Aviation enthusiasts treated to a day of fun and learning

2018-07-23 15:45
Lance Poynter, who came second in the spot challenge, in his Chipmunk landing on the target.

Lance Poynter, who came second in the spot challenge, in his Chipmunk landing on the target. (Lize Howard-Browne)

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The Pietermaritzburg Aero Club was abuzz on Sunday morning as members took part in a spot landing challenge to improve landing accuracy skills, while aviation enthusiasts watched in delight.

With clear skies and not too much wind, spectators took their places behind red cordon tape at the edge of the landing strip, all eager to see which pilot would make the most accurate landing.

Pietermaritzburg Aero Club’s Telani Lithgow said 16 pilots took part, including Lithgow, who was the only female pilot to participate.

She said the event aims to improve landing accuracy skills, which in turn promotes safety “while having a little fun”.

She said pilots aim to land on the bull’s eye marked on the landing strip.

“Bull’s eye is a score of 100 points and the scores decrease from the aiming spot by 20 points per five metres.

“The aircraft approach at between 50 and 80 knots, which is equivalent to 93 to 148km/h.

“Then the quality of the landing comes into play. Points are lost for hard landings, poor technique, and bounces.”

In first place came Lithgow herself with 240 points.

Second place was a tie with Lance Poynter in his Chipmunk, ZS-IZU and Michael Agnew in the Aero Club’s other Cessna 172, ZS-KVW with 200 points. “Mike Agnew landed on the bull’s eye twice”, Lithgow said.

“In third place was Tristan Langmead, scoring 180.”

The club was established at Pietermaritzburg Airport in 1938.

“This was when it was a grass strip, with the gorgeous little Oribi buck gracing the landscape,” said Lithgow.

“This year the Club turned 80. Our main objectives are to promote goodwill, co-operation, recreational and social interaction among aviators and aviation enthusiasts ... We aim to foster, encourage and advance power flying in all its aspects and to this end, offer a flight training facility at the Pietermaritzburg Aero Club.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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