Flying New Zealand promotes the development of the flying skills of its affiliated members by running the Flying NZ competitions. A range of competitions are available, suited for pilots at all experience levels, from trainee to the seasoned commercial pilot.
Competitions have been developed over the years and at National level includes trophies donated by, or in the memory of, some of our country's earliest aviators and dignitaries.
Most clubs have competition days. They then choose a club team to compete at one of the five Regional Rallies, which are held about November each year. The winner in each regional competition qualifies to compete at the National Championships held the following February.
Flying NZ Competitions include, Precision flying, Aerobatics, Life Raft dropping, Formation Flying, Bombing, Navigation, Streamer cutting and more.
The Wings Trophy International competition between New Zealand and Australia is held each year, alternately in each country. The New Zealand team is selected from the highest performing competitors at the Regional Rallies and the previous year's National winners.
The Flying NZ Wings Team that competed for the International Wings Trophy Competition at Tauranga in February once again secured the Trophy for New Zealand.
The New Zealand team's placings were:
If you have learnt enough to go solo, there is a competition for you. Flying NZ has competitions where low hour pilots compete with other low hour pilots. Air judges are normally instructors, so you will have an instructor with you. There are also competitions aimed at the very experienced but the bulk of the competitions are open and available to all qualifying pilots.
It is not necessarily experience that wins, flying accurately with a good disciplined approach to your piloting wins out every time.
Where do I start?
Clubs usually have a Club Captain who is responsible for organising competitions, fly-aways and other club flying activities. Talk to your club captain and join in the club's next competition day. It's fun, friendly and social and a great way of polishing your skills at a reasonable cost.
You may find that you particularly like certain competitions, become good at them and be selected for your club's Regional Rally team. Win at the Rally and you are on your way to competing Nationally or even Internationally.
The Flying NZ Rallies and National Championships are great sporting and social events and often the highlight of a pilots year. Supporters are also welcome to attend.
Landing competitions include Junior and Senior Landing as part of the prestigious Wigram Cup competition, as well as Precision Circuits and Forced Landings. An air judge marks the accuracy and procedures in the cockpit and ground judges record the accuracy and position of the ground landings. The competitors with the highest total of both air and ground scores are the winners
Bombing and Life-raft are popular competitions and one of the few times you can legally drop an object from a flying aircraft. They are a mixture of altitude and airspeed control combined with the ability to place the object correctly on the target. They have an air judge in the aircraft and ground judges who record the placement. The life-raft competition is a team event with a pilot and a dispatcher.
There are six different aerobatic competitions available to cater for all skill levels. The most basic, the Aero Engine Services Trophy, is designed for pilots who are early in their aerobatic training and have an aerobatic instructor on board as the judge. All other aerobatic competitions use the New Zealand Aerobatic Club sequences, which are graded in difficulty, and judged from the ground.
Flying NZ has three formation competitions two two ship and a three ship. The Graham Davidson pairs (two ship) and the Bill Ensor pairs, open pairs competition. The W A Morrison (three ship) is spectacular to watch and compete in, with most teams attaining a high standard. It is also one of the events that is included in the International Wings competitions.
International Wings Trophy Competitions
Unfortunately in these uncertain times the RFACA and FNZ have decided to cancel the 2021 Wings competition, at this stage the ALACs will still be going ahead and they would welcome any of you that would like to compete. Wings for 2022 will be held in NZ at the Nationals being held in Omaka, February (dates to be confirmed soon) next year.