27 Aug 2016

Aerobatics legend Mikhail Mamistov takes record fifth FAI European Aerobatic Championship gold medal

Mikhail Mamistov has won the FAI European Aerobatic Championships 2016 in the Czech Republic – the fifth time he has won the title of FAI European Aerobatic Champion.

The Russian aerobatics pilot, who has also been FAI World Aerobatic Champion twice in an international competition career that spans 21 years, was clearly pleased with his flight when he landed on Friday. It was the fourth and last programme – aerobatic routine lasting 10 minutes – of the competition in the Czech Republic.

Mamistov was smiling as he refueled and relaxed. “Not the best, not the worst, we will see!” he said, repeating his usual post-flight refrain.

In fact, his flight was enough to secure first place in the overall competition.

Afterwards he said: “The competition was perfect – very interesting, demanding, and just the right amount of difficulty.”

Martin Šonka (CZE) came a close second to Mamistov to win the silver medal. Flying early in the day the Czech pilot said his final flight was, “tiring, and difficult for concentration.” However, it added to his solid performance through the week and secured him the second spot on the podium.

Olivier Masurel Aerobatics was third. Looking tired but obviously relaxed after his final flight he pulled down his jumpsuit and headed to the French team tent. “No good. I made plenty of mistakes,” he said about his flight, “But it’s a game, just a game.”

In fact in typical style Masurel was underplaying his performance and had flown well – enough to win the day and take home a bronze medal.

Masurel’s French team mate Breitling pilot Mika Brageot Aerobatics 'official' pushed hard in Programme 4. “[I] gave everything in this flight because it’s the last game and we have to push the limit,” he said immediately after his flight.

“It was the last flight of the classic competition after a very long week … But I did everything according to my plan – I’m happy with the performance.”

However, it wasn’t enough to push him onto the podium. He missed it by a whisker – 20 points of of 14,700 – and finished fourth.

In the Women’s category, Svetlana Kapanina (RUS) managed to hang on to her lead by the slimmest margin: just 0.54 points separated her from second place Elena Klimovitch (RUS) in the final standings.

Despite Klimovitch’s best efforts it wasn’t enough to lift her into first position in the competition.

Both pilots scored 13,624 points throughout the week-long competition: Kapanina scored half a point higher with 13,624.75 to Klimovitch’s 13,624.21.

Bénédicte Blanchard (FRA) placed third with 12,255.09 points.

In the Teams category France achieved its goal of taking home the gold, with six pilots in the overall top 10. Russia and Germany were in second and third place.

Finally, on the last day of the competition, Saturday 27 August, Martin Sonka delighted a home crowd by winning the FAI European Aerobatic Freestyle Championship.

The Freestyle competition consists of only one round: 16 pilots competed over two hours, each flying a four-minute routine. Red Bull Air Race pilot Martin Sonka scored almost 86% to take the win, wowing the crowd below into the bargain.

After his win he said: “I was very happy to win here in my home country, performing before all the fans. It’s a great feeling to do so well.” It was the second European win for Sonka – he won the FAI European Aerobatic Freestyle Championship in 2014 too.

The FAI European Aerobatic Championships took place over one week, 20-27 August 2016, at Moravska Trebova, Czech Republic. 40 pilots from 13 nations took part.



1. Mikhail Mamistov (RUS), 78.915%

2. Martin Sonka (CZE), 78.061%

3. Olivier Masurel (FRA), 77.645%


1. Svetlana Kapanina (RUS), 71.634%

2. Elena Klimovitch (RUS), 71.631%

3. Benedicte Blanchard (FRA), 64.433%


1. France, 77.464%

2. Russian Federation, 74.836%

3. Germany, 67.840%


1. Martin Sonka (CZE), 85.827%

2. Mikael Brageot (FRA), 81.993%

3. Castor Fantoba (ESP), 81.771%