ABOVE: The challenge is ‘a fun and fine way to get your summer flying activities underway’

The Royal Institute of Navigation has announced the dates for its annual ‘TopNav’ challenge, an annual visual navigation competition for private pilots.

Organised by the Royal Institute of Navigation’s General Aviation Navigation Group and sponsored by Pooley’s flight equipment, the yearly competition is held every year in early Spring with prizes awarded at the summer AGM. 2024’s dates have been confirmed as a two-week window from 13th-28th April 2024, primarily during the weekends but with potential midweek opportunities to account for weather or technical issues.

Two-person crews will be supplied with a GPS tracker to record track, altitudes and timings, with extra points available for aspects of the log/PLOG. After an 11:00 briefing, an 80-minute route will be handed out. Marks will be awarded for timing, accuracy of tracking and overflying pre-determined waypoints, with crews asked to take photos as additional proof. Trip logs will also be taken into consideration and to appoint credit for logged decisions (eg deviation due to traffic).

Categories include aeroplane, helicopter, microlight and motorglider, with separate routes for slower aircraft. Navigators under the age of 18 can also participate alongside an older pilot in the ‘youth’ category. Entry fees range from £15-£35 and include lunch.

Participating airfields are: Bodmin, Peterborough Connington, White Waltham, Solent Airport and Bagby.

The Royal Institute of Navigation explains that as well as being competitive, the competition is also aimed at being inclusive, and will ‘almost certainly be a good learning experience and is an excellent opportunity to practice visual navigation without satellite assistance’.

Online registration can be found here, with additional information via this link.