This introduction to the race aims to give new entrants a good idea about what is going on. For further information and some history, please feel free to browse the website. The actual Rules are more precise and much more extensive. However, because they are written to handle many possible contingencies, they can be overwhelming on first reading. We recommend starting with this overview and then having casual conversations with veteran teammates before undertaking the full set of rules.
The Overall Organization
The Round the World Race is organized into teams. For the last 10 years, we have had three or four teams who represented major Flight Simulation sites. The normal lineup has teams representing Avsim, FlightSim.com, and Sim-Outhouse. You may fly for any team you like. Simply volunteer and you will be warmly welcomed. This is a demanding event and teams need pilots.
The Broad View
Traditionally on the first Saturday after Valentine's Day (February 21st this year), each team starts the race from a designated airport and then conducts a "baton-relay-race" around the world as it returns to the initial departure point. The legs are typically two hours in duration (about 750nm), with pilots transferring the baton when one leg ends and the next begins. The race is run in real time and in real weather until the conclusion – usually three or four days after the start.
The team that completes the circumnavigation of the globe in the least amount of time (net any accrued penalties) is the winner.
The Individual Pilot
When you want to fly, you typically volunteer a few hours in advance of a leg. Your team will already have sketched out a plan for several future legs, one that indicates likely departure and destination airports. You select your aircraft from the approved White List and plan your flight. You will probably examine the weather forecast, develop a GPS route, and take a look at the destination airport to familiarize yourself with the local terrain, and the airport's navaids and runways. You then go to your assigned departure airport, set up your aircraft, and wait for your incoming teammate. When he arrives, you take the baton and fly your leg to the destination airport. On landing, you hand the baton to the next pilot who carries onward. Simple as pie.
Some Additional Features
While the race itself is fairly straightforward, it has some extra features that you will want to know about.
- If a baton-carrying pilot crashes (or his computer crashes), then the baton reverts to the previous departure airport and the team tries again. However, if the pilot has an official wingman, he may transfer the baton to the wingman who carries on. The wingman transfer penalty is 30 minutes but that is far better than having to restart the two-hour leg. Accordingly, the team will assign a wingman to accompany every baton-pilot. If you are carrying the baton and crash, you simply hand it over to your wingman. If you are flying wingman, you fly alongside your lead pilot and act as his insurance policy. Flying the wingman position is an excellent way for new pilots to gain experience in the race. (Typically, a new pilot will fly one or two wingman legs before taking the baton as the lead pilot.)
- Rookie Mulligan
- Every new pilot has a rookie mulligan: he has one free (without penalty) wingman transfer. That is to say, if you are flying with the baton and disaster strikes, you may transfer the baton to your wingman without paying the normal penalty.
- Aircraft Types
- The "normal" race aircraft are propeller-driven aircraft limited to four piston engines or two turbine engines as specified in an explicit White List. In practice, this means that the racing teams focus on WWII warbirds or on modern turboprops. Popular fast warbirds include the North American P-51 Mustang, Grumman F7F Tigercat, Grumman F8F Bearcat, Hawker Sea Fury, and de Havilland DH.103 Hornet. The speedy twin turboprops include the Epic LT and the Piaggio P.180 Avanti. Competitive aircraft are available as payware and freeware models for both FS9 and FSX.
- Complementing the normal legs, teams also have "Wildcard Legs" for which modern jet transport aircraft are eligible. Typically, long wildcard legs will be assigned to aircraft such as the B747/B777 or A380, while medium wildcard legs are assigned to aircraft such as the B737 or A320.
- Depending on your experience and tastes, you might prefer to fly the warbirds, the twin turboprops, or the jet transports…or all of them. (Please note that the White List includes a fairly large number of aircraft, many of which lack sophisticated damage models. Thus, to maintain a level playing field, we allow pilots of advanced simulations to deactivate their aircraft-specific engine-damage models. In practice, pilots abuse their engines to maximize their racing speeds.)
- Monitoring the Race
- The race is a competitive event that relies on pilots' playing by the rules. To authenticate their accomplishments, pilots track their own flights using a small addon program called the Duenna. Over the past ten years we have had success in everyone's using it to verify their legs. Rookies sometimes worry about adding a monitoring program – until they install it and use it. It will take you 15 minutes to retrieve the latest version and install it. And it will take you a couple of short practice flights to get the settings correct and learn how to use the program. No worries.
Click HERE for more information on the Duenna.
- Lockheed Martin Prepar3d.
- Up until now, the race has been limited to the Microsoft Flight Simulator platforms FS9 and FSX. With the advent of Prepar3D which uses the Microsoft ESP platform, we are now able to include P3D in the list of approved simulators for the race. You may use P3D V2 or V3 if you would like. P3D Version 1 compatibility has not been tested but feel free to try if this is your preferred platform.
The Round the World Race intends to present a rewarding challenge in flight simulation. Racing around the globe in real time and real weather asks individuals to use their piloting skills. And it requires planning, organization, and teamwork. You will likely have the opportunity to fly over strange terrain and into unfamiliar airports in bad weather and in darkness. You and your teammates will plan a racing route that minimizes distance and maximizes safety while taking advantage of the world's changing weather conditions. All the flight planning, takeoffs and landings, baton-handoffs, and tactical adjustments are done under time pressure – thus increasing the challenge. At the end of the day most pilots find that, while successful flying and the planning each offer their own satisfactions, it is the teamwork-inspired camaraderie that makes the event so very special.
How to get started
You might look around this website. Under "Menu" you can find many interesting features. Or you can go directly to the "Race Forum" for each of the participating teams. At the team forums, you might find a thread that welcomes new participants. See:
You will be warmly welcomed.