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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Re: A few AWAC Pictures

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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Re: A few AWAC Pictures


Thread: [Acro] Re: A few AWAC Pictures

Message: [Acro] Re: A few AWAC Pictures

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

From: Brian Howard <BK at>

Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 06:35:53 UTC


  I remained silent during the AWAC and was simply happy to read each of Don
Peterson's postings with great delight. His daily diaries brought back many
fond and funny memories of my own participation on two WAC and two AWAC
teams. The camaraderie with both US and other team members, teams helping
other teams with airplane issues, weather holds, the food, and the emotional
ups and downs were all common threads.  Don's latest post of pictures and
words now move me to publicly thank him and the rest of the AWAC team on
behalf of myself, and I believe (and hope!) the majority of IAC members, for
putting up with extreme grief, persevering, and representing the IAC and USA
on the world championship level. It would be an embarrassment in the extreme
to not have had Team USA at the AWAC. A bad scene in any year, but
especially when we expect the world to come to us for WAC 2003 in Lakeland.

Specifically, I thank Julia Wood, Bubba Vidrine, John King and Bill Stein
for never wavering from their commitment to attend the AWAC. They were each
ready to personally foot the bill for the entire competition and I believe
two or three, if not all four, had already purchased tickets to Slovenia on
their own dime before funding was finally made available. Next I thank Bob
Freeman for returning to the team after the personal issues which caused his
original withdrawal went away. It takes a tremendous mental toll to go from
world-level preparation to "oh, I can relax now because I'm not
competing," back to the pressures of world championship competition. Bob's
4th place overall finish would normally be indicator enough that he handled
that emotional roller coaster extremely well. The ultimate indicator of
Bob's success, to those of us who have been in this environment, however,
was Don's report that the French coach made a point to compliment Bob on his
flight.  That just doesn't happen! :-)

A special thank you to John King and Bill Stein, our judging team. Don's
diary didn't mention them much, but having filled their shoes at four world
contests, I can attest to the fact that the judges get a real workout. The
pilots go to work for 15 minutes every other day, but the judges are on the
line before flying begins, every flying hour, and for a bit after flying
stops. Pretty much a sunrise to after sunset job. During some of those
weather delays Don mentioned, the judges will often stay on the line, three
people trying to stay dry under a single "beach" umbrella, to minimize delay
should the flying restart. So, John and Bill, thank you for enduring all
that to add your expertise and a USA presence to the judging line.

Finally, I thank Don Peterson who, before Bob Freeman rejoined the team, was
committed to ensuring that the USA had a *team* at the AWAC. World
competition requires that to be eligible for any team trophies, at least
three pilots from a country must be competing. The team trophies are
determined by the performance of the top three pilots from each country. The
more team members, the greater is the likelihood of three clean
performances. Originally, without Don, we had no team trophy chances at all.
When Bob Freeman rejoined the team, we now had a chance, but with exactly
three pilots, zero room for error. Arranging for his own airplane, using all
his own finances, Don presence on the team greatly increased the Team USA
chances for a medal. As Don reported, but for one blown figure, the team
bronze would have been ours. Not bad for four pilots who didn't know until
the last minute if there would even be a Team USA!

Already too long of a post, but the contribution that everyone on Team USA
made to the AWAC should not go unacknowledged. A country's reputation and
respect in the international arena does not come or go with one contest, but
is built up championship after championship. The more we put our pilots and
judges before the international aerobatic community, the more respect we
gain, and the more success we have. The intangible benefits of having a
*team* at AWAC goes far beyond where each pilot finished in the order of
flight. Julia, Bubba, Bob, Don, John, and Bill gave this club and aerobatics
in the USA a tremendous boost. Thank you all for a tremendous contest!

With great respect and admiration,

Brian Howard
IAC #18414


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