The 2023 World Advanced Aerobatic Championship Nevada USA

By Ricky Fouche. Pictures by Barry and Tristan Eeles

24 October to the 4 November 2023

The 2023 World Advanced Aerobatic Championship was held at the Jean airfield just South of Las Vegas in Nevada U.S.A. The contest was held from the 24th of October to the 4th of November 2023.

On Saturday 14 October, father and son members of the three-man South African team, Barrie and Tristan Eeles left from Oliver R Tambo International, accompanied by their official mascot Bokkie, bound for their first stop over in London.

Sunday the 15th saw the duo head over the pond once again, this time, headed for Las Vegas. The plan was to do their validation flights on the Monday. Unfortunately, the Extra 330SC they rented for the competition had not yet been delivered so the validation flights had to be delayed to the next day.

Finally, the aircraft arrived at the field and familiarisation flights could be done and validations completed.

Bokkie played the role of being the calmest Wingman ever. Ready for anything at any time.

By the 19th Barrie and Tristan tweaked their aircraft a bit to get it as comfortable as possible. At this time Elton had been facing delays and had yet to arrive in Jean.

On the 20th Elton, eventually, made it to the competition venue.

With the team now complete, practice, practice and more practice were the order of the day. Even Bokkie had a friend join him which necessitated a name change and Bokkie would henceforth be known as WAACed Bokkie and his partner in crime has been dubbed Billy Bok.

Tuesday the 24th of October saw the official opening of the contest. All the teams were welcomed in a Parade of Nations. Contestants from 14 different countries and one independent (Nigerian Born) took part in the competition. All in all there were 56 contestants of which 6 were in the H/C (Horse Concourse) category and their points did not count towards contest results.

Countries represented were Brazil, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and United States of America.

Actual contest flying days was from the 25th of October till the 3rd of November with the official prise giving being held on the evening of the 3rd. Wednesday the 25th saw quite strong winds and not much flying could be completed.

Around four protests were lodged citing that the wind was out of limits during their first Free Known Programs. These protests were upheld and the pilots had the opportunity to re-fly their Free Known Programs on Friday morning.

With the first Free Unknown program, two pilots were disqualified for breaking the lower limits of the aerobatic box. One pilot was also disqualified during his Free Unknown 2 program for not being in radio contact with the Chief Judge.

A number of days were lost due to high wind speeds. However, all the contestants managed to fly The Free Known program, Free Unknown 1 and Free Unknown 2. It was decided that only the top 25 contestants would go through to fly the final Free Unknown program. Two of our team were in this top 25. Barrie Eeles finished in 20th and Tristan Eeles in 25th position. Sadly, Elton finished in 33rd position and could sit back and watch the top 25 compete.

Team SA finished in 5th place in the team competition and the final results for our boys were: Barrie 23rd (70.360%) Tristan 24th (69.838%) and Elton in 33rd (49.704 due to only flying three programs and the rest flew four) spot. Our team at the prise giving Venue.

The top three were:
1 Tommy Douillard from France 78.506%
2 Vladimir Gras from France 78.478%
3 Dan Stefanescu from Romania 76.984%

There were four ladies also competing and the top two were placed in overall spots:

5 Mel Astles from Great Britain 76.529%
7 Brittanee Lincoln from the U.S.A. 75.459%

These, five, pilots competed in Extra 330SC aircraft.

The top 6 Team results were:
1 France 77.888%
2 Romania 75.744%
3 U.S.A. 75.119%
4 Canada 71.035%
5 South Africa 63.375%
6 Brazil 50.122%

South Africa were also represented on the Judging line by Laszlo Lizkay (Judge) and Johnie Smith (Assistant Judge). Lots of hard work by all during the eleven competition days.

Well done guys and welcome back to South Africa. Lots of experience gained and new friendships made. What a result for Tristan who took part in his very first world championship and ending in 24th place out of 56 competitors.

It was a privilege for me to be part of the official WAAC Supporters Whatsapp group and could get all the info first hand. Thank you for keeping us informed. With this inside knowledge it was possible for me to post daily updates on the Pilot' Post Facebook page.

Now the training continues for all the future contests. Next up is Ace of Base at Heidelberg on the 2nd and 3rd of December.

All results can be viewed on the Official WAAC 2023 Website at

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