In the Loop - Estrella Classic hosts national Advanced and Unlimited glider championships

Advanced and Unlimited National Aerobatic Champions to be crowned

at Estrella in February

In order to increase participation, IAC Glider Chair Jason Stephens proposed a change of venue for the U.S. National Aerobatic Advanced and Unlimited Glider Championships. The proposal, which was presented at the IAC board of directors fall meeting, was approved and the Estrella Classic will be hosting the championship in Maricopa, Arizona on February 17-19, 2022.

In Jason's proposal he listed benefits of changing the venue for the Unlimited and Advanced glider competitors including a reduction of conflict with other categories. "Presently there are three Unlimited Glider competitors planning to attend the Estrella Classic. Two of these competitors would be unable to fly Unlimited Glider at the U.S. National Aerobatic contest in Salina because they will be competing in the Unlimited power category. It is my strong opinion that due to the mental and physical challenges associated with high level competitive aerobatics it is unwise to attempt to fly both categories at the same competition. Additionally, the aircraft flown by these competitors are already based full-time at the contest location," said Jason. "This combined with the shorter duration of the Estrella Classic, creates a scenario that is much easier for pilots to commit each year. Finally, by having consistent participation in Advanced and Unlimited Glider Championships we will have a strong and competitive WGAC US team more often."

This is the first time since 2001, when the gliders joined the powered aircraft at Nationals, that the Advanced and Unlimited glider champions will be crowned in an event that is solely a glider competition.  In 1986, the USA Glider Team was selected at the U.S. National Sailplane Aerobatic Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 1988 in Edna, Texas the Sailplane Nationals organizers, including Bob O'Dell as CD and Wayland Savre as Assistance CD, received support from IAC chapter 25 along with local soaring organizations; the Soaring Club of Houston and Houston Soaring Association. In 1990, the glider nationals were back in Texas, but this time east of Dallas at Southwest Soaring in Caddo Mills, Texas. Once again IAC chapter 25 showed up to support them. This was the last glider nationals that were sponsored by the Sailplane Aerobatics Association. From this time forward the competition would be sanctioned by the IAC. Starting in 1991 the Glider Nationals were held in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in conjunction with the IAC Championships.

Read the article written by John Lumley about the gliders joining with power at Nationals which was published in the November 2001 issue of Sport Aerobatics.