Precision flying


precision flying and air rallies

Development of Rally and Precision Flying

The concept of Rally and Precision flying started in the Scandinavian countries between the two world wars. The object was to create a set of skills that combined hunting, flying and cross country skiing. So imagine flying to some remote location, landing in the mountains, skiing to a likely spot, shooting some target (animals or enemy) and then flying off to the next spot, to repeat the exercise. This sounded like a good idea at the time and for a few years the concept caught on with the Scandinavian countries, with regular competitions being held.

After the second world war more countries became interested in the concept and over a period of years a set of rules was drawn up that separated out the flying aspects only. Later two disciplines evolved, those of Precision and Rally flying. For many years the Scandinavians dominated the sports, but as acceptance was gained and the sports grew in popularity the former eastern block countries came to dominate the scene. Now with the economic changes sweeping Europe, the sports are pretty much open to everyone. The Southern Hemisphere countries are coming into their own and are starting to represent a serious threat to our cousins up north.

With more and more countries joining each year the situation is now such that the two sports have been combined with all aviation sports (aerobatics, parachuting, gliding, aero modelling, ballooning, etc) into a movement that is now asking for Olympic status. To this end the First World Air Games was held in Turkey in 1997 and the second was held in Spain in 2001. These special events have been called the Olympics of the air. They are very prestigious and if you get involved now, you could get into the team and represent your country at this amazing event.

Air Rallies are held in locations throughout the world. Examples are the Guernsey Air Rally, Jersey Air Rally and the Cognac Rally.

the British Precision Pilot Association

The association is keen to encourage new PPL holders to take part in the competitions.  If you cannot fly a particular event you would be welcome to assist with observations and judging.  Non flying helpers are also welcome to act as observer/judges.  Such judges can obtain an international qualification and join the team for International events.

If you would like to take part in UK precision pilot events, please click here.

The BPPA holds about 7 or 8 events per season throughout the UK.

The BPPA also organises Rally Flying events, similar in concept to Precision Flying but involving a two-person crew of pilot and navigator. (There is no flight planning stage because most of the planning is done in the air!)

The BPPA sends a team to International events.   Venues visited by the British team have been USA, Finland, Spain, Argentina, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and most countries in Europe, including the 1st World Air Games in Turkey.  

YOU could be in the British team! 

The British Team is chosen from competitors flying during the previous season, so if you would like to represent the UK at international events, come and fly with us at our competitions in 2005 and see if you can qualify for the 2006 teams.

All you need to compete is a CRP-1 computer, a watch and an ordinary club or PFA type aircraft.
There are three stages to each competition: Flight planning, visually navigating around a route of about 80nm, and spot landings. At each stage you gain penalty marks for being "imprecise", so the winner is the one with the lowest score. The competition is carried out "Solo", but those new to the sport can operate as a crew of pilot and navigator.

Flight planning

Flight Planning lasts an hour and is no different from what you are taught at PPL level. The map is 1:250,000 and is provided.


The Navigation stage is a flight of about 80 nm. You take-off at a specified time, then fly to meet your ETA’s at a number of turning points. You are also expected to spot markers on the ground and to match photos to places you fly over. To check how accurate you are, judges on the ground time your aircraft at the turning points and at some secret locations along the track.

The "O" target marks this turning point

Spot Landings

The spot landings involve four touch and goes, aiming to touch down on a two metre wide white line. The further away from this the more penalties. Each approach is different, the first in any configuration you like, the second a glide approach with or without flaps from 1000ft on the downwind, the third a flapless glide, and finally a normal approach over a 2m high bunting 50m back from the touchdown line. (This last one simulates landing into a short strip with obstacles in the approach path).

There are fly-ins for light aircraft all over the world. Most get very boring very quickly unless one really likes burnt hamburgers. Quite a few run a spot landing competition as well, and may even judge you on how accurately you can arrive at a given time. Many folks have begun their rally careers in this way despite the hamburgers!

Full rules

he 2003 edition of the Rules and Regulation for Precision Flying Competitions were
agreed in Moscow, October 2002.  They are valid for the 2003 Reid, Austria competition.

The 2003 edition of the Rules and Regulations for Rally Flying competitions were
agreed in Moscow, October 2002.  They are valid for the 2003 Sun City, RSA competition.

Both sets of rules are available in full on the FAI Web Site at :


Preparation of flight plan    
Limit + or - 2 degrees in heading 0  
Additional error per full degree 2  
Limit + or - 5 seconds in timing 0  
Additional error per full second 1  
Maximum total penalties for calculation   350
Late delivery of flight plan (> 30 minutes) 50 50
Failure to leave flight planning room after 60 minutes  100 100
Take-off time (aircraft commences rolling)    
Limit + 60 seconds 0  
Rolling commences before or after time slot  200 200
Passing each timed point     
Limit + or - 2 seconds 0  
Additional error per full second 3 300
Procedure turn    
Failure to carry out prescribed  procedure turn (each time) 200 200
Flying below the minimum altitude (each time)  500 500
Other deviations from track    
Circling or backtracking being a turn of more than 90 degrees either way (each time) 200 200
not following described arrival/departure routes and/or procedure 200 200
Late arrival at downwind/holding pattern of competition airfield (if latest arrival time is given) 200 200
Late submission of competition map    
(after 5 minutes allowance)  100 100
Photo and en-route canvas targets    
Correct photo or target within 5 mm of correct position 0  
Not observed  20 20
Incorrect photo, target or position  30 30
Canvas targets at start, turning and finish points    
Not observed  50 50
Incorrect  100 100


no flaps
Maximum penalties per landing 400 200 200 400
Landing outside the strip or no landing 200 150 150 200
Abnormal landing 150 150 150 150
Rolling out of the landing strip to the side 200 150 150 200
Power on the ground in the strip 50 50 50 50
Non permitted use of power in the air - 200 200 -
Non permitted use of flaps or spoilers in the air - - 200 -
Touching, destroying, or "creeping over" the obstacle - - - 400
  landing strip   penalties
m       landings
1 and 4
2 and 3
45      135 90
40      120 80
35      105 70
30      90 60
25      75 50
20      3
per metre
from zero
per metre
from zero
20      7
per metre
from zero
per metre
from zero
25      175 100