It was a repeat for the winners of the 53rd Hayward Air Rally, held June 22-25, 2017.
Because Tim Ronan and Michael Saboff, Race 24, have won two air rallies, they will have to compete in the Masters class in 2018 against previous two-time winners and not against the general field of competitors.
This year’s destination was once again Reno Stead Airport (KRTS) in Nevada, with the first leg stop in Redding (KRDD). This year’s course took the rally through Northern California, up to Oregon, and back down to Nevada.
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. The goal: Get the least number of points. The winners took first place with just 169 points.There are two classes of competition. A scoring system that allows for the use of GPS navigation (and even digital fuel totalizers) and a scoring system for participants that elect to use “traditional” radio-based navigation aids even if their aircraft are GPS equipped. The digital and GPS equipment must be covered up for the rally at impound for the traditional class, rally officials note.
As a proficiency rally, the course is designed to exercise cross-country navigation and pilotage skills. Enroute checkpoints include identification of such items as bridges, distinctive buildings, and unimproved (think emergency) landing strips.
Penalty points are accumulated for incorrectly identifying checkpoints, as well as deviating from time enroute and fuel estimates.
Time errors accumulate at the rate of one penalty point for each second off the pre-flight estimate.
Fuel errors are scored based on a percentage error of actual fuel used vs. preflight estimated fuel required for each leg.
Time errors accumulate at the rate of three penalty points for each second off the pre-flight estimate.
Fuel errors are scored based on a percentage error of actual fuel used vs. preflight estimated fuel required for each leg and multiplied by two.
In addition to the usual first to 10th place awards, several other special awards were handed out — at both ends of the spectrum — including:
- Red Baron Award: Race 7, Rod Fite and Christopher Freeze
- Worst Fuel Score: Race 29, Tom Geyer and Mike Golden
- Most Lost Award: No one got lost this year.
- Top Gun Award: Highest percent of speed at timing, Brian Dal Porto
- Wright Flyer Award: Lowest percentage of speed at timing, Ken Dyche
- Masters Class: Sam Sun, solo
- Tail End Charlie: Brian Dal Porto
Proceeds from the rally fund scholarships for young adults to the Experimental Aircraft Association‘s Air Academy in Oshkosh. The scholarships cover full tuition and roundtrip airfare.