|Imagine an aerobatic event in
||A 1,000m square
"box" area is defined, sometimes even marked-out, on the ground at an
airfield. One centre-line (usually parallel to the runway) is called the
"A" or main axis, and in one direction this is
declared the 'official wind'.
||By a big letter
"J" about 150m back
from one side of the box, up to 20 people sit in pairs on
reclining chairs, some gazing at the sky whilst others wield
clip-boards and pens. This is called the 'Judging Line'.
busily zooms through a series of darting aerobatic figures
with a purpose or design that's not immediately obvious, whilst another gets
ready to take-off
and wait a mile or so away for its own turn in the box.
club-house and marshalling apron groups of pilots
watch the competing aeroplane, walk around with little
bits of paper in a world of their own "flying" their hands
through their sequence, or just chat idly.
They're having an aerobatic competition, and in due
course one pilot will win - while everyone else squabbles about the
lesser placings. So just how does this all
work, and crucially....
Why do we need to "Judge"?
In an aerobatic competition, to rank the quality of the sequences flown
from "best" to "worst" we have to have some judges. Whilst in many
sports the winner can easily be determined by who scores the most goals
or pots the most balls, who flies the "best" aerobatics is a subjective
matter based on observation of every element of the sequence of figures
flown and the application of a set of rules or criteria to grade the
An internationally agreed format for running aerobatic
competitions and judging aerobatic flights has been established and
refined by FAI / CIVA over many years. The BAeA is the National Aero
Club responsible for running aerobatic competitions for powered aircraft
and gliders to these rules in
the United Kingdom.