2023 AAC-QLD State Championships

Aug 26, 2023 | News Article, State Competition


2022 AAC-QLD Christmas Party

As 2022 drew to a close and our last official practice weekend was over, we celebrated the year gone by with our Awards Presentation and Christmas Party.

Juan Antonio Samaranch described Sydney as the “Best Olympics Ever”, and I’m sure if he was at Watts Bridge last week, he would have described our State Championship as the “Best Aerobatic Championship EVER!”

We had a huge field of 20 competitors, with four battling it out for Graduate, eight in Sportsman, three in Intermediate and two each in Advanced and Unlimited. There was even a competitor in Entry level this year. The weather couldn’t have been better, with light fog in the morning that cleared away by the end of briefing leaving us with a blue sky and just the lightest north-westerly breeze blowing perfectly along the runway. This was each and every day!

The flying was first class, as can be seen in the scores, with the margins razor-thin and there was plenty of tension as positions changed on a daily basis.

In unlimited, Cass Moller and Pete Townsend swapped the lead twice, with Pete finally prevailing by just over one percent. Greg McConnell looked fantastic in his awesome Fusion 540 flying Advanced, but Michael Newby in his beautifully presented One Design took line honours. Intermediate was hard to pick, again with position swapping each day, but Steve Robinson in his magnificent S1-11 finally prevailed, beating Jett Bennet by just over one percentage point. There were a couple of mini-contests within Sportsman, with four competitors in Super Decathlons battling against three Pitts Specials and an RV. Sam Pengilly flew the Super D beautifully and managed to outscore a Pitts and the RV8 on day 3, but Samuel Perceval in an S2A came in first with a margin of just 0.27% ahead of second place Mark Galletly. Gabe Szalma deserves special mention: this was his first competition, he was in Sportsman, in a Super Decathlon! He had credible scores on two days, marred only by the middle flight which he flew not with one hand not behind his back, but holding his headset on after the securing tape failed. Tristan Cheam never left any doubt that he would win Entry level.

First time competitor Nathan Parker, flew a Pitts S2A well enough to score an average of 87.28 making him the winner of this year’s Rory Blanning Memorial Trophy. This fantastic result was high enough to also put him third in contention for the Tony Gordon Memorial Trophy, just a few percentage points behind winner Samuel Perceval, also in a Pitts, who scored a staggering 89.22!

When the scores were tallied last year, it appeared that the New South Welshmen scored better than the Queenslanders. So, a new “trophy” has been introduced to acknowledge this rivalry, the “Aerobatic State of Origin Award” and sadly, for us northerners, the award went south yet again. C’mon Maroons, it’s time to lift our game and keep it in its “rightful” home. Well done everybody!

This year saw the introduction of iPad-type tablets for scoring, with Russ Sneyd, and Cass Moller slaving over a hot computer to get the system to work. When it was up and running it was fantastic and the amount of man (and women) hours saved with collating the scores was huge. It also meant we knew way earlier how we’d faired. Thanks Russ and Cass for all your work.

Whilst on the topics of thank-yous, I think (hope) I mentioned on Saturday night everybody by name who helped to make this comp so good. I’m talking about Russ especially for organising the comp, the box markers, scorers, radio shack operators and anybody who cleaned up dishes and the like around the clubhouse. A special thanks goes to those who cooked for us: Jo Vonhoff did so much every breakfast and lunch and Lisa Copeland who provided all the Lasagnes and salad for our pasta night. Kerry Bakker made more salads and they, along with Jamie Freed kept us plied with morning teas. Thanks everybody, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to put on such a good comp without your efforts.

Every comp has plenty of flying, so what made this year the best Championship ever? I reckon it was the socialising, and chatting –I know: the vibe. It was just fun being there and hanging out with everybody, catching up and being part of the action. There were so many great people in one place and we were all doing what we love. Dare I use an overused expression? It was just a totally awesome week!

I can’t wait for next year’s comp. It will only be even better so it’s time to get cracking on the practice…

Rob Crass


Unlimited: Pete Townsend (1st) Cass Moller (2nd)

Advanced: Greg McConnell (2nd) Michael Newby (1st)

Intermediate: Stephen Robinson (1st) Jett Bennet (2nd) Russell Sneyd (3rd)

Sportsman: Sam Pengilly, Ben Wilkinson, Sam Perceval (1st) John Newby, Mark Galletly (2nd), Gabor Szalma, Rob Crass (3rd)

Graduate: Nathan Parker (1st), Craig McGuiness (2nd), Louis Delacretaz (3rd), Jamie-Reine Freed

Entry: Tristan Cheam

Tony Gordon Memorial Trophy: Ben Wilkinson

Rory Blanning Memorial Trophy: Nathan Parker

Aerobatic State of Origin Trophy: New South Wales

Australian Aerobatic Club - Queensland Chapter

Australian Aerobatic Club
Queensland Chapter