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Thursday, 12 June 2014 17:22

Castor Fantoba Wins The Spanish Aerobatics Championship Featured

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The Air BP Spanish Aerobatics Championship was held for the 3rd time in a row at the Catalan Lleida-Alguaire airport from May 30th to June 1st.

(Pictures by: Mcm Photography)

The event included the Air Race F1 as part of the Lleida Air Challenge, the Spanish aerobatics competition, air shows, static displays and classic aircraft exhibitions. It was organized by the Barcelona-Sabadell Aeroclub, in collaboration with the Spanish Royal Aeronautical Federation and the Catalan Air Federation, and with the support of the Lleida City and Provincial Councils and Aerports de Catalunya.

A great number of pilots from different regions of Spain, as well as some international pilots, participated in the championship, flying in the Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced and Unlimited categories. Both the number of pilots and flights increased from last year, making the event the most important aerobatics competition in the country.

The weather on friday forced some flight to be posponed
The weather on friday forced some flight to be posponed

Pilots arrived on Thursday morning for the official training flights and dedicated the remaining days to competition flight. Forty-eight flights were scheduled during the competition days, but unfortunately the presence of low clouds on Friday forced most of the flights to be postponed until Saturday, and some flights to be cancelled.

On Saturday the weather was exceptionally good for aerobatics, and all the flights were flown as expected, except for four pilots flying an Extra 300S.  Due to a problem with the fuel pump, those pilots had to fly on Sunday after the Lleida Air Challenge air show when the problem was fixed.

Due to weather conditions and airport operation limitations, the judges were able to assess the following flights:

-Sportsman: Known 1, Known 2

- Intermediate: Known and Free

- Advanced: Known and Free

- Unlimited: Known, Free and Unknown

Castor Fantoba's Sukhoi 26
Castor Fantoba's Sukhoi 26

The closing and awards ceremony was held on Sunday. After the Bravo 3 Repsol Team airshow and the remaining pilots' final competition flights, the scores were tallied and the winners of the 2014 Spanish Aerobatic Championship were announced.

In the Sportsman category, all pilots flew the same CAP 10B aircraft from the Barcelona-Sabadell Aeroclub. Alex Navarro won the gold medal after winning both Known flights and earning an overall score of 75.74%. Fabio Velásquez took the silver medal with 73.50%, and Éric Milá, the bronze with 70.59%.

In the Intermediate category, Juan Company dominated the Q flight, but Ernest Artigas beat Company in the Free program. After computing the overall scores, Company was ahead by a small margin and was proclaimed the Intermediate Spanish Champion, taking the gold medal with 70.91%. Ernest Artigas took the silver with 69.79%, and Javier Aranduy, the bronze, with 68.76%.

In the Advanced category there was a thrilling fight for first position between the first two pilots. In the Known sequence Jorge Macías was placed provisionally in 1st place with only a 0.1% lead over Alex Balcells, who finished second, leaving the second flight to determine the top winner. In the last Free sequence Alex Balcells flew well, earning a score of 79.3%, which gave him the necessary margin to obtain the gold medal with an overall score of 76.45%. Jorge Macías came in behind Balcells on the podium, taking the silver medal with a 75.84%. And Carles Algué took the bronze with a 53.53%.

In the Unlimited category Castor Fantoba made a splash dominating the Q, Free and Unknown flights, getting an amazing overall score of 83.3% and winning the gold medal in the top category of the aerobatics world. His Bravo 3 Repsol teammate, Juan Velarde, followed, earning the silver medal with an 80.61%. Anselmo Gamez, the 3rd member of the Bravo 3 Repsol team, took the bronze with 71.02%.

Lleia Air Challenge Cup Highlights by Tuckie

A team of prestigious international judges evaluated the competition flights. Nikolai Nikitiuk was Chief Judge, scoring the flights with Guy Auger and Isabella Borowik. Eladi Lozano, Arancha Abanades and Carles Aymat were the judges' assistants, and Ivan Guerrero was Scoring Director.  Under the management of Contest Director Daniel Ventura Gonzalez, several volunteers worked diligently to make this championship possible. It was safe, friendly, and one of the most remarkable aerobatic events in recent years. Thanks to the efforts of numerous professionals and volunteers, pilots were able to challenge and push themselves, exceed their own expectations, and make their dreams a reality.

Some of the pilots of the championship
Some of the pilots of the championship
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