For a third year running, the Black Eagle PSS Festival was once more
hosted by Two Oceans Slope Soarers at the Chapmans Peak site.
With a field of 23 entries, all signed up and paid up, we were once again hopeful that
mother nature would bless the event with stunning wind as this year we were really intent on hosting a festival of flight, from the humble Combat Class right through to the Expert Class.
There were to be two scratch built entries in the Expert Class and for these beasts to fly
we would require some sort of decent wind to say the least.
Roll on the Saturday morning of the 23rd June and light wind with clouds started the day out,
but as the wind increased the clouds cleared and the day turned peachy. With Jeff Steffen as Competition Director, Bill Dewey as the flight line and safety officer we were all set to go!There are 4 classes in total should one want to have a competitive edge to the format other than a fly in festival. Combat Class is designed around getting anything of foam and correx on the table and trying to get as close as possible to the real thing. The next is Sportsman’s Light class for planes under and around the 20 ounce wing loading, hence lighter scale kit planes. The next is the Sportsman’s Heavy class, for those that have a 35 ounce wing loading and require just that bit more of a puff to stay in the air. The final class is the Expert Class. Designed around stimulating scratch building as part of gliding, we have limited this class to only scratch built aircraft of any size and of PSS nature. All this is intended to inspire and nurture scratch building well into the future, and seems to be doing just that, inspiring!
A full days judging for the static side started at 9 AM with the Combat Class first up in front of the two judges. Herbie Newton and Nic van Rensburg took their time for each of the models and great credit to them for the serious nature that they approached the entire judging process from class to class. Following this the contestants had a 2 minute expression session in front of flight judge Kurt Macrill, just to finalise those important positions.
Next up was the Sportsman’s Light Class which Dave Greer, all the way from Durban, was only to happy to enter with his newly acquired foamy ME 109. Then onto the Sportsman’s Heavy Class with all the ARF kits and heavy hitters as well as a very well presented foam Blue Angels jet kit, compliments of Ryan Matchett from an Anton Benning kit, showing that foam can indeed be a very successful scratch building tool, even for the top classes. No reason that a foam scratch build cannot enter the Expert Class next year.
Finally Expert Class was hauled in front of the judges and this year the class contained two scratch built entries. A 2 Meter 7 kilogram Hawker Hunter built by Hans van Kamp and a 2.3 Meter 5 kilogram Super Constellation Airliner built by Kevin Farr. Both these had stunning presence and took an incredibly large effort to build by the two entrants. With all the relevant documentation in place the judges had a good scan of the two beauties.
All the while the flying rounds took place in the background, as well as general flying slots that saw up to 17 foamy fighters airborne at the same time, resulting in a few tangles, a few tumbles and a few fetches from the thick fynbos. All the while fun and laughter rolled through the slope as slope camaraderie ruled supreme, even if it involved a long fetch or two. Andy Emerie was all the while taking those important photos of those classic moments throughout the day.
There was a presentation done to the Percy Fitzpatrick Fund of R 2000-00, as our involvement in the protection of the Black Eagle is part and parcel of the slope scene here in the Cape, and is part of the initial reason for the creation of the event. In the end the conditions never did get strong enough for the Expert Class to fly, so the day ended and all and sundry headed to Dixies Restaurant for an evening meal.
Sunday dawned windy and wet as predicted. For the first few hours the rain held off, but eventually it moved in and rained out the event, as is likely here in the Cape in the dark of winter. The entire crew retired to an eatery establishment in Hout Bay and the prize giving took place.
Christo Le Roux took the Foamy Class with a well presented P 51D Mustang, followed by Dave Greer and his ME 109, and third position to Tim Watkins Baker and the K61 Hein.
Sportsman’s Light was won by Dave Greer with the ME 109, second Anton Benning and his Impala MB 326 and followed in third by Bruce Southwood and his Sabre F86.
Sportsman’s Heavy class was won by a happy Christo Le Roux and his P40 Warhawk, followed by an ecstatic Ryan Matchett and his foam A4 Skyhawk and third Malcolm Riley with the impressive and heavy DC3 Dakota.
Expert Class was won by Kevin Farr and the Constellation Super G with Hans van Kamp and the excellent Hawker Hunter in second place. Once again a huge thank you has to go out to the more than generous sponsors who allowed us to offer an incredible range of prizes to each and every entrant in the festival. Thanks to the following fantastic sponsors:
RC Hobby Shop
After the presentations most headed home, but for a band of 6 slopeheads who could simply not get enough they ventured once more up the hill, stood for 45 minutes in the rain drawing up plans in the ever increasing mud, and waited for a break in the weather. Finally the rain let up, the skies opened a fractions and the wind just plain howled.
Three maiden flights lay on hand….
Steve Meusel was first in the air with the 6 kilogram Bearcat kit, that once it had a good head of speed flew beautiful and steady. Kevin Farr’s 5kg Constellation flew next, which after a somewhat hairy launch, very quickly settled into a surprisingly pace that crossed the sky somewhat quicker than one would want a scale airliner to do. Then finally to wrap up the day Malcolm Riley put out the 9 kilogram DC3 Dakota and boy was that a treat for all to see as this magnificent beast took to the air as sturdy as the real thing. In the end it was the perfect way to cap off the Black Eagle Trophy PSS Festival 2012. Well done to one and all for a fantastic and memorable experience of slope soaring excellence, to the judges for their time, to the caterers for their sustenance and to the sponsors who helped to make the event such a success.
Photographers: Andy Imrie, Malcolm Riley, Kevin Farr