New To Competition?

So now you have signed up for Top Gun, but what now?

Well you have decided to get into competition balloon flying. Whatever your reasons for joining, from wanting to be a competitor on the international level or just wanting to enhance your skills while having fun, Top Gun was the right choice. If you are new, it might be a bit overwhelming. Hopefully this article will introduce you to some of the things that are a bit different from just going out and flying on the weekends.

The name of the game here is precision flying. Unlike when just going to fly around, this is flying for a purpose. It isn’t just you flying with a purpose but an entire group of people. Competition has targets, time constraints and others that you will be competing against. So what is there to expect?



First thing you will see that is different from other flying events is the Briefing.  The briefing is where you are going to get the tasks for the day. Unlike most flight gatherings, the briefing is going to be much more in-depth. Everyone will be looking at maps for where their assigned targets are. This will be briefed by the Event Director. The Event Director will be in overall charge of balloon operations of the event. He may have an assistant director and technical officials to assist him. The Event Director is responsible for the good management, smooth, and safe running of the event. He shall make operational decisions in accordance with the rules of the Event. He may penalize or disqualify a competitor for misconduct or infringement of the rules. He shall attend meetings of the jury and give evidence if requested.

The Briefing Consists of –

  1. a) Meteorological information
  2. b) Air traffic and safety information (if any)

Flight data:

  1. a) Date
  2. b) Official sunrise/sunset
  3. c) PZs in force
  4. d) Launch area
  5. e) Minimum distance from ILP to all goals/targets set by the director (if applicable)
  6. f) Launch period g) Provisional time and place of next briefing
  7. h) Solo flight (if directed)
  8. i) Search period

Individual Task Data:

  1. a) Marker(s) color to be used (if used)
  2. b) Task/Marker order (if other than normal)
  3. c) Dropping method (if gravity drop directed)
  4. d) Marker Measuring Area (MMA)
  5. e) Scoring period, scoring area, and/or scoring airspace (if set)
  6. f) Task Data as per task rule



A competitor shall enter a task by answering his name or competition number at roll call at the task briefing. Alternative methods of checking the competitor’s attendance may be used.