Pilots flip for Lone Star Aerobatic Championship - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Pilots flip for Lone Star Aerobatic Championship

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DENISON -- Forty pilots from all over the country are participating in the Lone Star Aerobatic Championship at the North Texas Regional Airport.

The competition is the first of three major aerobatic events set to take place at the airport this year. National championships will be in September and World Championships will held in October.

David Martin pilots a Breitling-sponsored plane and is expected to compete in the world championships.

"This is the first place to have an aerobatic contest. Most people don't realize it but old Air Force base is the perfect place. We've got plenty of hangar space, you know, the airspace is great, big runways," Martin said.

"This is a great opportunity for us to do several things. One, to showcase Texoma and we get to tell everybody, not only from Texas, who comes to the event but from the world about what a great place Texoma is," Bill Retz with the NTRA said.

Elisha Walquist and her family didn't have to travel far. They live in Bonham but say they make the trip be a part of the spectator sport.

"We've done this before, we came last year for the nationals," she said.

The competition consists of three phases. In the first phase, pilots perform routines they've memorized. The second phase is a free-style routine they've made up. During the third phase, pilots perform routines they were given just hours before take-off.

Pilots who score the highest during all three routines take home bragging rights and a Texas-style trophy.

"Because we're in north central Texas, we have beautiful belt buckles. I'm talking $250 a piece and that goes to the winner," judge Mike Gallaway said.

The competition is Friday and Saturday from 8am to about 7pm. It is free and open to the public.