Sunday, 12 August 2012

For first time competitors

It has come to our attention that there may be several first-time competitors at this year's Upper Canada Open. This document was compiled by the IAC as an FAQ about certain aspects and terms used at an aerobatic contest. For anyone new to the sport it's well worth the read.


The IAC Rule Book referenced in this document is a free download from the IAC website. (

What does a Tech Inspection consist of?
Have available for inspection all certificates required for operation of any aircraft (airworthiness, registration, operating limitation, weight and balance) plus aircraft and engine log books, certificates of insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000 property damage and $100,000 single limit bodily injury. The parachute repack certification will also be checked. The Tech inspector will use a checklist of items to approve the aircraft for flight at the contest.  A list of these items may be found in the IAC Rule Book Chapter 2.3

What does the Aerobatic Box look like?
A diagram of the aerobatic box may be found in the IAC Rule Book, Chapter 4.11.

When can I practice in the Aerobatic Box?
After you have registered, signed the Aerobatic SFOC Waiver, and completed the Tech Inspection, you may ask the Starter to assign you a turn in the box. He will advise you of the location, where the holding area is located, and what frequency to use in the box.

Can I practice or leave the area after the contest has started?
No.  However, the Contest Jury may waive this rule under special circumstances. Chapter 3.15 IAC Rule Book

What is the Box Frequency?
It is  a special comm frequency assigned by the Chief Judge to control the aerobatic box during the contest. Pilots will change from the airport  frequency to the box frequency when in the holding area or when advised by the Chief Judge during the briefing. Pilots will acknowledge instructions to enter the box only and listen while in the box, as this is a safety frequency for a recall or advice on traffic. When finished with their flight, pilots will depart the box and change back to the airport frequency. There is no need to call the Chief Judge upon exiting the box. Chatter is kept to a minimum on this frequency.

 What is covered in the Aerobatic Briefing?
Roll call of pilots and all volunteers assigned to the judging line, order of flight for each category, safety requirements, weather, direction of flight, starting and ramp procedures, medical information, Notams, and starting time. Chapter 4.6.1 of the IAC Rule Book

Do the pilots change direction of flight if the wind changes and who lets us know?
No. Only the Chief Judge has this authority. Pilots will receive notice a minimum  fifteen minutes before the flight.

What is the Aerobatic SFOC Waiver?
It permits aerobatic flight in a area where it is normally prohibited.
This airspace is usually the box with a buffer to permit a safety check prior to
entering. CAUTION: This waiver in no way prohibits any other aircraft from using the same area.  HEADS UP !!           

How many flights might expect to make as a Primary category pilot?
One and up to a maximum of three, depending on the length and conditions of the contest.  

What is the Dead Line?
A line outside the aerobatic box, usually at the judges line, that if crossed will result in a zero score for that figure.  Chapter 4.14.2

What is the wind dummy?
Usually the first contestant to fly in each category. This person is usually responsible for flying the low lines. Low lines are flown at the minimum altitude for that category and on the X and Y axes of the box. This is done so the judges will be able to estimate the minimum altitude for that category.

Can I arrive late for the contest and still compete?
Pilots must arrive in time to register and have Tech Inspection prior to the first morning briefing. The Briefing is MANDATORY for all competitors. Exceptions must be approved by the contest staff in advance or by the Contest Jury during the contest.

What are the Smooth and Star awards?
Awards for flying the category with all figures being scored a five or better during a contest for a Stars pin and in a non-contest environment for the Smooth pin. Applications for these awards may be found on the IAC Website. Appendix 5 of the IAC Rule Book.

What is the Buddy System?
As a first time competitor, you will have an experienced contest pilot assigned to you for guidance and advice during the contest.

What is a Volunteer?
The Volunteers are the most important part of the contest. It takes twenty-two volunteers to man the judges line for each category.  There are also drivers, computer operators for the scores, Registers, Volunteer Coordinator, Contest Director, Starter, and many more. Pilots, spouses, and relatives are prohibited on the judging line during their category, but may volunteer for other duties. 



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