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U.S. Team to Slovakia
From In the Loop Newsletter - June 2014
By Mike Heuer, IAC Vice President, USA Delegate to CIVA
A team of American IAC members will soon be making their way to Dubnica nad Váhom, Slovakia, for the 11th FAI World Advanced Aerobatic Championships (WAAC). The championships begin on August 7 and run through August 16.
Team selection for the U.S. Advanced Aerobatic Team took place at the U.S. Nationals in September 2013, and though there has been a reshuffling of pilots, it now appears that a team of six Americans will compete in what has become the largest FAI Aerobatic Championships of all the disciplines under the control of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and its aerobatics commission, CIVA. The last WAAC in Hungary attracted more than 80 pilots from 19 countries; thus the competition is quite fierce for the top spots.
Pilots representing the United States this year will be Mark Nowosielski, Sammy Mason, Craig Gifford, Matt Lane, Marty Flournoy, and Mark Fullerton. Accompanying the team in support positions will be team coach Nikolay Timofeev and mechanic Gary DeBaun. Julia Wood and Margo Chase were also scheduled to fly, which would have given the United States a full eight-pilot contingent as authorized by CIVA rules, but they had to drop out due to family and business commitments.
American participation in championships held in Europe is expensive and time-consuming, as some pilots elect to ship their aircraft to Europe and others manage to find rental aircraft there. Lane will be flying a Yak-55 he found in the Czech Republic, and Mason is still on the lookout for a Pitts S-1. The remaining aircraft will be shipped via container to Emden, Germany, and then from there to Hosin, Czech Republic, for assembly and practice. Flournoy, Nowosielski, and Fullerton will be flying the MX-2, N540RH (formerly owned by Rob Holland), and Gifford will be flying his Panzl S-330 N330CG.
Practice has been intense this year; eight practice sessions have been held in Keystone, Florida, with coach Timofeev running the show and receiving wonderful community support. The team is confident it will be well prepared by the time WAAC opens, as several days in late July and early August will be devoted to intense practice, critique, and preparation under Timofeev’s watchful eye.
From Hosin, the aircraft will be flown to Dubnica nad Váhom, which is located about 80 miles northeast of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and not much further from Vienna, Austria. It is quite easy to reach. The airport was the venue for the 2012 European Aerobatic Championships in Unlimited, but this year’s championships will be well over twice the size and will no doubt strain the airfield’s resources. A beautiful, small airport with a restaurant and other nice facilities, it is a welcome venue with an excellent box and grass runway.
The contest will be directed by Vladimir Machula of the Czech Republic, and the chief judge will be John Gaillard of South Africa. I am privileged to serve as president of the International Jury.
For IACers who wish to help with funding U.S. Team participation at WAAC, there is a link on the IAC website which facilitates quick and easy donations via PayPal. Please go to www.IAC.org and look at the right side of the home page for the link.
I’ll be blogging from Slovakia as the contest is in progress with details to be announced. Also, the U.S. Team has its own website with frequent updates. In addition, make sure you “like” the Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter - @TeamUSAero.
More news as it becomes available – and please support your team!
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