The British Aerobatics Code of Conduct
Every year, British Aerobatics organises a number of competition weekends, when flying takes place at host airfields. The intention of such weekends is that they are beneficial, not only to members, but also to the groups and individuals who normally operate from the airfields in question.
The arrival at the host airfield of a fair number of visiting aircraft, pilots, officials and supporters can be disruptive, and a long series of contest flights throughout the day can easily spoil the operating routine at the host airfield. There is therefore a real need for understanding and co-operation on all sides if the aims of the competition weekend are to be met.
The aim of this code of conduct is to provide a framework within which contest organisers, competing pilots and the authorities at host airfields can work together to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
The purposes of competition
The main purposes of the competition are:
- To enable competing pilots to pit their aerobatic skills one against the other in safe, fair and open competition.
- To provide groups and individuals at host airfields with an interesting and beneficial annual event.
- To further the sport of aerobatics at host airfields.
- Where practicable, to give the general public the opportunity of watching and learning about contest aerobatics.
The prime consideration at aerobatic contests shall always be safety. Once safety has been established, sportsmanship, good manners and camaraderie should at all times prevail. Discipline of competing pilots and other members shall be the responsibility of the Contest Director nominated by the British Aerobatics. This code is complementary to the General Rules for the Conduct of Aerobatic Contests.
The conduct of contest officials
Prior to the issue of contest briefing papers, the Head of Contest Organisation (HCO) shall establish close liaison with appropriate persons at the host airfield to ensure local requirements are included in published material.
Copies of contest briefing papers should always be sent to the host airfield at the time of general circulation.
To ensure clear, unambiguous communication, a single point of contact shall be established between the British Aerobatics and the host airfield. Initially this shall be the HCO; during the two weeks leading to the contest this shall be the Contest Director.
The Contest Director will agree special operational procedures with the responsible authority at the host airfield to ensure that local flying may continue with as little disruption as is compatible with achieving a valid contest result.
At all contest briefings, the appropriate local official shall be invited to address competing pilots on local procedures and sensitivities.
When considered appropriate, the contest organiser will agree in advance of the contest, any fees or other costs to be paid by the British Aerobatics or its members to the host airfield authorities.
Whenever possible, and in order to promote a better understanding of the sport, contest officials and competing pilots should make themselves available for informal consultation by local people.
Where appropriate, the Contest Director will make arrangements for the briefing of the media and the general public as to the conduct and progress of the competition.
After the contest is complete, the Contest Director will review the conduct of the event with host airfield officials.
The conduct of competing pilots
Competing pilots shall at all times display exemplary airmanship. Attendance at, or participation in, a British Aerobatics contest at any level does not imply that it grants to the pilot under any circumstances exemption from any aspect or clause of the Air Navigation Order, the Rules of the Air Regulations nor any other statutory instrument nor from any local regulations.
Pilots should remember that the aim of contests is to promote friendly rivalry and good sportsmanship.
Arrival at and departure from the host airfield shall be in the normal manner prescribed for visiting aircraft.
Aerobatic practice flights at or within 10 nm of the host airfield during the week leading up to the contest are prohibited to competing pilots unless specifically authorised by both the host airfield authority and the Contest Director.
Competing pilots shall at all times understand that they are guests of the host airfield and act accordingly.
When not actively preparing for a contest flight, pilots shall endeavour to encourage and inform local individuals and groups concerning the practice of contest aerobatics.
Pilots shall ensure that all outstanding fuel bills, landing fees etc are paid before departure.
The conduct of host airfield officials
The host airfield authorities shall nominate one individual to be the single point of contact with British Aerobatics.
The hosting authority will endeavour to ensure that all relevant local conditions and operating practices are brought to the attention of visiting pilots through formal briefings.
Host airfield authorities will, on request, advise pilots on local sites suitable for aerobatic practice flights, bearing in mind that, unless otherwise specifically agreed with an official of British aerobatics, practice within 10 nm of the airfield is prohibited to British Aerobatic pilots.
Where appropriate and practicable, the host officials will endeavour to provide controlled public access to the competition site.
The host airfield will make a parking/hangarage area available for competing aeroplanes and, where possible, restrict access to this area by the general public. The hosting authority should brief local groups and individuals, as appropriate, on the need to respect the privacy and concentration of pilots directly preparing for contest flights.
Safety at British Aerobatics Contests
The Code of Conduct emphasises the prime importance of safety at aerobatic contests. The directors and other contest officials are charged with monitoring and maintaining safety standards at all times. Competing pilots are also urged to consider their personal safety as paramount all times, and should pay particular attention to their choice of personal safety equipment and protective clothing. In particular, the wearing of a protective helmet has proven to be of prime survival value in aircraft accidents. Pilots should also consider the installation of an approved parachute system where permitted for their aircraft.
Rules on Practice Flights
Except where an official practice session is specified in these contest details, aerobatic practice flights at or within 10 nm of the host airfield are not permitted during the week leading up to the contest unless with the express permission of the airfield operator and the Contest Director.
The purpose of this rule is to minimise noise pollution at valuable contest sites. Contravention of the rule may lead to exclusion from the contest.