ERAU Stuns at Snowbird Aerobatic Competition

Photo Credit: Nikolett Ficze

Nikolett Ficze/Correspondent

The days are getting longer, and the warmer weather in Florida means the beginning of the Aerobatic season. The International Aerobatic Club (IAC) held the first competition of 2017 on the first weekend of April in Dunnellon, where three of our Eagles competed in Eagle Sport Aviation Club’s Pitts S-2B. Despite the short time the competitors had for preparation and practice, Nikolett Ficze finished first in the Primary category, Hunter Havener second, and Loren Marburg fifth. All this effort was heavily supported by Richard Anderson (Founder of Eagle Sport Aviation) and Carolina Anderson (Faculty Advisor of Sport Aviation Club) who put their maximum time to train and prepare the pilots for the success. We can also be very proud of two other ERAU students; Wayne Ashplund finished first place in Sportsman category, and Jose Rodriguez got the third in Intermediate. 

When we talk about aerobatics, people think about the airshow pilots first, and their incredible flying to entertain the crowd. However, few know about the competition aerobatics side, how much “acro” helps improve basic flying, stick and rudder skills. There is also a great sense of comradery among aerobatic pilots because of the judging done between competitors. Flying aerobatics is not an impossible feat; any student can join the club and train for future competitions.

The Eagle Sport Aviation Club, Inc. (ESA) was created in 1998 and is a Florida nonprofit corporation started by aviation enthusiasts to help others discover the pleasures of flying. The Club offers Aerobatic, Tailwheel and Glider flying experiences. The Club’s mission is to encourage participation in aviation activities for people that would otherwise not be able to. Our members include elementary through college students, corporate, military and professional pilots, business owners, teachers and professors, maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers, airshow performers, astronauts, and many others. ESA helps its members continuously educate about unique parts of aviation.

N260AB has a name in the aerobatic competition world; many pilots started their aerobatic career on this airplane. The S-2B is a certified, two-seater aerobatic aircraft equipped with a 260 horsepower Lycoming AEIO-540. The Pitts can handle six positive g’s and three negative g’s, which makes it perfect for loops, rolls, spins, inverted flight and all other competition aerobatic maneuvers.

If you would like to try soaring in a glider, flying the Pitts, or learn more about tailwheels in the Cub, email Loren Marburg at