A new concept, beautiful location, super friendly atmosphere and tons of fun - these words would define briefly the first Freestyleair! And indeed, as kind of a "replacement" of the cancelled Vertigo, this quickly but very well organized event hosted the 2nd Swiss Acrobatics Championship, opened to international pilots as well. 11 teams in synchro, competing under the 'normal' APWC sporting code, and 26 solo pilots, following the new "freestyle" concept and between the runs the program was mixed up with helicopter d-bag demos, base jumpers, and so on...
The small village of Beckenried situated along the shore of the Vierwaldstaedtersee is a great location for an acro competition. Right in the center of town is the station of the cable car which climbs up a good 1100 meters to Klewenalp and the take-off spot is just a few minutes walking away. However, the fly-out is quite long, but it still gives a guaranteed 600-700+ meters to work with over the water, where the valley wind is usually only moderate.
The idea was to create an event based on the official world cup rules (using the same judging system), but with some additional elements to give the pilots more freedom to express their style. The problem with the current APWC rules is that to get the best scores, the top pilots need to perform exactly the same maneuvers (like Tumbling, Infinity, and the combination of Helico to SAT, SAT to Helico or Heli to Heli). At the same time the level is getting so high that a bunch of pilots perform these tricks almost flawlessly, giving hard time to the judges and rising extremely the importance of the landing points for the final ranking.
The rules in a nutshell:
The pilots had to perform 5 (+2 bonus) maneuvers. There were no "connection" maneuvers like SAT to Helico or Helico to Helico, instead the way of connection between the maneuvers were scored separately (maximum 4 of them, between the 5 figures) with a coefficient of 0.8 for dynamic connections and 1.6 for negative (stalling) connections. Furthermore everyone could perform 2 more "bonus" maneuvers for extra points (doesn't matter what, just something nice and clean, but no radical trick) at the end of the run with 0.5 coefficient for each trick. Of course not everybody had the chance or the right strategy to be able to go for the bonus tricks. The weight of landing and choreography were raised up with 5-5 %, so the techical execution of the figures got 60%, whilts choreo 25% and landing 15% of the total scoring. Before the first solo there wasn't even a maneuver sheet to fill so it was really "freestyle", actually even too much, because sometimes the action turned to be extremely difficult to follow for judges :-) So for the second run the participants had to announce their 5 figures and their order, but the 4 connections and the bonus tricks still offered a great freedom. Another extra feature was to be able to put 3 helicopters in one run.
Swiss Champion Hervé Cerutti
In the overall solo category Pál Takáts finished first, flying the U-Turn Thriller (with Precise Profile Nose system and the world´s first Extended Aeration System), which is the result of 2 years development and testing, a workout of U-Turn Team Pilots Pál, Gábor and Bernd and constructor Ernst Strobl. Pál won 2 runs mostly performing a Tumbling, an Infinity and 3 Helicopters with quick Twister connections, finishing with the bonus tricks. Defending Swiss Champion Hervé Cerutti (flying Gradient Seven) showed his best again. Despite having no Infinity Tumbling in his program, the precise helico combos and of course his speciality, the breathtaking ground-spiral-raft-landings in every run brought him the overall 2nd place and the Swiss Champion title again, a good 30 points ahead Remo Niederer (overall 4th) and Christian Maurer (overall 6th)!
Several ambitious, young german acro pilots, who are training for years now, but joined the competitions for the first time this season, now surprised the scene with their great performance! The young Bauer Josef took the overall 3rd place and Schweizer Jochen finished 5th!
The american twins Anthony and Timothy Green finished first in the open synchro category, just one point in front of the justACRO Team and the swiss synchro champions, the Lucky Clowns with Yves Berlovitz and Remo Niederer. The Twins performed nice synchro action with some really spectacular SAT Rodeos and synchro spirals all the way down to the water. The justACRO Team got no points for one of their synchro spirals in the first run, which gave a 10 points minus to the first position, and despite doing well in the last 2 flights they could just not turn it over.