Goodbye summer and Covid 19, Hello to the first annual North Island Akro Fest, hosted by the NZ Aerobatic Club and this is the new installment of The Langley Marshall Trophy competition in memory of Brian Langley and Paul Marshall, passionate Northshore Aero Club aerobatic instructors and stalwarts.
There will be individual category winners and also the awarding of The Langley Marshall Trophy, presented to the pilot scoring the highest overall percentage across all categories in the judged competition flights. Past winners have typically (but not always) been from the lower categories, so everybody has a chance to win the big Trophy.
This two-day competition will allow (weather permitting) at least three competition sequence flights per competitor, in your selected category.
Helpers are required both days to assist with ground duties (no helpers, no flying!) so please make yourself available if required. No experience required for many of the roles – get involved to learn more about our sport.
I am pleased that all of our Aerobatic Club members, that I am aware of, have survived the first wave of the Corona virus and level 4 lockdown although many have taken a massive hit to their aviation careers and we all hope for a good recovery. Some have even thrived in their progress on their aircraft construction or preparations for the aerobatic season.
The new committee of Morris Tull, Andy Love, Grant Benns, Terry Johnson and Russell Bell have been putting the lockdown time to good use. It was an ideal time to review our Nationals and look at all the things we did well and what we can improve on. We are re writing some of our procedures to reflect the ideas learned and I thank the committee for their ideas and time.
We have advanced our preparation for our regular events and the new North Island Akrofest. The National Aerobatic Championship that we had in March 2020 completes the season in two ways; the AGM is held to elect the new committee and it is the end of the use of last year’s sequences with all events after the Nationals now to use the 2021 sequences that are now published on the NZAC website at www.aerobatics.nz and are also loaded in www.OpenAero.net in the library file under 2021, NZAC. Both Grant and I were working on this project independently at exactly the same time, great minds think alike and it is great to have such common strategies in the team.
As I said in my Season Opening newsletter #1, as the new President; My goals and challenges for this season will be to ensure it is fun, to keep doing what we do well, try to help get more competitors to all events and increase our judging pool plus encourage more volunteers to assist and I call on all of you to try to convince at least one person each to come along and give it a go, they will not regret it.
Good communication is always a core role of the committee, the committee has confirmed that the Website at www.aerobatics.nz is our primary source of information so we ask you to keep an eye on it for the latest rules and news and sequences. We have an automated Mail Chimp system that delivered this newsletter from the website.
At the competition events, we plan to use WhatsApp groups more to ensure fast messaging of the day’s news and information to supplement the briefings so please install WhatsApp on your phone if you do not have it already.
The beginning of the season is a good time to confirm we are using the best tools, software and Apps. I encourage you learn these useful tools, even if you are in the more junior categories, there are benefits.
Sequence design and printing. www.OpenAero.net is the most important; this is the software that all free or free known sequences must be designed in and submitted to the Event Organiser. You will be familiar with these as the end result is the sequences cards that you have been flying with. In addition to designing your sequence, you can also change many things about the presentation, scale, size of notations, placing of turn arrows, and direction of turns, size of presentation of individual figures and size of printing out the Pilot cards. You can take the ones already formatted in the library and improve them to your liking, and size of card that suits you and your cockpit. Check out Grants excellent article on using OpenAero here, Aero Sequencing– Kiwi Flyer Issue 60.
The Box; yes, you are supposed to fly in the box so the more you know about it, exactly where the corners are, what visual references are around and where the wind is coming from, you can significantly improve your performance and positioning in the box. You will see many of the experienced competitors using a model aircraft and a photo of the aerobatic box to think about where you might want to enter the box given the crosswind, which way you should turn for wind corrections, how many ¼ turns add up to going in the right or wrong direction.
I strongly suggest you all print out the photo of the box as big as you can and use you model to figure out then burn the sequence into your brain before you go and start wasting avgas.
You can draw a box where you regularly practice using these tools;
Another App for IPhone and IPad is the free Acrobox Flight III app. Load it from the app store on your IPhone then open and save these links; for Masterton, Omaka and Mercer boxes. This app even allows you to fly with it and shows you your position in the box.
Scoring software. We will continue to use Akro4 software developed by Nick Buckenham if CIVA. It is free to download and if you are likely to be assisting in running any of the events, the sooner you learn this better.
So I hope you may find these Apps useful and they may occupy your lockdown time with something useful.
Aviation News has kindly given us all free access to the May edition of the Newspaper, click the link.
The May edition of Aviation News is out on schedule and, as far as we’re able, fault-free and full of good stuff. As it’s digital only, access the link:http://www.aviationnews.co.nz/uploads/Products/product_253/001A_AVNEWS_0520.pdf Some of you will have received this link via other means. The good news is that you won’t be forced to read it multiple times, but please do savour it. Every word is hard won and the result of the sweat of somebody’s brow, perhaps even more than usual in these uncertain times.More good news: everybody is encouraged to disseminate this edition, to spread the word that Aviation News is alive and well. It might even encourage more people to read it regularly, so please pass on this link. Thanks John King
As I put this newsletter together, I received news that’s almost worse than being in lockdown, Oshkosh is cancelled for 2020! This virus has devastated aviation and now the biggest and best airshow in the world is also cancelled. Please be safe out there.Regards to all,
Morris Tull President, NZ Aerobatics Club
And now a message from the VP.
I just wanted to give our membership an update in regards to our South Is event, at Omaka. For those that haven’t attended this competition, we first held this event in Nov 2015, celebrating 70 years of the Pitts Special and the first ever Aerobatic Competition on the mainland. Since then, we have slowly expanded the event with its own unique flavour but in line with our Club Procedures Manual and international rules.
For me, the unique aspects of this competition include the hospitality of the Marlborough Aeroclub and Aviation Heritage Centre and the addition of the Vintage Class which has a set sequence, flown twice by aircraft that must be pre-1960, taildragger and lacking an inverted oil/fuel system. This has been created in memory of a very good friend of ours in the NZ Tiger Club, Wayne Edwards. Wayne flew his Tiger Moth in the Recreational class in 2017, and he impressed everyone present with his gritty determination to figure out how to present his aeroplane for maximum points.
In 2019, we had over 20 competitors flying Primary through to Advanced. We saw significant growth in the membership with new competitors, many whom also flew at our Nationals earlier in 2020 along with several who had been absent for many years.
Without repeating all the MSM talking points, we have a unique and very challenging situation facing us in 2020. That said; it is my intention to run the event again in Nov, at Omaka Aerodrome. The Aeroclub are right behind us, as is the entire aerodrome community at Omaka. Some of you may have noticed in the advertising and marketing that I refer to the event being a fly-in, as well as a competition. Well, I was inspired by the EAA when I flew in to Oshkosh in 2012, with a friend in his Tiger Moth. Seeing how they run these events in the US, and the passion shown for grassroots flying, gave me the inspiration to try and build this event as not only an Aeros comp for us lot but crucially, a gathering for all aviators. We have seen significant interest from the likes of the Nelson and Canterbury Aeroclub, with several club aeroplanes turning up to watch the flying which has been fantastic. With the World-class museum on site, there is no reason not to come along. While encouraging itinerants at the event can create added challenges for our organizers, it nevertheless keeps in line my passion and inspiration of continuing what Paul Poberezny intended, when he and several others founded the EAA in the early 1960s in the US.
One thing I have always been aware of, and constantly tell myself, is you never know who you are talking to at an airfield. You might just inspire someone to take up flying lessons, or buy an aeroplane and take the plunge, so making these events and gatherings accessible is crucial, in my view. Breaking down the barriers between the small groups within GA, you could say. The Marlborough Aeroclub now have their own Aeros trainer, an extremely tidy Air Tourer 150. We are continuing with our venerable Alpha, at the Canterbury Aeroclub. With several experienced Instructors available at both Aeroclubs I am encouraging both to engage with the membership to offer this concept as not only a great learning exercise and a great way to improve one’s mindset but let’s face it, it is such a hoot and hugely rewarding.
Another event being run this year at Omaka, the weekend before the South Island Akro Fest, is the FlyingNZ Alpine Area Rally. I am heading up a week early to setup the aerobatic box markers so that we can run the same briefing/event format for both events. We did this a few years back with great success.
I trust everyone is safe and well, and I look forward to catching up with everyone around the traps over the Spring and Summer ahead. And if you are talking to someone about flying, let’s see ourselves as sales people for our Club, our Sport, what we love and enjoy participating in the most. Turning aeroplanes upside down purely for the fun of it. You just never know who you are talking to.
And now from Grant Benns, Event Organiser Extraordinaire.
Planning continues for the inaugural North Island Akrofest, awarding the Langley Marshall Trophy, which should be happening soon (mid-June?) at Mercer Airport.
Held over two days, you will have at least three opportunities to fly in front of the Judges. Hangarage and accommodation available on-site, unrestricted airspace overhead – start practicing, even if just in your head or around the ‘lounge-box’, by downloading the 2020/21 Known Sequence for your category from the NZAC website or check out OpenAero/Library/2021/NZAC. You will have to fly this twice, plus an Unknown too.
More details soon. And, as a teaser, here is our proposed Box…
The inaugural North Island Akrofest planned for 4-5 of April, is being delayed for 1-3 months due to the Covid-19 concerns and to allow us to also assess the employment and economic implications for some of our competitors.
Please consider utilizing this time to still prepare for the aerobatic season by designing your Free Known sequences, practicing on your own, do any maintenance work in advance, do some online aerobatic judging course and consider doing your BFRs now to be ready for the next 2 nationals. Details of the event below, it should be a great competition and looking forward to see you there.
Be safe with Covid-19 and fly safe too. Regards Morris Tull Grant Benns President North Island Akrofest Event Organizer
Note that 2021 new sequences are uploaded on the website and will be used for any competitions through to the Nationals of 2021.
During the last week of November, 35 members of our club descended on Omaka Aerodrome for the 5th edition of the South Island Akro Fest. We have grown this event from two classes in 2015 and celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Pitts Special, to five in 2019 including the new ‘Vintage’ Class (Wayne Edwards Memorial Trophy) which is unique to Omaka, giving the classic aeroplanes locally around NZ an opportunity to compete on equal terms (relatively speaking!). We are also using this category to celebrate the passing of a very good friend ours in the Tiger Moth community, who was tragically lost in an overseas accident in 2018.
We had 22 pilots compete in the various classes in a wide range of aircraft. It was a thoroughly enjoyable few days of flying, and the hospitality from the Marlborough Aeroclub was again very well received, especially by those who had not been to this event before. This competition also saw 6 pilots compete for the first time, all enjoyed themselves. We had a steady stream of locals stop by the Aeroclub to view the aircraft and watch the flying.
The finale of the Event was the 4 minute Free Style, where 6 pilots contested. It was great to see Ivan Krippner back in the competition environment, having been busy running other aviation businesses and doing international airshow work (The Airshow Company). We also had a resurgence in Pitts Specials this year which looks set to continue in the years to come. It was also pleasing to see 4 pilots in the Primary class, all first time competitors.
This year we also had for the first time, a Restricted area for our Aerobatic Box and immediate surrounding airspace. While a huge amount of work to establish, it was well worth it. The local pilots also commented on the ease of operation within the area, and it was certainly handy for our members to get real-time critiquing in the knowledge that we’re not interferring with the Operations over at Woodbourne.
We are all looking forward to the Nationals next February. There was some hesitation to continue to run this Event yearly due to the rapid expansion we’re seeing off it but several members have put in a huge amount of effort in support of it so look out for the announcement of the 2020 Event.
Omaka is a great location for Competition flying or just for a weekend getaway. I must thank the Marlborough Aeroclub for being such incredible hosts, particularly Marty, Raylene, John and Pip. Along with all of our members who supported the event so enthusiastically.
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.
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.
ENTRY PENALTIES 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.
Examples: 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 Sequences to be flown in the 2019 event are available on the website www.aerobatics.nz ) 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.
DOCUMENTATION 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!
QUESTIONS 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.