By Jan Hanekom

Every year we have the very prestigious Presidents Trophy Air Race (number 39 this year). This Race is a handicap race where anything from PA-31 (Chieftain ) to a Jabiru can participate, provided that you can maintain 100kts or more and have endurance for 350 Nm at full throttle. You navigate just using a map, compass and stopwatch as nav aids - NO GPS. This year we had 69 Aircraft in the race and it was held in Bloemfontein, 230 NM from my base Brits.

I am the owner of a standard Jabiru SP2200. Now my Jabiru has the 85 liter tank and if you go full throttle and then come back to where you just see the RPM change, the fuel burn is about 22 liters/Hr. The RPM then sits at about 3150. This makes fuel management very critical if you should get lost. As a matter of fact two AC did outlandings on day one due to running out of fuel.

The handicap speed of my little ZU-CNG was calculated at 105.80 kts. On day one we had to fly a course of about 340 NM . Normally the course takes you to small towns over very difficult to navigate on terrain ( see photo below)

Here we had "pilot induced drag" which I do not want to go into and did just over 100 kts average. On day two we had to fly 348.5 NM in the shape of two triangles. Now everything went to plan and we flew the legs where we calculated at about 500ft AGL. We had 3 legs into wind where you typically go to 50ft or less ( depending on your nerves ).

This photo below shows a Piper on typical race altitude. On day we averaged 103.8 kts over the distance and finished 37th for the day.

Jan Hanekom and Hugo Stark

The bottom line is that we have enjoyed every second of it. And for those of you who thought the Jabiru engine is a bit "soft" - think again. Temperatures and Pressures stayed glued to where they should be and it never missed a beat! We have flown 13.5 hours overall during the weekend.

Come and join us next year.

Jan Hanekom.

Chairman - SA Power Flying Association.