We crossed the final time line in Atlantic, Iowa about 1:00 pm local time on Friday. Results won't be in until Sunday evening, and we hear several teams incurred penalties... including us. Penalties are given for various infractions, such as flying the time line too low or too high, but ours was more bonehead than that.
While the FAA does not require a flight plan to be filed when flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules), the Air Race Classic Organization does require racers to file a flight plan with the Chair person of whatever city we're in each morning, giving the departure and en route times, and number of race legs expected to complete for the day. That has to be handed in to the chair person before taking off for the first flight of the day. We spent a night in Sparta, TN and were so focused on getting to Jacksonville, IL that we realized when we arrived in Jacksonville that we hadn't handed in our flight plan in Sparta. Five knot penalty. That's going to hit us hard, because usually less than one knot separates the top few spots.
But that's okay, we'll take our punches. As long as rules are consistent and enforced fairly, its all a part of the challenge. Lots of teams have penalties, and it just makes the whole race experience that much more interesting. Next year, or whenever I race again, I can promise I won't ever forget to file a flight plan with the Stop Chair. Its really disappointing when you're flying a decent race, which I think we did.
I'll post again after I find out the results. Meanwhile, the fine city of Atlantic, Iowa is throwing lots of parties, being a great host. The town, population about 7,000, sure does know how to promote and welcome people. I'm impressed with a town this size that doesn't have its head in the sand and really wants economic growth and development. Putting in an airport and encouraging private development has been one of the very smart moves they've made. Kudos to Atlantic.