On Oct. 1, 2019, JLC AirShow Management received official notice of accreditation from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to organize and host the recently developed AirShow Racing Series (ARS). The ARS is the newest and one of the most exciting additions to the air show industry.
“The Air Show Racing Series is a huge step forward for the air show business,” says John Cudahy, President/CEO of the International Council of Air Shows. “It’s compelling entertainment and an excellent complement to more traditional air show performances.”
Unlike other air races, the AirShow Racing Series includes an initial high-speed pass, a half cuban roll to return to the course for a second pass, then a second half Cuban roll in a challenge to cross the finish line first.
Air racing has been conducted in a variety of ways over the past several decades. The ARS offers a unique approach utilizing two racing lanes with ten 40-foot inflatable pylons spaced approximately 600 feet apart to define the three-dimensional track for multiple heats of match-racing competition. With a pace plane in the lead, a pair of competing aircraft will approach the 4,000-foot long course, descending below 75 feet to navigate the slalom layout. At the end of the first run, the aircraft will quickly execute a half-cuban aerobatic maneuver turning 180 degrees to re-center over the race line for a second slalom pass. The planes will then reverse course one more time for the final sprint to the finish line located at the center of the crowd line.
ARS will consist of two classes of racing; Super Sport and Extreme Sport. Racers in the Super Sport class will reach speeds of 160 knots with a gravitational force equivalent near 4.5. The Extreme Sports competitors will push speeds closer to 200 knots with eight g’s during racing action.
Each race day, a total of eight aircraft will compete in sets of match racing for each of the classes. The first heats will include four separate races for the Super Sport and four more for the Extreme Sport groups of racers. Winners from these races will then return for another round of elimination racing in heat two. The final heat for the day will include the finalists for each class and a winner will be named for the day. The race series attraction serves as the perfect complement to an event as a “show within an air show”. The ARS also can serve as a stand-alone event with separate performances by the participating pilots.
“With over two years of development, testing and evaluations, JLC AirShow Management has completed the federal certification requirements to introduce this fresh and exciting match style racing attraction to the North American Air Show Industry,” said John Cowman, JLC AirShow Management President.
The projected 2021 racing series will include multiple air show race site venues. Points will accumulate during the series to ultimately decide the two division champions. The inaugural race will take place during the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show in October 2020.
Competitors will be selected and invited by the ARS leadership based on air show certifications and experience to generate the initial super sport and extreme sport fields of world-class racers.
JLC AirShow Management has initiated efforts to secure race series sponsors and will review potential locations to serve as host sites for the 2021 AirShow Racing Series.