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The TOC 2012

This year’s Large Scale Aerobatics ToC (Tournament of Champions) was held at RMAC on the 17th and 18th of November.

In recent years the weather for this event has been less than perfect and 2012 proved to be no different with strong wind on both days.

With a field of 7 Limited and 6 Unlimited pilots we were able to get a full three rounds of the known sequence comfortably on the first day leaving the Unknown and Freestyle schedules to be flown on the Sunday.
The Whitehills guys made their presence felt in Limited with Deon Zwarts, Gerald Burrell and Dave Franckeiss making their intentions quite clear from the outset.
In Unlimited there were no real surprises with the usual suspects André Stockwell, Lawrence Robinson and Michael Crause scoring well despite the windy conditions and leaving myself, Gerry Venter and Coenraad de Beer scrapping for the lower positions.

At lunchtime we were treated to a full-size display by Nigel Hopkins in the MX which was, I have to say, about the best, down-on-the-deck and in-your-face displays I have seen in a long time and included a touch-and-go on the main runway.

Sunday morning dawned clear with no evidence of the rain that was forecast so we got cracking with the unknown schedules. The Limited class had been handed their unknowns the previous evening but Unlimited received theirs only on arrival on Sunday morning and had only a little over an hour to get ready.  
Given that the wind was blowing strongly across the flight line any mistake in interpretation or positioning of the manoeuvres could turn out to be costly. Two rounds of the unknown were flown with the only casualty being yours truly who had a dead-stick in the middle of a downwind manoeuvre which I had positioned, rather cleverly, overhead Bloemfontein. It was a very long glide back to the field and had the aerie flown two more metres it would have been on the grass. Unfortunately she didn’t quite make it and landed short but with remarkably little damage.
With only the Unlimited freestyle left to fly it was already pretty clear what the outcome in Limited was going to be. Unlimited, however, was a different kettle of fish entirely with the top three having swapped positions constantly throughout the competition. Even the judges had no idea who was on top so it was all down to the freestyle. André flew in his usual, elegant way with Lawrence dishing up lots of the low, high-alpha stuff and Michael producing a well choreographed four minutes.

Once again we had a full-size display with Barrie Eeles popping by in his SBach to entertain the crowd. We certainly got a healthy dose of full-size this weekend!

So to the results.
In Limited Deon prevailed with Dave second and Gerald third.
Unlimited was  won by Michael with Lawrence second and André third.

All round another great ToC despite the wind.

Thanks, as always, go to Rodney Donaldson and all at RMAC as well as Gavin Walton, Mike Hearn and Ian Brandon who were the judges and to Neville, Lindy and André Lourens for their assistance.

The next major competition is to be the 2013 Nationals to be held at Whitehills on 22nd – 24th March.