Guidance & advice for competing in a contest

Over many years, the BAeA has achieved an enviable reputation for the efficient and safe organisation of aerobatic contests. This knowledge is set out in our Rules and Operations manuals, which can be downloaded from the Rules and Documents page of this website.

This note provides a brief introduction for pilots; it is however no substitute for reading through the BAeA Rules and other articles on this comprehensive website.

BAeA Open Club events

Aspiring aerobatic pilots new to this sport are strongly advised to investigate the BAeA's 'Open' Club events, at least one of which is held each year. For these the BAeA organises a small number of two-seat aerobatic aeroplanes with instructors in attendance, so that you can hire a slot in one and participate merely by turning up and paying for your flight time.

The format of the day is that pilots fly once in the morning away from the airfield to practice the Club sequence for the year, on return get a de-brief from their instructor, and then fly the sequence again in the afternoon in front of a BAeA judge. These are extremely popular days, and an early review of the contest calendar is necessary to secure an entry.

Prepare well in advance

  • Before entering a contest, a pilot must demonstrate that he is safe to compete at his chosen level
  • Print out a copy of “BAeA pilot Proficiency Scheme: the Flight Evaluation Process
  • Have an early discussion with a Flight Evaluator who can offer training advice
  • Complete the flight evaluation and send the report to the BAeA office as soon as possible. Do not wait until entering the contest. You need a fresh flight evaluation as you progress upwards through each level
  • Obtain a BAeA Proficiency Card. The BAeA office will issue this to you on first becoming a member. For higher levels, the Flight Evaluator will sign your proficiency card at the same time as he signs the flight evaluation form
  • Decide which aircraft you will be flying:
    • Check that the Flight Manual permits the figures for your chosen level
    • Arrange for the insurance to cover aerobatic contests

Entering the contest

The pages on this web contain a great deal of information on entering a BAeA contest. Links are also provided to a number of other contest related issues.

  • Thoroughly read the details of the contest you wish to enter on this website.
  • Use the link on the contest regulations page to access the BAeA's online contest entry and fee payment system. If you can't do this online then get and print the pdf version and submit it by post with the appropriate fee.
  • Any entries received after the closing date are liable to a surcharge of 50% of the basic entry fee.
  • This is your last chance to submit a Flight Evaluation form.
  • If competing at Intermediate or above, this is also your last chance to submit a Free Known sequence.

Pilot Validity

Any pilot holding a valid (minimum) Group A aircraft, pilots license, issued in the UK or an organisation recognised by the UK CAA, and who can prove they are proficient at a chosen level of aerobatics to one of our appointed Flight Evaluators, may enter our competitions, subject to joining as a Full member. Membership of the Association is mandatory for all BAeA contests with the exception of the BAeA Open Club event.

The Entry Form should either be completed on-line or printed and posted to the Membership Secretary to arrive by the contest closing date. Don't forget to include your entry fee.

Entry Fees

The entry fee is waived for all first-time entrants at any level, but must accompany the entry form for second and subsequent events. Pilots who are members of organisations that hold current BAeA Affiliate membership are entitled to enter Club contests free of charge. Contestants may enter a contest at two levels, to gain experience prior to competing formally at the higher level. Acceptance of such entries will be at the discretion of the Contest Director, based on the number of contestants attending and the time available, and the competitor will be considered ‘hors concours’ at the higher level.

An increased entry fee of 1½ times the entry fee specified for the higher level of competition being flown by the pilot will be required if two levels are actually flown.

'Free Known' sequences at Intermediate, Advanced and Unlimited

When a Free Known sequence is to be flown, pilots must send by email a copy of their sequence file in digital format, either as an Aresti Visio .vsd file or an OpenAero .seq file, when their contest entry is registered. If this sequence file is not received by the contest closing date or is not already held at the BAeA office, then that pilot must fly the default Free Known sequence published by the Association for that level.

Entries must include

  • The completed Entry Form - preferably online, or if you can't do this then send it by post.
  • The Entry Fee (waived for a pilot’s first contest in Beginners) or you will be surcharged!
  • A digital copy (an Aresti Visio or OpenAero file) of any Free Known Programme Sequence.

Overseas Competitors

A competitor normally residing overseas who is not a full member of the BAeA, but is a member of an equivalent recognized body and whose pilot’s license is recognised by the UK CAA, may enter a UK competition subject to payment of the normal entry fee. Pilots may be required to fly a demonstration sequence to prove their competence in the intended category.

Competitors should contact the BAeA Head of Competition for more information.

All entries must be sent to

For power and glider contests:  Jen Buckenham, BAeA Membership Secretary, 84 Green End Road, Sawtry, Cambs. PE28 5UZ.

On arrival at the event

Do not arrive late for the briefing! Late arrivals may not be allowed to fly, or may be permitted only to fly as H/C.

  • Your Pilot's Licence
  • Your Medical Certificate
  • Your SEP (single engine pilot) Certificate of Revalidation / Glider logbook
  • Your BAeA Membership Card
  • Your BAeA Pilot Proficiency Card, endorsed for the level at which you intend to compete
  • Your aircraft's Certificate of Airworthiness / Permit to Fly
  • Your aircraft's current Certificate of Insurance that is valid for Aerobatic contests, meeting the requirements of article 7 of regulation (EEC) No. 785/2004 (or the required MOD minimum if different when the contest is held on an MOD airfield). The BAeA requires you to have a minimum of £1.75M third party liability cover.
  • You will also be asked to confirm that the aircraft is serviceable and that you are medically fit to fly it by signing the Contestants Declaration form.

For all general queries or to obtain information on any other aspect of BAeA contest operations please contact either the Membership Secretary or the BAeA Head of Competition.