WAC 2017
The skies above the picturesque town of Malelane in Mpumalanga will be filled with the sounds of aerobatic aircraft when the world’s best pilots pit their skills against each other in the quest to be crowned the best sport aerobatic pilot in the world.
42 competitors from 13 different countries will take to the air in this year’s World Aerobatic Championships, the 29th time since 1960 that it will be held, and the very first time to be hosted in South Africa. The Unlimited category championship is held under the auspices of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and is undoubtedly the premiere sport aviation event and easily equated to the Formula 1 of aviation sport. Participants from Australia, Russia, France, United States, Great Britain and Hungary amongst others will ship their high performance aerobatic aircraft to South Africa for the competition and they will be joined by their South African counterparts in doing battle for the honour of being named the best by a panel of International Judges.
South Africa has a long-standing association with the sport and local pilots have represented South Africa at most of the previous World Championships, with varied success. Glen Dell was the most successful having won the Advanced category title in 2004, however the team that will wear the green and gold this year do consider themselves to be in with a chance. The South African team consists of Nigel Hopkins Aerobatics, Patrick Davidson, Mark Hensman, Neville Ferreira Airshows, Barrie Eeles and Bertus Du Preez, all well versed with the regimen of international competition. These pilots will take the challenge to the reigning world champion Alexandre Orlowski from France, and will be flying competitive aircraft like Extra 330SC, XA41, Sukhoi 31 and even a locally manufactured Slick 540.
Aerobatic competition flights all take place in a cube of airspace above the airfield, measuring 1000m cubed. Malelane is more popularly known as the southern gateway to the Kruger National Park however for the few days in September 2017, aerobatics will take precedence and the residents and visitors alike will be treated to a fine display of precision flying skills by those magnificent men in their Ferraris-of-the-skies.


  1. […] had lots of reason to feel this way, after being SA’s top preforming pilot in the WAC 2017 held at Malalane, South Africa in September 2017 and now being part of the Red Bull Challenger […]

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