News and Updates - 2023 U.S. Nationals



2023 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships

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Registration is OPEN

May 15, 2023

Registration for the 2023 U.S. National Aerobatic Championship is open for pilots and volunteers at  Scroll down to 2023 US National Aerobatic Championships and click on the dark blue "Register" button to the right of the contest title.

The U.S. Nationals take place SEPTEMBER 24 - 29, 2023 in Salina, Kansas. 

Get all the details for hotels, events during the week, entry fees and links to photo galleries, social media and the LIVE feed on YouTube here: 



Bulletin No.1 - U.S. National Aerobatic Championships

March 18, 2023

Greetings members of the IAC.  My name is Shad Coulson and I have been appointed by the IAC Board of Directors as the Contest Director for the 2023 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships, in Salina, Kansas.  

In Bulletin No.1 are the initial plans for the 2023 U.S. Nationals. Among them are:

  • Official Contest Dates: Practice September 21-23, and Contest flights September 24-29.
  • Entry fees
  • Encouragement for expanding the Nationals Judge Pool - see the updated P&P 214, which reclassifies judges from Regional/National titles to Grading Judges and Senior Grading Judges. Also adding Chief Judge training and certification.
  • Flight medal presentation will be separate from the awards banquet. More details to follow.
  • Official Hotel - Hilton Garden Inn will host the Sunday evening mixer (September 24) and the Awards Banquet (September 29)


2023 U.S. National Unlimited and Advanced Glider Aerobatic Championships Wrap up.

February 16-19, 2023
For the second time in modern history, the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships for the Unlimited and Advanced glider competitors was held in conjunction with the Estrella Classic, a regional contest for Primary through Sportsman categories.
The location in Maricopa continues to be a big draw for glider pilots from around the country. The climate, facilities and personnel at Arizona Soaring lend their expertise and time making sure the contest goes off smoothly. Special thanks go out to Jason Stephens, who is the owner operator of the flight school located on the field and his right-hand man, Shad Coulson who does double duty as the contest director and head flight instructor.
This year's championship saw another record - 12 competitors in the Advanced category! The majority of the group were from the U.S, Air Force Academy, who had moved up from the Intermediate category. According to coach Mark "Matty" Matticola the aerobatic demonstration team wanted to show their commitment to engaging in ever more challenging sequences.
The three civilian glider pilots were experienced competitors: Shad Coulson, Joseph Gerner and Mallory Lynch. Congratulations on their overall scores with Shad finishing in first place and earning the U.S. National Advanced Glider Aerobatic Champion title with an overall score of 78.36%. Joe finished in second with 77.70% and Mallory finished third with an overall score of 68.00%.
Congratulations to Jason Stephens on regaining his U.S. National Unlimited Glider Aerobatic Champion title for the seventh time! Jason previously won the title in 2006,2007,2008, 2012, 2013 and 2018. 
Entering into the Known program, Jason came out strong finishing first in the flight with 78.93% followed by Sasa Marvin with 64.96% and Jim Bourke in third with 58.60%. For the National championships the Advanced and Unlimited competitors all flew two Unknown sequences. In the first Unknown, Jim finished first with a 74.32%, followed by Jason who finished second with a score of 67.79%. Sasa came in third with a 63.79%. In the final Unknown sequence Jason hit it out of the stadium with a score of 82.76%! This set him up for a final overall score of 76.57% which clinched him the championship title. Jim finished second overall with a score of 68.58% and Sasa came in a close third with 66.85%.

Congratulations to all the pilots, volunteers and organizers for a safe and fun contest!

1st Place: Shad Coulson
2nd place: Jospeh Gerner
3rd place: Mallory Lynch
4th place finisher Dante Cyrus (U.S.Air Force Aerobatic Team) shared
the spotlight when Mallory brought him up to congratulate him for continually
nipping at his heals every step of the way.
1st place Jason Stephens
2nd place: Jim Bourke
3rd place: Sasa Marvin


The scores from the U.S. National Unlimited/Advanced Glider Aerobatic Championships, which took place at the Estrella Classic contest can be found in the scoring database here:  





The Board of Directors met for a Special Meeting on January 20, 2023, and appointed Shad Coulson as the new 2023 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships contest director. Shad replaces previous contest director Mike Heuer, who resigned the position in December.
Shad has been the contest director for the Estrella Classic, Maricopa, Arizona for the past three years. He worked with Jason Stephens to bring the U.S. National Unlimited and Advanced Glider Aerobatic Championships to Arizona acting as contest director for the inaugural event in 2022 and will be acting as contest director again this year in February. 
Practice and contest dates for the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships for all other categories will return to Salina, Kansas and be held Thursday, 21 September to Saturday, 30 September 2023. 



December 31, 2022

Mike Heuer has resigned as contest director for the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships. "The reasons are personal and private, and I would like to leave it at that," said Mike in a statement on his Facebook page. "That said, aerobatics, the IAC, and the Nationals have been and will be a huge part of my life in years to come. I just cannot devote the time to this as our members deserve. I hope to be in Salina this year in some capacity but that will be decided by the new contest director, whoever she or he might be. In the meantime, fly safe everyone and I hope to see you somewhere this year -- be it Salina, Oshkosh, or Las Vegas (where the WAAC will be held). Life intervenes in our plans and future, and I treasure all the friendships I have made during my five-decade participation in this wonderful sport."



The Board of Directors met last night (Oct 20, 2022) and set the dates for the 2023 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships. 
Practice and contest dates will be Thursday, 21 September to Saturday, 30 September 2023. 
Mike Heuer was appointed 2023 Nationals Contest Director.