COVID-19 and air sports: How the aerobatic community is holding up

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As air sports suffer during the COVID-19 outbreak, many pilots around the world have found that practicing their passion has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible. In addition, many organizers of local and international competitions have had to make the decision to cancel or postpone events. It was the same for the plenary sessions of the commissions and the FAI general conference.

Within the FAI, each Air Sports Commission, for each discipline, assesses the specific situation with which it is confronted. In short, we trust the commissions to make the appropriate decisions. The role of the FAI Executive Board and Secretariat is to share, assist and support the Commissions as needed.

Motorized and glider aerobatics are among the air sports affected by the pandemic. We asked Nick Buckenham (top photo), the chairman of the FAI Aerobatic Commission (CIVA), how the community is holding up.

How has COVID-19 affected the competitions scheduled for this year and for 2021?

Inevitably, almost everything we do has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 situation so far this year, and recently we have received decisions from three of our four 2020 championships to postpone these events to 2021. The point. CIVA’s underlying view is that our event organizers all agree that it will make more sense to declare 2020 a “non-year” for the aerobatic championships and simply move forward 12 months, including of course the existing sanctions for more future events. This will be the fairest solution, because it will not disadvantage anyone more than the others.

How is the motorized aerobatic and glider community reacting to these changes?

With a little frustration! All serious training attempts are largely on hold for the time being, so team developments and even aerobatic fun flights are heavily impacted. Clearly, the prospect for our officials – judges, assistants and jury – to travel and work for a 2020 championship will be severely affected by government regulations and the need to continue to self-isolate, so it seems unlikely that the Most events can proceed as originally planned.

It is impossible for many pilots to train at the moment due to the containment in place in many countries. How is the community reacting to the situation? What message would you like to send them?

There really isn’t much we can do about this extraordinary situation. Everyone I have contacted makes the best use of the lockdown restrictions to keep abreast of their long-term preparations.

The next CIVA annual meeting was originally scheduled to take place in November in Dallas, USA. What is the status of this meeting?

So far, there has been little discussion on this topic, but it needs to be addressed soon. The international air transport situation will need to be significantly restored to enable delegates to attend this meeting, as the outlook does not look too positive at the moment. Perhaps a distributed online meeting solution can be possible with sufficient preparation, although the subsequent debates and voting processes present significant issues that will need to be overcome. All of this will be revisited by our friends in Dallas and the office over the next few weeks.

What does this difficult situation bring to the community and to those in charge of CIVA – something positive? A new way of working?

Not much of this is considered positive, I’m afraid. Of course, we have had time to update all of our administrative matters in depth, but the general feeling is that taking care of “number one” and the safety of the family is the most important aspect. Even aircraft maintenance is directly affected, we hear about delays at all levels, and of course with almost everyone on leave their vacation entitlements are eroded and the money to fund aerobatics is probably now going. to cover other more urgent needs.

Any other comments you would like to add?

We have been greatly encouraged by the strength and solidarity of the global aerobatic community, who on the whole have lived to the best of their ability. A significant part of our colleagues however are professional pilots, whose longer term employment prospects are drastically affected … we can only hope that they can secure their careers and return to their own jobs as soon as this is done. possible.

Photo credit: Marcus King


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