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U.S. National Aerobatic Championships Start Next Weekend
September 13, 2018 - Some of the nation’s best aerobatic aircraft pilots will return to Oshkosh on September 22-28 to compete for the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships, hosted by the International Aerobatic Club at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
The event moved to Oshkosh last year after spending most of the past 45 years in Sherman/Denison, Texas. Approximately 100 pilots will compete in five separate categories during the week, ranging from Primary to Unlimited in both powered and glider aircraft. In addition, the top finishers in the Unlimited category will earn spots on the U.S. team that will compete next year at the world championships in France.
“Oshkosh is a focal point and internationally recognized as the home of sport aviation, and we are looking forward to another successful year,” said IAC President Robert Armstrong. “Competition aerobatics is one of the most demanding of all air sports and requires extensive practice, planning, and precision. It has often been compared to figure skating as competitors must execute maneuvers in a sequence for a panel of judges. Aerobatics is a melding of a skilled pilot with a capable and high-performance aerobatic airplane.”
Competition will begin on Saturday, September 22, in the five categories: Primary, Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, and Unlimited in both power and glider aerobatics. The categories are determined by the complexity of maneuvers and capabilities of the aircraft. Pilots in each category will fly at least three routines:
- Known: All competitors fly a pre-published set of maneuvers).
- Unknown: The maneuvers to be flown are presented to the pilots prior to their flights, with no opportunity to practice the sequence of figures.
- Freestyle: Individual pilots can create their own routine based on maneuvers allowed in their category.
A group of judges scores all routines, with the highest scores earning the pilot a national champion title in each category. Updated results will be maintained on IAC’s website at www.IAC.org, as well as IAC’s Facebook page and Twitter account.
IAC will also host two free, public, one-hour insider briefings at the Wittman Regional Airport terminal to introduce the details of competition aerobatics to local residents. The first on Tuesday, September 25 at 2 p.m. will also allow attendees to participate as adjunct judges who will score the flying performances that afternoon. The second insider briefing will be on Friday, September 28 at 1 p.m., just prior to the top Unlimited category’s final freestyle competition. While the national championship site and aircraft parking area are closed to the public for safety reasons, there are ample viewing opportunities at the Wittman Regional Airport terminal area adjacent to the aerobatic box.
Some previous U.S. national champions have also flown in the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air shows in July. That includes Rob Holland, EAA 555134, who this year will be attempting to win his eighth consecutive Unlimited national title, breaking the record he shares with the late Leo Loudenslager. Competition will end on Saturday, September 29, with awards presented at the closing banquet in the EAA Aviation Museum.