Becoming a Member
Race Pilots and Navigators
Coming to a race as a spectator or a member is exciting enough for many of us, but if you want to race as a pilot or navigator then here’s what you need to do.
Safety is paramount and only a pilot with at least 100 hours P1 experience (with 10 hrs on type if < 500 hrs PIC and 5 hrs if > 500 hrs) and a valid FAI Competitor’s Licence may compete in air racing. You also need a piston-driven aircraft that can exceed 100mph (in level flight). Membership and fees is a maximum of £1175 for the season whether you pay up front, per race or by Standing Order
There is a simple 3 stage training syllabus:
- Brief. Self brief or obtain a brief from a Check Pilot /Race Supervisor based on the Air Race Handbook 4th Edition and Standard Operating Procedures
- Assessment Flight with a Race Check Pilot who will familiarise you with race techniques, accurate flying, and turning - the flight content is in the Air Race Handbook and will need some practice before the check flight. Successful completion will allow you to race under supervision.
- Supervised Practice/Race(s) with a Check Pilot or Race Supervisor (an experienced Race Navigator) to check you are safe to race in close proximity to other aircraft (see Air Race Handbook for names and locations and contact the Aviation Secretary to be put in touch )
During your early races one of our experienced pilots or navigators (probably also an-ex champion!) will mentor you on your techniques and guide you on how to improve. The check pilots/race supervisors can also provide their assistance and there are commercially available short courses.
Anyone with an average piloting ability is capable of racing and winning is only a matter of honing your skills. Or are you ready to win now?
Although not essential, many race pilots enjoy the company and camaraderie of having an extra pair of eyes and hands that navigators are able to provide.
Navigators assist with look-out, turn roll-out coordination, and generally staying on the best race line. Navigators do not have to be associated with a pilot but often pilot/navigator teams have proved to be very successful.
Air racing needs volunteers to help with a high degree of organisation it takes to run air races safely.
There are many organisational and race tasks needing volunteers including Handicapping, Time Keepers, and Marshals to man the turning points.
To volunteer, write to the Aviation Secretary.
“Is Air Racing Safe? Motorsport is potentially dangerous and Air Racing can be a particularly unforgiving form of motorsport, which must be respected. Safety is the primary focus for the 3Rs using a Safety Management System (SMS), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), a simple Pilot Assessment Syllabus (described above) and course design procedures to make Handicapped Air Racing a fun yet safe pursuit.
The SMS document and SOPs can be found in the Members Area of the website, which you will have access to when you join. You will see it is 3Rs policy to operate a Just Safety Culture where safety reporting is strongly encouraged and de-identified after submission. The follow up actions are transparent by the posting of processed de-identified safety reports and Safety Committee Minutes in the same members area.
Whilst there had been a few tragic accidents, air racing had been performed since 1922 involving hundreds of races and hundreds of pilots and in that context the sport has a very good safety record. As part of our transparent safety culture you may wish to view previous accident reports post 1983 below. Please rest assured lessons have been learned and several procedures have been introduced to reduce the likelihood of similar accidents happening again.