Two Oceans Aerobatic Event 2013
Two Oceans Slope Soarers Aerobatics event 2013
5 Years! 5 long years, thats how long we have been waiting for that near perfect event. For that event that has wind all weekend, from the right direction, consistent for more than a few hours at a time, and for more than 1 day at a time. And so the slope pixies came to our aid and delivered just that. The perfect slope precision aerobatics challenge, hours in the sun and a herculean call for consistency, as it appeared Mother Nature was not going to let up on us with all of the elements gathered in a heady mixture.
And so, on a breezy clear Saturday morning, the 26th of January 2013,a record field of 23 entrants gathered up on Red Hill above Simonstown, Cape Town, South Africa. After a meet and greet the previous evening that had seen all and sundry gather at the local watering hole to quaff beer, wine and while away an hour or two, 13 nervous Sportsman’s Class and 10 apprehensive Expert Class entrants took in the pilots briefing and safety tips. Again the TOSS committee had out done itself and the preparations were at the ready. A mass of wings, booms, humans and tails made their way down to the flight-line amid chattering banter.
After a short Judges briefing to ascertain that all 4 Judges were in fact on the same page, in same place and at same time, the first of the brave souls stepped up to the flight-line and took on the challenge in perfect South East conditions. For those not familiar with the format, two pilots are airborne at any given time.
There are two more nervous individuals in the ready box, being… well ready, and then a third set of contestants aware of their place in the queue and gearing up as Uncle Bill, Safety officer, yelled the commands and called out their names in a no nonsense sort of a way. The routine is simple. 6 Statutory manoeuvres, and 4 optional with each finger testing manoeuvre to be performed singularly.
Enter the box, do your 3 rolls, find the center line, find the horizon, complete the manoeuvre and leave the box. Next contestant to do the same, then onto the next manoeuvre until all 6 statutory moves are complete, then you do your optional choices based on the same idea, and hence complete a round.
Now the ready box is about the scariest place on earth.
Once you have stepped to the flight-line, your fate is in your hands,
literally, but sitting in that box is about as nerve wracking as it gets,
but does also help you to focus very sharply on the task on hand.
Enter to combatants in Sportsman’s class and there were some who
took to it like ducks to water, opened up a substantial gap in the first round,
and were able to defend from there on. Notable at this stage would
be Jacque du Toit, who suffered lock out on his glider before the contest
had even started. The resulting loss of his Toucan to an untimely impact
left him with only one option. Simply borrow another contestant’s glider
and without hesitation continue to compete for the rest of the day,
and the following one as well.
The expert class were next to compete their schedule and
showed signs of brilliance and as the duels intensified, realisation filled
the air that once more the competition had improved, intensified,
and that the entire field would be separated by no more than a camels hair
by the end of proceedings.
Round one in the bag!
Without so much as a break between rounds, it was deemed safer
to reverse the classes and put up the Expert class first,
as conditions did show signs of going a bit South and wrecking the whole affair.
Deteriorate it did, not to the point of being un-flyable, but just not as great
as they were in the first round. And blow me down with a glider in hand,
if the entire set of contestants didn’t just step up the anti a whole bunch.
More time was taken to gain altitude, manoeuvres were more considered,
accurate and centered, with the scores from the judges climbing in
appreciation of this. Thanks to our Contest Director, Jeff Steffen for
calling this one correct. Only notable mishap was Marc Wolffe’s Glider
exploding midair as the center wing panel gave way folding like a tissue
and taking him out of the contest due to lack of any distinguishable part
of the glider. As conditions once again gained momentum, then switched
back to South East, the Sportsman’s Class took to the air, flew through
the round gaining confidence all the time and setting the bar even higher
for those that will do this for the first time next year. Final pairs were up
at 4 in the afternoon completing a long slope day no matter how you looked at it.
Round 2 in the bag!
Back to the watering hole, meals taken in, and a raft of weary sunburnt
contestants made for bed and dreams of more of the same. Overnight,
in the wee hours and with the aid of sucker sticks, epoxy and a vacuum bag,
Alan Ball and Ryan Matchett tinkered away to make good Alan’s glider wing
for the next day. Michel Leusch threw in a new servo on his aileron due to
failure, and Christo Le Roux added half a soda can to his leading edge
covering some nasty twig damage, such was the commitment to make good
and be part of the final day of the event. Wind or none, the contestants were
going to be ready!
And this is where the plot changes from all the previous years.
Cue an exact replica of the day before. Perfect South East.
30-40 Kilometres an hour caressing the slope with huge amounts of lift
grabbing gliders right out of the hand on launch. Up stepped the
Sportsman’s Class, with nerves far more settled and everyone aware
of their roles and requirements, we were able to whizz our way through
the round. Air battles raged royal between contestants as was seen
between Dean Halley and Jeff Steffen, with Jeff taking an ill timed snap
into the bushes below, racing down the hill to collect the glider,
racing back up the hill and managing to complete the round.
Next up the Expert Class and with conditions strengthening all the time,
blowback added to the test and capabilities were tested to the max as
the schedule whizzed by, about as fast as the gliders. Scores climbed
and dipped throughout the rounds as the battle for the top spots heightened
and the points were so close that moves that were slightly off were punished.
Some mastered the first round, others pulling out a magical second round,
but in the end it was Louis Genade that flew the most faultless and
perfect round 3, with all and sundry blown away as it were.
Round 3 in the bag!
Off to Dixie’s Restaurant for the awards presentation.
In the end it was that man, Louis Genade, who took the Expert class
and Noel Cochius who flew beautifully to take the Sportsman’s Class,
in what can easily be described as the tightest contest in the history of this event. Fantastic event. Well done one and all!
A huge thank you needs to go out to the following:
To all the Durban lads who arrived on Thursday, climbed our mountain,
drank our beer ate our food and attempted to take our trophy back with them,
this competition would not be the same without your fanatical support,
all out friendship and dedicated participation.
To all our Judges, 4 in total for, their unflinching dedication to the task at hand,
and the manner in which they have over the years assisted in the unlimited
growth of this unique event. In no particular order, Andrew Anderson, Claude Mackrill, Kurt Mackrill and Stuart Nix.
To the fantastic sponsors who out did themselves this year with a very generous showing indeed, and without whom this type of event would really not be possible.
To all the contestants. Kudos and well done one and all. This event relies on your unbridled sportsmanship and dedication to keep growing as it is.
To the Two Oceans Slope Soarers Committee and Jeff Steffen as Contest Director,
for a perfectly managed competition and David Semple crunching the
numbers to confirm and audit the outcome.
And finally to the caterers and Theunis Van Niekerk for serving great food
as usual and keeping the entire crew fed and happy.
Photos: Shane Swartz
RC Hobby Shop
Noel – Profpack
Simon Vacy-Lyle – Fragram
1. Noel Cochius
2. Dean Halley
3. Jeff Steffen
4. Simon Vacy-Lyle
5. Alan Ball
6. Hans van Kamp
7. Ryan Matchett
8. Alfred Brink
9. Schalk Human
10. Jacques Du Toit
11. Tim Watkins-Baker
12. Tim Blegenhout
13. Mark Phillips
1. Louis Genade
2. Michel Leusch
3. Christo Le Roux
4. Kevin Farr
5. Steve Meusel
6. Russell Conradt
7. Malcolm Riley
8. Dave Greer
9. Gus Thomas
10. Marc Wolffe
The 23 Contestants pose over the Contest area.
Red Hill, Simonstown, Capetown, South Africa
The Durban Lads who came to join us once again – thank you
Judges and Assistants – Thank you for your time
Russel Conradt on the flight line, Judges at the ready
Head Judge Andrew Anderson who has been a stalwart for the 5 years of this contest
being present and passing judgment each and every year
Tim and Malcolm – concentration is everything
Steve calls for Ryan – even more concentration
In the pit and in the contest – Louis and Kevin Face the music
How we got some of the footage that was used in the video
And away she goes, compliments of Russel
Christo’s Dorado glider about to find some airtime
What it’s all about – aerobatics in one of the most spectacular places in the world
Back home safe once more for Michel and Dean
Kudos to the Judges for two days of hard graft in the sun and wind
Noel and the winning Aldij in Sportsmans Class
Louis and the winning Aresti in the Expert Class
Sweet victory for Noel Cochius and the trophy for Sportsman Class
Happiness is… Louis Genade and the 1st place Trophy in Expert Class