The Air Rally

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Hayward Air Rally Scoring System

This page provides a summary of rally scoring. In the event of any discrepancy, scoring is governed by the formal rules and regulations of the rally.

The Rally competition is scored primarily on fuel and time (navigation). The use of digital instrumentation to measure fuel flow and navigate offers a performance advantage in this scoring system. This advantage is allowed, but is offset by scoring handicaps when digital instrumentation is used. The following table summarizes the current scoring system, with more detailed discussion of the various elements below.

Digital Class Analog Class

60 points for each percent of deviation from estimate.

30 points for each percent of deviation from estimate.

Note: fuel points are assessed in 1 point increments based on fuel measured to 0.1 gallon.

Standard Checkpoints

250 points for each missed checkpoint.

Bonus Checkpoints

When present in a rally course, identified bonus checkpoints offer a small deduction to the points accumulated.


Penalty points may be assessed by the rally committee for violation of FARs or rally rules.

Lowest point total wins!


For scoring purposes, flight time is calculated from a visual take-off signal at the departure airport to a designated timing line. The signaled start time will not be given over the radio, so it is each crews responsibility to note the time of the take-off signal. Note that the start time is specifically not when the aircraft begins its takeoff roll or lifts off. If the rally crew feels it is operationally necessary to linger briefly on the runway following their start signal, they may do so, but their clock is running!


For scoring purposes, fuel consumption is calculated from engine start at the departure airport to shutdown at the arrival airport. Aircraft are to be fueled to a declared level (full, tabs, etc.) at impound, and refilled to that same level at each destination. Crews should therefore consider including anticipated taxi time in their fuel estimates.

Mandatory Checkpoints

Penalty points will be assessed for failure to pass and identify mandatory course checkpoints. These checkpoints are typically ground features that are easily identified from the air, such as airports, bridges, or a distinctive building. On occasion a checkpoint will only be identified by latitude and longitude. This can be a challenge to both Analog (how to get there with pilotage?) and Digital (how to program a coordinate waypoint into the GPS) crews!

Bonus Checkpoints

On occasion, bonus checkpoints are offered on a rally course. These checkpoints are optional, and typically more challenging to locate, but correct identification offers a small deduction to the crew's accumulated point total. When present, the details with respect to a bonus checkpoint will be described in the course handbook.

Entry Classes:

Each rally team will be required to specify their rally class at aircraft impound, prior to receiving the Rally Book containing the course information.

The Rally recognizes two different classes of entries:  

  • Analog
  • Digital

Each entrant may select Analog or Digital for each of:

  • Navigation
  • Fuel

On the score sheet, each entry selects either Analog or Digital for each of Navigation and Fuel:

Fuel Digital Analog

In the case of a multiple day rally, as we had in 2014 for our 50th anniversary, the same selections must be made for every day of the Rally. Classes may not be changed for different days.

In addition to the above, rally crews who have won the event twice are assigned to the Masters class.

All non-Masters class entrants in any fuel or navigation class compete for the same set of prizes and trophies. Masters class entrants compete amongst themselves for the Halstead Trophy.

The Digital Classes allow the use of electronic instrumentation such as GPS or other digital navigation aids and the use of digital fuel flow and totalizers.  If it's installed in the aircraft you can use it!  Handheld GPS is also allowed, if you are registered in the Digital Class.

The rally classes will be determined by the pilot's choice of equipment s/he will use during the rally as follows:

Class Digital Analog

Electronic fuel flow and/or totalizers are permitted.

Analog instrumentation only.  Electronic fuel flow or totalizers are not permitted.

A Discussion about iPads:

  • If you use an iPad (or Android tablet) that is receiving any form of GPS input (either through the device itself or through a link to another device), you will need to enter in Digital Class.
  • It can be difficult to not use the GPS portion of an external device such as a Stratus and just get the weather out of it - the software (Foreflight in particular) shows all of the data, all of the time.
  • If you can configure your tablet such that you strictly have an electronic replacement for a paper chart, with no GPS data (position, groundspeed, traffic, etc) displayed, you can remain in Traditional Class navigation.

Scoring Handicap

To allow all entrants to compete for the same awards and trophies, regardless of entry class, the committee conducted a detailed analysis of prior rally scores to determine an appropriate handicap for each class.  The premise is that the more (electronic) help the pilot has, the bigger the handicap applied.  As a proficiency rally, we want to reward pilot skills more than the pilot's ability to punch numbers into equipment or read a digital fuel display.  While a number of handicap factor adjustments were made following the introduction of Digital class, the current scoring handicaps have been in place since 2008, and the rally has had a number of Digital class participants place in the top 3 positions as well as winning the competition outright.


The scoring system has changed a bit over the many years this rally has been flown.  A brief summary of those changes may be found here.

Scoring Example

The following example shows the scoring computation for Analog and Digital classes, assuming no missed checkpoints or bonuses (which would be applied the same way regardless of class.)

Leg 1 Leg 2
Time Fuel Time Fuel
Estimate An entrant declares the following pre-flight estimates for each flight leg 2h00m00s 18.0 gal 2h15m00s 20.0 gal
Actual The actual enroute times and fuel burn for this hypothetical example were: 1h59m30s 17.5 gal 2h16m00s 20.5 gal
Error The difference between actual and estimated: 30s early 0.5 gal (2.77% under) 60s late 0.5 gal (2.5% over)
Analog Class Score
Total = 248 pts
30s * 1 = 30 pts 2.77*30 = 83 pts 60s * 1 = 60 pts 2.5*30 = 75 pts
Digital Class Score
Total = 586 pts
30s * 3 = 90 pts 2.77*60 = 166 pts 60s * 3 = 180 pts 2.5*60 = 150 pts

Note that being early / under one leg doesn't offset being late / over on another leg!

If the participant elected to split their entry class - for example Analog Fuel and Digital Navigation, the point total would be computed accordingly:

  • Analog fuel = 60 + 75. Digital Nav = 90 + 180. Total = 405 pts.
  • All aircraft scores are then ranked in order of penalty points accumulated.