Competition Rules

The Rofalconry Competition is all about the interaction between the predator and the prey. The Competition Rules are primarily designed to maintain this balance and provide a fair chase and an exciting spectacle. The competition is open to falcons of any age, any species and any size. But the competition is graded to five levels and all falcons start off at Level One. Gradually, as they get fitter and more skilled, they progress up to Level 5. It is a bit like a horse racing handicap. The Robara is also programmed to progress through the same five levels. At Level One the thrust of the motor is restricted electronically so that it cannot use full power and is therefore easier to catch. By Level Five the Robara is able to use all its power.

A team consists of two elements: A Falcon and a Robara. You fly your falcon at your opponent's Robara, and he flies his falcon at your Robara. So you need a highly skilled person flying your Robara!

The scoring gives points for height reached in metres and length of time uncaught, in seconds. The Robara wants to fly as high as it can, and survive as long as it can. It wants a high score. The falcon on the other hand wants to catch the Robara as quickly as it can, without allowing it to fly high. It wants a low score. Thus, if the Robara reaches 420 metres high, and is not caught for 3 minutes 20 seconds (200 seconds), its score is 420 +200 = 620. But if it only reaches 80 metres and is caught in 1 minute 40 seconds its score is only 80+100 =180. The winning falcon is the one of the two falcons with the lower score. In large class sizes where heats are not feasible, the top ten falcons can be taken forward to the next round. A falcon which scores low in three trials is upgraded to the next level, whereas a falcon which scores high in three trials is downgraded a level.

When the Robara is launched, there is a short time interval while it starts to climb. This interval is short at Level One but longer at Level Five. The falcon is kept fully hooded so that it cannot see the Eobara. Then the bell goes for the falconer to unhood his falcon. The clock starts running from the bell. If the falcon does not take off immediately, it loses precious time. Once the falcon binds to the Robara the clock is stopped, except that if it releases the Robara during the descent, the clock is kept running until either the Falcon catches it again or it hits the ground.

As soon as the Robara is launched the pilot is trying to climb and stay above the falcon as long as he can. When he reaches a ceiling of about 500 metres he struggles to see the Robara well enough to control it and it is hard for him to judge how far away the falcon is. So it is hard to climb any higher. The advantage is with the falcon. Meanwhile, the falcon is approaching the Robara and can see it very well. When the falcon attacks, the only choice for the Robara is to dive, gain flying speed and try to side slip away from the stoop of the falcon. A clever Robara may manage to avoid the falcon for some time but will be caught in the end. Alternatively the falcon may not manage to climb up to the Robara and may give up. If the falcon comes back down to the ground, the contest is over. However, the Robara is also running out of battery life. At that point, it too will have to descend and if the falcon is still in the air, it risks being caught on the way down.

Because the Robara must fly like a real Houbara, there are three simple competition rules:

  • The Robara must not fly upside down or do loops.
  • The Robara must not fly at the falcon as if attacking it.
  • The Robara must not do barrel rolls, but it is allowed one single 360 degree corkscrew during a dive.

Competition Rules