Nationals 2021 - News and Updates

2021 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships

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April 15, 2021

Online registration for pilots and volunteers will open on June 15 at:  Contests | International Aerobatic Club (

Unofficial practice days with open slots, first come first serve, are September 16-17, Thursday and Friday. Pilots must be pre-registered or register on site for these practice slots. ALL PILOTS WILL READ AND SIGN THE PRACTICE WAIVER  AND YOUR AIRCRAFT MUST BE TECH'D  BEORE ENTERING THE BOX.

OFFICIAL practice days are September 18-19, Saturday and part of Sunday. To secure a confirmed time slot, pilots must be pre-registered and have paid their entry fee online. The process to pick a time slot is automated this year. After payment you will be directed to a web page to choose an available time slot.

GLIDER STORAGE: Hangar 703 was not available this year. Gliders will be hangared in H509. (on the other side of H600, which is next to Nationals HQ at H606).


News: Early Information

March 22, 2021

Preparations are well underway for the 2021 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships scheduled to be held 19-24 September. We anticipate a record turnout for 2021 Nationals! While much is left to be done, the Contest Director Doug Bartlett and his advance-prep team of Assistant CD Justin Hickson, Lorrie Penner, Steve Kurtzahn, and Lynn Bowes are releasing some preliminary information to help everyone in early planning. 

Please understand that COVID can change any of these plans so we remain flexible as we work through the initial stages. We don't want to book a venue for a meal or event and find that it won't be available come September. Let's roll with it, please!

  • The official contest dates are Sunday 19 September through Friday 24 September.
  • U.S. Nationals will be held on the Salina Municipal Airport.
  • Contest HQ for registration and all things Nationals-related is Hangar 606.
  • The aerobatic box will open on Thursday 16 September through the start of contest. Info regarding practice slots will be provided at a later date.
  • Early arrivals prior to Thursday will be directed to Schilling Aviation Services / AVFlight for hangar space and will make their own arrangements. Hangar 606 will NOT be open OFFICIALLY until Thursday.
  • Competitors shall make their own arrangements for early practice or training camps at other local airports. Neither IAC nor the organizers of the U.S. Nationals will be making arrangements for other practice sites and the aerobatic box at Salina will not open until Thursday.

Lynn has visited Salina and is making arrangements for:

  • Dry Creek Buffalo Ranch to provide a food truck during the week,
  • a cash bar mixer at the Hilton Garden Inn, Sunday evening on the patio and reception bar area,
  • a Taco Tuesday / Smoke Oil / Starter party in H606 after flying,
  • the Medal Awards Dinner Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn,
  • and the Awards Banquet Friday with location to be determined.

Official U.S. Nationals HQ hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn. 3320 South 9th Street, Salina, Kansas 67401 - 785.823.9800 | The contest organizers have blocked 20 rooms at $99/night. Make your reservation online or call direct. Use RATE CODE : PILOT

Other hotels blocked for the room rate of $99/night

  • Hampton Inn - 401 West Schilling Road - 785.823.9800 RATE CODE : PILOT
  • Courtyard by Marriott - 3020 Riffel Dr, 785.309.1300 RATE CODE : PILOT

For other area hotels, were we have found offer participants points or military, AAA, AARP rates.

  • Holiday Inn - 3145 South 9th Street - 785.404.6767
  • Comfort Suites - 715 West Schilling Road - 785.404.6944
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites - 2455 Virginia Drive - 785.515.5333

RV Camping

Car rentals

  • information will be provided in a later announcement. Due to COVID-19, car rentals in Salina are very limited at this time. Pilots and volunteers will be encouraged to make preparations as early as possible.

​We have not yet been notified regarding team selection. Information will be posted when it becomes available.

Finally, please monitor the official U.S. Nationals webpages: HERE and the nationals' Facebook page: HERE

If you have specific questions, please call or email.

Doug Bartlett, U.S. National Aerobatic Championships Contest Director

847.875.3339 | doug.bartlett79 [at]




November 20, 2020

At the IAC's Fall Board Meeting, November 14, 2020, the location and dates of the 2021 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships and contest director were approved by the IAC Board of Directors. The championships will return to Salina, Kansas, September 19-24, 2021, and Doug Bartlett IAC #431228 was approved as the Contest Director. 
Doug joined IAC in 2003 and started competing that same year. While working his way up the competition ladder from Sportsman to Unlimited he served as contest director for several regional contests as well as for the 2007 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships when they were held in Texas. As a national judge, he served on the line at the 2018 nationals which were held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Doug flies a Sukhoi 29 in competition and is currently building an RV-14 that he intends on flying at the Sportsman level in 2021. He also enjoys the opportunity of training acro pilots at the primary through intermediate levels.
Along with some behind-the-scenes volunteers from past years, Doug has already begun the planning process for 2021. He has confirmed the championship dates with the Salina Airport and use of Hangar 606, which was the base of operation in 2019. He has the full support and encouragement of the IAC Board of Directors and we are looking forward to a successful event in September 2021.
Updates and details can be found on the Nationals webpages here;


News: 2020 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships are canceled

July 10, 2020

To our IAC members,

The IAC Board of Directors met by teleconference on Friday, 10 July 2020, to discuss the 2020 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships scheduled to be held in Salina, Kansas, 20-24 September 2020.

After much research, debate, and discussion with City of Salina officials and EAA leadership, the IAC Board of Directors has determined that it will be in the best interest of the safety of all who attend our U.S. Nationals that our premier event is cancelled for 2020.

We regret having this decision to make and believe that with safety as our focus in all matters of our sport, to continue without knowing what mid-September will bring in terms of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would be irresponsible. The “go/no go” date was moved ahead because we believe that IAC members deserve to know as early as possible so that they can make other plans with family, business, and school.

As much as anyone, IAC leaders don’t like being forced to make the decision to cancel by situations out of our control. With the daily and weekly uptick changes nationwide and Kansas’ own infection figures from the coronavirus, there was no question that this is the right move for IAC, the City of Salina, and you. Kansas’ requiring a 14-day quarantine of visitors from other high-risk states figured heavily into our decision with many of our pilots and volunteers coming from Florida, Arizona, New York, and others affected.

We realize that this decision will be met with frustration but we firmly believe that this is the responsible thing to do. With the support of EAA leadership behind us, we know that this is the right decision and with our members’ continued support, we look forward to 2021 and years of competition and friendship beyond.

Best to all,

Robert Armstrong, President

and your IAC Board of Directors


Happy 4th of July.  Bulletin No. 1 for the 2020 US National Aerobatic Championships is now available:

The executive summary:

  • Contest starts Saturday, September 19 with a 5 pm all pilot briefing.  The contest concludes Thursday evening September 24.  See below.
  • We have shortened the contest one day compared to 2019.
  • COVID 19 considerations are in Annex 1 of the Bulletin.  We will monitor the situation and will make the final go-no go date no later than 10 August 2020.  The annex offers anticipated guidelines for contest operations.
  • Entry fees are fully refundable and the same as 2019.  We are providing three on field dinner events this year as part of the entry fee versus only one last year.
  • Please register online. Once the go-no go decision is made payment must be made to reserve your practice time slot. First to register is a tie breaker if funds come in simultaneously for practice slots.
  • With your entry fee received, we will schedule your practice slot on a first paid, first served basis.  We may have daylight for two flights as we have 132 practice slots available on Friday and Saturday. More details are in the Bulletin 1 in section 6.0 on page 10.
  • Based on the revised CIVA schedule, we will not have an Unlimited Team selection this year.  That will happen in 2021.  The Advanced Team selected in 2019 for 2020 will be unchanged for 2021.  We will try have a fourth flight for the Advanced team on Thursday if time permits.
  • We are working to develop an east hold for the gliders. 
  • We shifted the box east 200 yards. 
  • New traffic flows for the contest are in the bulletin including the gliders on the east side of the box.  Check them out and provide any feedback to the CD.
  • Schedule overview is as follows.



June 16, 2020

Dear Pilots, Volunteers and IAC Supporters:

It would be silly to predict the future, now more than ever.  However, I can offer a fact-based summary of where we currently are in regard to the 2020 US National Aerobatic Championships in Salina, KS scheduled for September 20-25. IAC Secretary Lynn Bowes and I met in person and Executive Director Steve Kurtzahn attended by phone with the Salina Airport Authority (SAA) personnel, a Salina Chamber of Commerce representative and tower operations on June 17, 2020.

First and foremost, we will comply with the appropriate Public Health Orders based on Kansas state’s monitoring of testing rates, COVID-19 hospitalizations, ability to contact trace and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE).  The current forecast in the  Saline County Plans for Reopening(link is external) is an allowance for public gatherings by September with no size restrictions.  SAA indicated that there are two large events scheduled in July and August at the airport.  Organizers for those events are monitoring the on-going situation leading up to their events. If these events do take place, the IAC will consult with the SAA on “lessons learned” from those events. Our own “IAC contest guidance” in September will be a step up from what is required by the county’s plan.  Who would have thought registrations fees would include a mask, but they will!

The Nationals organizers continue with planning and will be ready when and if conditions allow. We have shifted the aerobatic box east ~200 yards to improve judge’s viewing, radio communications, and create a better center box marker on green grass versus the runway. We have secured hangar 606 again this year and hangar 703 is available for gliders and overflow/transients. The aerobatic box waivers are in process at the Wichita FSDO.  Planning continues on track with regards to programs, t-shirts, trophies, other collateral, hotels and food.

A decision on holding Nationals will be no later than August 10.  This time frame gives us a month to get everything on site and have a better idea of the level of participation.  I have emailed all of the 2019 Nationals pilots to gauge their intentions and help answer questions and concerns.

To help people make a more informed decision, clear guidance will be published on how we intend to run Nationals.  The concept is to make sure all issues are considered and develop an executable plan within rational operating constraints. We want people to be comfortable and know the “lay of the land” before they decide to attend.   For example, items that we are considering and are in the planning stages:

·       Use of masks

·       Briefings to be held in the hangar or just outside the hangar (weather dependent). We plan to have an LCD wall and good audio for the hangar to help make this go smoothly.  

·       We will post orders of flights and results electronically on the large LCD and use the website to avoid congregating around 8 ½” x 11” pieces of paper taped to walls.

·       Clear north and south starting lines will be established on the ramps.

·       We will be respectful of the judge’s line arrangement, in regards to social distancing and/or PPE, with the assistants, recorders, and runners.

·       Transportation to and from the judge’s line to take place in smaller groups versus a crowded van.

·       There is a lot of space in Hangar 606 and plenty of tables so we can spread out for food events in the hangar more easily than we could crowd into a restaurant or other offsite venue. 

·      “Private workspaces” for the volunteers will be created upstairs to help them with social distancing. 

·       Hand sanitizer and disposable gloves will be readily available.

I am confident, as reopening guidelines continue to unfold, that the right decision will be straightforward and one that a majority of the IAC family can support. Safety for our IAC members is always our number one priority. We might not have as large a turn out as planned, and this may cause us to adjust the schedule, shaving a day off and sending you home on Friday versus Saturday. Below is the tentative schedule:










Version 1.0 of the bulletin will come out July 4, 2020. I personally am looking forward to seeing all of you in Salina in September at a safe and fun 2020 US Nationals!

Thank you. Be Safe,


Duncan Koerbel

2020 CD


May 8, 2020 - U.S. National Aerobatic Championships Update

At the IAC board of directors spring board meeting held April 25 by teleconference, contest director, Duncan Koerbel submitted an update on the status of planning for the U.S. Nationals scheduled for September 20-25.  Preparations are well under way.  Hangar 606 will be are home base again this year, jury chairman and chief judges have been selected and the core group of volunteers have signed up to help yet again!  Thank you all for volunteering!

There is a plan in place with decision dates for committing funds and ordering event materials etcetera. Duncan indicated there is not a rush to make a final decision about the U.S. Nationals.  Bulletin No. 1 will be published July 4, 2020! We are all excited to get regional contests going first! Duncan and the IAC leadership will continue monitoring regional events as well as the Kansas and Salina guidelines for COVID-19 restrictions.   The Go / No Go decision and any other major event modifications will be made sometime within the first ten days of August. Further updates will come through IAC official publications and the IAC website.







March 3, 2020
















November 6-7, 2019

At the IAC's Fall Board Meeting, Duncan Koerbel IAC #437649 was approved by the Board of Directors, as the Contest Director for the 2020 U.S. Nationals to be held in Salina, Kansas, 20-25 September 2020. Duncan served as the assistant contest director at the 2019 Nationals and was recommended highly by Ron Schreck board member and 2019  Nationals contest director.

Duncan is a member of IAC Chapter 12 in Colorado. He is an Advanced competitor in his Extra 300L. Duncan was the contest director for the 2019 Las Vegas IAC West Open Championship in Jean, Nevada. The site was chosen as a test run for the 2022 World Aerobatic Advanced Championships in which he will also act as contest director. Duncan has also served as contest director for the High Planes Hotpoxia Fest, and the Ben Lowell Aerial Confrontation. He brings a wealth of contest experience with him to the nationals CD position.

Along with some behind-the-scenes volunteers from past years, Duncan has already begun the planning process for 2020, working with the Salina Airport, Chamber of Commerce, and engaging local businesses around the airport. He has the full support and encouragement of the IAC Board of Directors and we are looking forward to a successful event in September 2020.



Enjoy this recap of all the spectacular fun from the 2019 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships in Salina!

PowerPoint Slideshow:

Slideshow PDF: