Black Eagle Trophy PSS Festival 2010
The Black Eagle Trophy PSS Festival
Hosted by Two Oceans Slope Soarers
Cape Town, June 19th and 20th 2010
The Black Eagle Trophy PSS Festival flew gracefully into the annals of the Cape slope soaring scene
over the weekend of the 19th and 20th June 2010. With 21 pilots entered, the event promised
to be packed as most pilots had two aircraft at least to add to the mix.
Following the hosting and success of the second Two Oceans Slope Soarers Aerobatics event in January
it was felt that there should be more development in our club sphere and driven by Damian Hinrichsen’s
suggestions and constant requests for a relevant date, we set a date for a PSS event that was a good
6 Months away from the Aerobatics event and slap bang in the middle of winter. We were hoping to garner
the standard winter North Westers that pepper this part of the world in association with each
approaching frontal system. With the idea of hosting an event established, we decided to
create the event around the impressive and threatened Black Eagles that grace our slopes in Cape Town
as well as other parts of the country. Hence the Black Eagle Trophy PSS Festival by name and an agreement
to donate a portion of each entry fee to the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology,
for the study and preservation of the varying raptor populations that inhabit the slopes we soar on.
This followed our need to create a conservation platform within the slope soaring fraternity and
give something back to the environment we utilise so readily.
With the TOSS committee firmly set on a course of action, the planning started, the rules and documents
created, the contestants entered, and many entrants started the mammoth task of getting their pride and joy
slope soarers ready for the competition that was barely six months away.
Based on the three available classes, Foamy, Sportsmans and Expert class, with a lot of scratch building
as well as revamping and total overhauling of ARF kits began in order to match each available class.
Being a bit of a foamie combat club, Damian Hinrichsen had the vision of creating a fleet of slope warbirds
that were EPP foam based, allowing for the combat zone to be filled with the sight of scale warbirds
in hot pursuit of each other. With this in mind he quickly went about drawing up the plans for at least
10 different warbirds ranging from the indomitable Spitfire to the Zero, with Mustangs, P40 Warhawks,
Messersmitts, Fokker Wolf’s and many more thrown into the mix. Along with the well known slope
aeromodeller Anton Benning, they cut the initial fuselage shapes while Anton created the
wings, wingspars and relevant pushrod systems as part of these fantastic little kits.
With huge enthusiasm the entire field of entries got about building these foamy slope soarers
which proved to be brilliant in their simplicity and saw the black EPP foam being taken down to shape,
covered with orocover, given the relevant decals and dusted with a protective varnish for the final finish.
Panel lines and detail became part of the build and many superbly finished models rolled off
the desktop line and into the foamie class, ready for the inevitable battle. There was a stark
dirth of slopers on the slopes in the weekends leading up to the event as many of the pilots
hid in dark corners concentrating on the large scale warbirds, finalised each with delicate detail that
annoyingly seemed to take longer than it should .
THE BIG SHOW
A beautiful morning dawned on the 19th July 2010 in our part of the world. A few intrepid slopers were
seen on the slopes as early as 7:15 am staring into the dark while awaiting the arrival of dawn
and the first few flights of the day. Our skinny little Cape Peninsula is such a sitter for a good North Wester
and mother nature duly delivered. Not a howler by any note, but with more than sufficient lift to start
the event and take whatever the day threw at us. Early morning was light but flyable and the foamies
entered the judging area and were duly awarded points by the static judge for the day, Herbie Newton,
and then released skywards to open up a days warbird combat that was to prove hugely successful.
These foamie warbirds were sometimes incredible in their detail and realism as applied by the
differing individuals and proved an absolute revelation in the light lift and gaining more attributes
as the lift improved throughout the day. One competitor racked up three and a half hours of flight time
from maiden flight to the end of the days proceedings. Some kind of stick time that.
This was followed by the sportsmans class that was punctuated by the 2 meter plus class of plane
with some great renditions entered from the Mustangs of Damian Hinrichsen and Bobby Purnell,
Malcolm Riley and Anton Benning’s Impalas, Lionel Brink’s Tucano, Chris Leal’s Me 109, Carlo Davis’s Sea Fury
and A10 Warthog and Marc Beckenstrater’s enviable Mosquito.
The premise being that ARF kits could be entered, and in true fashion some stunning conversions
of power kits hit the slope. Toss away the motor, add vast amounts of lead and away we go.
That not being enough, large amounts of detail were then added to create realistic interpretations
that go well beyond simple ARF’s. Some, such as Dave Greer from Durban scratch built a lost foam
ME 109 and entered the class as well. In general the standard of the models was extremely high
and were presented beautifully in all their glory. The final class was the Expert class, again made
open to the ARF’s and scratch built but with the emphasis based on detail, detail, detail.
In this class only two intrepid individuals entered who felt that their application to detail as
required in the class designations was up to scratch as it were. Christo Le roux entered a magnificent
P40 Warhawk that had to be seen to be believed with a sound system incorporated that had all and
sundry titivated as the “engine” spooled up, gained speed to full revs and then had the ability
to emit a wail of gunfire. The second entrant was Steve Meusel’s scratch built Polikarpov i-15.
This beaut of a subject was a first for us slope folk this side of the world, and given the fact that
none of us have flown a biplane on the slope, proved to be a much debated subject.
During the day the wind grew in strength but still maintained a bit of an on and off affair,
but by mid afternoon was more than sufficient to see Anton Benning flying his small scale Impala
for increased periods of time. In the end with a chance for flight and with the wind just being
sufficient the P38 Lightning took to the air with a camera mounted on board, had a half hour flight
till the lift once again proved a little light for this 30 oz wingloaded warbird and the inevitable
landing had to be applied. In the end there was just a shade too little lift to expect the guys to maiden
large scale warbirds on the day, but a week later in insane lift at the St. James site and on the back
of a 60km/h wind, every single one of the warbird gliders took to the air to prove their mettle.
In the end they all flew like a dream and the big surprise of that day was to see the Polikarpov biplane
tearing up the air with grace. On the PSS day the combat zone and the foamies ruled the sky, many
a beating was taken, many a fetch had from down the slope, and in the end humour and strapping tape
ruled the day till sunset forced the closure of the slope. The shadows were lengthening and evening approached
with a few individuals still on the slope nattering away, when the mascot of the festival arrived in the growing dark.
A large Black Eagle flew in right over our heads as if in blessing and circled it’s way up the peak in the dusk
without so much as a wing beat, amply showing us landlubbers the true art of flight.
The sunburnt and somewhat tired individuals then headed for a meal at Dixie’s to swop war-stories
while sipping a relaxer. Sunday dawned as beautiful as Saturday without a single cloud in the sky,
but the wind gods deserted us and only the very lightest of gliders were able to stay up as mist moved
in an enveloped the bay. A healthy breakfast was on offer and general natter filled the air while all waited
for even the slightest whiff of wind and the electric gliders plied vertical power in place of lift.
Mid morning saw the conditions unchanged and the awards ceremony then took place.
The first order of business was to hand over the cheque for the sum of R 2 500-00 to Dr Rob Simmons
and Dr Andrew Jenkins of the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Based at the University
of Cape town, which was gracefully accepted. Due to the presence of a few of the Raptor research
specialists on the slope for most of the morning, a great relationship was established that bodes
well for slope soarings involvement with the research institute itself, as well as future investments
in the protection and study of the raptors that grace our slopes. With the generous sponsorship of the
hobby shops, people involved in the sport and the members of Two Oceans Slope Soarers we were blessed
with ample prizes to give out in all categorizes from first to third as well as spot prizes based
on TOSS committee decisions for those spot prizes.
The prize winners were as such and well done to them all for the effort instituted in creating the PSS
model of note that garnered the desired results.
1. Steve Meusel – Polikarpov i-15
2. Christo Le Roux – P40 Warhawk
1. Marc Beckenstrater – Mosquito
2. Bobby Purnell – Mustang
3. Chris Leal – Me 109
1. Bill Dewey – Heine
2. Christo Le Roux – Mustang
3. Marc Beckenstrater – Zero
And to all our sponsors and Two Oceans Slope Soarers members who selflessly helped to create a
fantastic festival, our gratitude for being actively involved in the resurgence of PSS in the Cape Town area.
Hobby Warehouse, Clowns Hobbies, Southern Hobbies, Anton Benning of AB models,
Christo Le Roux, Steve Meusel for the warm beenies, Chris Leal for financial support of the Black Eagle fund,
and Kevin Farr and Iris van der Vlist for design and print of the t-shirts. If there are any sponsors and diligent
supporters we have failed to acknowledge, please forgive us.
Here’s looking forward to next year and more success with PSS.
©COBOS BOTHA sponsored by WiFly.co.za
And now for a very big thank you to the guys who put in the time and effort,
not to mention some cash to get to the event from all over the country. We really appreciate it guys!
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!