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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: How do you play it?

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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: How do you play it?


Thread: How do you play it?

Message: How do you play it?

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From: Salvadori Luca <lsalvadori at>

Date: Wed, 04 Jun 1997 16:47:52 UTC


As anyone knows, pilots are unable to read. Furthermore, aerobatic pilots, 
after pulling high g for years, turn their brain into marmelade and only 
watch at the figures. Nevertheless, for a strange side-effect, flying man is 
able to output huge amounts of words with strong emphasis, thus inducing his 
interlocutor to think he's saying something interesting.
One of the most discussed arguments among sporting pilots are rules: fantasy 
flies over them and creates unbelievable, amazing tales flowing through 
aprons and airport pubs for years. With a little difference: while own 
national rules are directly experienced at least once, originating phrases 
with a minimum of credibility, international ones are mythical, surrounded 
by thick fog and emphatically cited to demonstrate something or its 
I'll show you a practical example. This winter Italian NAC decided to let 
qualified experts (obviously non-competing ones) draw Unknowns for Advanced 
and Unlimited and send them in sealed envelope directly to contests. This 
rule is cited in CIVA books for Advanced, and had been translated and 
adapted to Italian reality. Some pilots, nevertheless, suspected obscure 
tricks and protested, saying that CIVA rule was another one but basing their 
statements not on actual rulebook, but on oral tradition and own memory. 
Well, the deal ended in nothing.
Anyway, just to put my nose out of the window, I informed myself over 
foreign practices, and found funny things indeed. At the same time, I 
apologize in advance for eventual imprecision worldwide readers may find 
here, but my aim is to offer a quick look around, not a detailed discussion: 
we'll do it later.
Let's start from England (oops, United Kingdom): championship is based on 
four categories (Sportsmen, Intermediate, Advanced, Unlimited), contests 
span over a weekend and two categories (Sp+Int, Adv+Unl). Championship is 
awarded on a single contest, for major ease of "Bite-and-run" pilots, but a 
"Points Award" is assigned to pilots by sum of scores over the whole season. 
This solution is very fair and pilots seem happy about, and organizer as 
well even if they have less problems than we do this side of Mediterranean. 
As information, aerobatic activity is ruled by British Aerobatic 
Association, acting on behalf of FAI.
Now, cross the Channel to ask our French friends. They have five categories, 
divided upon aircraft capabilities as well as pilot skills. Thus, we find 
1st Cycle (two-seaters, positive figures), 2nd Cycle (two-seaters, outside 
maneuvers), National (two-seaters, a sort of pre-Advanced), Doret Coup 
(divided in two classes: up to 160HP and over), and unlimited. Climbing 
through categories is hard, since one needs ranking in top half and, for 
Unlimited, among firts three places with a %PP exceeding 75%. Title is 
awarded on single contest, but only pilots qualified during several season's 
contests are admitted to compete. Results are clearly recognizable by 
Back to USA. I won't bore you about, since most SA readers are American. 
Just consider that IAC organization is quite outstanding with respect to 
other Countries, even most advanced in the field like France, since it's 
widely spread, well staffed, with hundreds of volunteers and lot of good 
initiatives for promotion and contests organization. Wish to have something 
similar here.
Old Russia: what do they down there, where so many monsters grow to eat us, 
poor, little Italian? They have three categories, similar to Intermediate, 
Advanced and Unlimited, strictly ruled by CIVA rulebooks. Championship is 
awarded on a single contest, even because the difficult economical situation 
forces a little activity. Moving through categories is left to instructors 
judgement, even because all pilots fly with Club or state-owned aircraft.
And Switzerland? Well, Swiss are few, have heavy environmental constraints 
(noise first), thus are perhaps in worst shape than we do this side of the 
Alps. They have four categories as well, and award titles on single contest 
even if many Club contests are held. This approach seems working as well, 
since Switzerland sported and still produces very good pilots and results.
Italy at last. Four categories, some 4 contests per category/year, final 
contest with best %PP scored during the season as "dowry". Results, 
encouraging over last years, are well known and I won't bore you any longer.
Other Countries? I encourage SA readers worldwide to express their opinions 
and inform about local practices. We'd better know each other to succeed: 
I'll update this review accordingly.
What kind of consideration would arise from this quick, quick look? First, 
any Country plays his game regardless of the others and CIVA itself. This 
is, in my opinion, correct and even logical if you consider that economical, 
social and legal environment is extremely different in each Country, thus 
proposed solutions obviously differ.
Second, "One Shot" solution, albeit with minor changes as "dowry" or 
qualifications, seems to be preferred worldwide.
Third, and valid against any other consideration in my opinion: anyway you 
play it, anyway you rule it, anyway you watch it, the best wins. This is the 
only consideration should move us in our and in other sports.

     Fly High!

     Luca Salvadori - IAC #23330
     European Correspondent
     Sport Aerobatics
     Milan - Italy


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