Hayward Air Rally
I NEED TO TELL YOU ABOUT the Hayward Air Rally because
it’s about flying proficiency (always a good thing), it funds
three EAA Air Academy scholarships, and it’s fun!
You may or may not have heard of the Hayward Air
Rally, but it is the longest continually held proficiency flying
event in North America. This was its 47th year!
Founded in 1964, the idea was originally conceived by
the mayor of Hayward, California. Early on it was called the
Hayward Air Race, but it’s not really a “race,” so the name
was changed, more appropriately, to “rally.” And a rally it
is—a rally about flying proficiency, specifically navigation
and fuel management. And know this: All airplanes and pilots
are welcome, from 152s to Barons, sport pilots to ATPs, GPS-equipped to compass-only, production to experimental. Anyone
can win. It’s not about what you fly but how you fly. Bottom line:
Everyone who participates in the Hayward Air Rally leaves a
better pilot, and you can’t beat that!
In a nutshell, the rally is basically a 500-nautical-mile cross-
country divided into two 250-nautical-mile legs. You arrive in
Hayward on Thursday and your aircraft is classified, fueled, and
“impounded” (parked). Race numbers are then affixed to the
aircraft. There are two categories: digital (you get to use all the
whiz-bang stuff ) and traditional (no whiz-bang stuff—my kind of
people). You declare your category then
attend the mandatory rally briefing. There
you are briefed on the course and given
the Rally Course Pilot Operating Handbook
(POH). The POH is 40 pages of important
and necessary information. (Pilots, don’t let
the 40 pages scare you; there are pictures.)
Your rally numbers are recorded, and you
are given the rally frequency and a rally
squawk. Takeoff times are staggered.