All Posts by NZ Slackie

2019 Aerobatic Nationals

The 2019 edition of the New Zealand Aerobatic Club’s National Aerobatics Championships is done and dusted.  Whilst the field was decimated somewhat by aircraft serviceability, etc., 15 entrants across 4 categories competed in the skies above Hood Aerodrome in Masterton last week.

Competitors, judges, and supporters travelled from near (Wellington) and far (Dubai) to compete in the NZ Aerobatic Club’s annual National Aerobatic Championships and whilst the competition officially started on Wednesday 27th Feb many arrived early for two other huge events… the Wings Over Wairarapa Airshow and our President Des’ marrage to Simone in Carterton. Whilst poor weather (again!) forced the cancellation of the airshow on Sunday, the wedding went off without a hitch on Saturday evening – congratulations Mr & Mrs Barry!

Poor weather (strong wind and rain showers) meant no-one was keen for any unofficial practice on Monday, Tuesday also was reserved mainly for setup – checking box markers and laying out the marker material – searing hot

Wednesday dawned a bit cloudy but the main challenge for the first day of competition proved to be the building wind - 30-40kts at 2000ft blowing competitors away from the judges.  The morning included practice flights for those in attendance with the competition proper kicking off in the afternoon.  Grant's first competition flight in Advanced appeared to include an inverted cross country to reposition back in sight of the judging line!  Only Intermediate and Advanced Known flights were completed by the voluntary curfew of 6pm.

Thursday morning had a slightly delayed start due to weather but improved as the day progressed - at least the wind was a little move manageable.  Known flights were completed for Sports and Recreational whilst the Intermediate and Advanced competitors attacked their Free Known sequences.  Unfortunately Fred's beautiful wee Laser had had enough of his rolling circle and suffered a wee (!) oil leak that necessitated an expeditious return to the ground.  I can't recall the last time we had a serious mechanical event at the Nationals in the past 17 or 18 years!  Luckily we had the services of Wairarapa Aeroclub's barman Mark (who moonlights as a LAME) assisted by Morris (also mechanically qualified) who had the prop off and the repair underway without delay.  Thursday night saw the Aeroclub provide a BBQ dinner before the NZAC AGM.  Both Des and Mike had signalled their intention to step down as President and Contest Director respectively, which they did, but Mike didn't get away scott free as he was duly elected President!  Minutes to follow.

Friday... a big day!  7am briefing with the intention of completing the formal competition.  Many scheduling "challenges" today as Trish ferried Fred across to Feilding to grab parts for the ailing Laser, and then fitting the Laser test flights into the flying programme.  Added to that was the ever present shared aircraft that require the Contest director to attempt to space them throughout the Order of Flight.  Grant had jumped ship from the Laser to the Zlin (David had kindly allowed Mike to fly ZK-ZSO dut to NUT's ongoing "issues") and David's other aircraft was also being flown by himself, Ian and Grant.  Regardless, all (barring Fred's) remaining flights Unknown and Free Unknown flights were completed just leaving the 4 Minute Free flights to be flown on Saturday.

Yet again, Saturday dawned with less than perfect conditions (CLD SCT023 BKN030 -SHRA) which combined with sequence card issues put paid to Fred's catchup flights but it improved to allow Murray Rogers (CT4), Des Barry (RV7), Morris Tull (Pitts S1), and Steve Geard (Yak 55m) to wow us with their smoke and noise.  Prizegiving that night was a finished off the event well (results are published elsewhere).

There are many thank you that should follow such an event (and I'm bound to forget some - apologies!).  Thanks:- first to the Wairarapa Aeroclub and Hood Aerodrome for providing the location and facilities that allow us to endulge our past-time; to Des and Andrew for their assistance in organising the event and for MC'ing the prizegiving; to the Ray and his judges (Martyn, Russell, Terry, Pam), scribes and spotters particularly Darryl (another victim of aircraft serviceability)... thanks for enduring cold, wind, sun, heat, ham-fisted flying; to our starters Ian and Cathy, thanks for the "big brother is watching" experience, getting us in our aircraft and into the air efficiently; thanks to Mel for her assistance to the Contest Director this event AND for stepping up to take on the whole role next year; to both Kelly and Simone who kept us fed and watered; and finally to the competitors and attendees who made this event so enjoyable.  THANK YOU ALL!

Mike Slack 

PS.  I must make a personal special thank you to David Cranna for allowing me to fly the Zlin - I know only too well how frustrating it is to attend the Nationals without an aircraft to fly!

2018 NZ National Aerobatics Championships – Results

Winners are grinners!

For full results CLICK HERE

winner – Murray McCallister – C150 – North Island

winner – Alex Philpott – 2160a – South Island

winner – Murray Rogers – CT4B – North Island

winner – Andrew Love – Pitts S1S – South Island

winner – Morris Tull – Pitts S1S – South Island

winner – Russell Bell – G-200 – North Island

Most Improved
Russell Bell – North Island

Best newcomer
Murray McCallister – North Island

Sportsman Unknown
Fred Zayas – Laser 200 – South Island

Intermediate Unknown
Grant Benns – Laser 200 – North Island

Unknown overall (highest average)
Fred Zayas – Laser 200 -South Island

Recreational Unknown
winner – Ross Brodie – Air Tourer – South Island

Most helpful person
Mark Wilson – Wairarapa Aeroclub

Grey wings
Chris Shadler – RV3 – North Island

4minute Free Style
winner – Andrew Love – Pitts S1

North VS South Challenge Trophy
winner – North Island

More to follow with photos and a full report. Unfortunately absentees from our prize giving due to commitments around the country were:
Trish Stephens – RV6a – North Island
Ross Mcainch – RV6a – North Island
Grant Benns – Laser 200 – North Island
David Crana – RV7 – North Island
Mike Slack – Contest Director

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Tasks to complete for 2018 Nationals

Are you  intending to compete at the 2018 NZAC Aerobatic Nationals next month in Masterton?

Are you competing in Intermediate category or higher?

Are you yet to submit your Free Known sequences to the Contest Director?

If the answers to any of the above questions are YES then you need to get cracking and put finger to keyboard (or pen to paper for any technologically challenged participants)!

So far, entries are pretty light in all categories, and I’ve only received a few Free Known sequences (the deadline for these to be submitted has past!).

If you have submitted either entries or other documentation then please check HERE to ensure that it has been received.  If any of your documents are missing then please send them to me at

Entry Form for 2018 Nationals

Entry form for the Nationals in Masterton can be downloaded NZAC EntryForm

Entries close on 2nd Feb 2018 (disregard the date on the form).

Free Known sequences must be submitted to the Contest Director no later than Friday 19th January.