14 Race Course Specifications
In order for a racing event to be sanctioned by the USRA, the following racecourse specifications must be met by the race event organizer/promoter. These specifications are designed to meet certain specific dimensions set forth by the USRA and the AMA for insurance purposes and ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the safety of race crews, flight line workers, race officials and spectators. In addition to safety, the racecourse specifications establish an accurate and consistent racecourse and ensure that lap times and calculated race speeds are comparable between each racing event. Any deviation from these specifications must be accounted for and approved by the USRA Board. The event organizer/promoter is responsible for ensuring that the race site and racecourse are set up in accordance with these racecourse specifications. However, racecourse accuracy and ultimate racecourse approval rests with the USRA.
14.2 Race Course Inspection and Approval
Prior to December 31 of the year preceding a racing season, a potential race promoter must acknowledge in writing to the USRA that the planned racing site will conform to USRA Race Course Specifications. A racing event cannot be scheduled until this information is presented. Once a racing event is scheduled, the racing event organizer/promoter is responsible for ensuring that the racecourse is set up in accordance with USRA Race Course Specifications. At the race, prior to any racing, a USRA official will inspect the course for accuracy and sign the Race Course Approval Letter. The race event organizer/promoter will retain the original of this letter and the USRA will retain a copy of this letter until the race is completed. This is to ensure that the race event organizer/promoter is protected against disputes concerning racecourse distances and world record times. Protests of the racecourse must be presented in writing to a USRA official in accordance with the Race Protest Procedure established in the Common Rules. Racecourse protests may not be filed after the completion of a racing event.
14.3 General Minimum Race Course Recommendations
14.3.1 Runway - Minimum of 2000' x 60' paved runway. In order to meet all of the distance requirements associated with a giant scale air racing event, it is preferable, but not a requirement, to utilize a full size airport to hold a racing event. Full size airports typically have enough size to adequately provide sufficient safe distances to all event participants and spectators.
14.3.2 Pylons - Two pylons will be used for racing, Pylon 1 and Pylon 2. The pylons will be placed on an imaginary line that is 200 - 300 feet from, and parallel to, the Flight Line/Dead Line. Each must utilize a 5-color (red, white, green, yellow, blue) light "turn-caller" system (controlled by the Pylon Judges) to indicate turns to the race crews. Pylons must be at least 15' tall and should be marked in such a way (such as a standard checkerboard pattern) so that they are easily visible from the Pilot Station. Each pylon will utilize a flag/flag pole arrangement on top for accurate judging by the Pylon Judges. Each pylon typically will require its own generator for power. (See typical pylon construction requirements)
14.3.3 Flight Line/Dead Line - The Flight Line/Dead Line is the line that runs parallel to the line between Pylon 1 and Pylon 2. It is normally the inboard edge of runway and is also delineates the Dead Line for flying aircraft prior to and after the race. Aircraft that cross the Flight line/Dead Line in flight during the start/launch period, the race countdown period, or during the post-race recovery period will score a zero for that heat. An aircraft that crosses the deadline on the landing rollout will not be penalized. During the race, the centerline of the runway, or a line no less than 50 feet from the pilot’s stations will serve as the Racing Dead Line/Racing Boundary Line. Crossing this line during the race will score a zero for that heat.
14.3.4 Start/Finish Line - The Start/Finish Line is the line that is perpendicular to the Flight Line/Dead Line and bisects the Green Pilot Position. It is the center of the course and is the reference line used for the start and finish of a race. The Start/Finish Line shall be readily identifiable by Lap Counters/Timers, race officials and race crews. Normally, the Countdown Clock is placed on the Start/Finish Line on top of "checker-boarded" hay bales.
14.3.5 Pylon Judge Stations - A Pylon Judge Station will be used for each pylon. Each station will utilize six workers comprised of five pylon judges and a pylon boss. Each Pylon Judge Station is located 550 feet from its respective pylon on an imaginary line that is perpendicular to the line that would connect the two pylons. A Pylon Judge Station normally has two 6' tables and 6 chairs and must contain some method by which each Pylon Judge can control the on/off function of the respective colored pylon lights. The Pylon Judge Station is housed under a canopy or tent. The five Pylon Judge's operate the 5 pylon lights and are supervised by the Pylon Boss. The Pylon Boss will utilize a radio to maintain contact with the Contest Director and the Flight Line Director for coordination of the pylon during racing.
14.3.6 Pilot Station - The Pilot Station is comprised of five pilot positions, one for each lane of racing. Each lane/position is labeled with a colored flag or tarp that corresponds to the lights on the pylons as follows: Lane 1 - Red, Lane 2 - White, Lane 3 - Green, Lane 4 - Yellow, Lane 5 - Blue. The Pilot Station is centered on the racecourse, adjacent to the Flight Line/Dead Line. The Start/Finish Line bisects the Green pilot position. Construction of the Pilot Station is normally through the use of hay bales.
14.3.7 Lap Counter/Timer/Contest Director Station - This area houses the Contest Director, the Lap Counters/Timers, the lap counting and timing equipment, pertinent race officials, the public address system and the Announcer. It is normally housed under a tent to protect against adverse weather conditions and to provide shade to workers. It is located at least 300 feet behind the Flight Line. The Lap Counter/Timer/Contest Director Station normally requires its own generator for power of the Timing System, Countdown Clock and Public Address system.
14.3.8 Timing System and Countdown Clock - The Timing System and Countdown Clock are used for the collection of race data and to begin a typical race. The timing system is normally housed in the Lap Counter/Timer/Contest Director Station. The Countdown Clock is located on the Start/Finish Line across the runway from the Pilot Station. A set of 7 stopwatches will be provided as a backup in case of timing system failure, and race personnel will be instructed on their use.
14.3.9 Public address system - The public address system is used to keep race teams informed of upcoming heats and to provide spectators with race commentary.
14.3.10 Preliminary Staging Area - The Preliminary Staging Area is the first area used to stage race aircraft. Normally, aircraft will stage in the Preliminary Staging Area approximately two heats before the heat they are to race in. The Preliminary Staging Area also includes the AT-6 Fueling/Weighing Area and the F1-GT Fueling Area. AT-6 Class aircraft will defuel, weigh, then fuel while in the Preliminary Staging Area. The F1-GT class aircraft will defuel and fuel while in the Preliminary Staging Area. The Preliminary Staging Area is located at least 400 feet from the Flight Line, near the Spectator Line.
14.3.11 Final Staging Area - The Final Staging Area is the area used to line up aircraft for a heat race in their assigned lane that are one heat away from racing. It is located a minimum of 400 feet from the Flight Line and normally adjacent to the Lap Counter/Timer/Contest Director Station.
14.3.12 Race Ready Area - The Race Ready Area is the area located immediately in front of the Pilot Station on the runway and contains five stations, one for each aircraft that will race. The Race Ready Area is where the aircraft engines are started in preparation for launch.
14.3.13 Designated Pit Area - The Designated Pit Area is the area where race teams set up their pits. It is located behind the Spectator Line (minimum of 400 feet from the Flight Line) and is normally shared with and open to spectators.
14.3.14 Designated Engine Run-up Area - The Designated Engine Run-up Area is where engine run-up and testing occurs. It is normally located behind the Spectator Line (400 feet from the Flight Line), but in an area that may or may not be open to spectators. This area is normally coordinated with the airport or site owner and provides a safe area to perform engine testing.
14.3.15 Spectator Line - The Spectator Line is the line that spectators may not proceed beyond at any time. It is located a minimum of 400 feet from the Flight Line, parallel to the Flight Line and is the closest point that spectators may view racing from. It generally contains the Designated Pit Area for race teams and will be clearly defined with a yellow "Do Not Cross" ribbon. The ends of the Spectator Line will be clearly marked so that spectators will not pass around the ends of the Spectator Line.
14.4 Race Course Specifications (See Appendix B)
14.4.1 Distance between Pylon 1 and Pylon 2 - 1600 feet
14.4.2 Start/Finish Line to Pylon 1 - 800 feet
14.4.3 Start/Finish Line to Pylon 2 - 800 feet
14.4.4 Dead Line to Pylon 1 - 250 feet recommended - may vary from 200 - 300 feet
14.4.5 Dead Line to Pylon 2 - 250 feet recommended - may vary from 200 - 300 feet
14.4.6 Dead Line to Pylon 1 Judge's Station - 350 feet
14.4.7 Dead Line to Pylon 2 Judge's Station - 350 feet
14.4.8 Pylon 1 Judge's Station to Pylon 1 - 600 feet recommended - may vary from 550 - 700 feet
14.4.9 Pylon 2 Judge's Station to Pylon 2 - 600 feet recommended - may vary from 550 - 700 feet
14.4.10 Pilot Stations to Race Boundary Line, a minimum of 50 feet with Start/Finish Line through center of Green (middle) Pilot Position. Pilot Stations to Dead Line, a minimum of 15 feet.
14.4.11 Lap Counter/Timer/Contest Director's Station to Flight Line - 300 feet minimum
14.4.13 Dead Line to Preliminary Staging Area (includes Fueling Area) - 350 feet
14.4.14 Dead Line to Final Staging Area - 350 feet
14.4.15 Dead Line to Rear Deadline - 1250 feet
14.4.16 Dead Line to Spectator Line - 400 feet minimum - 600 feet recommended
14.4.17 Clear Areas at each end of course – recommended 1000 feet beyond pylons