Black Eagle PSS Festival 2011
A very successful Black Eagle 2011 PSS Festival was once again hosted by
Two Oceans Slope Soarers on the weekend of the 18th and 19th June 2011.
In the spirit of a slope soaring festival atmosphere, all and sundry were invited
to enter and participate even if not entering any of the competitive categories.
Even Mother nature came to the party in a festival mood and delivered two fantastic
days of slope soaring at Chapmans Peak on the back of strong North Westerlies,
the predominant wind for this time of the year in this particular part of the world.
PSS or Power Scale Soaring is a description of a non-powered slope soaring glider
that is modelled after a real, full size aeroplane that required a power plant
for sustained flight and has flown as a full size aircraft, and now gets tossed
off a mountain side for some slope soaring fun.
Four classes were available to the 15 Entrants should they wish to compete, from the
Black Eagle Scratch Built Class, Sportsmans Heavy, Sportsmans Light and Combat class.
Due to a few over ambitious ideas about scratch building 2 meter class planes in 6 months,
seeing the time widdle away and the dream become an impossibility,
there were no entrants in the scratch built class this year. In defence of the builders out there,
it appears that next year will see a proliferation of scratch built gliders
making their debut as the time required to scratch build a 2 meter class glider
for a PSS contest is somewhat longer than the optimistic 6 months.
Saturday dawned as still as a lake and the Hout Bay area put up a picture perfect
view as the contestants unpacked their gliders and set up for the day. Entrance bags
were handed out packed full of goodies, T-shirts and a set of nice gloves
that are thin and give slopers ability to fly during those very cold Cape winter days
without the risk of losing any digits to the ice cold Westerlies. While the wind sorted
itself out the chance was taken to do the static judging as the wind was predicted
for after 11:00 am. Herbie Newton judged each of the gliders in the class and the
day was then set as we waited for the predicted blow. With 11:00 am come
and gone we thought we had been deserted, but by 11:30 am mother nature
came to the party (half and hour late form the Windfinder predictions) and started
to deliver a silky smooth North west blow that strengthened throughout the day.
Some fun foam warbird combat was had in the ever increasing lift and shortly
after lunch conditions allowed for the Sportsmans Light Class to do their flight routines.
Two set manoeuvres and then a choice of 3 alternate manoeuvres were selected
by the pilots and the show hit the road. Three pilots flew this class, Anton Benning,
Dave Greer, all the way from Durban, and Kevin Farr. As per the aerobatics contest
the manoeuvres had to be done in the box and straight and level as possible.
The Sportsman Light class is designed to cater for gliders with a 20-30 ounce
wing loading or less, while the heavyweight class is for 30-40 ounce category.
Possibly the risk of the weekend had to be the entry of the P38 Lightning in the
Sportsmans Light class, rather that the heavyweight class. True to form some great
laps were flown but it was the rather large and bulky P38 Lightning that proved a
gem as it soared in conditions it should really not be able to, and completed all
the designated manoeuvres.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in glorious sunshine,
beautiful slope conditions and by the time the guys left the slope at 6:00 pm,
most were toast and the grey matter well and truly fatigued. Predictions are at
the best of times predictions. The prediction for Sunday was of howling winds,
sheets of rain and a good old wet one for the Cape area. In the early hours the rain
did indeed appear, then as light broke it backed off a little and we headed back to
Chapmans Peak to assess the situation. Rain looked imminent at about 9:00 am
but the wind was really pushing through in the 40-50 kilometer an hour range
and so we were able to fly the Sportsmans Heavy class flight routines.
Carlo Davies stepped up to the plate with his Spitfire in Reno racing colours,
delivered a maiden launch, knees and all going ballistic like a set of castanets,
and the flew his routine to perfection. What a boykie!. Next stepped up
Marc Beckenstrater with the Mosquito and as we set up the glider in the air,
which was travelling with some noticeable speed, we noticed a kink in the
wing appear resultant from a previous landing. The advent of this particular situation
saw the advent of a very quick landing to save the machine and avoid any mishaps.
All’s well that lands well, and a repair should see her in the sky again.
Next up to the plate was Christo le Roux who’s P40 Warhawk is a static judging
masterpiece and was set out to the skies with intent. First few manoeuvres were
straight off the bat, but in the middle of the downwind leg of the slope figure 8,
the tail gave a little wiggle and she began to waggle herself into
a really nasty place, aeronautically speaking… Thanks to Christo’s awesome
recovery skills the P40 Warhawk made a relatively light date with terra firma
and a bit of leading edge damage occurred, not significant but sufficient to
take it out of the sky for the rest of the day. After all the flight judging was completed
by Flight Judge Kurt Macrill, the skies were opened to general flight and probably
one of the very best PSS sessions ever was had by the lads. By now the skies had opened up,
the clouds disappeared and the conditions were just about as perfect as you could wish for.
Seven scale gliders took to the air simultaneously, from Jeff Steffen’s smaller Impala to
Malcolm Rileys large 2.5 meter, 7 kilogram Impala, accompanied by Damian Hinrichsen’s
F86 Sabre, the P38 Lightning and a good few foamies thrown in for fun. What a blast we had
as circuits were created with the entire gaggle as close as possible to each other while
trying to match the size and speed of the respective gliders. Not an easy task and
quite taxing when flying larger scale gliders, but what an incredible spectacle to be
part of and a definite highlight flight of the weekend. This was followed by a mass
Impala flight in which a total of 7 same sized Impala’s were taken to the sky at the
same time for some formation flying. Talk about taxing on the brain as you had to
concentrate on 7 different targets simultaneously, and at certain times all within
spitting distance of one another. What an awesome session, and all this in front
of the imposing and perfectly beautiful Hout Bay scenery. By this time most of the
guys grey matter was seriously taxed out after 2 days of perfect slope conditions and
the near continuous flying.
Thanks to generous sponsorships from Chris Leal and the club coffers, we were once again
very proud to hand a cheque for R 2500-00 to the Percy Fitzpatrick Fund,
which was gratefully accepted by Andrew Jenkins.
This donations intent is for the continued study of raptors and specifically the
Black Eagle after which the event was named in respect of one of the great masters of the sky.
An end to the day was called at 1:30pm, so as to ensure that a great prize giving
could take place at an Italian trattoria down the road in Hout Bay, called Cassarecio.
If you are ever in town it is well worth the visit as the food is supreme.
So we took over the restaurant, ate ourselves silly while sucking on the
odd glass of wine to ward off the chills, and then preceded to hand out the awards.
A really big thanks must go out to our sponsors who spoilt us silly and really came
to the party with a generous amount of prizes to give away, including glass and EPP gliders.
Without the superbly generous and passionate involvement of individuals and
hobby shops we would really be hampered in the ability to host and make
successful such an event.
First on the thank you list is Mother nature for coming to the festival with some panache
and delivering two really perfect days for slope soaring on the Cape Peninsula.
Thanks to the TOSS committee for making the event possible through a lot of hard work.
Thanks to Static Judge Herbie Newton, and to Flight Judge Kurt Macrill
Thanks to Shirley for catering and taking care of the food needs for the weekend.
Thank you to all our generous sponsors who made sure each and every entrant
went home with something useful tightly grasped in their hands.
Sponsors: Anton Benning, Cape Sailplanes, Chris Leal, Clowns Hobbies,
InterMet Africa, Hobby Warehouse, Micton Hobbies, RC Hobby Shop,
Southern Hobbies, Steve Meusel, KevinFarr.
Final event positions: Congratulations lads!
Sportsmans Heavy Class: 1st: Carlo Davies(Spitfire). 2nd: Christo le Roux (P40 Warhawk).
3rd: Marc Beckenstrater(Mosquito)
Sportsmans Light Class: 1st: Kevin Farr (P38j Lightning). 2nd: Anton Benning(Impala).
3rd: Dave Greer(ME 109)
Combat Class: 1st: Carlo Davies(Corsair). 2nd: Christo le Roux(P51 Mustang).
3rd: Bill Dewey(Mitsubishi Ki-61) 4th: Schalk Human(P47 Thunderbolt).
5th: Tim Watkins-Baker( Mitsubishi Ki-61)
Too many photographs to post all up here so will try to choose the top 10 or so
Photographs by Shane Swartz, Malcolm Riley and Kevin Farr