I’ve gotten lots of questions so far on how a transcontinental air-race actually works:
“So if you’re not racing for speed on a closed course, how is this a ‘race’? ” for example.
Fair point! The objective of this race is for each team to fly the fastest race possible for their make and model of airplane. The Air Race Classic compares team’s performances by using a calibrating technique referred to as assigning each plane a “handicap.” The ARC Handicap predicts, as accurately as possible, each airplane’s maximum true airspeed. (True airspeed is the measure of how fast an airplane is moving relative to the air surrounding it. “Ground Speed” is the rate the airplane is moving relative to the ground.”)
During the race, the team’s speed for each leg is calculated using the times that each team crosses a start and finish line for that race leg. The race leg speeds are compared to the team’s handicap speed. The team that beats their handicap by the largest number wins. In essence, each team is really racing against themselves and trying to beat their handicap by the best margin.
Handicaps are determined for each airplane in a “handicap run,” in which a racer flies her airplane with a designated race examiner and a GPS tracking device (known as the Bad Elf – yes really) on a closed course at a density altitude of 6,000 ft.
Anne Marie has already completed our handicap run for The Tiger, and with the help of her winsome A&P, Ed Kaston, has also completed the significant registration work for The Tiger as well!
About Ed, Anne Marie says, “Ed’s forgotten more about Tigers than most pilots will ever know – so he is my trusted A&P!” We are grateful for his support!