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British National Aerobatic Championships

Our national championships are over for another year. I am delighted to hand over the mantle, of British Advanced Aerobatic Champion, to Paul Tomlinson who flew beautifully and, what's more, had to complete all of his programmes in one day! Well done Paul, it's about time! As is often the case with our sport, given how dependent on weather we are, it was a bit of a waiting game. Having taken a few precious days of leave, the sitting around was all the more galling. Our first contest day was marred by low cloud and even some rain. We had competitors dotted around the country and so the briefing had to be deferred and deferred. Eventually, as the afternoon was drawing to a close, our contest director, Nick Buckenham, decided to call it for the day. At least this meant that Mike and I got a rather nice walk around (a bit of) Pitsford Reservoir. I do find having to maintain a certain level of preparedness rather tiring so it was a welcome break (even if it wasn't until about 5pm!). The second day wasn't much better, although a few of the stragglers arrived at the site so at least we knew we could get going once the cloud lifted. There was a mad flurry of activity on Saturday morning when we awoke to a lovely blue sky but it was sadly short lived as the cloud began to form and stopped play yet again. We spent most of the day waiting around, although it was nice to see a few friendly faces of people who had flown in for the day. Many thanks to all those who came to say hi, including some who follow us on Facebook. We had hoped to provide updates of how the contest progressed throughout the event but unfortunately there wasn't much to say for rather a long time and then all of a sudden there was a flurry of activity with no time to update. That seems to be the case with some regularity, although that isn't a comment on how we run our contests (far from it) but more a reality of our reliance on the weather being suitable. When it is obliges, we need to get going as we never know when it will change.

For those that don't know much about competitions, I thought I'd explain a bit about what happens. When you first arrive at the site, you have to register. This involves providing paperwork to show that you and the aircraft are suitably insured and are legitimately allowed to fly. This also includes drawing lots for when you will fly. No one wants to be up first! Following this there will be a briefing. It's only after all of this has happened that the flying can then commence - if the weather allows. For safety reasons we have a minimum cloud base for competitions and that is often what we are waiting for. Here's one of our unknown programmes from the contest.

Many thanks to those involved in organising and running the event and congratulations to all the competitors; with or without medals, the standard overall certainly seemed higher than in previous years.

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