British Aerobatics set for makeover with new British Open

Extra NG 2022 aerobatics
Tom Cassells' Extra NG being flown in the 2022 National Championships. Photo: Jez Poller

A new competition called the British Open will be launched at Sywell Aerodrome this summer for aerobatic pilots from all over the world.

“The Open provides an opportunity for Advanced and Unlimited aerobatic pilots from around the world to compete in the great British countryside,” said a statement from British Aerobatics, the association which manages aerobatic competitions in the UK.

The British Open, set for 10-14 July 2024, is part of a complete makeover for British Aerobatics.

David Nichols of the British Aerobatics Management Team said, “Like the British Golf Open, the British Aerobatics Open Championship is a major contest open to all the best from around the world.  We want to raise the profile of aerobatics in the UK and give UK pilots a stage to show what they can do.

“This will be the biggest contest we have run since the World Championships in 2009. We want to encourage all pilots to improve their skills and get even more enjoyment out of their flying through learning aerobatics.

“We have a new management team, with Tom Cassells as our new Chairman,” continued David Nichols. “We have changed our focus to be about new aeros pilots and people flying low powered, more accessible aircraft. We want to help more people get into the sport and be less purist about only focusing on contests, so that we get more people enjoying aerobatics.”

Tom Cassells, 2022 British Champion, now chairman of British Aerobatics

Tom Cassells, 2022 British Champion, now chairman of British Aerobatics

British Open Aerobatics event 2024

British Aerobatics set itself five criteria when it set about creating the new British Open event:

  • An enjoyable high-quality event
  • A ‘go to’ tournament for top European pilots
  • Delivers the ‘best ever’ UK Nationals
  • Raises standards in judging, competing and pilot enjoyment
  • Raises awareness of British Aerobatics to a wider audience.

The event will be the highlight of the British Aerobatics year with three championships being fought over.

First is the British National Championship, with the National Champion trophy and title awarded to the top eligible British pilot in each of Advanced & Unlimited classes. Medals will also be awarded to the top three eligible British pilots in each category.

Then there’s the British Open Championship which, like golf, will be open to competing pilots from any nation. The Open Champion trophy and title awarded to the top scoring pilot in each category, Unlimited and Advanced.

Then on Sunday, 14 July, there will be the British Open Freestyle Championship, which will be judged by former Red Bull Air Race Champion Nigel Lamb.

David Heard, also from British Aerobatics, added, “An invitation has gone out to the best aerobatics pilots in the UK & the World to come and put their skills to the test.  They will compete for the titles of British Open & National Aerobatic Champion at both Unlimited & Advanced levels.  The climax for competition flying will take place on Sunday 14th, when Unlimited pilots will compete for the titles of British Aerobatic Open & National Freestyle Champions.

“With video highlights of the flying throughout the week and full coverage of the freestyle event on Sunday 14th July, we hope to inspire young and old to take up aerobatic flying at one of several centres for instruction in the UK.”

2024 British Open Aerobatics Championships


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