Bombers arrived and aerobatic pilots soared as aviation enthusiasts took on day one of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2017. (July 24, 2017).
Noell Dickmann/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
OSHKOSH – Some of the nation’s best aerobatic aircraft pilots will gather to compete for national championships Sept. 23-29 as the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships come to Oshkosh for the first time, hosted by the International Aerobatic Club at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
The event moved to Oshkosh this year after spending most of the past 45 years at Denison, Texas. About 100 pilots will compete in five separate categories during the week, ranging from Primary to Unlimited. In addition, the top finishers in the Advanced (second-highest) category will earn berths on the U.S. team that will compete next year at the world championships in Strejnic, Romania.
“As Oshkosh is regarded worldwide as the home of sport aviation, it was a natural fit to bring the competition here,” said Mike Heuer, IAC president. “Competition aerobatics demands very precise, planned flying that is judged for its precision and excellence. The judging is very similar to that seen in figure skating, as the competitors must execute prescribed maneuvers as part of an overall performance. It places high demands on both the pilot and aircraft to be at their best.”
Competition will begin Saturday, Sept. 23, 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 (where all competitors fly a pre-published set of maneuvers)
- Unknown (the maneuvers to be flown are presented to the pilots just prior to their flights)
- 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 national championships in each category. Updated results will be maintained on IAC’s website at .iac.org, as well as IAC’s Facebook page and Twitter account.
While the national championship site and aircraft parking area are closed to the public for safety reasons, there are viewing opportunities at the Wittman Regional Airport parking lots and other publicly accessible areas.
Some previous U.S. national champions also have flown in the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshows in July. That includes Rob Holland, who this year will be attempting to win his seventh consecutive Unlimited national title, tying the record held by the late Leo Loudenslager. Competition will end Saturday, Sept. 29, with awards presented at the closing banquet in the EAA Aviation Museum.
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