The Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority approved a licensing agreement with International Aerobatics Club Chapter 24 for the Lone Star Aerobatics Championship next month. The annual contest, held each summer, features aerobatic pilots performing stunts and aerial maneuvers and rolls in the skies above NTRA.
The contest will take place from June 21 through June 24 at North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field. Officials with the IAC chapter said the contest has been an ongoing feature at the airport for at least the past 10 years.
“The airport has been really good to us and accommodating to the pilots we bring in for it each year,” IAC Chapter 24 President Curt Richmond said.
For this year’s championships, Richmond will also serve as the contest director.
This year’s contest is expected to bring between 50 and 60 pilots from across the region to Texoma. Richmond said most come from across Texas, but the contest has been known to draw competitors from across the south and as far away as Florida.
Richmond said the format of the contest will be identical to that of the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships, which previously was hosted at NTRA through 2016, when it was relocated to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The contest will feature pilots in five categories based on skill level performing three flights. The flights will include one set of maneuvers that is known beforehand, one that is given only 24 hours before the flight and one where the pilot designs their own performance.
For the 2018 contest, Richmond said June 21 is being designated as a practice day, with June 24 designated as a bad weather make up day and a day for clean up following the event.
Given the nature of the event, and the freestyle performances’ similarity to an air show, Richmond said he wouldn’t be surprised if the event brought out a local audience to watch.
“We enjoy it when interested parties and spectators come out,” he said. “We find most competitors are happy to show off the aircraft and what we are all about.”
For his part, NTRA Airport Director Bob Torti said he would like to feature more events like the championships that attract visitors to the airport. Beyond the contest itself, Torti said he is interested in setting up static displays of military aircraft.
“The bottom line is that this airport is perfect for this,” Torti said following the meeting. “It is big with lots of space for people to enjoy.”