TopNav is a visual navigation competition for private pilots, organised by the Royal Institute of Navigation’s (RIN) General Aviation Navigation Group (GANG), and held every year in May.
This year it is to be held simultaneously at Peterborough (Conington), White Waltham, Bodmin and Goodwood on Saturday 6 May with a weather reserve of 13 May. It is for a two-person crew – pilot and navigator. Your aircraft will be fitted with a GPS tracker to check where you actually flew.
The competition starts with a briefing at 1100 when the 80-minute route is handed out. You’ll have enough time to plan it in detail. You’ll be marked for timing, accuracy of tracking and overflying the waypoints (usually about 8). You will be asked to take photographs as additional proof that you were there.
There are various categories: Aeroplane, Helicopter, Microlight and SLMG (Motor Gliders). There are also separate categories for Youth and Military entries, and separate routes for slower aircraft. ‘Youth’ entries involve an older pilot flying a navigator who is below the age of 18.
Entry fees cover refreshments for the day, including lunch (all airfields have waived landing fees):
- 2-person crew: £30
- 2-person crew including RIN member: £20
- 2-person crew including someone under 18 (Youth entry): £10
- each additional crew member: £10
Winners will be invited to the RIN Annual Meeting and Reception to receive their prizes.
“Come and enjoy it – yes, it’s competitive, but it’s also aimed to be inclusive,” said RIN’s Mark Batin. “There genuinely are categories for everybody. Depending on your background, it will almost certainly be a good learning experience and is an excellent opportunity to practice visual navigation without satellite assistance! Most importantly, it will be fun and a fine way to get your summer flying activities underway.”
Information, including entry forms (the electronic version may be completed and emailed straight back) and payment details, may be found here