TopNav 2019 navigation competition opens for entries

The annual TopNav navigation competition will be held at five airfields this year on 18-19 May.

TopNav is a visual navigation competition for private pilots, organised by the Royal Institute of Navigation’s (RIN) General Aviation Navigation Group (GANG) and sponsored by Pooley’s.

This year it is to be held simultaneously at Bodmin, Compton Abbas and Peterborough Business Airport (Conington) on Saturday 18 May and at Solent Airport (Lee-on-Solent/Daedalus) and White Waltham on Sunday 19 May.

The competition is for a two-person crew – pilot and navigator – but extra crew-members may be carried. Your aircraft will be fitted with a GPS tracker to check where you actually flew.

TopNav 2019
Top photo: the 2018 TopNav winners, Julian Hickman and Rob Curry. Above: their winning track.

The organisers say:

“We start with a briefing (at 1100) at which the route – which is about 80 minutes – is handed out. You’ll have enough time to plan it in detail and there will be a master chart to check against.

“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 and you may submit a log to aid the judging.”

There are various categories:

  • Aeroplane
  • Helicopter
  • Microlight
  • Self-Launching Motor Gliders (SLMG).

There are also separate categories for youth or military entries (including service flying clubs) and separate routes for slower aircraft. ‘Youth’ entries involve an older pilot flying a navigator who is below the age of 18 – a great experience for the younger ones.

Entry fees cover refreshments for the day, including lunch (kindly, the airfields waive landing fees):

  • Two-person crew: £30
  • Two-person crew including RIN member: £20
  • Two-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 on 16 July 2019 in London to receive their prizes.

“Come and enjoy it – yes, it’s competitive, but it’s also aimed to be inclusive,” continue the organisers.

“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.”

Register online here. Once registered, you will be invoiced the appropriate entry fee.

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