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