SAC Nationals, Wings Park, East London 15 to 19 June 2022

By Willie Bodenstein

Wings Park on Thursday mid-morning when I arrived.

The first aerobatic competition in SA took place in 1963 at what was then still the original Baragwaneth Airfield, the home of the Johannesburg Light Plane Club. The first ever nationals were held in July of the same year at Durban's Virginia Airport. Pilots mainly competed in Tiger Moths and Chipmunks and Pikkie Rautenbach, a Korean war SAAF pilot, was crowned the first ever SA Aerobatic Champion.

Wings Park, the vibrant private community owned airpark that includes an airfield, game reserve and wedding & conference venue this year hosted the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa's National Championships. The first time ever that a SAC National contest has been held in the province. Wings Park did in 2021 hosted the Eastern Cape Regionals.

Clubhouse, medical response and sponsors product on Friday.

Taken from the balcony, the pool with some of the hangars in the background.

Taken from the clubhouse balcony are some of the products of the sponsors that supported the event.

The balcony was also home to the ATNS Special Events Staff for the duration of the competition.

Thursday was a rather windy and cold day when I arrived. That did not dampen the spirits of the competitors. Most visitors, competitors and other official found refuge in the club's spacious clubhouse with its welcoming open fires.

Briefing in the lovely spacious Wings Park Clubhouse.

Faces at the briefing.

Twelve entries were received with four competitors, two each, sharing the Yak 55 and Yak 52. However, before the first flight members of the emergency medical rescue response services were shown how to open the canopies of some the competing aircraft.

Emergency medical rescue members being shown how to training open a canopy.

Competitors and officials.

Competitors flew their known sequences on Thursday afternoon. By then the wind had somewhat calmed down.

Jurie Steyn Int

Zlin 50LS ZS-WSZ

Roger Dear INT

Extra 300L ZS-OLR

Dustin Hughes ADV

Yak 55M ZU-EHZ

Kayle Wool ADV

Extra 330LX ZS-XLX

Pierre du Plooy ADV

Giles 202 ZU-ZOZ

Cliff Lotter ADV

Yak 55M ZU-EHS

The club's AGM was held in the clubhouse and Cliff Lotter was again elected as chairman. The club is financially sound and a number of proposals was accepted.

Friday mornings weather was distinctly better, though there was a slight crosswind for the most of the morning. All competitors were able to complete their unknown sequences.

Patrick Davidson UNL

Gamebird GB1 N-71PD

Ian Beaton RV


Div Visser RV


Wally Goodrich Sport


Darren Hanner Sport

Yak 52 ZU-EWJ

Mitch Hill Sport

Yak 52 ZU-EWJ

There is a reason why East London is known as the windy city and Saturday morning it lived up to its reputation. The wind was pumping and it was decided that conditions were definitely not conducive to flying. However, by mid-afternoon conditions had improved and the nationals could and did continue.

Some of the previous day's action.

It was now up to the judges to review individual report and video footage of the sequences where necessary. All the competitors could do was wait for the final results which were announced during a lavish formal dinner in the indoor wedding venue.

However, before that could happen a number of people were acknowledge for their special contribution toward the success of the event.

The judges and assistants.

Div de Villiers for best Airmanship and Piet and Brian of the CAA for their assistance during the event.

Annie Boone, secretary of the SAC with the ATNS Special Events Team.

Then finally what everyone has been waiting forÖthe results.

Many thanks to the good people of Wings Club for their assistance, especially to Wally Goodrich for making it possible for us to be there and Darren and Luke Hanner for making their Jabiru available for fetching me from the airport. Thank you also to Cliff Lotter and to Quintin Hawthorne of the SAC for their assistance. And lastly to Ricky Fouche, our Free State correspondence for his assistance and help.

Pilot's Post will soon feature a full report on Wings Park.

Events 2022
Sport Aerobatics

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