1987 Hall of Fame Jose Luis Aresti


A Grand Night

By Jean Sorg


Inspriational. Moving. It was an historical night to remember.


The date was August 10, 1987. The occasion was the very first induction ceremonies into the newly-created Aerobatics Hall of Fame. The place was the beautiful EAA Aviation Center complex in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.


Nearly 100 people gathered there to pay homage that evening to the four men who had been selected as the premiere inductees. How appropriate were the choices. How diverse, yet far-reaching were their contributions to the sport of aerobatics – one, the consummate author of a mathematical scoring and cryptographic diagramming system of aerobatic maneuvers and sequences; one, the dean of aerobatics in sheer hours expended as an instructor, author and showman; one, the creative genius behind the design and development of the most popular, successful and enduring biplane to grace the sport; and one, the ultimate patriot who first carried our nation’s banner into the world arena of competition aerobatics.


That night, Jose Aresti, Duane Cole, Curtis Pitts and Frank Price shared the achievement of having reached the pinnacle of recognition in our sport. They had already shared the linkage of the fraternity of aerobatic pioneers.


How great it was that all four were, and are still alive to reap such acclaim for their endeavors. How great it was for the assemblage to greet, visit with and congratulate three of the four in person. But Aresti, who had been unable to come from Spain, did send his regards and thanks by cable.


Highlight of the special celebration had to be the personal contact with the honorees. Enhancing it all were the remarks by Dick Rihn, and IAC Director; Tom Poberezny, President ot the EAA Aviation Foundation; and Mike Heuer, President of the IAC and CIVA. All three were members of the Aerobatics Hall of Fame Selection Committee with Rihn serving as Chairman.


So that all IACeres might share somewhat in the momentous proceedings, the special address by Poberezny and the keynote speech by Heuer are reprinted here in their entirety. To read them is to journey through aerobatic history.



Aerobatics Hall of Fame Biographies

An Address by Tom Poberezny

President EAA Aviation Foundation


Jose Luis Aresti


Col. Jose Luis de Aresti Aguirre, member of an old and distinguished family in Spain, was born in Bilbao and began flying in the mid-1930’s. He gave up his dream of becoming a doctor to fly in the Spanish Civil War and flew his first public airshow in Palma de Mallorca in 1939 at the age of 20. During the Second World War, he served as a flight instructor, providing aerobatic training for pilots bound for fighter training. He taught and tested his students in aerobatic maneuvers and in 1944 he gave the Spanish Air Force an AEROBATIC FLIGHT MANUAL.


After the war, he became a test pilot for the Air Ministry Flight Test Center in Madrid and founded several civilian pilot training schools in Spain. He also became active in the airshow circuit around Europe in an ex-military Jungmeister. His displays were exciting and breathtaking.


In 1960, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, hosted the first World Aerobatic Championships and the following year CIVA got together to make recommendations for the next contest. Aresti was there as a representative for Spain, which would host the 1964 event. He began working with other CIVA delegates on a standardized aerocryptographic system or shorthand for recording aerobatic maneuvers.


Prior to 1956, pilots had resorted to ribbon drawings and other notation systems that were difficult to read. In 1956, a Frenchman, named Francois d’Huc Dressler, began working on a new form of shorthand that had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, Dressler’s death in 1957 cut short the development of his system.


Aresti used many of the elements in Dressler’s system and carried it far beyond the Frenchman’s initial efforts. By 1961, the Sistema Aresti had been published in Spain and by 1963 it was adapted by CIVA for use in the World Aerobatic Championships of 1964. At that time,, Jose Aresti had cataloged 3,000 maneuvers with their difficulty coefficients. His dictionary had since grown to over 15,000 entries, covering virtually every possibility for putting together and scoring an aerobatic sequence.


Today, the Sistema Aresti, like musical notation, is universally accepted and used in competition aerobatics and by airshow and military pilots.


Aresti continues to work on his system, changing and updating to keep pace with the sport and the new maneuvers that are brought into it. He is still very active in the sport of aerobatics.


Joses Luis Aresti became the President of CIVA in 1968-69 and was awarded the gold and bronze medals from the FAI for his work in aerocryptography. No one has done as much to bring a professional standard to judging, to recording, to simplifying the process of building and scoring aerobatic sequences. No one in the world has touched the lives of as many aerobatic pilots, judges and administrators as Aresti.


It’s amazing when you think of it. Looking at the sport worldwide, we take off for the aerobatic box in many different types of aircraft, speaking different languages, wearing different clothes ad uniforms, but every one of us leaves a lttle space on our instrument panel for the one thing we all use in common, the aerocryptiographic language of Jose Luis Aresti