Text & Pictures: Alain Debras - Translation: Marc Arys  © sbap 2016

Just like 5 years ago in 2011, the Fédération Française Aéronautique (FFA - the French Aeronautical Federation) had chosen the airfield of Dijon Darois and the Aéroclub de la Côte d'Or (ACCO - Côte d'Or Flying Club) to organize the French Aerobatic Championships of 2016.
Once again a very good choice as the event was a complete success thanks to the mastery of the volunteers of the ACCO skillfully led by their chairman Jean WIACEK.
The choice of the FFA was based upon the high quality aerial activities in Burgundy, next to Dijon (cradle of aerial industry) together with the "gloomy celebration" by the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) of the close-down of the Base Aérienne BA102 of Dijon Longvic.
The actual sport event was held from June 28 until July 02 with a presentation of all participants in Dijon town's center, and the closing ceremony on Saturday attended by some 20.000 spectators, also present during the very complete and varied airshow gathering the aerobatic pilots and numerous guests.


During these championships the participants are grouped in three categories: National 1, Excellence and Elite.

Each pilot has to fly three programs - known free, unknown free 1 and unknown free 2, with an individual ranking in each class and a general ranking by team.

Presentations are flown within a cubic delimited airspace, called the “Box” - 1km by 1km by 1km, starting at a minimal altitude of 100 meters, and made up of various successive figures coded and described in the “ARESTI” catalogue - see example below.


The judges are installed next to the box and rate the figures based upon the quality, the sequences, the smoothness, the precision,... etc.


The ranking is obtained by adding the points of each judge and a percent on the theoretical maximum is also calculated as to allow the comparison between the flights.


Individual results 2016

National 1

1.     T. LIBAUD 79 %
2.     R. VIENNE


1.    X. DOREY 70 %


1.    A. ORLOWSKI 82 %


The female French champion is Bénédicte BLANCHARD from Dijon Voltige (73 %) who flew in Elite.


Team Ranking 2016

1. Vendée Sports Aériens (basé à La Roche-sur-Yon)
2. Amicale de Voltige Aérienne (basé à Saint-Cyr l'École)
3. Dijon Voltige (basé à Darois)

Thanks to the high level of the French competitors since several years now (they regularly win the titles of European and World champion - individual and by team), the Elite-competition allows to admire the performances of the best world aerobatic pilots.
This year, the actual world champion, Alexandre ORLOWSKI of the Equipe de Voltige de l'Armée de l'Air (EVVA - French Air Force aerobatic team) won the title following up Olivier MASUREL, champion in 2015.
Captain-aviator ORLOWSKI (nicknamed "Popov"), aged 34, is a fighter pilot within the French Air Force (FAF) and was based at Dijon Longvic with the 1/2 Cigogne and then with the 2/2 Côte d'Or (a few kilometers from Darois!) from 2005 to 2009, flying Mirage 2000. He also received the Renaud ECALLE trophy from the hands of Aude LEMORDANT, actual female aerobatic world champion.

The composition of the French team in the world 'Unlimited' class was announced by the national technical director, Loïc LOGEAIS, at the end of the championships and will represent France during the European championships which will be held in Czech Republic from August 20 till 28.
Nine pilots of which one female: Bénédicte BLANCHARD and Alexandre ORLOWSKI (French champions 2016), Mikaël BRAGEOT (2nd), Olivier MASUREL (3rd), Alexandre LEBOULANGER (4th), Louis VANEL (5th), Romain FHAL (6th), Baptiste VIGNES (9th) and Simon de la BRETECHE (11th).
Given the show presented by these artists, for sure some medals will be brought back as awards for the achieved efforts.

CAP 231 EXTRA 330SC - Aerobatix
EXTRA 330SC - Breitling EXTRA 330SC - HR MTM
EXTRA 330SC - Lubexcel EXTRA 330SC - P.R.B.
EXTRA 330SC  XA 42
Sukhoi SU-26 EXTRA 330LX 
EXTRA 330SC Pilot office The flight plan
Great names...


Founded in 1923, based originally at Longvic and moved to Darois in 1957 (almost 60 years ago). Inauguration of a concrete runway of 800 meters in 1987 and since 1997 developing its aerobatic activities and night flying as well as organizing training sessions for the Brevet d'Initiation Aéronautique (Aeronautical Initiation Certificate) for the Dijon youngsters. 200 saw the inauguration of the new clubhouse and 2016 three new hangars. Have 250 members and 2.800 annual flying hours.


First European federation with more than 41.000 members, 600 flying clubs, 2.500 airplanes, 2.200 instructor pilots, more than 600.00 flight hours in 2016 and 24 regional committees.
Goals : to promote and develop light aviation within flying clubs, to manage and develop aerial sports, to ensure the training of the pilots, to ensure the safety of civilian leasure aerial activities, to open the aeronautical world to youngsters and coordinate the aerial activities with the authorities.

  The new hangars


As during the championships of 2011, the ACCO took the opportunity to organize an airshow on the closing Saturday gathering various participants mixing together ancient and modern airplanes, civil and military, solo or within a team.
The public knowing the quality standards of these gatherings in Burgundy territory did not miss the 2016 edition despite a sullen weather on Saturday morning.
We regretted the "nonappearance" of the Patrouille de France (PAF) which was supposed to do a flyby at Darois but were diverted to the start of the Tour de France at the Mont-Saint-Michel. But the program surely did satisfy the passionate.
In addition to the "Elite" champions which flew breathtaking Freestyle programs, we had the Patrouille de l'ACCO (on Robin DR400) as an opener of the show. The ULM Tetras of the ACCO, gliders from Dijon, the autogyro of G. Finet, a Stampe SVA flown by B. Ducreux, a BÜCKER Bü131 of A. Bézard, a North American Bronco in a 'desert' livery, the renowned FALCO F8L of P. Duclos and the PITTS S2B of B. Ducreux, an Hungarian Antonov AN-2, a ARS300 designed and build at Darois flown by B. Ducreux (him again !), a Robinson R22 of the ACCO, a EC120 Colibri of the ALAT (French Army), the Patrouille Skyloop made up of a Pitts and a Cap 232 flown by Éric Vaizelle (former aerobatic world champion) and Bertrand Boillot (former solo of the PAF), the Patrouille Cartouche Doré of the Armée de l'Air, the Patrouille Apache made up of two L39 Albatros presented by Jacques Bothelin and Dominique Deketelaere (leader and teammember of the Breitling Jet team), the 3 AcroEz of the Patrouille REVA and to conclude the show, the HAWKER SEA FURY of C. Jacquard also based at Darois (always impressive with its tumbling smoke curls).
Four hours of a beautiful show with an improving weather all along the way.

Robin DR400 from the Aeroclub de la Côte d'Or Robin DR400
Robin DR400 Robin DR400
Sequoia F.8L Falco Piper L-4B Grasshopper
Pitts S.2B Stampe & Vertongen SV-4A
Antonov AN-2
Bücker B131 Jungmann
Magni 16 autogyro C101A Pegase
Rockwell OV.10B Bronco Cirrus SR.20 French Air Force
Local conception, the XA-42
EXTRA 330SC  XA-42
Stampe & Vertongen SV-4A Stampe & Vertongen SV-4A
Skyloop Aerobatic Team
Patrouille REVA
"Cartouche Doré"
"Patroulille Apache" another one leaded by Jacques Bothelin
Christophe Jacquard and his Sea Fury FB.11
Wing folding...always amazing
Back in his nest at Dijon-Darois
Mr Jean Wiacek ACCO President, Mr Jean-Michel Ozoux FFA President & Mr Pierre Robin
Elite podium: Brageot, Orlowski & Masurel

Excellence podium:  Claudin, Dorey & Wilhelem

National 1 podium:  Vienne, Libaud & Lovicourt
Renaud Ecale Trophy...and the winner is: Alexandre Orlowski
All the winners together for the 2016 edition souvenir... Congratulations to all of them!

We would like to thank Mr Jean-Michel OZOUX, chairman of the FFA, Mr Jean WIACEK, chairman of the ACCO and Ms Odile WIACEK, deputy director of FROMM France for their warm welcome and collaboration, without which these pages would not have been possible.


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