official team results!

Does it matter that ETB, SSC and the rest are left further behind?
I don't think so --- it's the order that counts!

If it turns out that some part doesn't work, it's easy enough to reverse the change, or maybe move forward with a modification or two.
All you have to do is talk to me!

All the best for 2008 ...Cheers

2007 Highveld Thermal League - Review

The 2007 League is arguably one of the most successful RC thermal gliding leagues in South Africa. A total of 9 clubs from the Gauteng & surrounding provinces were represented with 64 pilots competing in three classes (FAI/Open, RES100, and 2M). Our congratulations go to the winners, and also to everyone who participated & enjoyed themselves in this developmental competition run by the MGA.

The post 2006 F3J World Championships review suggested that more regular competitions were required to establish a stronger thermal competition basis within South African RC pilots. To achieve this, the MGA agreed that the Highveld Thermal League (HTL) could be comprised of 12 individually scored events, each one held on the first weekend of each month. The MGA decided to continue promoting the National Postals & National Championships, so that the HTL would not supersede these, and rather incorporated these competitions as individual events as per their traditional calendar months. This resulted in 7 individual HTL competitions organized & flown, 4 individual National Postal events & the National Championships (only the thermal portion counted towards the HTL). Typically 5 – 6 rounds were flown per pilot, with normalized scores accumulated to each event’s overall score. The format of these events comprised a duration task (10 minutes for the Open class models) and then a spot landing as per the FAI "onion ring" approach (max points for a spot landing with points deducted for each metre away from this). Each events results were accumulated per pilot within the league table. For 2007, only 2 throwaways were permitted – which naturally were comprised of the 2 lowest scoring rounds flown. Most of the top pilots flew each event within the twelve months, with 86% of their approx. 70 flights flown counting towards the league results. Whilst consistent attendence & performance, the standard established also required excellence to achieve a top ranking.

With the format of the 2007 League flown, a close battle emerged throughout the year between the top 4 Open competitors. In the end, Paul Carnell consistently performed superbly well , winning 5 of the twelve individual events with his Experience Pro V-tail & became the deserved 2007 HTL champion! Within 98% of the winners score, fellow ETB club member Izak Theron showed his mettle flying his Eish! cross-tail for the greater part of the year & then last few events with a Experience-Pro cross-tail. A slim margin behind them also within 98% and a very close third position, MMS/BERG member Mark Stockton flew a combination of Eish!, Supra and Experience Pro’s during the year. Conrad Klintworth was 4th overall and first Junior, with Kurt Stockton second junior and 6th ranked pilot overall. In total 38 pilots competed in the Open class during the 2007 HTL season.

The RES100 competition started strongly with Gordon Prahm creating a virtually unassailable lead flying his Ava, but work pressure reduced his availability in the second half of the year & Alan Smith, who only began flying RES100 in the second half of the year, provided an excellent performance and achieved the class win with a relatively comfortable margin. In total, 9 pilots competed in RES100 during the 2007 HTL.

The 2M class saw 18 pilots competing, but his outright dominance flying a Sagitta, provided Derek Marusich the class win after a long sabbatical from the sport. Second place went to Heinrich Nothnagel even though he was unable to fly during the latter half of 2007.

Throughout the year, the club event was highly competitive. With the superb Goodrum / Stockton pilots providing the mainstay of MMS, the loss of their field due to massive radio interference and work pressures, resulted in a distinct drop in their club performance. ETB and SGC were consistent, with ETB showing gradual improvement of their individual pilots over the course of the year and eventually clinching the HTL club trophy with the narrowest of margins. BERG (also a dominant RC glider club) took the opportunity to take the coveted third place just ahead of SGC. In terms of individual entry clubs, WHRF took top honours in 5th position overall amongst the nine clubs represented.

Well done to the pilots & clubs – as always we trust that you enjoyed yourselves, and had fun flying in this wonderful league. The final 2007 HTL results can be found in the Yahoo Groups section: mgasa\Files\Highveld Thermal League.

Our thanks also to the various clubs that hosted the individual events. A mainstay of the HTL is the fact that each month, the competition is held at a different location, so local knowledge/advantage is nullified to some extent across the league. It is my opinion that the level of organisation at the events during 2007 was a significant step up from previous years, but still remained at the “informal” level were one or two individuals could comfortably manage proceedings. For 2008, the digital timing & “MP3” countdown was proven during 2007 and will likely be used exclusively, as this significantly reduces organisation overheads. The MGA upgraded the competition box which is rented to these events, and at present count, the costs for this upgrade have been paid for & then some.

For the first time in 2007, we started “branding” the league. A logo was produced by Charles Flee for the league & this has been applied consistently with the various club’s logo's to create a sense of League identity. Although I tried to get medals & badges produced, poor supplier commitment has resulted in two cancelled orders for 2007 & this initiative will likely stand over to 2008.

Another vital aspect that emerged during 2007 was Martie’s travelling diner. Providing boiling hot coffee in the mornings, ice cold drinks throughout the day, and freshly cooked lunches for the hungry teams created a new level of organisation & most pilots will agree that the overall quality & prices were always excellent!

To me the most important part of this league has to be the people, pilots, helpers, officials, spectators & families that endure our passion. So many times during 2007 we witnessed acts of unselfishness, and of assistance provided across competitive lines even to the detriment of those individuals providing the help. We joked, we laughed, we even occasionally shed for tear for departed models, but the support we received & provided to each other creates the essence of this league & what makes it worthwhile. From raw beginner to seasoned veteran, from wooden spoon recipients to the champions, everyone plays an equally important part in making the Highveld Thermal League so successful.

The changes that will be applied for 2008 represent only the "accumulation" format. The task rules shall remain the same: a developmental competition that is hosted by multiple clubs during the course of the year, flown as a RC thermal duration event with a duration & landing task counted towards the overall score. The only changes will be to add another event (making this a total of 8 competitions), and removing the National Postals & Championships from the table, changing this to become an exclusive league. In addition, the work commitments of individuals are recognised & three throwaways will be permitted. The only impact this has is to permit those individuals with other commitments to remain more competitive throughout the season, no-one is specifically advantaged or disadvantaged as the same rules are applied equally to all. To compare, I have setup a “what if” table where the impact of throwaways are seen against the 2007 season and then compared against the 2008 format using this year’s results. In general the greater the number of throwaways, the more emphasis is placed on individual excellence, whilst the reverse is rather towards consistent good performance. The numbers for this discussion are also available in the Yahoo! Groups section: mgasa\Files\Highveld Thermal League.

In all, I reckon we had a good time this year. We did not nedd to cancel a single event due to poor weather conditions (in fact the SA Weather Bureau even got their predictions spot on a few times), we flew lots of really great flights (we will ignore those flights that were less than wonderful), we had no noticeable safety incidents, and we encouraged new people to fly in the league. Hopefully we increased the standard of flying amongst everyone, giving the top guns the opportunity to improve their skills thorugh regular practise & providing us lesser mortals with a new standard to aspire to.
To one & all, a huge thank you.

Fly safely

2007 HTL - #7 Heidelberg "triathlon"

We finished the 2007 HTL on Sunday, 2 December 2007 with a cracker of an event. Gert Niewoudt ran the competition using that dreaded sawtooth scoring algorythm (basically flight times of even numbered minutes are rewarded, but odd numbers are severley penalised) and even managed to arrange clear weather conditions, albeit windy (but what would the triathlon be without a little wind?). The thermals flew past very quickly, with sink aplenty and few pilots maxed in the first slots. Conditions improved a little during the day, but the occasional wiff of lift was still no easy task to optimise except by the very best pilots.

The event results were based on the scores from 5 rounds (no throwaways) and the top 3 scores per team (of 4 pilots) count for each round. In the end, during the last few slots, ETB crept ahead of BERG with a consistent team performance from one of the top RC gliding clubs in SA. Not to be eclipsed, the BERG results must be viewed in context too - most of the BERG pilots were flying own-design, homebuilt or "spare part" models, so congratulations must go to them in the somewhat trying conditions. With the stiff breeze, as can be expected, the model attritition rate was a little higher then normal - Izak Theron sacrificed his almost new Xpro to what looked like wing-tip flutter on launch, and seconds later I ripped the full-flying stabs off my Nkwazi also during launch. Not to be outdone, Chris destroyed his Pike's ailerons a few slots later, but still managed to thermal somewhat before bringing it down. I have to remark that the launches the F3B pilots achieved were really exceptional; when even hardened F3J pilots gasp at their launch height - well, I think you get the picture.

Our special thanks to Cheryl Burgess for the use of her farm ("Che") & their facilities. The older kids seemed to enjoy the mountain hikes (much to the concern of their parents) and all the farm animals were an absolute treat for the younger city children. Also of note was that they specially cut the grass in the field for us, and provided the BBQ's. The MGA will send her a special letter of thanks for this.

My thanks to Gert, for CD'ing the entire day, keeping us informed of positions on a round by round basis, & then donating his CD petrol money back to the MGA for the 2008 F3J team. As always I am humbled by the nature & attitude of individuals within the HTL...

Thanks to Martie & her traveling diner - from breakfast to BBQ, she kept us fed & watered (kind of like the farm animals?).

Well done to all the pilots for attending this enjoyable event.

Position, Team, Score
1, ETB, 12024
2, Berg, 11974
3, CCIP, 11945
4, 3G, 11942
5, KALaMity, 10763
6, JAWV, 9062

Podium, Pilot, Team, Class, Individual score
1 Craig Goodrum 3G Open 4825
2 Deon Liebenberg ETB Open 4695
3 Conrad Klintworth CCIP Open 4562
4 Evan Shaw Berg Open 4559
5 Mark Stockton KALaMity Open 4227
6 Chris Adrian CCIP Open 4084
7 Anton Coetzee JAWV Open 4008
8 Paul Carnall ETB Open 3954
9 Rodney Goodrum 3G Open 3760
10 Kurt Stockton KALaMity Open 3573
11 Piet Rheeders Berg Open 3535
12 Michelle Goodrum 3G Open 3357
13 Herman Weber ETB Open 3281
14 Ian Lessim CCIP Open 3268
15 Derek Marusich Berg 2m 3033
16 Alan Smith KALaMity Open 2878
17 Peter Joffe Berg Open 2704
18 Volney Klintworth JAWV Open 2582
19 Wolfgang Steffny JAWV Open 2062
20 Johan Bruwer JAWV Open 2012
21 Peter Moore CCIP Open 1828
22 Lionel Brink KALaMity Open 1711
23 Izak Theron ETB Open 1134

As always, please fly safely

National Postals

Although not nearly as well respresented as at the AGM (but that is another matter entirely as this justifies all "national" votes at ther AGM), the decision to change the format of the National Postals has swung around with the narrowest of margins.

Although the single largest option chose no change (48%) , the majority of votes (52% in total) indicate that a change to the format would be acceptable. The biggest portion of this change (46% of the "change" votes) indicated that both a single weekend attempt & the 4 top scores for the club are acceptable.

We now hand this matter over to Master of the Postal's, Mr John Lightfoot, for actioning & updating the "rules" for 2008 to include both changes proposed.

Thank you to everyone that contributed.

John Lightfoot's Justification for proposed changes to the Postal Rules

1. Allow only one attempt on any day of the month ---
Clock running on first flight means committed to that day's score.

I have had so many comments about pilots not being able to fly on the official day(s) that I started wondering about why two attempts at all? The idea is to fly the Postal! So why not allow pilots to fly when they can? But then allowing more than one attempt would make it all too easy, so only one attempt, decided when the clock is running on the first flight.

One objection seems to be that some clubs like to make an outing of the postals, with everyone flying together. No problem --- a club is welcome to add its own rules within the framework, but the guy who can't manage the (club's) scheduled day is not prevented from flying on another day (and counting his score in the team score if it's good enough)!

The idea is to get out there and fly the Postals --- the fewer restrictions the better!

2. Have four pilots scores count for the Team Total. (I originally thought 'five' but ...)

The idea behind this was ---
(a) To give more members of each club the opportunity of feeling that they have contributed something
(b) To try to persuade the top pilots in clubs with relatively few members to encourage and coach their less experienced pilots in order to get four (or more) pilots eligible for the Team Score. Isn't coaching one of the more important aspects of development?

Having just finalised the 2007 results, you might find the official scores of interest, (only showing the top contenders) compared to counting the top four scores (easy enough to do in retrospect) ...

--CLUB---(3)--- (4)
1 DMAC 20359 26874
2 SGC 19595 26112
3 MMS 18183 21966
4 BERG 18143 24669
5 ETB 17533 17533
6 SSC 15204 15204

Note that the only change is BERG displacing MMS from 3rd position,
but more pilots were involved in the official team results!

Does it matter that ETB, SSC and the rest are left further behind?
I don't think so --- it's the order that counts!


What I can deduce from the voting so far is the dominance of the dreaded RTC.
(Resistance to Change)
What surer way is there to stifle improvement / development?

How about trying something new? Then if it is shown not to work ... change back!


In 1977, the Nats were to be run in Port Elizabeth, run jointly by SSC and PEMAC, and we thought of trying a novel approach --- we had tried it out, circulated the idea and the rules, and invited other clubs to try it out and offer their input.

You can guess --- absolute zero response!

After several more attempts without a single word in reply, we said ---
"Okay, we're going to try it!"
Again, you can guess --- Howls of protest, including "It'll never work!" ...
"You can't do this!" ... and, from the most prominent gliding club at the time
"If you try this, we'll come down there and wreck the event!!!"
(Can you believe that attitude? Absolute determination to get their own way.)

As usual, the "Power of Negative Thinking" prevailed and the old rules were used.

And the idea we wanted to try?
Flying "man-on-man" ... almost identical to the "slot" system introduced for World Championship F3B events only a couple of years later and then for F3J.
We actually developed the idea from the UK rules which became F3J.

2007 HTL #7 - Heidelberg Triathlon

Che's Farm just southeast of Heidelberg. GPS Coordinates 26 33'58.47" S 28 25'17.10" E.

From Johanneburg get onto the N3 to Durban. Proceed just past Heidelberg and take the Heidelberg South/Standerton R23 offramp. Turn left at the offramp and after about 3km turn left at the Rensburg sign. The field is on the left hand side of the road.

The Field
The field is flat with a very slight east to west gradient and used for growing grass for fodder. There is a small range of hills north of the proposed flat field probably reachable by only the bravest of pilots. It will be downwind if the wind blows in from the south (normally only when cold fronts pass through). The grass length is perfect now but may be a bit long by the 2nd of December. I will inspect the field on the weekend 17/18 November and if necessary arrange a 250m square to be cut in the middle of the field.

The Farm
Owned by Cheryl Burgess, the farm is used for small scale cattle and sheep farming. It has a Montessori nursery school for about 15 kids and is also an orphanage. It has stabling facilities and mostly friendly farm animals such as bantams, peacocks, pigs (house pet is Nellie Naidoo, the miniature pot belly pig from Natal). Cutest presently is the baby lamb with the jersey. Lots of other baby animals at the moment as well.

Ablution facilities are available at the stables (probably about 200 meter walk from the flying field). The braai can either take place on the flying field or we can all move up to the stable area - probably best on the flying field so the guys that couldn't get enough can fly while we braai. Cheryl will try and arrange short horse rides for adults but at least provide shetland pony rides for the smaller kids. The area is very scenic and there are lovely short walks in the surrounding fields. Longer walks can be taken around the back of the farm or up the hill. The farmyard can be visited by the kids and the pet animals just hang around the house area of the farm. The farm is rich in history. There are remnants of a boer war lookout camp on the top of the hill and the many caves on the side of the hill dug out by gold miners can safely be explored (torches required).

The Contest
Format, scoring etc. all by Gert Niewoudt. Please forward your 4 x person team details to Gert asap.

Braai packs will be provided but we have to know the number of adults & children to cater for the braai packs properly – you can send this information to me, or preferably directly to Martie before Thursday, 29 November 2007

Fly safely

MGA meeting minutes for Sep 2007 (abridged)

Financial (Volney Klintworth)

Balance b/f previous meeting 4th June 2007 3,295.48
Income for the year 700.15
Expenditure 1,145.95
Closing balance carried forward 2,849.68

Noted that SAMAA R 5,000 SIG grant for 2007 has not been received. This has been raised to the attention of SAMAA.

The F3B worlds team has confirmed receipt of the SAMAA R 15,000 team grant.

F3J (Mark Stockton)

The F3J team trials were held and the results ratified:
  1. Craig Goodrum
  2. Chris Adrian
  3. Michelle Goodrum
  4. Mark Stockton
  5. Paul Carnall
  6. Deon Liebenberg
  7. Ian Lessem

The team must elect a manager; who will liaise with Mark. It was noted that the team manager cannot also be a towman. However the junior team manager can be a towman for the senior team. It was further noted that the junior team needs a manager who will be able to take care of the special needs of younger team members.

Thanks are due to Evan for acting as CD and Lionel who handled the scoring. Other helpers who assisted with timing were: Tony Roberts, Peter Joffe, Piet Rheeders, Anthea Shaw, Marcella van Wyk, Gordon Prahm and Martjie de Klerk.

F3B (Evan Shaw)

An A and B F3B league is planned for next year; with the A league catering for the present(serious) F3B competitors and the B league structured to encourage the participation of club pilots who wish to fly for fun and do not feel quite ready to take out the Goodies etc just yet.
The 21st October has been allocated as the F3B round zero competition date to establish handicaps for next year.

The league events will consist of only speed and distance tasks, as thermal duration is catered for in the Highveld Thermal League.

Slope Soaring (Izak Theron)

There was an incident of reckless & negligent behaviour (drinking & flying) reported at the Volksrust slope. As Volksrust is not a club site it is not controlled by any specific club. The MGA raised the incident to the club represented by the individual who have taken appropriate disciplinary action.

Postals (John Lightfoot)

The proposals for rule alterations received from John Lightfoot were discussed. It was noted, however, that at the MGA annual general meeting it was decided not to change the rules. Concern was raised by John that the AGM was not representative& requested that the MGA use the BLOG poll to further elicit response.

Cross country (Paul Carnell)

A cross country competition was proposed by BERG. Noted that SAMAA now require a formal request to have the course route approved. The BERG event will have to be rescheduled for next year to accomodate this.

Achievement badges (Evan Shaw)

Badges to be forwarded to the clubs whose members applied for retrospective "SOLO" recognition.

Calendar (Evan Shaw)

Evan proposed a calendar for 2008; which is still to be finalised through open forum. It was noted that Saturday competitions are not as popular as Sunday events. ALso noted that events of national interest should attempt to accomodate school holidays.


Articles are required from MGA members. There are numerous channels catering for RC glider pilots:
  • South Easter
  • Glider Gumph
  • SAMAA News
  • MGA Blog

World Air Games

The next World Air games will be held in Turkey during 2009. Amongst many types of flying, both full size and models, will be an event for hand launched gliders flying to the F6d rules. We have sufficient information available to set about nominating names for the event.

There must be a national competition and scores sent to F.I.A.; who will decide which pilots to invite from all the countries around the world. We should have between two and four events to be flown in 2008 to F6d rules. Dates must be sent to FIA by 15th November 2007. It was suggested that four events be flown to allow for greater consistency in scoring. The dates are to be arranged into the 2008 calendar. F3k and F6d events are to be combined (F6d being the last two rounds of F3k), followed by a fly-off.

An MGA representative to CIAM is needed. Mark Stockton was unanimously appointed. His name was sent to Bob Skinner.

National Postals

With the National Postals for the final quarter for 2007 almost finished, we are looking forward to next year's league. Master of the league, John Lightfoot, has presented a couple of suggestions that were raised at the AGM, but as this probably did not reach a sufficiently broad audience for comment/decision they are presented again:
  • The RC pilot has only one attempt at the Postals during the quarterly Postal's "month", but the pilot can nominate to compete on any weekend during this “month”
  • The Club score to be increased to include the top 4 competing pilots
Please vote on these options on the online voting section of the MGA BLOG.

Fly safely

Notice of HTL #7 - Heidelberg Triathlon

Sharpen your wingtips, coil the winch lines & charge batteries for the final 2007 HTL event at Heidelberg on 2 December 2007 (the date was changed to Dec to accomodate the 94.7 cyle race road closures). Enter into the unchartered as we fly virgin air, exploring unknown thermals at this field for the first time. The SA F3J teams will be present, presumably to wip the rest of us mere mortals into submission - truely a challenge to one & all to take up the gauntlet? Following the Q4 Postals the Open scores are still sooooo close, but it looks like RES100 & 2M are all sewn up - perhaps we can still see an upset? Rumour has it that the banana boys may be sending a scouting mission to see what makes the Highveld flyers tick?

Adult & kids braai packs will be available, if you let us know in advance how many will be attending, making this a full family day, which will also include the annual HTL prize giving.

The format will be 4 person teams, normalised within a team/frequency matrix. The sawtooth algorythm will be used to wreak havoc on your score expectations as 2M, RES100 and Open all compete for the same team scores as per their own class requirements. Tactics & skill will be required round by round as the emphasis of the Triathlon is on team participation rather than the individual's excellence.

I sincerely believe this promises to be one of the most exciting HTL events of the year & I'd like to thank everyone in advance for their ongoing support of this great RC gliding competition.

Fly safely

The New Journal of RC Glider Gumph

Less than 24 hours after its release & 61 downloads have already been made of Issue #1 - November 2007.
The Tom Kielsing article is worth the "world wide wait" for this download alone! Tom is an incredible pilot, and although he appears as a quite individual, he obviously is extremely determined and has the ability to share his wealth of knowledge with us lesser mortals.
Mark has once again succeeded in covering the world with articles from Turkey, UK & the US enhancing the local flavour for thermal RC gliding. Well done to Mark for this publication, which I know is going to become much sought after in future.

Glider Gumph - Issue 1 available

What a wonderful month it is. Not only did the right driver snatch the F1 title away from two squabling bratt's (from a former McLaren supporter and now F1 agnostic), the Boks also brought it home and made us all proud that our blood is green. Now Issue 1 of The New Journal of RC Glider Gumph is available a week early.

However let me caution this download is not for the feint hearted (or those on dial-up) as it is a whopping 13MB. Enjoy.


The pilots briefing started just after 08h15, with the request for strict application of F3J rules. Our electronic timing system was provided by Mark & the MGA's PA , whilst scoring was performed using the now de-facto F3Jscore software.

The first slot started after 08h30 and without any breaks throughout the day we finished the first 5 preliminary rounds around 12h30. These scores were tallied & checked, with the top 30% of pilots identified for the 15 minute "winner takes-all" fly-off at 13h00. The class leaders after the first 5 rounds were overtaken by Mark Stockton in a nail biting finish, flying his Xperience-Pro x-tail, and followed by Paul Carnall into 2nd place with an X-pro v-tail. Third place in the finals, and first Junior, Kurt Stockton, was a flying his dependable Eish!. Chris Adrian was flying his Pike Superior with aplomb, but a quick relaunch at the start saw his hopes of a win dashed.

The RES100 class was flown by sole pilto Alan Smith, whilst 3 pilots competed in 2M but Derek Marusich stamped his authority on this class.

The amazing weather conditions provided a suitable challenge to everyone. The heavy rains from the previous week & particularly the storms the night before created crystal clear air. During the second round, a large bank of cloud began approaching from the East due to the high humidity, but we were fortunate that this did not rain and we enjoyed relative sunshine for the entire event. Many small thermals breezed past the field, pushed along by the wind, but the long trips downwind had many people scratching up front for ridge lift & particularly the RES100 and 2m class suffered being unable to penetrate as well as the larger FAI class models.

The rain softened ground encouraged spearing amongst the pilots, and we likely recorded the highest number of spot landings in an event of this nature!

Open class results
Pilot; Club; Preliminary; (Fly-off)
Mark Stockton; BERG; 4,769; (1,000 )
Paul Carnall; ETB; 4,983 ; (997)
Kurt Stockton; BERG; 4,273; (988)
Chris Adrian; SGC; 4,701; (958)
Herman Weber; ETB; 4,880; (895)
Craig Baker; ETB; 4,287; (719)
Piet Rheeders; BERG; 4,204, (DNF)
Izak Theron; ETB; 4,769; (DNF)
Dion Liebenberg; ETB; 4,677; (DNF)
Lionel Brink; MMS; 4,099
Ian Lessem; MMS; 4,045
Johan Bruwer; SGC; 4,010
Joe Coetzer; SGC; 3,987
Jason Weber; ETB; 3,905
Stephen Liebenberg; ETB; 3,521
Evan Shaw; BERG; 2,624

Note that Dion & Izak qualified for the fly-off, but in true HTL spirit they instead elected to time & call for their team-mates who had also qualified for the fly-off.

RES100 class
Alan Smith; MMS; 2,509

2 Metre class
Derek Marusich; BERG; 3,354
Johan Bruwer; SGC; 2,682
Robert Davies; BERG; 1,686

Round by Round results and scores are available from the F3J BLOG.

The next event is the Triathlon which this year will be hosted near Heidelberg and promises to be an interesting day for pilots & their families.
Fly safely.

2008 F3J Team - senior pilots selected

The 2008 team trial's were flown at the Xtreme RC Academy field, north of Pretoria on Saturday 15 September 2007. The results:
  Pilot          Berg F3J Nats Trials Overall 
1.Craig Goodrum 5,000 4,724 4,986 4,993

2.Conrad Klintworth 4,953 4,990 4,980 4,985

3.Chris Adrian 4,950 4,995 4,946 4,971
4.Michelle Goodrum 4,934 4,949 4,967 4,958
5.Mark Stockton 4,834 4,791 4,911 4,833
6.Paul Carnell 4,974 4,981 4,621 4,801
7.Dion Liebenberg 4,410 4,787 4,332 4,559
8.Ian Lessem 3,923 4,640 4,131 4,386
Following independent reviews of the above results and according to
the process published
previously, the following Senior pilots have
been selected by the MGA to represent
South Africa in Turkey at the
6th F3F World Championships in 2008:
  • Craig Goodrum
  • Chris Adrian
  • Michelle Goodrum
  • Mark Stockton (Reserve)

Our congratulations to these pilots; we wish them all well in their preperations for next year. The selection of the team managers (Senior & Junior) as well as the tow-men will follow in due course.

Fly safely,

Lionel Brink

MGA Chairperson

Feedback from SIG Chair meeting held at 4 September 2007

Other than awesome competitions & events, another of the MGA's responsibilities is representing RC Gliding within SAMAA. The forum for this is the SIG Chair meeting which is held every two months & is generally attended by all SIGs. If nothing else, I have learnt that the MGA is not so unique - all the SIGs are grappling with very similar challenges.

The following is a summary of the SIG Chair meeting, with the principle focus on our RC gliding. These are my views (& occasionally opinions), although I do try to limit this to the facts only.

  • A copy of the FAI F3B/J Sporting Code, MGA rules & team selection process, was handed over to SAMAA for the purpose of updating the Manual of Procedures.
  • Feedback from numerous World Championships attended by SA teams were discussed. In general all teams represented SA with considerable pride, but winning still eludes us & a common factor appears to be vastly differing climatic conditions. SAMAA have requested team manager reports for the F3B (and other WC teams), as well as the request for nominatioin of AeroClub awards & colours.
  • The MGA will be discussing the draft 2008 calendar at the meeting scheduled for 17 Sep 2007. The draft calendar is available as link through the MGA BLOG for comment purposes.
  • Nominations for CIAM sub-committees was requested for 15 Oct. This to be discussed at the next MGA meeting.
  • It is noted that SAMAA's new IT system will be available shortly. Clubs & SIGs may be able to access this for a monthly fee. I understood that SAMAA members would be able to access this for free via the web?
  • Considerable (!) discussion was raised regarding the matter of member discipline following the drinking & flying incident at Tamatieberg on 12 August 2007. It is important to note that the matter was not considered to be specific to RC gliding nor the MGA, as parallels were considered with all RC disciplines, and similarly with clubs. I noted that very few SIG’s have disciplinary codes, and that this governance matter would be addressed by the SIG’s separately. It was agreed that the SIG cannot be responsible for a flying site, and especially not slope sites that are also not owned/leased by RC flying clubs, irrespective of who registered the site with SAMAA . It was agreed that it was not possible for the SIG to control individuals during informal flying, IMHO the MGA instructions guiidelines & proficiency system provides sufficient guidance to mature individuals who do wish to fly RC gliders safely. It was generally agreed that all sites (including slopes) should be registered with SAMAA to indicate potential RC flying activities - the MGA will forward a list of commonly used slope sites to SAMAA for this purpose. It was also requested that any club/group/individual wishing to use a slope, send a notice to SAMAA in advance, noting the contact person, site & dates – I understood that this was necessary for insurance purposes, but (IMHO) as with all RC insurance matters this is such a grey area what is said today changes 100 times before tomorrow! It was noted that the group requesting this will be responsible for safety & discipline at the slope during this period. Further, all SAMAA members were requested to keep an eye out for unsafe practices & it was reiterated that any SAMAA member is permitted (and expected) to stop such activities if they witness them. A formal report of the drinking incident was forwarded to the club concerned, as well as to SAMAA’s safety & disciplinary committees. The MGA will also consider action at its next meeting.

Thermal Festival – HTL #5 at SGC, September 2007

What a whopper Sunday 9 September 2007 turned out to be. The 5th HTL event for the year turned out to be an amazing flying day, SGC’s superb field East of Pretoria was made even more enjoyable with huge African thermals & a light breeze, the competitors & spectators were wonderful & supportive, and just about everyone had a whole lot of fun.

Starting at 09h00’sh, and run to F3J rules from winch launches the event was well attended by RC glider pilots from all over Gauteng. The predicted wind direction & strength was spot on (well done to the Weather Service) with thermals initially travelling NW to SE, but swinging around at lunchtime from SW to NE. Feeders formed by the hot conditions (over 30 degrees Celsius) over the farmlands created strong thermals, which generally sprawled across the field. Those that brought shade (gazebo’s & umbrella’s) were inundated with new friends as most sought solace from the first signs of our hot South African summer (even though it was officially one of the first days of Spring).

The glorious field allowed for more than enough space for all the teams (3 person teams, “matrixed” for the man-on-man event) who were spread evenly at clearly marked 15 metre intervals, thanks to the efficient setup by the SGC hosts. The turnaround spots were also clearly marked 150 metres away. The thermal activity prompted some very aggressive launching – 2 second launches were not uncommon, although most elected for hard 4-7 seconds to push high up into the lift layer. The trees did create a challenge for some of the pilots, as these were just past 100m from the landing zone – which really messed around with the pilots' depth perception. I counted at least 3 models being struck out of the sky by huge trees jumping into their path. Landings were equally aggressive – most electing for huge box like approaches permitted by the large field & smooth wind conditions, slowly dragging in until the very last moment before centering above the spot.

I created some confusion at the end – last minute changes to the flight order required some “behind the scenes” alterations to the scoring program, and naturally differences between our standard approach to scoring & the software, after such a loooong & intense day, created some challenges with the provisional scores. Prize-giving was based on these results after very generous donations from various LHS’s in the area. It is interesting that very few LHS’s actually stock the highly competitive competition RC gliders, yet by far the vast majority of pilots source components & others aspects of the hobby from the LHS, so the donations were not without some marketing merit.

The event again used the electronic timing system – this time with two speakers set “back-to-back” from the middle of the field. This really reduces the need for a dedicated time keeper, but electronic issues just after round 4 resulted in one of the speakers being shutdown. CD for the day, Volney, held the pilots briefing around 09h00 & we were quickly set into the automated matrix thereafter. No breaks for lunch, had the “spare” pilot running for food to the superb Martie & Derek travelling diner between slots. With the heat of the day, they sold out all their liquid refreshments around 15h30, which as always were ice cold.

The only issue of the day saw Peter Eagle & Peter Joffe attempting to disprove one of the basic laws of physics: two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Peter E. was bleeding off speed after a massive thermal took him to spec height, whilst Peter J. was ambling along to line up for the landing. At approx 100 metres, these two connected, with Peter J’s Shongololo wing cut in half, & Peter E’s Eagle breaking the main spar & ripping one of the Shongololo ’s servo’s & harness neatly around its remaining structure. The Shongololo unceremoniously split apart & spun into the ground, whilst the Eagle was landed somewhat hastily with the harness dangling from a huge gap in the leading edge.

I noted that just about everyone had camera’s & I reckon a huge amount of photographs were taken on the day – please forward them to me for the upcoming RCSD article.

Open class

  1. Anton Coetzee (MMS) 4,978

  2. Michelle Goodrum (MMS) 4,976

  3. Conrad Klintworth - Jnr (SGC) 4,970

  4. Joe Coetzer (SGC) 4,969

  5. John Monk (SGC) 4,958

  6. Volney Klintworth (SGC) 4,932

  7. Kurt Stockton - Jnr (BERG) 4,928

  8. Craig Baker (SGC) 4,915

  9. Herman Weber (ETB) 4,874

  10. Izak Theron (ETB) 4,832

  11. Lionel Brink (MMS) 4,823

  12. Evan Shaw (BERG) 4,802

  13. Mark Stockton (BERG) 4,788

  14. Hugh Edmunds (TMMGC) 4,648

  15. Ian Lessem (MMS) 4,598

  16. Johan Bruwer (SGC) 4,509

  17. Derek Marusich (BERG) 4,283

  18. Piet Rheeders (BERG) 4,278

  19. Peter Eagle (MMS) 4,136

  20. Peter Joffe (BERG) 4,123

  21. Peter Moore (ETB) 3,045

  22. Wolfgang Steffny (MMS) 917

Anton’s first place in the Open class, sees him return to competitive RC gliding with a vengeance! Michelle turned in yet another classy performance which bodes well for her upcoming F3J team trials. Yet again, young Conrad showed the moldie oldies how to fly with only 8 points separating him from first place. Conrad also had some of the highest scoring flights of the day with consistent 9:53 times & spot landings. Wolfgang's wooden spoon the result of a close encounter with a tree during the second round.

RES100 class

  1. Alan Smith (MMS) 3,718

Alan was the sole pilot in RES100, and interesting also flew in the 2M class to add some spice to his event

2M class

  1. Derek Marusich (BERG) 3,174

  2. Robert Davies (MMS) 3,021

  3. Rudi King (SGC) 2,956

  4. Allen de Klerk (SGC) 2,831

  5. Alan Smith (MMS) 2,466

  6. Daniel Ralefeta (SGC) 2,323

The 2m class saw and exciting tussle between Robert & Rudi, with Derek eventually snatching the win with some precision landings. Notably this was a first competitive event for Robert, Allen & Daniel – well done & we trust to see you on the circuit in the near future?

Club results

The club results are calculated from the top 3 scores per club, open class

  1. SGC 14,914

  2. MMS 14,747

  3. BERG 14,556

  4. ETB 10,572

  5. WHRF 4,832

  6. TMMGC 4,598

The clubs saw a massively consistent SGC (Conrad, Joe, John) dominate 3rd through 6th positions, taking away victory from the mighty MMS with their 1st & 2nd,(Anton, Michelle) but only a 11th from me. BERG’s assault was lead by Kurt (another junior – hmmm?), with Evan & Mark making up a very closely fought top 3. ETB performed equally well – with a credible score from Herman, Izak & Peter Moore.

The next HTL is scheduled for 7 October, at the WHRF field, just west of Centurion. The format will also be a 09h00 briefing, F3J from winch launch, with 5 rounds (all rounds to count) and a fly-off for the top 33%. Catering by Martie, timekeeping by Euro-voice. See you there.

Announcing The New Journal of R.C. Glider Gumph

The very first issue of the MGA magazine is available for download. Issue 0 is a 5.3MB PDF file. A very limited number of printed copies will be available at the HTL on Sunday.


Notice of Highveld Thermal League competition - 2 Sep 2007 at SGC

The next Highveld Thermal League event is scheduled for 2 September at Silverton Gliding Club, East of Pretoria. The league is certainly being hotly contested this year, and the monthly events have placed an emphasis on consistent competitive form. SGC’s event will be based on a winch launched format flown to F3J rules - 10 min working time (inclusive) and spot landings. Two more classes – RES100 & 2M will also be competing side by side with the sleek Open ships, but there tasks are reduced to 8 min & 6 min tasks to account for the limitations of these models. 3 person teams & with matrixed (man-on-man) type racing always promises to be exciting – the 80% separation for all pilots at the recent ETB F3J event attests to just how close the standard of flying is at this time.

Very generous LHS’s are sponsoring the event Open (sponsored by Frasers), RES100 (Jix sponsored), 2m and juniors (Formula 1 sponsored). On behalf of the HTL pilots & MGA, I’d like to thank our sponsors for showing their support of the hobby.

Those flying open and weary about everyone launching and landing the same time are able to wait a few seconds before launching and land a little earlier. This is a small penalty if it is an issue and the F3J types are able to get in quality practice.

Pilots briefing 09:00 for a start at 09:30. If all goes well we will have completed 6 x 3 slot rounds by 14:00 when we will have lunch whilst the scores are finalised. Hopefully everyone away by 15:00.

Costs are R50 including a beef burger or chicken burger and cooldrink (entries to specify).

F3J - ETB provisional feedback

The Eastern Thermal Busters (ETB) glider club hosted a very successful F3J event on 19 August 2007, at their “north” field just outside of Benoni, South Africa. The event was flown with a mix of towed & also winch launched (150m turnaround) to otherwise F3J rules. The time keeping was managed electronically by means of a digitally recorded “preparation” & “working” times played over a field PA system. This worked extremely well, and was easily interrupted for lunch & a sudden mass of line breaks. The F3J score program was used again, producing the original flight matrix & also the provisional scores. Of course, we had to have a re-flight, but Mark was able to figure out the reverse polish notation employed by the program for this matter & we had the provisional results very soon after the final round was flown. Once audited, the final scores will be published on the F3J Blog.

The conditions started off as wonderful soaring on the post winter (very) dry & dusty field – with huge thermals encamped over the field, but after the glorious first round, the wind sprang up & the thermals became slightly more elusive. Catching a sniff upwind & chasing this downwind to spec distance was the order of the day for most. The provisional ranking attests to these challenging conditions with even some of the top flyers battling to achieve their usual form. The 2008 F3J senior team qualifiers are starting to look as if they are going to be a real humdinger, with probably the most competitive field in many years all with relatively similar opportunities for team positions. Also important was that Ryan Nelson managed to achieve 89% of the top score, which permits him to qualify for the reserve position of the 2008 F3J Junior team – but this is pending the outcome of any other juniors participating in the remaining scheduled F3J events as per the extended dealing published recently. Simon Nelson (Ryan’s dad) commented that they had probably learnt more in one day than in a lifetime of flying – many thanks to Craig Goodrum & Ian Lessem for assisting. Well flown to all!

Catering was most welcome from Martie & her travelling diner – cold drinks were cold, hot beverages hot, and the food was great! Paul “spoons” Carnall did well – with the most gentlemanly call I have ever heard from a CD during a competition just after round 3; “would it be possible to break for lunch, everyone?”.

Finally, what would F3J be without the towmen? It was simply amazing to watch towmen (some of whom were only flying from winches) running across the field to assist other the teams this strenuous activity. Well done for this amazing sense of team spirit & camaraderie.

F3J event: ETB North field, 19 August 2007

The first Q3 F3J event will be held on Sunday, 19 August 2007, at ETB's "North" Field - just north of Boksburg. The entry includes 20 pilots from the Highveld & KZN areas, as well as the current F3J National champion & most of the qualifying pilots for the 2008 F3J World Championship. This is an ideal field for RC thermal soaring - it is large & generally flat as far as the eye can see. Any obstructions are a safe distance from the field. The field was recently used to host the F3B clinics.

This event will permit winch launches, but those wishing to qualify for the junior team Reserve position & also those wishing to practice for the upcoming senior team trials must/will be opting for fast & powerful towed launches. The competition will be scored using the international F3J Score programme, which has been used very successfuly for similar events in the past. Time keeping will likely be automated too, as the pre-matrixed event allows for very tight control to be maintained.

Safety is always a paramount concern during these events & all visitors are requested to stay within the marked flight line & landing corridor. All vehicles are to be parked alongside the field. So far the weather predictions (SAW!) are very promising, warm with clear skies for the weekend - all indicate ideal soaring conditions. Safe flying!

F3J Junior Team reserve - selection period extended

The 2008 F3J Junior Team selection process was approved & published at the start of 2007. In July 2007, 3 junior RC glider pilots (Conrad Klintworth, Simon Tladi, & Kurt Stockton) achieved the qualifying criteria and were selected to represent SA at the 2008 F3J World Championship in Turkey. At this time no other juniors achieved the necessary qualification level, and the position of reserve pilot is still available.

Since F3J as a team event, it is important that a reserve be available for the F3J team should one of the selected members not be able to fulfil their team obligations. The MGA have extended the F3J Junior Team selection period and will consider the results of any junior RC glider pilot that competes in the remaining 2007 F3J events sanctioned on the 2007 MGA calendar for the position of (non-travelling) reserve. The selection will be announced in January 2008 by the MGA.

To ensure consistency with the existing selection process, the following criteria are applicable:

  • The 2008 F3J Junior Team qualification criteria must be fulfilled (including: the Junior RC Glider Pilot must comply with the FAI F3J rules, a minimum of 80% of the winning score of the event must be achieved, the pilot must be a SAMAA member in good standing, and the pilot may not be older than 18 years on 1 January 2008)
  • The single best score achieved across the events will determine the selection of the Junior Team Reserve
  • The positions of the selected F3J junior team pilots as published in the minutes of the 2007 MGA AGM are not affected by this process, and these pilots are permitted to participate in any of the remaining F3J events in 2007
  • National colours can only be requested for those individuals who represent SA during the respective World Championship

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the MGA regarding this matter.


The MGA BLOG is intended to provide the MGA with a mechanism for communicating with anyone interested in RC Gliding (Soaring) in South Africa. As the designated Special Interest Group (SIG) representing gliding in SA, the MGA is responsible for:
  • representing the interests of all RC glider pilots within SAMAA (the SA RC governing body)
  • providing a structure in which SA RC glider pilots can compete (locally & internationally)
  • generating interest in RC gliding in South Africa (including thermal, slope & electric assisted)
We intend to expand the MGA BLOG to provide a reference site & document archive. The MGA BLOG will be used to host opinion polls for matters concerning the national group of RC glider pilots. We start the BLOG with the question about F3J being a team sport & recognising each team members contribution. Our next poll will be addressed at revising the National Postals approach - we endeavour to ensure that sufficient time is allowed for discussion & decion making.

We would like to thank you for taking the time to look at our BLOG & welcome suggestions for improvement.

New Blog

Welcome to the new MGA Blog where we hope to keep all Model Glider Pilots in South Africa informed as to what is going on with all gliding matters.

Minutes of MGA meetings, feedback, reports, rules, as a matter of fact all MGA matters will be posted here and we encourage your views, so please leave comments and don't forget to leave your name.

One of the first things we have done is started a Poll on the F3J Tow Men issue. It will run for a month so please vote.

The MGA Calendar is available at the link on the right. Click on the year you are interested in to view!

Save this link to your favorites and check back regularly. There will always be something new.

Until later!