Conington airbase hosts flight spectacle

Pilots David Thompson, Phil Burgess, Charlie Kimbell, Ed Cyster, Steuart Walton and Paul Brice pose with their medals after the British National Aerobic Championships.
Pilots David Thompson, Phil Burgess, Charlie Kimbell, Ed Cyster, Steuart Walton and Paul Brice pose with their medals after the British National Aerobic Championships.
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FLYING enthusiasts flocked to watch some of the country’s best pilots in a spectacular competition in Conington, between Sawtry and Stilton.

The 15th Mazda British National Aerobatic Championships took place at Flying Club Conington.

The event saw 19 Standard quality pilots and 17 Intermediate standard pilots trying to impress judges with their aerobatic skills between Thursday and Saturday last week.

Gavin Forrest, chief flying instructor, said: “The championships went extremely well.

“I have been helping out since 1995 and every year the standard of the pilots gets a little bit better.

“That is probably as much to do with the plane technology improving as much as their personal ability.

“That said, they are all extremely skilled and the standard really is quite spectacular.”

He said the event was a testing ground for future stars.

He said: “These are people trying to take part in international competitions and it is seen as a place you can prove your ability for that.

“There were about a hundred people who came along, although one person thought she could come and fly at the event, which was a first.

“Everyone really enjoyed themselves.”

Heavy rain on Saturday meant that the event had to be cut short on the final day, meaning not all of the Intermediate pilots could complete their final runs.

Despite the poor weather, organisers thanked a long list of people who helped make the event as much of a success as possible.

A range of judges, scribes, assistants, runners, the scorer, bar-staff, fuellers and food vendors volunteered their time to help the event run smoothly.

The Standard level champion was Ed Cyster, with the silver and bronze slots going to Steuart Walton and Paul Brice respectively.

At Intermediate level the man taking victory was commercial pilot Charlie Kimbell, with runner-up gongs going to David Thompson and Phil Burgess respectively.