2005 Tucson Aerobatic Shootout

New Zealands Team at the 2005 Tucson Aerobatic Shootout: 

  • Frazer Briggs "Bogan" - Invitational Pilot

  • Mike Briggs "Baldrick" - Bogans Caller & Moral Standards Officer

  • Alan Belworthy "Ice Bitch"

  • Graeme Giles "Grumpy"

Results .....



1st - Mark Leseburg

2nd - Quique Somenzini

3rd - Frazer Briggs

4th - Chip Hyde

5th - Mike McConville

6th - Bernd Beschorner

7th - Jason Shulman

8th - Kurt Koelling

9th - Peter Goldsmith

10th - Bill Hempel


1st - Mark Leseberg

2nd - John Glezellis

3rd - Quique Somenzini

4th - Bill Hempel

5th - Kyle Woyshnis

6th - Frazer Briggs

7th - Jason Noll

8th - Andrew Jesky

9th - Jason Shulman

10th - Bernd Beschorner

11th - Marco Benincasa

12th - Chip Hyde

13th - Joe McBride

14th - Don Szczur

Once again we made the annual trip back to the Arizona Desert for this years Tucson Shootout. The weather back in NZ was not too bad during September, so we managed to get several good sessions in at Waharoa with the big 260. This years team for Tucson was once again the old man, Baldrick, Alan Belworthy, and Graeme Giles who had never been to the US before….boy was he in for a shock !

As always the weather is stunning when we stay in Phoenix for some pre shootout practice. A balmy 40 degrees with no humidity, its shorts and jandals all the way. The field where we fly for 4 or 5 days is an old airbase we call “the moon”, in the distance are the superstition mountains, the scenery is very baron, so this is how it gets its nickname. We’ve met some local modelers here who look after us, and some fantastic bar-b-q’s are always the norm.

This years Tucson Shootout had a few format changes. In the past the top class was Unlimited. Now they have an even harder class especially tailored for the invitational pilots. An extra day of competition with the event now starting on Wednesday. 5 known schedules to learn, each one more difficult than the last. Sportsman through to Unlimited being run each morning over two flightlines, and the Invitational being flown in the afternoon on a single flightline. The new format worked really well. Not having a Sportsman guy buzzing around randomly while you’re trying to nail a sequence was superb.

The weather during the comp was near perfect. No wind at all for the first three days. Picking the best direction to fly took a lot of windsock gazing. In fact it was almost a case of who could stand the extreme temperatures without making a mistake on the sequence. It was a close battle for the top three spots between myself, Quique Somenzini and Mark Leseburg. After the first three days, we had each won a round or two, so it was shaping up to be a very close weekend. The weather was about to turn nasty though, with strong winds forecast, plus with a chance of rain.

Here’s where practicing back home in wind big enough to blow a dog off a chain pays off. The wind on Saturday was tough, probably 30 to 40 knots, and a crosswind blowing directly out. Yipee. Luckily no rain though. There’s only one way to fly when its that windy, and that’s at full bore ! I won that afternoon’s known round, a great lead into Sunday’s final day. Sunday was still as windy, but not a crosswind, so not quite as bad. As expected the Unknown sequences were harder each day, with Sundays being a real cracker. The last Known sequence was a real challenge, and it needed to be. The judges have a tough job at this level, the sequences are very complex, yet the flying is still near perfect.

During Saturday and Sunday three rounds of freestyle were held. This year a few guys flew smaller 100” ARF models. Looks like a good idea to me, the models are cheaper and easier to fix if the desert jumps up, plus there is no risk of knocking yourself out of contention from the main contest. The 100” / 100cc combo means they have a lot more pace than the 3m models, so can pack more into the 4 minutes. Smokin' Joe McBride from California came out a bit low on a 3D maneuver (a blender), his caller wasn’t quick enough with the shovel, and it went in inverted with a whack. His buddies set to work, a few bottles of CA and a borrowed canopy later, he was soon back in business and ready for the next round of freestyle later the same day ! He was not the only one to give his model a 50 grit desert touchup. The public in attendance is a good size crowd considering the field is a 40 minute drive from Tucson. Of course they are primarily there for the Freestyle show.

On to the awards. I was stoked to hang onto 3rd place in the Invitational class. Chip Hyde made a late run moving from 6th to 4th on the last day. Quique Somenzini was 2nd. Mark Leseburg won the both the Invitational class and the freestyle.

So yet again a bloody good trip, we’re already looking forward to next year !



Mark Leseburg 1st, Quique Somenzini 2nd, Frazer Briggs 3rd


Team New Zealand


Kiwis and Germans




2005 Shootout Links

Official Results

Flying Cirkus Gallery

Flying Cirkus Video's