World Championships and BAeA Abroad Teams
The WAC - World Aerobatic Championships (unlimited Power) - are biennial events, and are run in alternate years to WAAC - the Advanced World Aerobatic Championships. In most years there is also a two-category World Glider Aerobatics Championship (unlimited) and a World Advanced Glider Aerobatic Championship, and a Yak-52 World Aerobatic Championship that from 2014 will normally become another two-category event run in conjunction with the World Intermediate Aerobatic Championship. All these championships are open to teams nominated by national organising bodies such as the BAeA in the UK and the IAC (International Aerobatic Club) in the Americas.
The WAC are open only to unlimited level pilots flying single engine propeller driven aircraft, whilst the Advanced championships are restricted generally to advanced pilots and there is also a list of eligible aircraft. The WGAC - World Glider Aerobatics Championships - are similarly biennial events and are open to nominated teams flying in the glider 'unlimited' class. These championships are organised by the FAI, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale who are the world governing body for all air sports. Every two years or so the FAI also organise a World Air Games, a sort of aerial Olympics where all air sports are represented. The first of these was held in 1997 in Turkey - in 2001 the WAG will be held in the Andalucia region in Spain, incorporating WAC at Burgos and WGAC at Cordoba.
Few sports can be as physically and mentally demanding as competition aerobatics. Sequences must be flown with split-second timing, precise speed and altitude control. Uncontrollable variables such as wind and temperature changes all have to be considered, requiring dexterity of mind and precise continuous planning on the pilot's part. A wrong turn, miscalculation of wind strength, or the slightest disorientation, could put the pilot out of the running. World Championship aerobatics pushes to the physical limits of the human body, with the tremendous 'G' (gravitational) forces are commonly experienced in modern aerobatic aircraft - in a typical unlimited sequence the pilot may pull up to 10G and push perhaps to -8G for very short periods.
Sequences are flown within a 1,000 metre aerial cube, commonly known as the "Box". The height and base of this box vary according to competition level - for unlimited sequences the top will be 1,100 metres AGL (above ground level) and the base 100 metres AGL. Contestants will fly three sequences - firstly, a 'Known' or internationally accepted pre-published qualifying sequence at which 60% or more must be scored to 'qualify'; secondly a 'free' or pilot designated sequence, and then one or more 'unknown' compulsory sequences that are not even seen by the pilots until after the first two sequences have been completed. These latter will often be the most complex and difficult sets of figures flown during the competition. A non-compulsory 4-minute 'Freestyle' will usually follow and will be adjudicated as a separate competition.
Each sequence, comprising up to fifteen figures, is adjudicated by a team of up to ten judges who determine how each individual figure was executed. Consideration is also given to the sequence's positioning within the box. All figures if perfectly flown, will have a mark of ten, and judges will reduce this having considered the precision of lines and angles, symmetry of the figures, and other factors.
In 1996, the World Aerobatic Championships was hosted in Oklahoma, USA. The Smithsonian Institute's Air & Space magazine hosted a comprehensive website to provide information on the history the World Aerobatic Championship. That website is still available and serves as a valuable archive to support current championships. We have distilled the information above from this site and recommend you visit their website using the links below if you want to know more about Aerobatic Championships. We also recommend, if you want to follow current and future championships, that you bookmark this page. We will be posting regular bulletins about British Team participation in future years and will provide further links as they are announced.