We create three interactive flying challenges and download them to Redbird simulators around the world. You go to one of these sims, log into your personal account, and fly them. If you rock the house, you’ll get a high score and bragging rights with anyone who will listen. If your first attempt exhibits the skill of an inebriated kangaroo, no one will witness your shame. Not even an instructor; the challenges are flown solo on the simulator.
Each challenge has three parts: An introductory video, a training version, and a scoring-only version. Each challenge takes less than 25 minutes or less to watch the video, do one training run and take one swipe at a challenge without guidance. All scoring is based on criteria published in the FAA practical test standards, other FAA publications, such as the Airplane Flying Handbook, and any completely subjective and arbitrary criteria we felt like adding.
The challenge opens for all on the first day of Sun n Fun, Tuesday April 1, 2014 (no fooling), and will culminate Sunday July 6, 2014.
Signing up is free—well, we need your email address. Even if you never fly a challenge, you can still track the event and enjoy all the content we publish on the site. Yet another example of getting something for nothing just because it’s published on the internet.
Because pilots are such notorious cheapskates (and the rest of could use a financial break these days) we give you a coupon so your first 30 minutes on the sim only costs 15 bucks. That’s a screaming good deal and you should be thankful.
After those first 30 minutes, cost is up to the facility supplying the simulator. Some charge by the hour, some by flat rates. Some may make flying the challenges a benefit of membership or part of some other program.
The most important score to beat is your previous score. That means you’re getting better, which is the whole point. As added motivation, twelve of the best performers involved in the challenge get a free trip to AirVenture, the world’s largest aviation event, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to compete live for the actual Flying Challenge Cup.
Here’s a twisted and obscure logic for selecting 12 top performers and bringing them to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to compete for the actual Flying Challenge Cup:
One participant from each of the three categories with highest combined scores across all three challenges. That’s three participants total.
One participant from each of the three categories with the highest score in each individual challenge. That’s nine more participants.
Fly the challenges in one school or several. Fly them once, or non-stop for a month. The whole point is to get better, and the more you fly the better you’ll get.