World Vintage Aerobatic Competition

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Just back from the World Vintage Aerobatic Championships held at Stauning in Denmark on August 10th - 12th.  The annual KZ Rally was taking place there as well but the turnout was badly affected by poor weather on the Saturday morning.  The KZ Club AGM was well attended and they had a couple of folk musicians to provide a bit of musical entertainment.

There were four elements to the contest

  • ’Looping the Loop’ – 45 degree down line, loop, chandelle, barrel roll, 180 degree turn.
  • ’Dancing the Clover Leaf’ - 45 degree down line, loop, half cuban, four leaf clover, stall turn, slow roll, 180 degree turn.
  • ’Rolling the Circle’ – One turn erect spin, half reverse cuban, roll off the top, goldfish down (half roll on second down), stall turn with quarter roll on down line with exit on Y axis, 270 degree rolling circle (in-out-in, 4 point roll)
  • ’Performance’ – free sequence to competitors choice flown to music accompaniment if desired.

I was flying a borrowed Belgian built SV4B Stampe with the owner as ‘safety pilot’ as my UK PPL with DVLA fitness to fly/drive is not valid outside the UK.  It was the heaviest Stampe I had ever flown having a starter, generator, vacuum pump and full blind flying instrumentation in both cockpits plus my brave passenger..  No back-up harness so it was brace yourself on the slow rolls.  It was also probably the newest Stampe ever, having been built for the Belgian Air Force in 1955 and flew with them as V62 until 1976 before being released onto the civilian market with some 4435 hours on the clock.  After being exhibited in a museum it was restored to flying condition from 1985 to 1987.  It now resides in the superb KZ museum at Stauning.

Clive Davidson upheld the honour of the Tiger Moth by flying all the way up from Henstridge with the owner who is learning to fly in it.  He gave a sedate perambulation through the blue Danish sky littered with puffy Cu with loops, a spin and barrel rolls only to keep the immaculate under surface clear of oil.  This was in the ‘performance’ section of the contest and the previous evening each competitor had ‘danced’ his way through his intended sequence.  Hilarity ensued.

There were hordes of Jungmeisters, a couple of Jungmanns, a Steiglitz, a KZ8 and a couple of Chipmunks entered so the humble Tiger and Stampe did not stand much of a chance. My theory of old age and treachery overcoming youth and skill failed for once.  At 79 I was the oldest entrant by about 8 years and came 11th,  half way up the final combined result with some 22 entrants.  The overall winner was Benoit Dierickx from Belgium flying his Polish built replica Jungmeister powered by a Czech LOM 200hp 6 cylinder inline engine.  A superb aircraft with an awesome performance potential.  The chief judge was the former president of CIVA, Lars Görean Arvidsson.  He has been the chief judge at most of the FAI/CIVA world aerobatic championships in recent years.  The judging criteria were on the lines of those used in the ‘Lockheed International Aerobatic Trophy’ contests held in the UK around 60 years ago.  A truly vintage evaluation standard for a vintage contest.

One notable visitor was that superb Beech D17 Staggerwing 'Red Rockette' flown by the 83 year old William H Charney. In summer he is touring Europe and I do mean all Europe. As his aircraft is a former winner of the ‘Concours d’Elegance’ at the Goodwood Revival he is returning this year for the 10thanniversary of the event. It was a most enjoyable contest and we made friends from all over Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Belgium and even a couple of intrepid flyers from New Zealand.

My proposal for the flight in the ‘Performance’ element of the contest.  Unfortunately I was not selected to be one of those who flew this programme.  But I enjoyed ‘dancing’, or rather talking, through it the previous evening.

Description – Downwind start with 45 degree downline, roll off the top, three reversals of a falling leaf, avalanche, wing slide (half stall turn to 90 degrees, then hold knife edge for three seconds to allow slide, then complete stall turn to vertical), barrel roll, half Cuban eight, four point roll, stall turn, slow roll, chandelle with a single positive snap roll at the top.  All flown to the music accompaniment of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Air on a G string” re-titled “Air over a Stampe’s wing” and played by that English classical guitar virtuoso, John Williams.

For this element of the contest the judges included all of the competitors as well as the two famous FAI/CIVA judges.  The sequences had two marks, one for artistic merit and the other for scope and accuracy.  We all held up our cards to show the scorer our assessment of the performance.  It gave a special feel to the judging process.

The marking system criteria were very much modelled on that used in the UK back in the decade from 1955 to 1965 in the ‘Lockheed International Aerobatic Trophy’ contest.  A vintage system for a vintage contest.

Barry Tempest, FRAeS