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NZAC Rules Update

NZAC Rules Update

The latest iteration of the NZAC Competition rules are now available on the website. You can also access them here or the button below.

Web Forum Deactivated

The web forum on the website has been deactivated. A massive incursion of Russian spam bots infiltrated the system, despite various geoblocking and anti-spam measures. The forum wasn't getting much use from the members, but if you found it helpful, let me know and alternatives may be considered in future.

Entry Forms for 2020 NZAC Nationals

It's that time of year again that we look towards our National Championships in February 2020, the 26th Feb - 1st March to be exact!  Not only do we have the Nationals coming up but AkroFest is the first contest of the season next month at Omaka, so it's definitely time to start some serious practice (aircraft serviceability permitting!) and get your AkroFest entry form in to Andy ASAP.


Here are some important dates for you to diary...

Nationals Entries are open NOW via electronic entry form here. Note that you must be a paid up member of the NZAC to enter.

All deadlines are 5 pm on the deadline date.

Entry Deadline: Friday 10th January 2020

Free & Free Known Sequence submission close: Friday 10th January 2020

Late entries might be accepted up until Friday 31st January 2020 but only at the whim of the Contest Director - bribes will be accepted in gold bullion, Bitcoin and bottomless top shelf Gin with artisanal Tonic.

To "encourage" compliance with the above deadline dates, Entry Penalties will be incurred by those that miss the deadlines as follows:
Late Penalty: 100 points plus 10 points per day after the deadline expiry.
Late entry penalties will be incurred on the Known flight.  Late Free or Free Known penalties will be incurred on the Free or Free Known flight.

Entry received 6pm Friday 10th January 2019 will incur 100pt + (1 day x 10pt) = 110pt penalty applied to the Known flight.
Entry received 3pm Monday 13th January 2019 will incur 100pt + (3 days x 10pt) = 130pt penalty applied to the Known flight.
Free Known received 8pm Friday 17th January will incur 100pt + (8 days x 10pt) = 180pt penalty applied to the Free Known flight.

Remember, it is far preferable for you to enter and withdraw (with a full refund of entry fee) at a later date than to leave your entry to the last minute... the printing of sequences and scoring sheets is no small task.

Sequences to be flown in the 2019 event are available on the website ) under "Sequences" or within OpenAero under "Library".  All Free and FreeKnown sequences must be submitted to the Contest Director in OpenAero format.  Please ensure you've checked your sequences against the NZAC rules in OpenAero prior to submitting them. 

Your Free and Free Unknown sequences should be uploaded during the entry process. You are able to go back to your form and change and/or upload additional files after it is submitted originally. This is a new work process, so let me know if you encounter any difficulties.

It's never too early to send copies of pilot and aircraft documentation (BFR, Aerobatic Bi-Annual, LLDA, Medical, Insurance) to the Contest Director - again this preferable rather than chasing this after the opening briefing at Masterton!

If there are any questions regarding entries, documentation requirements, sequences... or any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact Mel McMinn on 022 650 7939 or email me at

OpenAero Training, Akro Fest Vintage Class

OpenAero Training

Need an introduction to OpenAero to learn how to design an aerobatic sequence or just want to brush up on your sequence building skills? You can get the information you need in this article written by Grant Benns for Kiwi Flyer. Thanks Grant!

South Island Akro Fest Vintage Class

The Vintage Class sequence for Akro Fest is now available here. November will be here before you know it, so grab your vintage plane and get practicing.

Unknown Sequence Clarification

For the Nationals, Recreational Unknowns are optional and not marked (to relieve any pressure the newbie pilot may feel), and Sports Unknowns are marked but are not included in Sports Overall results.  Unknowns are marked and included in Intermediate to Unlimited categories.

2020 Season Sequences

The competition sequences for our 2020 season have now been finalized. 

For those members new (and not so new) wishing to partake in various upcoming NZAC events, below is a summary of ‘Programs’ of competition, and how they relate to the published sequences. More detailed information is available in the NZAC rules, which can be found on the NZAC website. 

Note – not every aerobatic event/competition will include all the programs listed below, so check the event notification as to which programs and sequences will be flown. 

Program 1 – ‘The Known Compulsory Program’ 

Every competitor in a particular category will fly the same Known Compulsory sequence, and with ample practice given the early availability of the sequences! 

Sequences for the Known Compulsory Program can be seen and downloaded from two sources:

NZAC website – then choose the appropriate sequences for your category under the Sequences drop down

OpenAero – (Library / 2020 / NZAC).  Note – OpenAero works best using the Google Chrome browser.

Sequences for Primary and Recreational do not change from year-to-year. 

For Sports to Unlimited we adopt the International Aerobatic Club sequences from the previous season. 

Program 2 – ‘The Free Program’ 

Sequences have different requirements depending on which category you are competing in – read this carefully!

  • Primary competitors MUST fly the Program 1 Known Compulsory sequence again. 
  • Recreational and Sports competitors have the option of EITHER flying the Program 1 sequence again OR creating their own sequence in accordance with the NZAC rules. 
  • Intermediate to Unlimited competitors MUST create their own sequences, using the figures prescribed in Open Aero/Library/2019/CIVA Free Known (applicable category). 

OpenAero is the place to design your sequence, as the ‘rules’ for each category are built-in, meaning only the prescribed/allowable figures are available for the category you choose to fly. Pushing the ‘check sequence’ button under the Sequnce drop-down menu is confirmation of compliance with the category rules. 

More info on Open Aero is available from our website under Articles.  

The beauty of the Free Program is that YOU can design the sequence (except in Primary) to suit your plane and your style of flying. And you can practice it to perfection too!

Program 3 – Unknowns 

Only Recreational and above will be required to fly this program.

These top-secret sequences will be provided by the Contest Director at the competition, and cannot be practiced prior to flying.

Program 4 – Free Unknowns

Intermediate to Unlimited only

This program uses a CIVA-based set of rules that allows competitors the freedom to submit, at the competition, 10 base figures that are used to produce an Unknown sequence. Upon agreement of the base figures, competitors then ‘freely’ design a sequence that incorporates all of the selected figures, in a flow that suits them and/or their aircraft. Maybe. 

This sequence also cannot be practiced. Great fun!

Program 5 – 4-minute Free

This is a true ‘freestyle’ program, available only to Advanced, Unlimited or invited pilots to display their skill, flair and art in an airshow-type display that must last 4 minutes, plus or minus nothing..

2019 Season Sequences

For those members new (and not so new) wishing to partake in upcoming NZAC events, this serves as a reminder of the sequences to be flown in the various programs of our aerobatic competitions, in accordance with the NZAC rules (which can be found on the NZAC website). Note - not every event will include all the programs, so check the event notification/info as to which programs and sequences will be flown. 

Program 1 - ‘The Known Compulsory Program’ - sequences for Primary and Recreational do not change from year-to-year, however for Sports to Unlimited we adopt the International Aerobatic Club sequences from the previous season. Everybody in a particular category will fly the same Known Compulsory sequence, and hopefully with ample practice given the early availability of the sequences! They may be downloaded, now, from two sources:

NZAC website - then choose the appropriate sequences for your category under the Sequences drop down

OpenAero - (Library / 2019 / NZAC).  Note - OpenAero works best with the Google Chrome browser.

Program 2 - ‘The Free Program’ - sequences follow a different pattern between the categories. Primary competitors MUST fly the Program 1 Known Compulsory sequence again. Recreational and Sports competitors have the option of EITHER flying the Program 1 sequence again OR creating their own sequence in accordance with the NZAC rules. Intermediate to Unlimited competitors MUST create their own sequences, using the CIVA rules and prescribed Free figures from 2018. 

OpenAero is the place to design your sequence, as the ‘rules’ for each category are built-in, meaning only the prescribed/allowable figures are available for the category you choose to fly, and pushing the ‘check sequence’ button upon completion will confirm compliance with the rules. The beauty of the Free Program is that YOU can design the sequence to suit your plane and your style of flying. And you can practice it to perfection too!

Program 3 are the Unknowns - sequences provided by the Contest Director at the competition which cannot be practiced.

Program 4 are the Free Unknowns, a CIVA-based set of rules that allow Intermediate to Unlimited pilots the freedom to submit, at a competition, figures that can be combined to produce an Unknown sequence with some latitude for variation to suit the plane or pilot, albeit another sequence that cannot be practiced. Great fun!

Finally, the 4-minute Free is a true freestyle program, available only to Advanced, Unlimited or invited pilots to display their skill, flair and art in an airshow-type display.



Masterton Trophies 2018

Subs are due

Subs for 2018 are now due. Please use the form below when submitting your subscription if you haven’t already done so.

Subs Form 2018

South Island AkroFest 2017

During the third week of November, aerobatic pilots around the country descended on Omaka Aerodrome to compete at the 3rd edition of the South Island Akro Fest. The NZ Aerobatic Club runs a National Championship at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, during February. So establishing a South Island based competition during the spring, seemed like the logical way to

We were hosted by the enthusiastic team at the Marlborough Aeroclub at their clubrooms and hired the Aeroclub Flat as base of ops for the week as well as accommodation for a group of us. The competition was run down by the Aviation Heritage Centre, with the aircraft parked along the fence line right outside the museum. It was a bit of extra activity for visitors of the museum to view and with the sun on everyone’s backs for viewing the competition flying, there really isn’t a better place to run this competition.

We had a large contingent again from the Canterbury Aero Club this year, lead by experienced B Cat, Richard Collett. The results speak for themselves but the tradition of our club Aerobatic trainer, ZK-RBN being flown by capable young pilots has continued both at the Akro Fest, and at the Flying NZ Alpine Rally, recently held at Motueka.

From further north, we had a number of pilots from Auckland, North Shore and Tauranga. A smattering of RVs, Pitts, Robin, Tiger Moth, One Design and a Yak 52 among others. My aim with establishing this event, was to encourage more grassroots aerobatic competition and we have begun to succeed in this area with a dozen pilots in these two classes. We had also initially fielded a large contingent in the intermediate category but this was whittled down from 6 to 2, due to aircraft serviceability, it was left to myself and Mo to compete in his beautifully presented Pitts, ZK-FRJ, which he completed a ground-up restoration of in 2010.

We rounded off a busy practice day as everyone grabbed as much time in the ‘box’ as they could, with dinner in town. The Aero Club put on a BBQ and some cold drinks following the first day of competition on Thursday. Following the last day of competition on Friday, we were catered by Roast on the Run and it was a great meal, would highly recommend this company to anyone. By the time prize giving began in the evening, we were all pretty parched and exhausted after a busy week of flying our own signatures in the sky in a very competitive competition that, will help to promote our Nationals Competition to be held in February.

Standouts during the competition were the way Steve Geard went from his standard mount, a Yak 55M, to a Yak 52, a type which he hadn’t ever competed in and did so with the usual exuberance and theatre that only he can deliver in a Yak. Grant Benns, our club president, was as consistant as usual in the aeroplane at his disposal, in this case David Cranna’s RV7, which David also competed in, when he could get Grant out of it. Ryan Southam was incredibly steady with his scores in Simon and Roger’s beautiful One Design, Intermediate category at the Nationals Ryan?

Jerry Chisum returned this year to give Recreational another crack and did so with much success. It must be time to compete at Sportsman level in February, Jerry? Then we have Wayne Tantrum, flying his Citabria and Wayne Edwards in his Tiger Moth ZK-BEC, were first time competitors, and from the beginning of the week, when critiquing kicked off, to the end of the event, one simply wouldn’t have recognised them as being the same pilot such was the improvement of the sequences they were flying. In fact picking best new comer was nearly impossible, this year.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and that, is the essence of any event which involves the NZ Aerobatic Club. We have a wide variety in members, competitors and aircraft, all with the same thing in common, their obsession with tipping aircraft upside down for fun.

A huge thanks to Raylene, Marty, John and everyone at the Marlborough Aero Club, for being such incredibly good hosts and allowing us to enjoy your airfield again this year. No other place quite like it. Also a big thank you to Graham and Jane Orphan for being supportive of the event and allowing us to more or less take over their flight operations area outside the museum for the duration of the event.

Next one the calendar, the National Championships, at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton. February 21st-24th 2018.

Andrew Love

Vice President, NZ Aerobatic Club


Recreational Overall (Omaka Cup)

1st Jerry Chisum – RV3    2nd Austin Jones – 2160  3rd Alex Philpot – 2160                            

Recreational Unknown

1st Jerry Chisum – RV3    2nd Wayne Edwards – Tiger Moth     3rd Alex Philpot                    

Sportsman Overall (Marlborough Aero Club Cup)             

1st Ryan Southam – DR107  2nd Grant Benns – RV7   3rd Richard Collett – 2160                  

Intermediate Overall (Pam Collings Trophy)        

1st Morris Tull – Pitts S1S               2nd Andrew Love – Pitts S1S                                            

160hp Challenge (Recreational class only)

1st Austin Jones – 2160                   2nd Alex Philpot - 2160                    3rd Jason Smith - 2160

Best New Comer              Wayne Edwards – Tiger Moth                                                                                                 

Most Improved Pilot      Jason Smith – 2160                                                                                                                          

Paul Marshall Award      Cathleen Heslan (most helpful person)       

Rangitata Island Trophy (Highest scoring biplane)

Morris Tull – Pitts S1S                                                          

Mid-Winter Update

Website Woes

Alas, all efforts to resurrect our old website have failed - Mike has given up, admitting defeat to some low-life scum who keeps repeatedly attaching the site. Why? Hardly for commercial gain or world domination. 

So, Terry and Mel (mainly Mel!) have taken up the task of creating a new web presence for us. You'll still be taken to the website if you go to, but you may notice the URL at the top is currently

Big thanks to Mike Slack for managing our old website over the years, and to Mel and Terry for stepping up to generate and keep going the new one. With better security, we hope.

Plane Updates

Keith Trillo's old Pitts S1, ZK-EEU, continues to make steady progress towards completion, whenever Ryan Southam and Andy Love can get to it, at Omaka.

Richard Hoods' long-term/new-build Pits S1-SS(SSSSS!) is also progressing towards completion. I wonder who will win the Pitts completion race - Ryan and Andy, or Richard?!

Kind-of looks like a old-school fighter, with a gun-mount too. Top wings are over-rated, Richard!   

David Wilkinson will probably beat them both, and have a faster plan too, with his DR107 One-Design. I have watched these planes at the OZ Nationals do stuff you shouldn't be able to do with four cylinders and a little wing...amazing.

Pretty amazing progress, considering he just started this last Tuesday! (Actually, about two years ago - but it is plans built, unlike his RV8, which took not much more than a year to build)

Can you see a person in this last photo?

Like the movie 'Three Weddings and a Funeral', the last isn't great news, for The Great Stunt Company...again.

ZK-NUT had an altercation with a hangar door, the latter winning as they always do. 

Prop off for a wee holiday to Germany and a new tip - only about 3 months and $10k. Bugger. Bugger, bugger, bugger! 

2018 Nationals

August is the half-way point between each Nationals. Plans are underway for the 2018 event, minus the fog!

More info to come, but check out our website to see the sequences you need to start practicing NOW! They are also on OpenAero under Library/2018/NZAC.

Also, consider booking accommodation - the dates are 21-24 of February, but maybe come a couple of days early and plan on heading home on Sunday 25th. It can be a busy time of the year in the Wairarapa, with weddings in particular a big drain on accommodation.

South Island Akro Fest 2017

Andy has another great event planned for this year - very central (great for Russell, or anybody with a plane at Omaka!) and an awesome airfield. The box is cool too, if you can stay in it, and gives the spectators a great view of your prowess.

Turn up to avoid getting the dipstick...

Expect more info in your inbox, follow the Facebook page or contact Andy at 

LLDA Renewals

All LLDAs (low-level display authorisations) expire at the end of August, so get your paperwork in to Dave Brown early to avoid disappointment. If you have got one, you know the routine. If you haven't and need one, ask me for more info at

Articles and Content

Our website is as good as WE make it. If you have interesting, relevant and/or cool pictures/movies/links/whatever that is remotely connected to aerobatics, send it to Mel ( so she can find somewhere to list it. I have got Kiwi Flyer editor Michael Norton to provide us with the aerobatic articles I have been writing for his magazine - I hope you enjoy them.

That's all for now - fly safe,


Masterton Nationals 2017

The NZ Aerobatic club has once again coagulated around the Masterton airfield and abused the structural integrity and aesthetic sensibilities of man and machine for the third time, shattering the previous record of two times at this venue. It was a collation of the usual suspects and by the narrowest of margins included a very recently returned to service ZK-NUT.

NUT was sporting a new lid and some fresh paint and accompanied by a good number of its supporting minions. The aerobatic club has a large number of pilots sharing this aircraft (including 4 in just intermediate, making up more than half the category) and before NUT they similarly shared ZK-MAD. It’s terrific having this machine back on line because the more challenging categories especially have been slim pickings for several years, with ‘intermediate’ a bit thin and ‘advanced’ not competed at all last year. Hopefully the new Warbirds Yak 52 will encourage a similar group to coalesce and participate next time. Under CIVA rules there is even a Yak 52 category (same complexity as intermediate) that can be flown as a single design comp that is your metaphorical level playing field. It would be beyond awesome to have to add an extra trophy to the lineup and we know you Yak guys are lurking out there.

The biggest surprise this year was that the contest director, Mike Slack, actually appeared. Previous years have seen him do all the prep and then be railroaded by work, forcing the glamorous job to fall on my shoulders. But not this time. Someone in Airways clearly did not get a memo and at the next performance review a frowny emoji is almost certain to appear. They take breeches like this seriously. Mike seemed oblivious to the fate of this nameless bureaucrat and instead concentrated on partying like it was 1999 (i.e. 18 years ago).

Weather-wise the week started out with the remnants of the system that obliterated the airshow of the preceding weekend hanging about and making Monday arrival more interesting than ideal. It would seem that losing a three day event in February is a pretty long-odds bet, but lose it they did. A huge shame for all those who worked hard to make it happen only to sit in the rain while the clock ran out. Then by Monday afternoon everything was back to flyable conditions.

Tuesday was hot and clear and super sticky. When you close the canopy in most aircraft you create a sauna, but often you have effective venting or even A/C to help make it tolerable. Aerobatic pilots are staunch apparently and need no such luxuries. Fortunately the time on the ground is brief and the aero club pool was divinely refreshing.

Wednesday was the first competition day and was similarly warm and fine. We quickly got the first flights all done and then with heaps of time in hand called it a day and retired to the pool. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday dawned with a very low solid overcast that sometimes turned to drizzle. It cleared to provide a fine day … at about 6:15pm. Never mind, 7am briefing then first flight Friday at 8am. Heaps of time left.

Friday there was not a breath of wind as we struggled out to the club. What there was though was fog. Lots of fog that was just not moving. At 7am I know how it feels, but by 10am there was some movement and the fog departed. We had sun on the ground and blue skies above the clubrooms. The problem was the fog had not gone far and the box itself remained fogbound until yet another hour had passed. Now we were up against the clock. Saturday was an issue because many had Ohakea plans, so we applied shoulder to grindstone, pedal to metal and the lotion to its skin (so it wouldn’t get the hose again). Remarkably it did come together except for one dropped flight program from intermediate. At this stage we could award trophies so we retired to the pool once more and passed out the silverware and thanked people and stuff like that.

Warbirds members dominated the virtual podium, with Dave Cranna and Grant Benns first and second in Intermediate, myself first in Sports and Des Barry leading Recreational. Russell Bell convincingly stormed into first place in Advanced with Morris Tull in second. It’s been a fantastic week of fun flying; awesome venue, great people and excellent food – why weren’t you there?

-Terry Johnson