By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
The skies over north-central Texas were buzzing with activity recently as the World Aerobatics Championships were held at North Texas Regional Airport October 9-20. This was the first time in the event’s 27-year history that it had been held in Texas
and only the third time in the United States.
The event, sponsored by the Commission Internationale de Voltige Aérienne (CIVA), included more than 60 pilots from 17 different countries who competed in flight agility routines over ten days.
The event began with an opening ceremony attended by several hundred people. CIVA President L.G. Arvidsson, a Swede who during the ceremony announced the official start of competition, said the organization was impressed with the location.
“It’s a fantastic facility, with a big airfield,” Arvidsson said. “This time of the year, the weather is perfect.”
Bill Retz, marketing director for the North Texas Regional Airport, commented on how the airport came to host the championship and what the impact means to the local economy.
“We competed for them against other airports throughout the United States and the world,” explained Retz. “We’re delighted that they decided this was the place to be. An event like this brings a lot of people into the area, including an international crowd that we would normally not get. And we’re also expecting people from the Metroplex to drive up and watch the event.”
The overall winner was Francois Le Vot, from France, with a nearly 78-percent score.
Two other French pilots, Olivier Masurel and Francois Rallet, also placed in the top ten, to give the French the team win. The top woman in the competition was Aude Lemordant, also from France. The American team finished second, followed by Russia.
Robert Holland from the United States won the four minute freestyle final.
The contest takes place every two years and the next time will be in Slovakia.
“While NTRA has hosted the Lone Star and the U.S. National Aerobatics Championships for many years, this was a great opportunity for us,” said NTRA Director Mike Shahan. “The entire TEXOMA community came together to ensure this event was done in a professional and fun manner. It not only included the world’s best flying, but social and tourist events every day and evening for all our visitors. The comments we have received from national and international attendees and participants have all been very positive. We are proud to have represented the area, Texas and the United States in such a professional and positive way.”