Practicing hard in Hosin

Under the watchful eye of Nikolai we’ve all been polishing up.  Today saw us practice Free Known program in the morning, then brief and fly a very complicated unknown.  We all learned something (or many somethings) from that Unknown.  Some of us also did a third flight to work our unknown submission figures – hoping we get to submit this year!

Getting the planes to Poland is looking more complicated than we hoped.  It’s not clear that we won’t have to stop somewhere with passport control to clear us, even though Poland is EU. Things happened in Europe have the Polish on edge apparently.  More to come on that front.

Below is a composite video of one of Craig’s flights.  This is one of many practice sessions.  We’ll be videoing most everyone’s competition flights too.

for the team — Craig.

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The Team is all here in Hosin

We’ve been posting quick updates on Facebook, but now that the last team member (Mitch) has joined us in Hosin it’s time for an update on the Blog.  Thanks for checking us out, and do please keep watching here and on Facebook (USA Advanced Aerobatic Team).

All of the planes are assembled and functioning well.  Some of the pilots have been here a week.  Practices have been sporadic, with weather interruptions and various logistics matters.  But we are getting in good flights and brushing off the rust.  We’ve generally managed to get in one unknown per day each, and now it’s time to focus on unknowns since most of the points in the contest will be there.  We’ve shot some video, but nothing worth posting yet!  We’ll get some up soon.

We will stay in Hosin CZ until 8/1 or 8/2, then move to Radom Poland – our practice slots in Radom are 8/4 afternoon.  Then the contest starts!

We had a nice surprise yesterday – Marty Flournoy, teammate in 2012 and 2014 – but most importantly, the US judge for 2016 – has joined us in Hosin.  In addition to Nik’s coaching eye we will have Marty helping us tune for the World judging eye.  Plus we get Marty’s good spirit to keep us from getting too intense.

Eating together and talking about the days flights helps us come together as a team, and our hosts in Hosin have really been helpful.  The cafe at the airport has been open morning to evening, with very good food at our service.  And last night they grilled outside for us and entertained with some pleasant music, including the field “controller” (Thomas) playing on guitar.  Pic from last night below.

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More to come…

for the team – Craig.

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Team training camp #1 (well, actually #2) a success!

The 2016 team gathered in Keystone Heights Florida on 12/18-20 for our first full training camp (after a failed camp attempt 2 weeks prior where a couple pilots spent the weekend watching a low overcast).  This time the team was greeted with fabulous weather all weekend.  The Floridians were complaining of the cool weather…the Minnesotan was wearing shorts!

We practiced 2 days.  All unknowns, though many iterations of the Free Known figures mixed in.  Nothing overly challenging about them, just require focus (and keeping the nose up in the roller!)  Camp was Gifford, Moyes and Wacker, with Flournoy joining us as well.  Good opportunity for Johnny to experience a camp weekend, and for a few of us to start the bonding process.  We really hope the rest of the team can make the camps as we move into the new year.  Two camps in January.

A little personal update – I was in a bicycle vs automobile accident in November and among other injuries broke my left arm pretty badly.  I attended this camp 4 weeks out of reconstructive surgery (I now sport some cool titanium).  Not the best idea and two-handed snaps were all but impossible, but hey, gotta keep the g-tolerance up!  Don’t tell my doc!  More surgery and recovery to come; hoping to be able to attend as much training as I can.

For the team,


Nik telling Stan EVERYTHING he is doing wrong – and how to do it RIGHT!



taking it easy the first weekend :)

taking it easy


we spend a lot of time in this conference room debriefing film – Paramount Pictures we call it!



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The 2016 USA Advanced Aerobatic Team has been selected!

lots of great flying in Texas this past week, including selection of the 2016 USA Advanced Aerobatic team.  MUCH more to come.  For now, the team is as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.51.28 PM

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Reflections on WAAC 2014 – Mark Fullerton

For those wishing to compete in a world championship, you have to think of it as a marathon type of event.  The planning starts 6 months in advance and finishes at the end of your last 10 minutes of unknown flight.
The psycological pressures were something that never developed anywhere in my previous experience with the IAC. Nationals was intense; but nothing compared to a 6 month preparation for 4 x 10 minutes of flight time.
Around the 6 to 7th day being together, our coach said everything was good because we were still talking and joking with each other.  I thought this would be normal.  Around the 25th day, I understood. We were still talking, but the negative pressures applied had everyone wired.  I understand now that there have been some teams and members who have had some real turmoil.
You really dont understand the stress your body and mind has endured until the very end.  There is a distinct memory when I pulled the mixture after the final unknown, “it’s over!” The last night was the best I slept in a month.
All in all, it has to be considered a grand adventure.  You know at multiple points its not going to go as planned, but how you handle those “difficulties” determines your final outlook on the whole thing.
Mark Fullerton
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The Journey Home

Yellow submarine cruise hit by torpedo! Marty and Mark Fullerton’s flight into  Amsterdam was delayed due to high winds so luggage didn’t make the exchange! No luggage no boarding!

Having a copy of my picture and passport info proved invaluable when negotiating immigration and customs here in Amsterdam, guessing original is in Slovakia somewhere after contest registration ! P.S. We already miss you guys! Not yet! Complimentary stay in Holland courtesy of KLM! Great dark beer! Maybe They should have contest here!

Whadya mean I ain’t going to get home today?!

Aint going home

Dutch security checking Marty’s credentials. Not sure they are going to let me out of the EU! (Only Marty could talk his way out of the country without his passport – and take a picture of them discussing it.)

Checking Marty credentials

Day 32 and counting. Cheers!

Holland 2

A few more pics from WAAC 2014…

Yes I know ! These glasses make me look like the flying Nerd.

Fullerton's Glasses

Marty getting pointers from another former Russian world champ Elena Klimovich coaching the Russian team.

Marty and Elena

From the closing ceremony.


Amazing rainbow.


Relaxing in the shade.


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Dismantling and Departing Dubnica


PPPs ready for loading.

Once the flying was over, it was time to take the planes apart and load them in the trucks for the trip home.  Many hands make light work (or maybe too many cooks in the kitchen.) Either way, the planes were successfully dismantled and trucks loaded.

PPPs made the journey to Emden and the ship will depart later this week.

More on the journey home to follow.











Loading the MX.


Marty’s MX in the truck.


Gotta love that lift gate!


Loading the wing.


Securing the wing.



Loadmaster Chris securing a few items in the truck.




PPPs departing Dubnica.


Taking down the flags and tents. We weren’t the only ones in tear down mode.



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Saturday, August 16 – Final Day of Competition

After a delayed start, the second Unknown flight was completed. Due to some flying mistakes (Marty received the FSFM Medal from South Africa) and bad luck (the judges had the wrong sequence in their paperwork for Craig) Team USA was not able to overtake Ukraine.    Team USA did make an appearance on the podium during the closing ceremony as Craig Gifford finished third in the Known flight.

The results:

1st Place – France

2nd Place – Russia

3rd Place – Ukraine

Sunday the team was busy taking apart and loading airplanes for the journey home. (Look for that post with pics soon.)





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Friday, August 15 – Day 9

Delayed start again this morning due to low clouds. Started flying about 11am and finished the first Unknown flight. Team USA is currently in fourth place and will need to fly well tomorrow to beat Ukraine to take third.

Second Unknown flights began this evening, but due to all of the delays this week, the field of pilots had to be whittled down. Unfortunately Matt did not make the cut. Craig, Mark, Mark, and Marty will fly tomorrow.

So as Nowosielski said, “It’s on like Donkey Kong!”

Mark Fullerton’s overalls finally make World debut.


Bill watches to make sure Gary stays within the box.


More potatoes for lunch tomorrow.


Marty and Craig preparing for today’s flights.

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Watching and visiting.


Shopping anyone?  Too bad it isn’t WAAC merchandise.  Or cool boots.

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P.S. Happy Birthday Mom!

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Thursday, August 14 – Day 8

More sitting around this morning due to low clouds.  Finally started flying after lunch – made it through flight number 45.  Matt Lane and Mark Nowosielski both flew today.  Craig (54) and Marty (62) will fly tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather will be much improved.

A couple of pics from today…

Waiting is exhausting.



Mark Fullerton and Mike Heuer have a bird’s eye view.


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