Why are there suggested hand-off timing for relay flights?

This is an experiment by the AFW Office to decrease the uncertainty of timing for volunteers who aren’t available to block out their entire day for relay flights. The hand-off timings are suggested by the AFW Office based on the number of legs and geography.

In the example below, you will see that the suggested hand-off at ALW is 11:00 AM. A volunteer pilot for Leg 1 has signed up with the understanding that he/she is responsible for dropping off the passengers at a specific time for the exchange. The Leg 2 is still open, but any volunteer pilot who considers this mission will have a better understanding of the time they need to set aside for their portion of the flight. This method allows for some certainty in open relay flights, but it may also mislead volunteers into not signing up for a flight that they otherwise might be available to fly. **Hand-off times are always open to changes between relay pilots.**


In the past, we haven’t published suggested hand-off times. The flight time was listed as “2 leg relay” or “3 leg relay” in order to advise the volunteers of the number of pilots that were needed to organize the trip. Once all two or three volunteers were confirmed for the trip, the timing would be coordinated between the relay pilots. Pilots signed up with the assumption that they would need to block out half a day or a full day in order to be eligible for a relay flight. This method allowed for total flexibility, but also some amount of uncertainty that wouldn’t be resolved until all volunteer pilots are secured.

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