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WAC Blog #17 - 28 August 2009

It’s now nearly 22.00 and we have finished dinner and held a briefing on tomorrow’s schedule. Unfortunately, we had to call it quits after only four flights in Programme 2, the 1st Unknown. Very dark clouds rolled in, rain threatened, and we had to shut down flying. In the Jury’s office, Steve Green, Alan Cassidy, Bob Chomono, Osmo Jalovaara, and I met for the final meeting of the day. It was decided, after looking at the available time left, that it was impossible to finish the first Group of pilots in the 1st Unknown. Without this Group completed, the Programme itself would be incomplete.

Therefore, the contest was declared finished, with Programme 4 remaining for tomorrow, and the results validated. We had all pilots fly Programme Q and 1 and this was enough for the World Aerobatic Championships to be a valid competition. We now have a new World Aerobatic Champion – Renaud Ecalle of France. Renaud has had an outstanding record this year – winner of the World Air Games in powered aerobatics in June and Gold Medals in both the Q and the Free. A well deserved victory for this talented Frenchmen.

Winning the Women’s World Aerobatic Champion title for the first time is Elena Klimovich of Russia. She came in ninth in the overall standings. A veteran of aerobatic competition and a dedicated member of her Team, she turned in an outstanding performance. Team results were: (1) France, (2) Russia, and (3) United States. These teams were “combined” and consist of both men and women pilots. This occurs when insufficient women are present to declare a team championships for that gender. Saturday will be a major public day at Silverstone with rumors of 20,000 spectators expected. 15-16 pilots will fly in Programme 4 – the Final Freestyle – according to a decision of the International Jury. The Jury took the decision, in consultation with the organizers, to restrict entries into the Final Freestyle to those countries whose pilots achieved 60% or greater of possible points in the classical programs as a qualification for this programme.

This decision means that duplicating countries will participate. I could write a book on this last Programme – if I were to include all of the aspects of rules and who and who should not fly. It’s a difficult subject but there is no doubt we will be discussing this at the plenary meeting of CIVA in October in Oshkosh. We have a duty to be sure the maximum number of countries can participate – but safely. To date, the only qualification measure we have are the results of the classical programs. I believe we must also insure that men and women both participate in the Programme. For example, the new Women’s World Aerobatic Champion is not scheduled to fly – because only two Russian male pilots are flying (Mamistov and Schpolyanskiy). I think this must be fixed. I am delighted we have a valid World Aerobatic Championships now – and look forward to the enjoyment of watching some beautiful Final Freestyles. My congratulations to Renaud and Elena! But also to everyone for their cooperation and work in making this Championships a success. We carried on after the loss of Vicki Cruse, never forgetting her and honoring her by flying, and we have now named our new Champions. That said, we have one more flight to go – and the public will be here to enjoy some beautiful flying. Results can be found at www.civa-results.com.