The inaugural Quicarus launches Thursday 26th May in Arkansas. It's three days of cross country racing and it will take you to task.
This post is for pilots and armchair pilots, with a route description to dissect and analyse at your leisure. Have at it:
On the 26th, Race Division can takeoff 30 minutes prior to sunrise if they are in accordance with FAR103. The start line will open at sunrise for the Adventure Division.
First, all pilots to head South-west. The first procedural checkpoint will keep you de-conflicted with air traffic around the Fort Smith regional airport - pilots are advised to stay at or below 1500ft MSL prior to crossing the Arkansas river Lock & Dam checkpoint.
From there, head south toward the town of Poteau just east of the claimed "tallest hill in the world" - Cavanal Hill. At 1999', it's just a hill, not yet a mountain.
Poteau airport is a checkpoint. Departing to the West/Southwest, pilots then follow the valley between the San Bois (san boo-y) mountains and the Oachita (Wash-ee-taw) national forest as they head toward Red Oak, OK.
After tagging Red Oak as a checkpoint, pilots will head north toward Webbers Falls. This leg will include a mountain crossing immediately, where pilots are advised to gain as much altitude as possible prior to crossing the San Bois mountains.
The Red Oak checkpoint is a compulsory point for Adventure Division, and this is where they will bid good luck and adieu to the Race Division.
Racing pilots will depart Poteau on a more southerly route over Buffalo Mountain, to reveal a friendly guest ranch just west of Talihina, OK. Pilots are advised to have several thousand feet of terrain clearance when making this crossing - there could be upwards of 5 miles without convenient landing areas.
After Buffalo Creek Guest Ranch, pilots can point to the north toward the next universal checkpoint at Webbers Falls where they may again meet their Adventure division chums.
After crossing the San Bois mountains, the terrain gets considerably more friendly as pilots navigate their way between Lake Eufala and Robert S Kerr Reservoir - though that doesn't mean there's an abundance of "convenient" landing locations. There are several suitable fuel stops near the Webbers Falls checkpoint. After which pilots will be flying directly toward the Tahlequah Airport, the northernmost checkpoint on the route.
From here, pilots will head east-southeast direct back to the sod farm and finish line. Although the terrain looks easy, pilots are advised that this leg of the route is sparsely populated - and engine trouble could result in an adventure of epic proportions.
Prior to crossing Interstate 40 - pilots are once again required to maintain at or below 1500' MSL for air traffic avoidance. The first Race Division participant through the pylons -who met all the race criteria -takes the trophy. Adventure Division will compete for the "Spirit of the Adventure" trophy.
All participants will receive a participation award. That'll be beer. Then we'll decamp to Papa's Pub and Pizzeria in Ft Smith.
Pilots and planners - good luck. We'll see you on Thursday.