The Air Rally

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2008 Course

2006 Race Logo

View the Picture Gallery for the 2008 Rally.

Each of the Rally's two legs each include:

  • 1 Start Point
  • 3 Mandatory Checkpoints
  • 1 Timing Point
  • 1 Stop Point

The checkpoints, and therefore the course, change every year.  Only the start (HWD), the fuel/lunch stop (BFL) and the end (PSP) points remain the same.  The required checkpoints which define the course are announced the day before the race (see the race schedule) at the briefing and are documented in the race book provided to each team.  The exact course flown is chosen by the pilot of each aircraft.  Remember, this is not a speed race, it is a proficiency race; accuracy counts.

So that prospective racers can get better idea of the materials provided during the briefing, a copy of the 2008 Race Book may be downloaded here (1.3 MB).

Checkpoints are to be overflown by race aircraft. Each checkpoint can be adequately identified from the air. The two timing points at Checkpoint Mike and Checkpoint Bette are also overflown and race officials on the ground will record the time overhead the timing line.

The 2008 course is described here to provide an example only, the 2009 course will be different, and will not be announced until the day before the race during the briefings.  The 2008 course included the following checkpoints and stops:

  • Hayward (HWD) - Race Starts
  • Oakdale (O27)
  • Mariposa-Yosemit (MPI)
  • Mercy Hot Springs (36-42.26N, 120-51.59W)
  • Checkpoint Mike (35-36.121N, 119-12.729W) - Timing Point
  • Bakersfield Meadows (BFL) - Landing, Fuel and Lunch
  • Mountain Valley (L94)
  • Agua Dulce (L70)
  • Hesperia (L26)
  • Checkpoint Bette (34-02.592N, 116-35.101W) - Timing Point
  • Palm Springs (PSP) - Landing, Fuel, Race Ends

Approximate 2008 Race Course:

 2007 Race Course

Each checkpoint has a question to be answered to ensure positive identification. A typical checkpoint question looks like this:

Checkpoint #3

Mercy Hot Springs

Elevation 1260'

Pattern Altitude: N/A

Lat 37 deg. 42.26'

Overfly above 3500'

Long 120 deg. 51.59'



At these coordinates I saw:


G. One swimming pool behind a row of trees.




H. Five large swimming pools.


I. Four buildings form a square around a swimming pool.


 

The checkpoint at Mercy Hot Springs looked like this from the air:

Chowchilla 2007 

So, the answer was:G. One swimming pool behind a row of trees.