Acro Image

Aerobatics Server

ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Re: ICAS - Fees

[International Aerobatic Club] [Communications] [Aerobatics Images]

Disclaimer: These aerobatics pages are developed by individual IAC members and do not represent official IAC policy or opinion.

[Usage Statistics]

ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Re: ICAS - Fees


Thread: [Acro] Re: ICAS - Fees

Message: [Acro] Re: ICAS - Fees

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)

From: Cudahy at

Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 22:02:09 UTC


The over-simplified answer is that recent experience suggests that aerobatic 
competition experience does not translate particularly well to air show 

In the early and mid 1990s, several aerobatic competition pilots were killed 
flying at air shows. In each case, they were relatively inexperienced air 
show pilots. In some cases, they were very experienced aerobatic competitors. 
In other cases, they were not so experienced. Several other competition/air 
show pilots were killed flying their air show sequence during practice 

No telling what the reasons are. Some have said that the crowds and the 
atmosphere and the excitement at air shows often have more effect on the 
pilot than that pilot had expected. Others have said that there's a big 
change going from an environment where going below a certain altitude means 
you've failed to an environment where the goal, at least for some, is to get 
as close the ground as possible without actually hitting it.  No one can say 
for sure. But it was clear to the people making the rules at the time that 
roughly equating aerobatic competition experience with air show flying 
experience was not producing the equivalent level of safety that everybody 
had assumed it would. The business had been presented with too many fatal 
examples of how this simply wasn't the case. So, allowances for aerobatic 
competition experience were eliminated from the rules.

At a more personal level, I can tell you that we see a good many problems 
each year and our single biggest problem is with aerobatic competitors who 
believe that their competition experience translates directly to air shows. 
They often take a "been there, done that" attitude with the evaluators. They 
are frequently not as familiar with the air show specific rules as a less 
talented or skilled aerobatic pilot who has not flown aerobatic competitions. 
I don't know if it's a lack of familiarity with the rules or difficulty in 
moving back and forth from one type of flying to another. But, like I said, 
it's our single biggest source of problems during evaluations, counseling 
during air shows, and questions here at ICAS.

Of course, none of this is true for the vast majority of aerobatic 
competition pilots trying to break into the air show business. In fact, of 
all the top air show performers in the U.S., virtually all of them got their 
start in competitive aerobatics. But there were also too many fatal accidents 
among aerobatic competitors trying to break into the air show business to 
ignore the fact that aerobatic competition experience was not translating 
into safe air show flying as well as all of us would have liked. New rules 
were instituted and the problem has been largely eliminated.

Clearly, it would be much, much more convenient to make some allowances for 
an aerobatic competitor's aerobatic experience. But, in the face of recent 
experience, the relative advantages will not outweigh the harsh, practical 
reality that such a policy puts people's lives at unnecessary risk. 

I know that this message will generate a new blizzard of e-mail from people 
who are very sure that ICAS is wrong on this issue. And for any particular 
pilot, this may be true, but the rules under which we run the program must be 
oriented toward a lower common denominator. And, though it may sound harsh, 
those lower common denominators (and any of you who have been in the 
aerobatics arena for any length of time know several examples) have 
demonstrated that we cannot make the assumption that aerobatic competition 
experience translates well and safely to air show experience.

John Cudahy
International Council of Air Shows, Inc.

In a message dated 5/22/2002 5:32:48 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
kleing at writes:

> What I'd like to know is why can't ICAS have a program specifically 
> designed for IAC members to get a card with an appropriate set of 
> limitations that would accommodate the above (and possibly other 
> issues)?  I know I'd be willing to accept limitations as to number of shows 
> per year, fees charged (expenses only), altitudes and maneuvers appropriate 
> to the level of IAC competition I've been involved in, etc.  Maybe it could 
> be as simple as the applicant sends in the previous season's competition 
> records (along with fees, etc) and is issued an Aerobatic Competency card 
> with a corresponding set of limitations.  Maybe what I'm describing might 
> be called the "ICAS, Amateur Division".  Other motor sports such as auto 
> and motorcycle racing have such things.  Why not aerobatics?

Attachement 1: part2.html


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn