The Air Rally

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First Time Participant Information

This page is intended for people who plan to (or are considering whether to) participate in the annual Hayward Air Rally.

Let's start with the easy stuff:

1.  What is the Hayward Air Rally?  Is it about speed like the Reno Air Races?

This event is NOT about speed.  It is about time and fuel, more like an old-fashioned car rally.  Plan the flight, then fly the plan.

The Rally gives aviators a chance to test their flight planning, navigation and pilotage skills. The actual course is announced the day before the Rally during the briefings (the checkpoints change every year and the exact course flown is chosen by the pilot).  The course consists of two legs, each about 250 nautical miles.  The first leg runs from Hayward, California (HWD) to Redding, California (RDD) airport.  The second leg runs from Redding to the Bend, OR (BDN) airport.   Along the way there are several checkpoints which must be identified.  Prior to departure from Hayward each pilot turns in estimates of their times and fuel consumption for each of the two legs.

Rally participants are scored on a combination of:

  • Identifying Check Points
  • Matching Predicted Time (to the second)
  • Matching Predicted Fuel Used (to the tenth of a percent)

Penalty points are accumulated for misidentifying checkpoints (250 points each) and deviations from the time (1 or 3 points per second, depending on class of entry) and fuel estimates (3 points per 0.1% difference from estimated, with a multiplier in the Digital Class).  The lowest score wins, and our 2007 winner accrued just 98 points!  After over 3 hours and 425+ nm of flying, he was just 10 seconds and 0.7 gallons different from his original estimates.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Did we mention that for the Analog/Traditional Class, you may not use any of the following?

  • GPS
  • DME
  • RNAV
  • Digital Fuel Flow Meter

If you chose to enter in the Digital Class, you can use any and all avionics installed in the aircraft, the only catch is that any errors count for more.  A more complete description of the scoring rules may be found here.

2. How much experience do I need to fly in this event?

If you have a Private Pilot license you are ready.  All the flight planning experience required to participate was covered while getting your Private.  Student pilots and are welcome, but must have a CFI with them in the airplane.

3. Are there prizes?

Of course!  We have trophies out to 10th place with cash awards to 10th place.  There are some other fun awards, too.  Such as Best Renter (we know this is more difficult in a rented plane), Red Baron for overcoming adversity on the course, Longest Cross Country and more!

Perhaps the best prize is that this year's winning airplane is next year's logo on the t-shirt!

We usually have several other merchandise prizes, donated by our sponsors, that are given out by random drawing at the awards dinner.

See more about the awards and prizes here.

4.  When does the Rally take place?

The dates change slightly each year. The schedule general schedule looks like this:

Thursday Aircraft impound and course briefing
Friday Fly the Rally!
Saturday Awards Dinner
Sunday Head for home

A more complete schedule is here.

5. We have a list of other Frequently Asked Questions that you can review.

This movie shows some snippetts from the 2007 Rally.  It should give you an idea of how a typical Rally day works.

Air Rally Movie  <--Click here for the Windows Media .WMV version of the movie.

6. What does the Rally course look like?

It changes every year. So, you can calibrate your plane for fuel consumption, but you won't be able to fly this year's course until the day of the Rally.  But, you can look at past year's courses and get a good idea about how the procedures work and what the check points look like.  Check out this page.

7. Who are the guys marked as "Masters" in the scoring?

Anybody who has won the Rally twice is elevated to the Masters Class.  They compete only against other Masters.  So don't let their consistently good scores scare you off.  You won't have to worry about them for a couple of years.  You might be able to learn something from them along the way.  :-)

8. What else goes on besides just flying the Rally course?

This is as much a social event as it is flying.  We have a hospitality suite at the destination airport with drinks and snacks.  Saturday during the day there are many possible activities in the Bend area: the movies, golfing, sightseeing, etc.  Many outings are organized on the fly in the hospitality suite, just ask around!  The awards dinner on Saturday evening is always fun.

9. How do I enter the Rally?

That's easy.  Just download the entry forms, fill them out and mail it back to us.  Payments can be made either by check or using PayPal on line.