Club Competitions Sunday 29 August 2005

One thing I have not seen other bloggers do at their flying schools is competitive flying. I guess its because I belong to a club, which like any other club competes against other clubs.

Every month the club has an informal competition where people just turn up and fly. Once a year the formal Club Competitions are held and they will be held over the next two weekends. Winners in these competitions will represent the club at the regional and if they do well there, the national competition.

Yesterday I entered in the level bombing competition. You are given 3 empty 500ml plastic bottles of coke which have been filled with sand. You take off, climb to 500AGL and do a low level circuit until you reach the base leg, where you must slow to your nominated airspeed (I use 70kts because its easier to control - the old hands will buzz along at 45kts) and descend to no lower than 300AGL. If you get below 250 AGL its an instant disqualification. Then its open the window, grab a bomb and at a time you judge to be right you fling the bottle out the window. Then full throttle and set a nose attitude for Vy for the climb back to 500.

I went last because the others competed in a 152 and I wanted to do it in a 172. This caused me problems because the bombrun happened to be into the setting sun so I could barely make out the target. My first bomb went short and to the left, my second nearly hit a parked aircraft (sorry!!) and my third nearly hit one of the judges who after seeing my first two attempts thought that standing on the target was the safest place to be. :)

I won the student section and closest bomb of the day with a 4.1m from the center of the target.

Then it was off to the bar for a cold one and I got to watch another club member go up for some aerobatics overhead the field in the clubs 152 Aerobat. She was doing spins, barrel rolls and a loop for good measure. Awesome to watch.


Chris said…
That sounds like amazing fun! I get the impression though that in the UK the CAA have no sense of fun or humour, so I doubt we could do it "legally". In all honesty I am still disappointed they don't allow wing mounted machine guns on light aircraft, it would be great fun to tear around the sky shooting at birds and gliders. Sadly the CAA here takes a dim view of these sort of proceedings.
Euan Kilgour said…
LOL - Somehow I think the NZ CAA would share the same dim view of mounted machine guns on a light aircraft as their UK counterparts. The same PPL holder who was doing aerobatics had a shocking bomb run and dropped one of her "bombs" about 200m away from the target. I remarked to the other club members who were grid searching a patch of long grass looking for it that if we were dropping hand grenades instead of bottles of sand it would be easier to find the wayward ones!

Don't they have Aero Clubs in the UK?
Chris said…
Yeah there are many aero clubs here but most of the ativities I think are formation flying, aerobatics and clubs fly-outs to various airfields. I don't think they carry out bombing competitions, at least to my knowledge, therefore I could be wrong.
Euan Kilgour said…
The next fun competition we have is aerial golf. You drop a bomb over a target and then it's replaced with a golf ball. You then have to get it into the hole with the least number of shots. Some people have been known to need drivers for their drop. I won the aerial golf last year but I play quite a bit of golf and the guy I was up against doesn't play at all.

If any of you lurkers ever decide to come down to NZ you would be more than welcome to join in and give it a crack. An instructor/judge is always in the plane so you don't need any license conversion or whatever. Just show up and fly.