Short-field Landing Event
The objective of the Short-field Event is to test the pilot’s skill at maneuvering and manipulating the aircraft. After taking off and flying a normal traffic pattern, the objective is to land as close to, if not on, the target line. Once the pilot reduces the power, he or she cannot increase it again. The distance in feet from where the aircraft’s wheels initially touch the runway to the target line is the pilot’s score. The lowest cumulative score from the two landings, plus technique penalty points, if any, wins.
Power Off Landing Event
Similar to the Short-field Event, except that the power must be reduced and remain at idle on the downwind leg abeam the target line. The approach is made essentially by gliding for the remainder of the traffic pattern to touchdown, preferably on the target line.
Message Drop Event
The objective of the Message Drop Event is to hit a target on the ground with a message container dropped from an aircraft at 200 feet above the ground. A team effort by both the pilot and the drop master is necessary to maneuver the airplane so the two containers will hit their respective targets. The contestant whose container lands with the lowest total distance from the two targets is the winner.
Aircraft Recognition Event
Slides of aircraft are shown on a screen for three seconds. Competitors then have fifteen seconds to identify the aircraft’s manufacturer, model number, and common name, if any.
Ground Trainer Event
This event is designed to test the competency and skill of the contestant’s ability to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR) in a flight-training device. Flying a predetermined pattern, the competitor must show proficiency in maintaining altitude, heading and airspeed.
Contestants work against the clock to solve mathematical flight planning computations using a manually operated flight computer. The exam includes problems on time, speed, distance, wind corrections, fuel requirements and conversion factors.
Preflight Inspection Event
An aircraft is “bugged” with at least 30 unairworthy discrepancies. Contestants are given fifteen minutes to preflight the aircraft and find as many of the discrepancies as possible.
IFR Simulator Event
Competitors are required to demonstrate instrument flight rules (IFR) proficiency and precision by flying a given route in a simulator. All aspects of cross-country IFR flight are included such as receiving clearances, holding patterns, instrument approach procedures and deviation to an alternate.
The Navigation Event consists of a cross-country flight over a three-to-five leg course between 70 and 120 nautical miles. Each contestant submits a flight plan before takeoff, which includes estimated time en route for each leg, total elapsed time and fuel consumption. The contestant with the lowest penalty points wins.