José Luis Aresti Aguirre (1917-2003) is a true legend in the world of aerobatics.
Born in Bilbao, Spain, Aresti became a flyer in the 1930s in time to get involved in the Civil War where he served as a pilot for the Republican Government; he was assigned the Polikarpov 1-16 Rata low-wing monoplane and within six months he found himself flying demonstrations for his military chiefs. After the war, Aresti became a test pilot for the Air Ministry Flight Test Centre in Madrid and founded several civilian pilot training schools in Spain while flying air shows around Europe.
An outstanding pilot who was able to fly any type of aircraft, Aresti had trained more than 2000 pilots 1971. He acted as President of the International Jury at various World Aerobatic Championships and was elected President of the Spanish Aeronautical Federation in 1966 and President of the FAI Aerobatics Commission (CIVA) in 1967. He was awarded many prestigious distinctions such as the Spanish Sports Merit Gold Medal, the FAI Gold Air Medal and the Leon Biancotto Aerobatics Diploma.
Aresti was also the creator and author of the “Aresti Aerocryptographic System”, still in use today in all aerobatic competitions, which allowed the agreement on the criteria at an international level among all pilots and judges of the aerobatic world. This work was the result of many years of aeronautical experience and hard work.
The Aresti Cup, donated by José Luis Aresti to the FAI in the 1960's, was created and given to the FAI with the purpose of being a symbol representing and consolidating the sportiveness and friendship of all pilots around the world. It is presented to the World Aerobatic Champion.