2017-04-21 Ben Lowell Aerial Confrontation



Join us for the 2017 Ben Lowell Aerial Confrontation at the U.S. Air Force Academy, April 21-23 2017.


Fri April 21: Competitor arrivals, registration, tech inspections, practice sessions.

Sat April 22: 0600 Briefing (or as the Air Force calls it, "sleeping in"!). Contest flying from approx 0730 to 1800. Banquet in the evening.

Sun April 23: 0600 Briefing, flying until mid-afternoon. Awards ceremony, cleanup, competitors depart.


We recommend the Hampton Inn, 7245 Commerce Center Dr., Colorado Springs, Colorado 80919.

Special guest:

Danny Adams of Aviat Aircraft! For anyone who doesn't know, Danny is a genius mechanic at the Pitts factory. He'll be on hand to answer questions and help with any maintenance issues that come up. He's even been known to work on monoplanes when he runs out of other stuff to do. ;-)

Pilot Info:

Here's additional info that you'll need for this weekend's contest. Please read it carefully and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

I've attached a "pilot kit" produced by our friends at the Academy. Please look it over and familiarize yourselves with the airport layout and procedures. Note that the runway assignments are subject change. For now, expect the center runway if you arrive prior to 1000, switching to the east runway after that.

Here's additional info that you'll need for this weekend's contest. Please read it carefully and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

  1. You must -- no exceptions -- be operating under an active VFR flight plan when you contact Academy Tower. Put your PPR number in the "Remarks" portion of the flight plan, and build in a few extra minutes in case the tower asks you to hold prior to issuing a landing clearance. Unlike civilian airports, the tower will close your flight plan upon landing.
  2. Please do not fly west of the field prior to contacting the tower. You may approach from the north, northeast, east, southeast (staying clear of KCOS airspace), or south.
  3. We will use the Midfield Hangar, sometimes referred to as the 94th FTS hangar. It's ginormous, clean, has bathroom facilities, and is free of charge courtesy of your tax dollars.
  4. Arrival slots. Remember the email I sent out last week? Fuhgeddaboutit. We now have one continuous arrival window from 0830 to 1300, and all arrival slots have changed. Please refer to the 2nd PDF attachment ("Civil Aircraft Permit Log"), which also includes your PPR numbers.
    1. Can you arrive earlier than 0830? NO. (The Flight Guide says 0700 but that's incorrect.)
    2. Can you arrive later than 1300? YES.
    3. Can you arrive earlier or later than your designated slot? YES. All things being equal we'd like you to stick to your slot, but if that won't work -- for whatever reason -- just arrive when you can. And there's no need to notify us if you're going arrive at a different time.
    4. If you need to divert for any reason, KFLY is 12nm to the east and KCOS is 12nm south-southeast.
  5. Registration & Practice
    1. You must complete registration and tech inspection first, then we'll direct you to the Boxmaster to sign up for a practice slot.
    2. The box will open for practice starting at 1000 MDT and we fly go until sundown (around 1940 MDT).
    3. The Boxmaster will brief you on frequencies, holding points, traffic pattern re-entry, etc.
    4. Practice slots will be 10 minutes in length, so you should already be in one of the designated holds when your time arrives. Plan to start your engine about 15 minutes before your assigned time slot.
    5. Please take a look at the IAC Contest Checklist to ensure that you'll have everything necessary for registration.
  6. Fuel is available at the Aero Club pumps (see the Flight Guide). The current price is $5.05/gallon. You'll provide credit card information at registration and they will bill you after the competition ends.
  7. Meals
    1. The hotel will provide boxed breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday. We will also have breakfast snacks and beverages at the airfield each day.
    2. We will have lunches available for purchase each day. Friday lunch and the snacks will be on a kitty donation basis. We'll collect for Sat/Sun lunches at registration time. Both you and any guests are welcome to partake.
    3. You're on your own for dinner on Friday night. There are several restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.
    4. The banquet will be on Saturday night, and we'll collect for that at registration time as well.
  8. Each competitor will receive a T-shirt with their registration, and we will have additional T-shirts and patches available for sale.
  9. The cadets will shuttle competitors to and from the hotel. We're expecting a big turnout, so we'll need to use all available daylight. Therefore the hotel pickup will be at 0530 on Saturday and Sunday, with briefings at 0600.
  10. Wx. The current forecast calls for a 40% chance of showers on Friday. Which in Colorado could mean anything from isolated cells up to IFR conditions -- although the former is more likely. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday looks good. If you can't make it in on Friday, we will bend over backwards to accommodate you when you arrive on Saturday. Bring a variety of clothing layers that you can add or remove as needed.
  11. Departures will be Sunday afternoon after the awards ceremony.

I know this is a lot of information, but the reality isn't much different than any towered airport. And we will refresh you on all of this during the briefings, plus identify folks that can answer questions during the event.

Drivers Info:

From I-25, take Exit 150 "N Academy Boulevard". Go west to the Academy's South Gate. At the guard post, tell them that you're on the Entry Access List for the Ben Lowell contest, and be prepared to show the ID information that you provided earlier: driver's license, passport, or military ID. Minors should not need to show ID.

Continue straight ahead on South Gate Blvd. Take the first right onto Airfield Drive, then take the second left. From there you will be directed to the designated parking area. If you run into any problems, please contact me at 303-619-4814.

Note that grills, weapons, alcohol, and pets are not allowed on the airfield. Feel free to bring chairs and coolers.

We hope to begin the competition flying around 0730 each day.

Spectators often ask when their pilot will compete. Bad news: we have no idea. The order of flight won't be generated until Friday night, and then it's subject to change depending on the contest flow, weather, and other wildcard factors. Our best advice: come early and enjoy the whole show.

Airport ID: 


Airport Name: 

USAF Academy Airfield

Contact Info: 

Civilian Liaison: DJ Molny, djmolny [at] gmail.com, 303-619-4814


South Central


Colorado Springs



Registration Dates: 


Contest Dates: 

2017-04-22 to 2017-04-23

Supplemental / Waiver of Rules: 


Email Unknowns to: 




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