U.S. National Aerobatic Championships Concludes in Texas

U.S. National Aerobatic Championships Concludes in Texas

The 2016 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships came to a close at the North Texas Regional Airport (KGYI) in Denison, Texas on Friday, September 30 th , and the competition was a resounding success. Altogether, 89 pilots in nine competition categories flew, both in powered aircraft and gliders. Twenty of the competitors were glider pilots, mostly from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The contest was held under the direction of Gary DeBaun who devoted most of the last year organizing the event and who was assisted by an outstanding staff of dedicated and experienced volunteers he was supported by a very active staff of volunteers working in key areas. It was IAC members at their best.

The new U.S. National Aerobatic Champion is Rob Holland of Nashua, New Hampshire, flying his beautiful MXS-RH. This was Rob’s sixth consecutive win of the national title. He went on to win the Four Minute Freestyle event at the end of the contest as well. Rob takes home the Mike Murphy Trophy, one of aerobatics’ most prestigious awards.

U.S. National Glider Aerobatic Champion is Eric Lentz-Gauthier of Davis, California flying an MDM Fox. This was Eric’s second consecutive win of the national title and he took home the Les Horvath Trophy.

With all of the flying going on in all of IAC’s categories, team selection for three U.S. Aerobatic Teams was also in progress. Team pilots are selected based on their standings at Nationals. The 2016-2018 U.S. Unlimited Team is Rob Holland, Bob Freeman, Mike Ciliberti, Mike Gallaway, Mark Nowosielski, Jim Bourke, Craig Gifford, and Tim Just. For the glider teams, Eric Lentz-Gauthier and Jason Stephens were selected for the Unlimited Glider Team and Guy Acheson and Mallory Lynch qualified for the Advanced Glider Team.

The Unlimited Team (in power) will compete at the 29 th FAI World Aerobatic Championships in South Africa in 2017. The championships is slated to be held at Hoedspruit, South Africa on August 16 – 26, 2017 . The airfield is a joint civil-military base and is home to a South African Air Force helicopter unit. Hoedspruit is in the Limpopo province and about 280 miles northeast of Johannesburg.

The Glider Teams will compete in Torun, Poland which has hosted previous world championships. Details are not available as of this writing as the final bid for the event is to be reviewed by CIVA when it meets in November in Bucharest, Romania.

Nationals Results

The other category winners at Nationals were as follows:

Power Categories

Primary – Nick Meyer, Grand Forks, Nebraska (Decathlon)
Sportsman – Cory Johnson, Dodgeville, Wisconsin (Pitts S-1C)
Intermediate – David Taylor, Superior, Colorado (Staudacher S600)
Advanced – Aaron McCartan, Burt, Iowa (S-330P)

Glider Categories

Sportsman – Merrick Isley, USAF Academy, Colorado (DG1001)
Intermediate – Trevor Rogers, USAF Academy, Colorado (DG1001)
Advanced – Guy Acheson, Fair Oaks, California (MDM Fox)

It should be noted that non-U.S. citizens are not eligible for national titles. But we would be remiss if we did not mention the two pilots who ranked at the top of their categories but could not claim the champion titles in those categories. Luke Penner was the top placing pilot in Sportsman (power) and hails from La Broquerie, Manitoba, Canada. Top ranking pilot in Intermediate (glider) was Khorn Soonthonnitikul (also known as “Soon”) of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is an exchange cadet at the Academy from Thailand and placed first last year in Sportsman (glider).

Complete results can be found at Click on “Results” on that page and you will find the results page for the event by category. Each pilot’s scoresheet can also be viewed by clicking on his or her results for each flight program.