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.

The competition is for a two-person crew – pilot and navigator. Your aircraft will be fitted with a GPS tracker to check where you actually flew. ‘We start with a briefing (at 1100) at which the route – which is about eighty minutes – is handed out,’ say the organisers. ‘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 eight). You will be asked to take photographs 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 eighteen – a great experience for the younger ones.

Entry fees cover refreshments for the day, including lunch (all the airfields involved have kindly waived 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 to receive their prizes.

‘Come and enjoy it – yes, it’s competitive, but it’s also aimed to be inclusive,’ adds RIN. ‘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 at:

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