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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Advanced World Aerobatic Team Status


Thread: [Acro] Advanced World Aerobatic Team Status

Message: [Acro] Advanced World Aerobatic Team Status

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

From: Lisa Popp <lpopp at>

Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 02:37:01 UTC


  An important message from IAC Headquarters.

Dear IAC Members:
Many have called and emailed requesting an explanation of what has
transpired with the US Advanced Team.  I personally thank you for your
patience in waiting for us to respond to your requests as we worked to solve
a very delicate situation.
Since the selection of eight members (6 members and 2 alternates) of the US
Advanced Team at our US Nationals in Denison last September, a number of
changes and complications have transpired. First amongst those is that, of
the eight Team members selected, six, for their own private reasons, elected
to retire from the team.  This left only two who were able and inclined to
attend, Bubba Vidrine and Julia Wood.   As our strategic partner in funding
and deploying our world teams, the United States Aerobatic Foundation (USAF)
is obliged to fund "teams" rather than individuals and disbanded the AWAC
team because only two team members remained after the resignations were
received (By CIVA regulations, a "team" consists of  three or more
competitors.)   This is completely within their authority pursuant to the
agreements between IAC and the Foundation. 
However, the IAC Board questioned whether the remaining two pilots should be
allowed to attend AWAC as 1) the US had not failed to send contestants to
any world aerobatic competition for an unbroken 42 years, and 2) the two
remaining pilots were offering to attend AWAC at no cost to IAC or USAF.  
Following a teleconference with the IAC Board to gain advice and draw a
consensus, IAC President Rob Dorsey made an executive decision to allow the
two remaining team members to attend under the flag of the United States and
with the support of IAC despite the fact that they were no longer a team
under the definition of the world organization, CIVA.  The compromise met
the consensus of the IAC board and provided representation to the World
Advanced competition which all felt met our obligations to the National
Aeronautics Association [NAA] to provide "individuals or teams to compete in
world events." All in all, a good and workable compromise. 
This compromise seemed to satisfy all concerned at the time; however,
without further consultation or discussion with the IAC President, two IAC
directors, Mike Heuer and Bubba Vidrine, took it upon themselves to organize
an effort to bypass IAC's team selection process and authority and, with
Julia Wood and Don Peterson, an Advanced competitor who was not part of the
team, sent petitions directly to NAA asking them to form a new US AWAC team
with them as the members. These petitions were denied by NAA citing that "we
find .. no reason to intercede by sending the paperwork directly to the
contest organizer as you have requested" and "we believe it would be
inappropriate for NAA to intercede in the selection process by naming a
third person." Though denied, the action by these petitioners constitutes
the most serious and direct threat to IAC's team selection authority in
memory and, if successful, would have set a precedent which would have
troubled both NAA and IAC for many years to come. It might have meant that
in the future anyone wishing to be placed on a team could simply petition
NAA and, if successful, thereby circumvent IAC's entire team selection
process. We are thankful for the wisdom of NAA in denying these petitions. 
Mere hours after NAA's decision to deny the petitions, US Advanced Team
member Bob Freeman contacted USAF President, Steve Cunningham, to ask that
he be allowed to resume his position on the team. As this would allow us to
reconstitute a bona fide US Advanced Team with members who were legitimately
selected by IAC's team selection process at the US Nationals, USAF and IAC
moved quickly to put the team back together.  The team members were notified
that USAF would fund the three member team as required by the letter of
agreement between the IAC and USAF. We should applaud Bob Freeman, who
worked with former Advanced Team Captain, Bob Stark, to find Bob an airplane
to fly in Slovenia. We will now be represented by a Team rather than two
individual pilots and that team is one which was selected through the IAC's
team selection process. All in all, a win all around for both the IAC
membership and the individuals involved. 
Below is the announcement letter from the Foundation for your interest. If
you have a chance, please drop Bob Freeman (who has been named by USAF and
IAC as Team Representative) a line of congratulations for stepping forward
to reconstitute the US Advanced Team. This is great news and we all should
be glad that a team will represent the United States in Slovenia this
(Copy of Stephen Cunningham e-mail message)
To:	Rob Dorsey, IAC President
From:	Stephen Cunningham, President
	U.S. Aerobatic Foundation
Re:	Reconstituted AWAC 2002 - Slovenia
Date:	June 12, 2002
CC:	Advanced Team, Board of Trustees, CIVA Delegation & Lisa Popp 

I am pleased to notify you of the following Good News!

Effective immediately the US Aerobatic Foundation, in concert with Rob
Dorsey, IAC President is reconstituting the 2002 AWAC Team.  This AWAC Team
is made up of the following 3 pilots:

	Robert Freeman, Team Representative & Delegate
	Bubba Vidrine
	Julia Wood

This decision supercedes my May 13, 2002 decision not to fund and deploy the
2 remaining AWAC pilots since that complement of pilots did not constitute a
Team. That action followed the decision of four of the six pilots opting not
to participate in the AWAC for various personal reasons. 

Robert Freeman requested in the attached email that we honor the reversal of
his earlier decision to decline participation and that we reinstate him to
the 2002 AWAC Team.

Consequently the US Aerobatic Foundation will, in accordance with our Letter
of Agreement with the IAC, fund and deploy these three individuals as the
2002 AWAC Team.  Immediately, I will send in the Official Entry Forms with
the requisite entry fee and provide uniforms for the three pilots and two

Special thanks and recognition must be directed toward two individuals for
making this Good News happen. First, Bob Freeman for his continued pursuit
of an avenue that would allow his participation and to Bob Stark ('99
Advanced Team member and '00 AWAC Team manager) for diligently assisting Bob
Freeman in obtaining a G-200 aircraft to fly in Europe. 

We all can take great joy in the fact that the United States will be
appropriately represented at this international event.  We wish them good
luck and Godspeed.

(Copy of Robert Freeman email message) From: Bob Freeman
<bfreeman at> 
To: "Cunningham Stephen (E-mail)" <scunningham at> 
Subject: 2002 AWAC Participation 
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 12:27:37 -0600 


I am writing to inform you of some late breaking news involving my
participation in AWAC 2002. 

For some background I will include this quotation from my e-mail of May 8th:

"As you know, I have given careful consideration to the issues
surrounding my participation in AWAC.  I am unable to make the commitment at
this time to participate.  Fundamentally, I cannot make a commitment at this
point without more definitive plans than I am able to confirm at this point
in time. The issues I've had with procuring the necessary a/c insurance
coverage in Slovenia have not been resolved. Therefore, I think it is
reasonable and logical for me to change from my initial plan of taking my
a/c, to an alternate plan of flying a rental a/c. The situation with the
Aero Sport Extra 200 availability is unknown, and I can't make a commitment
to that plan without better definition. The last alternative is to pursue a
rented a/c in Europe. I would consider this possibility further, but
unfortunately I never expected this alternative to be required and have not
pursued it in any detail." End of quotation.

In the time since our team phone call and that e-mail, and intentionally out
of the spotlight of the raging debate, I have been working to find an
aircraft to rent.  I have been unsuccessful in several attempts.  Last week,
however, I was able to reach an agreement with some very generous pilots on
the Italian team that will allow me to fly the G-200 that they will be
flying at AWAC. 

I believe that this could help resolve some of the political problems for
all involved.  It seems to me that this takes us out of uncharted territory
and puts us back into charted territory, with three pilots that declared and
qualified for the US team per IAC/USAF policies.  I hope that this new
information provides all the organizations enough leeway to resolve the
outstanding funding questions in a manner that can be positively viewed in
all camps and communities.  Some may believe that I am changing my position,
but the reality is that I have been consistent in identifying and working
through the issues required for me to participate.

The biggest issues now are to get back into the fund raising task and to
serious training.  As you know, we have had minimal success in raising funds
for the Advanced team, even within the membership.  I hope the aerobatic
community will step up with some funding assistance specifically for the
Advanced team, given the outrage expressed when confronted with the idea
that there would be no US AWAC team this year.

Bob Freeman


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