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Review of International Air Rally 2023

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Dec 23, 2021
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My wife and I just returned from the International Air Rally 2023. In an effort to help others make decisions about future versions of this, I offer the following experiential “review” from my and my wife’s point of view only. Others who participated are welcome and encouraged to comment as well, again, only as a help to others.


-The organizers were experienced having done this for 20+ years.
- Customs, landing, hotel, and ground transport logistics were pre-arranged and helped a lot.
- The concept kept us from going into international airports that otherwise may not accommodated.
- The concept kept us from being taken advantage of with airport fees and customs concerns; particularly pre-negotiated relief from reportedly high FBO and landing fees.
- We made great friends and camaraderie with the other participants and hope to keep in touch with many of them. Our common love of flying was a great common bond and it was a wonderful experience meeting everyone. A couple of the participants, who were airline pilots, were particularly generous with their time and guidance.

- Got lots of fun pictures. (PM me privately if you’d like to see the album.).


-The organizers were arrogant and strictly “My way or the highway” which caused undue stress and drama.
- Any questioning caused participants to be thrown out of the group or told “You’re on your own” (with no refunds).
- Organizers (without proper explanation and to the dismay of the participants) kicked two of their own staff off the trip when they presented a contrary-to-their-viewpoint weather picture.
- Organizers prevented a participant from continuing with the group (denied him aircraft parking with the group) after he recovered from an illness which necessitated a logistics deviation.
- Organizers relied totally on previous experience and refused to be flexible based on current conditions, logistics, or even a different customs agent.
- When weather was a factor the organizers lacked respect / support for PIC experience, decision making and level of risk avoidance/acceptance by repeatedly saying “You’re on your own” rather than using their experience to help participants recover from alternative logistics necessitated by the weather.
- The organizers only distributed information on a “Need-to-know” basis, often purposely withholding information or not communicating decisions, particularly when logistics were in flux. For example, when the organizers themselves diverted to the alternate location they themselves suggested, and once there, decided the weather was worth the risk for them to continue on to the original location, they didn’t tell most they were going and why. They just left…then blamed the “staying group” for “ruining their program.”
- The hotels for the most part, were second rate, old, and run-down.
- Hotel meals/food, again, (with just some exceptions) were mediocre.
- Curiously, some landing destinations lacked fuel which necessitated further aircraft cycles and fuel usage as well as increased stress to find alternate locations with fuel when logistics went awry.
- When the weather caused rescheduling, all prepayments for sailing, lobster dinners, etc, were lost with not even a make-good effort or apology from the organizers. (Quite the opposite, they “blamed” that group for not risking the weather).
- The briefings were inconsistent and disjointed as the organizers continually argued amongst themselves on details. By the end of the tour, they still couldn’t get their projector to work properly.

Summary: the concept is great and we were delighted to successfully make stops in 9 different countries over ten days and meet great new friends. But the style, tone, and attitude of the organizers is to be avoided.

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