An early summer heatwave in Northern California presented challenging flying conditions for 20 airplanes competing in the 51st annual Hayward Air Rally, held June 11-13.
The longest continually-held flying event of the type in North America, this proficiency challenge offers aviators the opportunity to demonstrate their airmanship skills of fuel planning and cross-country flight without the use of advanced navigation equipment.
The actual rally course was announced the day before the event. This year’s course was two legs, each approximately 250 nautical miles. The first leg was from Hayward (HWD) to Redding, Calif. (RDD). The second leg extended from Redding to Bend, Ore. (BDN). Each rally leg contained multiple checkpoints, which were required to be visually identified by the flight crews. This was the Air Rally’s sixth visit to central Oregon.
Prior to departure from Hayward, each pilot turned in estimates of their enroute flight times and fuel consumption for each of the two legs.
Traditionally flown without the use of GPS, DME, RNAV or digital fuel flow displays, flight teams are scored on their ability to precisely predict flight times and fuel consumption enroute to the two required landing points. Flight crews are scored on a combination of identifying check points, matching predicted time (to the second) and matching predicted fuel usage (to the tenth of a gallon).
The lowest score wins. Penalty points are accumulated for incorrectly identifying checkpoints, as well as deviating from time enroute and fuel estimates.
Rally rules allow pilots with advanced-technology cockpits to also compete and be ranked fairly against those with traditional equipment.
This year’s winners were Steve Davis and Kathy Davis of San Diego, flying their Cirrus SR22. With just under 4.5 hours total flight time, their results included a mere 49 seconds of composite time error, and a fuel error of only 0.44 gallons over the route.
The Davis team won this event on their third try, having previously competed to Bend in 2010 and to Oshkosh in 2014.
At the rally awards dinner held in Bend, flight crews and guests enjoyed an engaging presentation by Julie Clark, a renowned aerobatics show pilot and retired airline captain.
Rally proceeds this year funded three scholarships for young adults to the EAA’s Air Academy in Oshkosh. The scholarships cover full tuition and roundtrip airfare. Previously announced, the recipients of the scholarships are Mariha Brown of San Lorenzo, Calif., a freshman at Arroyo High School; Lexi Bradshaw of Palo Cedro, Calif., a junior at Foothill High School; and Jeremy Brown of Bend, Ore., a junior at Bend Senior High School.
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1148 in Corning, Calif., and EAA Chapter 157 in Redding, Calif., made significant donations to support the scholarship project. Other sponsors include 123west Software, Alameda County Chapter of the 99s, the International Association of Women Pilots, AvPlanEFB, California Sun Dry Foods, David Clark Company, FlyTies, Jeppesen, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Professional Air, QUALCOMM, Redding Municipal Airport, Redding Jet Center, Straw Propeller Foods, Stenbock Communications, and Suburban Air Corporation.