The concept of Rally and Precision flying started in the Scandinavian countries between the two world wars. The object was to create a set of skills that combined hunting, flying and cross country skiing.
The sport included flying to some remote location, landing in the mountains, skiing to a predetermined spot, shooting a target and then flying off to the next spot, to repeat the exercise.
In the late 1940’s more countries became interested in the concept and over a period of years a set of rules was drawn up that separated out the flying aspects only. A further evolution was to split the sport into two disciplines, Precision Flying and Rally Flying. The main difference between the two is that Precision Flying is a solo effort by a single pilot while Rally Flying is a two crew operation.
Initially the sport was dominated by the inventors, the Scandinavian countries, but later the Eastern European Countries began to dominate. World Championships are held on a regular basis with entries from all over the globe.
The sport of Precision Flying is a single crew operation comprising three sections: Firstly there is a flight planning (theory) test. This is where a route is worked out by the competitor who has to calculate the distance, ground speed, time and heading of each leg of the route based on a constant airspeed and a given wind factor. No aviation or scientific calculators are allowed here and pilots have to use the traditional “Whizz Wheel”. Penalties are allocated for every incorrect calculation of time or heading. Only very small tolerances are allowed.
The second section is a flying test. Pilots have fly along a track at a nominated speed, accurate to the second. Pilots also have to identify photographs and ground markers along the route. These need to be marked on a map. Penalties are awarded for each second early or late over certain unknown check points and turning points as well as for misidentification / misplacement of the ground markers and photographs.
Finally there is the landing section where the pilot has to perform four landings from 1000ft on downwind. Two of the landings are glides (one flapless) and the other two are powered approaches (one over a 2 meter barrier). Pilots aim for a two meter deep stripe painted on the runway. Penalties are awarded for each meter long or short of the line.