President's Report - the 27th of October, 2012

The Championships Season – Overview

As we finish the 2012 contest season with our plenary meeting in Lausanne on the first weekend in November, I can report to you another excellent year of FAI Aerobatic Championships.

A successful and safe calendar of aerobatic competitions was possible due to the hard and dedicated work of our corps of volunteers. This includes not only the local people who help organize and run our contests, but the cadre of specialists who work for CIVA year after year. They can be found on the Jury, in the Scoring Office, and on the Boards of Judges.

We should also not forget those who serve FAI and CIVA in other ways as well, i.e., as members of various Sub-Committees and working groups. They create the ideas, make the improvements, and deal with the many proposals we receive each year to refine FAI Aerobatic Championships.

The 2012 FAI Championships Calendar included five FAI Aerobatic Championships and this is always a considerable challenge for our rather small group of FAI International Officials. Fortunately two of those events were held at the same time and at the same contest site (WAGAC - WGAC in Dubnica). The EAC was also held in Dubnica after the WAGAC - WGAC and I hope this combination of events at the same airfield this summer made these Championships more viable for the organizers.

As some competition categories shrink and others grow, combining events might be possible in other Championships as well.

FAI Aerobatic Championships

In 2012, the following events were held:

  • 3rd FAI World Advanced Glider Aerobatic Championships; Dubnica nad Váhom, Slovak Republic
  • 15th FAI World Glider Aerobatic Championships; Dubnica nad Váhom, Slovakia
  • 10th FAI World Advanced Aerobatic Championships; Nyiregyháza, Hungary
  • 18th FAI European Aerobatic Championships; Dubnica nad Váhom, Slovak Republic
  • 3rd FAI World Yak-52 Aerobatic Championships; Serpukhov region, Russia.

Competitor numbers were as follows (not including H/C pilots):

Magical Snap - 2012.10.27 10.10 - 028


Advanced has continued to grow and is now the largest Championships we have (single category) and this year’s WAAC one of the largest FAI Championships ever held. In 2010, there were 82 pilots.

Glider Advanced has also grown. There were 31 Glider Advanced in 2010, for example, and 38 this year.

Thus, it falls to CIVA to continue to innovate and derive new categories of competition that are appealing to our constituencies. This is very important for our future.

New Continental and World Champions

Magical Snap - 2012.08.03 16.03 - 003The new World Advanced Aerobatic Champion is Anton Berkutov of Russia (shown right) who flew a Sukhoi SU-31M to victory. Team Champions at WAAC were: (1) France, (2) Russia, and (3) USA.

Maciej PospiezynskiWorld Glider Aerobatic Champion (Unlimited) is Maciej Pospieszynski of Poland flying the Swift S-1 (shown left). Team Championships at WGAC were not declared because of insufficient participants.

World Glider Aerobatic Champion (Advanced) is Luca Bertossio of Italy flying the Swift S-1 (below left). Team Champions at WAGAC were: (1) Italy, (2) Germany, and (3) Poland.

European Aerobatic Champion is Mikhail Mamistov of Russia flying thMagical Snap - 2012.09.08 10.34 - 024e Sukhoi SU-26M3 (shown left). Team Champions at EAC were: (1) France, (2) Russia, and (3) Germany.

At the World Yak-52 Aerobatic Championships in Russia, Vladimir Kotelnikov was declared the winner. Though he is principally known to CIVA as a skilled and accomplished Judge, his pilot skills were also on display at this competition. Team winners at the Yak-52 event were: (1) Russia, (2) Belarus, and (3) Lithuania.

Our congratulations to all the winners including the Team Managers and coaches who also contribute so much to a competitor’s success.

Contest Software and Judging Analysis

ACRO, developed and maintained by Nick Buckenham, was approved by the Bureau of CIVA for use at FAI Championships in 2008. ACRO was used at all 2012 FAI Aerobatic Championships. Its judging analysis is robust and useful. The overall judging analysis reports are used by the Judging Sub-Committee (JSC) to prepare its ranking lists for future judge selection as well as individual judge feedback during the course of competitions. John Gaillard has presented his latest ranking lists in his report to CIVA for plenary.

Therefore, we now have an excellent scoring program in place and the best judging analysis tools we have ever had. This will be of enormous help to us in the future in two areas:

  • Selection of Judges for Championships.
  • Judging training, education, and feedback.

The data files can be found using a link from the results website. After downloading the .ctf file for any competition, you can then look at the judging analysis reports. Overall reports are available as well as those broken down by Judge. This data is in the public domain in the interest of openness and transparency, since in my view, pilots and team managers are entitled to all contest data from FAI Championships.

Along these lines, it is interesting to note that protests are now rarely received on judging. This is a credit to John Gaillard and the members of the Judging Sub-Committee (JSC) who have worked hard to improve our judges’ performance. ACRO provides the judging analysis they need to resolve problems, identify trends, and to provide feedback to Judges. It is working very well.

Judge Selection

Judge selection for the 2013 season will begin shortly after the plenary as all RI data is now on hand. The Chairman of the Judging Sub-Committee (JSC) will initiate the invitations based on the Ranking List he maintains. Judges on the FAI List of International Aerobatic Judges will also be encouraged to submit applications as well. 

The details of how to become a Judge, how Judges are selected, and what is expected of them as well as what is paid for (Travel Allowances and organizer support) will be included in a future CIVA document.

The Chairman of the JSC should be contacted if you have any questions about the CIVA judges program.

Contest Results

Results for the 2012 FAI Aerobatic Championships can be found at www.civa-results.com.

This website was created in 2008 in order to host the results as well as the contest data files for these Championships. There are links provided so you can download ACRO and the contest data files. It is all open and transparent.

The site will continue to serve as an archive for contest results. These “results” pages are much more complete than the “Championships Results” pages which appear on the CIVA website. For example, it is possible to view an individual pilot’s score sheets and other information on this website such as collections of Unknown programmes and photos.


Aresti Cup Replica 2I have reported in the past on our problems with trophies which have gone missing or been damaged. The trophies we award to the winners of various Championships are some of FAI’s most prized and beautiful. The Aresti Cup has been awarded since 1964 and has traveled all over the world, with the attendant “wear and tear” on the trophy.

Earlier this year, after a meeting of the FAI-Aresti Committee in Madrid to resolve other issues, the Aresti Cup was shipped to Madrid for restoration. This is being carried out under the supervision of Jose Luis Olias and I thank Jose for taking this on.

As announced last year in Krakow and displayed for everyone to see, Mr. Olias has produced a beautiful replica of the Cup (in smaller size, shown left), complete with its own traveling case. This could be carried home by the winner after each Championship. See photo of the replica.

I look forward to seeing a fully restored Aresti Cup in the future. I first saw the Cup some 40 years ago in the USA and appreciate very much that it will be returned to its former appearance. I also thank Loic Logeais of the Fédération Francaise Aéronautique (FFA) for his care in storing the trophy and seeing to its safe shipment to Spain.

Guidelines – Bidding for Championships

In order to receive bids for Championships much earlier and to insure those bids were of the quality that we need, in 2011 I produced a “Guidelines for Bidding for FAI Aerobatic Championships” and revised it this year.

This updated 2012 version of the document was distributed to CIVA Delegates and a date of 1 October 2012 set for the submission of bids for 2013 Championships and beyond.

This initiative has been successful. At last year’s plenary in Krakow, there were four bids to organize the 2012 WAAC. Two bids were received each for WAC 2013 and WGAC 2012 . All bids were of excellent quality.

For this year’s plenary, we will have bids from two countries to host the 2013 EAAC and one expected for a combined YAK-52 Championship and a new “Intermediate” category.

The “Guidelines” document is not a contest organization handbook. But it is meant for organizations and individuals who are preparing bids, so they are made well aware of the many details that go into the preparation and execution of an FAI Aerobatic Championships. With a document guiding bidders in their preparation, it is much more likely that higher quality and more comprehensive bids are received. This will result in even better Championships, a goal we all share.

Special Events

No special events were held in 2012, though more are anticipated in 2013 and beyond. There will be more information available in the future on this website.

Known Selection

There has been a considerable amount of internal and informal discussion regarding selection of Known sequences. There was also a Swiss urgent proposal on this issue as well. Please see Agenda document 15.5 and SP #1 for details. This discussion originated as a result of the 2012 Unlimited Known and the physical and pilot health issues associated with the sequence.

Knowns are important because the sequences we choose help define the difficulty, challenges, and demands of the category. This has an impact on pilot participation. While those pilots who have been flying Unlimited for many years demand and expect very challenging sequences, those who are contemplating entering the category may have second thoughts if the Knowns or any of the flights programmes for that matter, are too difficult.

However, as one pilot pointed out to me, there should not be too big of a jump between the Known and the Free Programmes – another point to consider.

When the Rules Sub-Committee and JSC met in Dubnica on 31 August, we discussed this problem. One of the ideas was to have Knowns screened or filtered through the RSC. There has also been some discussion in the Bureau about giving this authority to some other body within CIVA.

In my view, Delegates must not have their right to vote on Knowns restricted. While we do give the RSC and JSC authority to reject some rules proposals and to recommend and/or modify others, I would not be comfortable with this sort of authority granted to a Sub-Committee, or other body, within CIVA. However, it is important that we continue with the CIVA Known/Q Analysis Working Groups and to appoint evaluators to those groups we respect and trust.

It is true that some CIVA member countries do not participate in some or any of the FAI Aerobatic Championships we organize. That said, there is always the possibility they will one day, as their sport develops nationally. All members of FAI pay subscriptions and to deny or restrict their voting rights would no doubt lead to more problems internally and create considerable dissension.

This will be discussed formally and informally when CIVA meets.

Contest Organization Handbook

The project of producing a CIVA Contest Organization Handbook (COH) has been discussed many times and unfortunately, has not yet been completed.

This past winter, I appointed a new Contest Organization Working Group and tasked various people with producing Chapters for the COH. Additional sections can be added as necessary to the COH at the working group’s discretion. The areas I identified were so work could begin by Contest Organization Working Group members.

After the plenary in Lausanne and with a new Bureau in place, I would suggest that new or additional members be appointed so the COH can be completed in time for the 2013 contest season. Drafts of several chapters are already on hand.

Most of the bidders for other competitions in 2013 are well experienced and I do not anticipate any problems, but having a COH on hand will be helpful to them. My apologies to CIVA for the delay in production of this manual.

FAI Awards

One of the great pleasures for a CIVA President is to present or take a part in the awards that FAI provides every year. I have had the opportunity to hang Medals around the necks of many excellent competition pilots over the years and the thrill of seeing their reactions and the pride in winning is something I always remember.

Aside from the Championships Medals, FAI also presents important awards at the FAI General Conference and this occurred on Thursday, 18 October 2012, at the Topkapi Palace Hotel, Antalya, Turkey.  Four members of CIVA's international aerobatics community were honored.

Recipient of the FAI Silver Medal - Osmo Jalovaara of Finland

The Medal is reserved for persons who have occupied high office in FAI or in an aeronautical organization in one of its member countries, and in the discharge of their duties have shown exceptional powers of leadership and influence, to the benefit of the whole international air sport community.

Osmo Jalovaara is a former Vice President of CIVA, former CIVA Delegate of Finland, and a member of the CIVA President’s Council. His sport aviation career began in 1954 and he previously served as Vice Chairman of the Finnish Aeronautical Association, a member of FAI, and President of the Aerobatic Club of Finland.

In the international arena, he served as Delegate of Finland not only to CIVA but to CIEA as well (the FAI’s Education Commission) and has been deeply committed to youth involvement in aviation all his career. He also served as a member of FAI’s Business Development Committee. As Vice President of CIVA and a member of the Bureau, his advice and counsel has always been valued due to his extensive experience in business and diplomacy.

Not only a pilot, Mr. Jalovaara served as an official in 26 FAI First Category events and many Nordic and national championships. He was one of the 17 founding members of the Aerobatic Club of Finland in 1986 and was pivotal in making Finnish aerobatics international.

His awards include the Finnish Ministry of Education Merit Cross of Sports, the Gold Medal of the Finnish Aeronautical Association, and the FAI’s Paul Tissandier Diploma.

Recipient of the Sabiha Gökcen Medal – Elena Klimovich of Russia

The Medal is reserved for the woman who performs the most outstanding achievement in any air sport in the previous year.

Elena Klimovich currently serves as Russia’s Delegate to CIVA. She has been engaged in aerobatics since 1978. The list of her accomplishments in aerobatic competition is a very long one and include Overall Women’s World Aerobatic Champion (2009); Overall Women’s European Aerobatic Champion (2010); and various Champion titles in the USSR and Russia. She has also received numerous team medals as a member of the Russian National Team participating in World and Continental Championships. She is an Honored Master of Sports of Russia in aerobatics.

In addition to her flying awards, she was presented the FAI’s Paul Tissandier Diploma in 1992 and several State and Departmental Awards in her home country.

Recipient of the Paul Tissandier Diploma – Oleg Shpolyansky

This Diploma, established by the FAI in 1952, is named after Mr. Paul Tissandier, Secretary General of FAI from 1919 to 1945. It may be awarded to those who have served the cause of aviation in general and sporting aviation in particular, by their work, initiative, devotion, or in other ways.

A graduate of the Tula Polytechnical Institute in 1989 and the Kaluga flying and technical school in 1998, Mr. Shpolyansky was Overall Champion of Russia in aerobatics in 1991, 1992, 2003, and 2007. He has also won medals in various European Championships in both powered and glider aerobatics and as a member of the winning Russian Team at these competitions. He is very active in bringing young people into air sports activity in Russia.

Recipient of the Leon Biancotto Diploma – Jose Luis Aresti

Presented posthumously to Sr. Aresti, the award is given for outstanding contributions to aerobatics and was voted at the 2011 plenary meeting in Krakow.

The author of the Aresti Aerocryptographic System, Sr. Aresti’s work is the basis of competition aerobatics throughout the world and has been the international standard for nearly 50 years. The Catalogue is now published and sold by Aresti System SL in Madrid.

Borne in 1917, Sr. Aresti passed away in 2003. He became a pilot in the 1930s and flew the Polikarpov 1-16 “Rata” aircraft during the civil war in Spain. After the war, he became a test pilot in Madrid and founded various civilian flying schools while flying airshows around Europe. By 1971, he had trained over 2,000 pilots.

He was President of the International Jury at WAC in the early years and elected CIVA President in 1967. His other awards include the Spanish Sports Merit Gold Medal and the FAI Gold Medal. He donated the Aresti Cup to FAI in 1964 and it remains one of the most beautiful and prestigious trophies in air sports.

Our congratulations to these fine people from the international aerobatics community!

Aresti CatalogueAresti Catalogues - PG

The report of John Gaillard, the CIVA representative on the FAI-Aresti Committee, can be found in the CIVA Agenda packages. John discusses the problems we had with the Catalogue late last year. A meeting of the Committee was held in Madrid on 31 January and those problems resolved.

Under an agreement signed with Aresti System SL in 2005, the Committee was formed to resolve any differences between FAI/CIVA and the Aresti company. It is chaired by Jose Luis Olias of Spain. Two members represent FAI and two are from the Aresti System SL organization.

In accordance with the agreement, CIVA is allowed to publish changes to the Aresti Catalogue after our plenary meeting in November. Aresti System SL then publishes a new Catalogue and once it is available, the “changed pages” are pulled down from the CIVA website. In December 2011, Aresti System SL objected to the “changed pages” document we posted and that was the source of the issue between us.

In future, the CIVA document that presents the new figures that are to be introduced in the Catalogue will be different and not appear to be similar to actual pages from the Catalogue. I invite your attention to the Catalogue Sub-Committee report this year as an example of how new figures will be presented.

The aerobatic community is reminded that there is only one “official” document that must be used with regards to sequence construction. That document is the latest version of the Aresti Aerobatic Catalogue (Condensed), published by Aresti System SL. I encourage you to order one and not depend on other documents. There is a link to Aresti System SL’s website on the CIVA homepage.

I ordered my own copies of both the Power and Glider Catalogues some months ago and the manuals were delivered promptly from Spain. They are very reasonable in price at €13.50 plus shipping. The Aresti website is www.arestisystem.com.

BreitlingMagical Snap - 2012.07.06 10.32 - 057

There are many new and interesting developments this year in air sports. The Breitling company is now a corporate partner of FAI and I believe this could lead to great things for aerobatics.

FAI created a new company called FAME, which will be a new commercial sports agency owned by FAI. Its Chairman is Bob Henderson of New Zealand, an FAI Executive Director, and CEO is Giancarlo Sergi, who will be present at the CIVA plenary to present a report.

Breitling has been involved in aviation for decades and in the 1990s, sponsored very high quality special aerobatic competitions that were seen at many of the major airshows around the world including Le Bourget, Farnborough, San Diego, Vancouver, and Oshkosh. These “Breitling World Cup of Aerobatics” events (see logo right) were top quality and featured some of the world’s best aerobatic pilots of the time.

Breitling has shown interest again in aerobatics and the FAI Secretary General, Jean-Marc Badan; Giancarlo Sergi, and a representative of Breitling attended the EAC in Dubnica. Breitling provided some clothing items and banners for the EAC. I am hopeful the relationship can be developed far beyond this in future. Next year, the WGAC and WAC are targeted as possibilities for FAME/Breitling involvement.

The relationship is very much in its infancy but Breitling is interested in a long-term partnership. They have always done things in a first-class manner and I regard this as a huge opportunity for our sport.

While there may be support for classical, FAI First Category Championships, I also hope we will develop what FAI calls “third level” events as well. I introduced a set of proposed rules for FAI Special Aerobatic Events (FSAEs) at last year’s plenary. That document remains on hold. It would be a new Part 4 to Section 6 and can be further developed in partnership with Breitling and FAME.

I have asked Delegates and organizers to cooperate with Breitling and FAI in these matters as I am confident it will be in the long-term best interests of our sport. I also believe that a corporate partner like Breitling is one of the keys to the sustainability of our special events, as some have disappeared after a short time due to lack of support by local organizers or other entities.

CIVA President’s Council

I created a new CIVA President’s Council several months ago. An informal body, it consists of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of Honour. These men have accumulated decades of experience between them in aerobatics and air sports and their vast knowledge and skills should not go to waste.

They do not have a vote but they have a voice and this is important to CIVA, its President, and its Bureau. I have relied on all of them in the past and I hope future Presidents will do the same. They are included in various communications where their counsel would be appropriate.

My thanks to James Black, Karl Berger, Jiri Kobrle, Osmo Jalovaara, Alan Cassidy, and Bob Chomono for serving on the Council.

Summary of President’s Proposals

Some of the things I will propose to CIVA on the 4th of November …

1. Beginning with the 2013 budget, pay for FAI Judges Pins for all Judges added to the FAI International Judges List at the 2012 plenary and after. All Judges who participate in 2013 Championships and do not currently own a pin will also be provided one free of charge.  Our Judges are some of our most important assets and should continue to be recognized for their hard work and skills.

2. Starting in 2014, Jury Presidents for all FAI Aerobatic Championships can be selected from among current CIVA Delegates. As CIVA's competition activities have grown, the rules regarding composition of Juries has not kept up.  We need to bring more people into contest officiating, not only to support Championships but to develop future leaders.  Jury duty is excellent experience.

3. Discuss ways to improve the selection of Knowns. This may be discussed within the Bureau at by Sub-Committees with proposals to be developed for the 2013 plenary.  How CIVA chooses the Knowns for competition defines the category and it is a subject worthy of discussion, especially since our Knowns are also adopted for domestic use in many of our member countries. 

Finally …

It has been my honor to serve as your President since 1986. It has enriched my life and brought me in contact with people from all over the world. This would never have been possible with FAI, CIVA, and the sport of aerobatics.

My thanks to all of those who have worked alongside me in various projects, competitions, committees, and at meetings. Without a strong cadre of volunteers, deeply dedicated to air sports, FAI would not have survived these last 107 years. CIVA is 52 years old and though well into maturity, it is more vital than ever.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to the FAI staff: Jean-Marc, Rob, Christine, Cosette, Faustine, Segolene, and Annick. They are all delightful to work with.

When my term ends at this plenary meeting, I plan to step down as President of CIVA. In 1986, when I succeeded James Black, my thought was to stay in office about three years as that had been the tradition up until that time. One thing led to another, and 26 years went by.  It has been enjoyable and rewarding each and every year.

That said, I have plans to stay involved in CIVA in the future with the support of CIVA Delegates and my own countrymen. I hope to be elected to the Bureau this year, will continue my work as Rules Sub-Committee Chairman, and on future International Juries. I also have a huge amount of archival material and photographs here which could be used to develop our website in addition to years of experience.  And I may write a book about it all ... though I not only respect the past and our wonderful aerobatic traditions and history, but also building on that for the future.  When I see young pilots coming up -- as we have seen so vividly in glider aerobatics, for example, and in Advanced power -- I know the future can be strong.

My first aerobatic contest was in Iowa in 1965. There was just a handful of pilots and the rules were written on one piece of paper. How things have changed since then in this fast-changing world. But I think that’s what brings us all back to the sport and keeps so many working and devoting their time to it, year after year. The challenges, the changes, the development of this exciting air sport – and the rewards that come with it all.

My best wishes to all for 2013!

Heuer Signature copy


Collierville, Tennessee USA  --  27th of October, 2012