Part of the club’s
us a “braai” for
of the days we
were there. The
was only one
example of the
Snoopy’s Squadron RC
Flying Club’s flying site, in
Krugersdrop, South Africa,
was used as a practice site.
Our club hosts cooked lunch!
Planning for the competition occurs on many platforms.
Individual competitors are responsible for having multiple
aircraft prepared for the event, including all of the required
support equipment and packing crates for transportation.
As the team manager, planning for the trip itself had its own
share of challenges. Early estimates put our required budget
near $60,000—a significant fundraising challenge. Trip logistics
included obtaining airfare for 10 team members from nine
locations across the US to Johannesburg; securing 15 days
of lodging; arranging ground transportation for all 10 people
and eight 2-meter aircraft; securing practice facilities in South
Africa; and shipping our equipment.
We received an amazing amount of help—financial and
logistical—from modelers across the country. That, along with
numerous corporate sponsors and generous support from the
AMA, helped us pull it all together. (Sponsors are listed on our
The journey began with everyone meeting in Atlanta or
Washington, D.C., and taking a 16-hour flight to Johannesburg.
If you’ve never experienced a 16-hour flight, sit in the smallest
chair you can find, watch four full-length movies start to finish,
and then realize that you’re only halfway there.
We had some trials along the way, mostly involving
the Transportation Security Administration and trying to
check large crates filled with aircraft in baggage, along with
transmitters as carry-on luggage, but we fared well. Our
most daunting travel challenge was the hour-long nighttime
drive from Johannesburg to our destination in Meyerton.
Maneuvering our five-vehicle caravan with only one GPS,
driving manual transmission vans from the right side of the
vehicle, shifting with our left hands, and driving on the left
side of the road was an experience not to be forgotten.
We arrived in
South Africa four
days before the
start of the contest.
with travel and
packing, we wanted
to make sure there
was plenty of time
to address any issues
or repair damaged
The team needed
to practice under
local conditions. In
this case, the 5,000-
foot altitude was
our biggest concern.
Thin air has a
engine tuning, and
We were fortunate to have contacted a local RC club long
before our arrival and were graciously given complete and
exclusive access to the group’s flying field for the duration of
The Snoopy’s Squadron RC Flying Club and its field were
typical of any flying site and club you would find in the US—a
generous and welcoming membership, beautiful flyover space,
and a nice grass runway.
The field was approximately a 90 km drive (roughly 55
miles) from our lodging, so each day was an all-day pilgrimage.
Members of the local club met us each morning and provided
generators for us to recharge flight batteries. The nearby hobby
shop provided Brett, our only glow fuel pilot, with several
cases of 30% nitro fuel to use while we were there.
Part of the club’s hospitality included throwing us a “braai”
24 Model Aviation M AY 2014