A great experience at the European Aerobatics Championship

Hello there, Box Repsol fans!

This is Cástor Fantoba, the Bravo3 Repsol pilot, and I’m writing on the way back from the European Aerobatics Championship in the Czech Republic.

We’ve won the bronze medal in freestyle with the Bravo3 Repsol Team, and now we’re looking forward to next year’s World Championship, where we hope to get even better results.

I’m sure lots of you don’t know much about our sport and probably have lots of questions about aerobatics. Although we’ve told you our results and talked about our passion for flying before, today I’d like to explain the differences between freestyle and classic flying.

The two most important aerobatics championships, the World Championship and the European Championship, are held in alternating years. In both, the pilots participate in two separate competitions: classic and freestyle.

In classic flight, the pilots must complete a sequence of manoeuvres as perfectly as possible. There are four programmes, and each pilot must perform the figures chosen for each programme.

This hasn’t been my best year in classic flight. I’ve started using a new plane after 15 years flying the same machine and I barely had two weeks to practise with the new one. If we compared this to MotoGP, it would be as if I’d fallen on a curve during the first flight!

Nevertheless, we were able to climb up in the rankings with each consecutive programme until we reached third place in the last programme. We’ve also learned a lot of things which will help us in next year’s World Championship.

Freestyle takes place on one day only, with one flight per pilot. Just like in classic flight, the pilots have to perform a sequence of figures before the judges, but the programme is designed by us, with smoke, music, and acrobatics. The figures are not as strict and greater importance is given to the aesthetics of the flight, the synchronisation with the music, and the handling of the plane. In a nutshell, it’s less about technique and more about showmanship.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, we made third place, and we’d also won the bronze in both competitions at last year’s World Championship. During Saturday’s freestyle competition, I felt much more in tune with my plane after having competed for several days in a row.

The competition will be much tougher in next year’s World Championship, so we’ll have to work hard to maintain our results in freestyle and improve in classic flight.

In addition to training and technical adjustments, it’s very important to receive all of your support! Thank you, friends at Box Repsol! We’ll see each other here!

Cástor Fantoba