Some of the best aerobatic pilots are in the world are in Salina this week. The Salina Regional Airport is hosting the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships through Friday.
Public viewing during the event is available at Fossett Plaza, 2035 Beechcraft Road.
An open house is scheduled Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hangar 606, 2630 Arnold Court, where you can meet and speak to the pilots, see the aircraft and watch the competition on bleachers placed in a special viewing area at the hangar. Follow the airport event signs on Centennial and Arnold avenues to the hangar.
The final event, four-minute freestyle flights, complete with smoke, from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 27 can be viewed from Fossett Plaza.
The flying contest “is judged for its precision and excellence,” according to the IAC. “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.”
Pilots compete in five categories, according to International Aerobatic Club materials – Primary, Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, and Unlimited in both power and glider aerobatics.
Pilots in each category fly at least three routines:
- Known: where all competitors fly a pre-published set of maneuvers.
- Unknown: maneuvers are presented to the pilot 12 hours before.
- Freestyle: pilots create their own routine based on maneuvers allowed in their category.
All routines are scored by judges, and those posting the highest scores in each category are named national champions. Top finishers in the advanced category will earn berths on the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Team that will compete in the 2020 World Aerobatic Championships.