Fast track program

Keen pilots: (l-r) Jason, Bhopelo, Simon & Tsepho on a bitterly cold & wet July 2009 day at SGC
As many of you know the SAMAA (& MGA) have actively been involved in a transformation effort for some time. Our efforts have been directed mostly at the youth and I have been lucky to be part of the training of one of our Junior Proteas on the F3J (RC Thermal Gliders launch by hand tow) team, Simon Tladi. Simon actively embraced the spirit of the transformation effort and has been taking part in many of the activities, helping others with a passion for flight to meet up with others having the same or similar interests.

Herman, Tsepho, Michelle & Jason at WHRF during July 2009
2008 was the last year that Simon qualified as a junior and this left us in a sad position were we had no active junior model glider pilot to fill his shoes on the team. Never fear! Johan Coetzer had a plan and he snuck in an agenda item at the last transformation meeting...

"Fast tracking"

Joe's idea is that the transformation program has been running for a while now and a good test of how well we have done in developing our reach into the broader public is to see if we can select and train a development pilot for the 2010 junior F3J team. By strict definition all junior pilots on the next team could easily be seen as development pilots as the definition on a junior level is persons born after 1994. So in reality we need to measure our ability to bring a black pilot into the fold.

Herman, Tsepho, & Michelle at WHRF After outlining the plan and closing the meeting there was a mission. Two pilots were selected who matched the requirements for "fast tracking", Ontiretse Bophelo Phaladi a grade 10 learner at Cornerstone College and Tsepho Molefe a learner at Leeukop. Bophelo is close to solo in the Cornerstone program under the direction of Rob Hurlin and Tsepho was introduced to the BERG club where I fly by Peter Eagle. Both seem to love flying and now the competition is on. For the first time ever there are 4 known (we have not yet had our first qualification competition) junior pilots who will likely be trying out for the 3 available spots on the junior team.

Herman & Tsepho at WHRF
It will obviously not be easy for the newcomers to advance to the standard where they can compete at a high level, and many hours of intensive practice are required which requires dedication and sacrifice from them, but don't worry - our efforts will include an element of keeping it enjoyable, isn't that what it is all about?

With all this in mind please feel free to contact me if you (or someone you know) would be interested in fast tracking for the junior F3J team in future,

Craig Goodrum

2009 National RC Soaring Championships

We are pleased to announce that the MGA have provisionally accepted the KZN offer to host the 2009 National RC Soaring Championships scheduled for 24 - 27 September 2009 at Noordberg . Entry forms & further details will be made available through the SAMAA Newsletter, MGASA & the MGA BLOG site. Should you be aware of anyone who is not "e-connected" & may be interested, please advise the MGA, via this mailing list & we will make every attempt to ensure they receive notices of this competition.

Our sincerest thanks to Simon Nelson & the various RC soaring pilots in KZN for this gracious offer.

Fly safely

Wing bagging & composites information

Some of you may have noticed that the F3X web site with the wing bagging article has been removed. This article and several others can now be found on the following web site - Useful documents relating to the “Model Aircraft Materials & Techniques” Course or go directly to the Web Site http://www.amtcompo za/ who have kindly hosted these documents (click on "Training and Seminars" to find the link to these documents).

More documents will be added, so check back once in a while.

F3J National RC Soaring Team qualifications

The following dates have been identified by the MGA for qualification rounds & the team trials for the National F3J team to France in 2010:

  • F3J Qualifier #1: 22 & 23* August 2009 (location ?GGGC?)
  • F3J Qualifier #2: 24 – 27 September 2009 (2009 National Championships te KZN/BERG)
  • F3J Team Trials: 24 & 25* October 2009 (?X-treme?)

The format of both the Qualifications & Team Trials events will be according to the CIAM 2009 F3J rules, accommodating local field conditions for safety reasons where necessary: two-man towed launches, launch lines not to exceed 150 metres at 20N force, working time of 10 minutes. The only deviation from CIAM’s 2009 F3J rules will be to allow up to 4 pilots per team, which permits 2 x towers, a pilot & a caller combination. Please refer to the FAI/CIAM website for the full set of F3J rules, and the MGA BLOG for the National Team Selection process. The second day (*Sunday) for the Q1 & Team Trails are reserve days only if needed. The top ten pilots from the qualifiers will be invited to attend the 2009 F3J Team Trials as per the defined process.

In the event that not more than 3 pilots are available to qualify for a team (Senior & Junior teams), the MGA may still consider approving a pilot who at a National Championship level in the appropriate discipline has achieved a minimum of 80% of the National Championships winner’s score.

All pilots intending to participate in Qualifier #1 are to provide their entries by 31 July 2009. To enter you must provide the following details:

  • Team (single pilots will be advised of “open” teams, but the organisers will not allocate individual pilots to these teams)
  • SAMAA number & date of expiry
  • Primary & Secondary frequency (whilst the organisers will make ever attempt to ensure that pilots remain on the same frequency during the event, for matrixing purposes they cannot guarantee that this will be the nominated primary frequency)
  • Email & telephone contact details

An entry fee of R50 per pilot will be charged for the first qualifier. Costs for the 2009 National Championships & F3J Team Trials will be announced later.

We will confirm catering at the field closer to the time.

Fly safely

2009 National Championships

Hi All

I have been asked to find out about the possible use of the BERG field near Krugersdorp for the NATS that are to be held from the 24th - 27th September. It is still in planning phase and as such I am asking all BERG and MMS members and other interested parties (new additions, beginners flying with a member there or development pilots) if there are any serious objections to closing the club for sport flying so as to facilitate holding the NATS.

Please contact me via MGASA/ Sarfly or pgeagle at mweb dot co dot za


Peter Eagle
Vice chair

2009 HTL #5 - SGC report

Unseasonal rain brought the 5th HTL event of 2009 to a unexpected early finish. However, these challenging weather conditions provided an ideal grounding for the F3J team trials to be held later in 2009.

The majority of top Gauteng RC soaring pilots were in evidence at the 5th Highveld Thermal League competition hosted at Silverton Glider Club, just east of Pretoria, South Africa. Accustomed to dry winters, the competition ended before the 6 rounds scheduled could be completed due to rain & concerns about safety (visibility & electronic equipment were adversely affected ). This was most unusual, as the last 4-5 years of HTL have only been interrupted by inclement weather once before (MMS, 2006 - I think). However, based on the MGA's guidelines regarding scoring of competitions that are not completed, it was still possible to enter the scores of fully completed rounds (more than 67% of flights had been completed).

The pilots briefing started a "little" later than advertised - unforeseen heavy traffic caused a number of late arrivals. However, once it started, our esteemed CD, the honorable Mr Gordon Brown made sure we stuck to the programme like clockwork. Just for the record, our Mr Brown was rather more popular on the field than that other chap from No. 10 Downing Street. He had not flown RC for some time, so to assist, a jury of pilots was nominated & accepted to deal with any protests - the good spirit of HTL (and non-refundable R250 protest fee) eliminated any potentially contentious incidents.

Keeping us fed & watered, & dry, the inimitable Martie's Travelling Diner was a welcome respite from the rigors (?) of RC Soaring. She had breakfast ready before the pilots briefing, lunch was served after round 3, and snacks/drinks were available the entire day. Most welcome was her gazebo during the numerous rain storms - although it was rather standing room only. We were also pleasently surprised by a number of spectators who just "came to see" our RC Soaring competition.

Most exiting is that we had 2 development pilots attending the HTL for the first time. Tsepo, who must still Solo, was keen to get his hands on the sticks & under the exciting tuition of Lightning (Simon) Tladi, they were seen running around & all over the field with a Multiplex EasyGlider almost all day long! Bhopelo, who has solo'd on a power RC aircraft through the Cornerstone College development programme, was able to succesfully fly a Tsotsi (locally designed & built) 2m class glider. During one of the early rounds he hooked a thermal & soon had the glider to absolute speck height. I am sure his caller was as enthuisastic about this sterling performance, but unfortunately the dour weather put paid to any notions of extended exposure (to RC flying that is). It was also challenging for Bophelo, as this was a) the first time he had ever seen an RC glider & b) the first time he had flown Mode 1. Next time around we will try for a mode 2 Tx, with a buddy chord, to give him more freedom as the majority of instructors appear to be mode 1.

A number of Nan Model Explorer's were flying, together with usual Pike Perfect's, Nan X-Pro's & Shadow's, Supra's, & a home built (Stephane's stealth F3B), as well as the National F3B teams Ceres/Ceres Lift models. The good weather at the start of the day made for easy thermalling & landings cleary dominated the earlier scores. However, as the lift reduced & the conditions started to resemble a somewhat soggy diaper, the lighter loaded models were able to hold on for those few crucial seconds more. Big launches became essential & spot landings essential to minimise score damage. We just managed to complete the 3 slot of the 4th round when the marginal lift turned into 100% sink & it started to rain. We waited out almost 30 minutes before it cleared & then snuck in a further 2 slots of round 5. Unfortunately, slot 3 was washed out in the downpoar that started before the end of round 5 slot 2, and as this continued unabated for some time, the assembled pilots decided to call it a day, to prevent water damage to both model & person.

Round by round results are attached below.

Overall results are below - these incredibly close scores do not necessarily reveal just how tough the event was the top half of the field all within 10% of the winning score! Congratulations to "the Crig" for an outstanding result with his F3B Ceres model, pipping Paul (X-Pro/Explorer) , and Alan in 3rd (Supra/Xpro) in the open class. Special notice for Derek flying his Sagitta 600 into 6th place in Open class! Jason Weber was the first junior home.

Results not shown are Derek Marusich first RES100 & first 2M. Juanita Smith & Johan Geldenhuys were 2nd & 3rd respectfully in both these classes.

The HTL circuit will return after the August F3B World Championships & F3J Team Qualifiers.

Images courtesy of Justin Honaker, scoring by F3JScore

Fly Safely.