September 1, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
The U.S. aerobatic team flew a missing-man formation at the World Aerobatic Championships as a tribute to teammate Vicki Cruse. Photo Taken By: Steuart Walton.
The U.S. team rallied after the death of teammate Vicki Cruse in the opening round of the Twenty-fifth Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Aerobatic Championships and took third place in team standings, defeating Great Britain, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland.
The team paid tribute to Cruse on the final day of the competition, Aug. 29, by flying a missing-man formation.
The competition is styled after the Olympics. France and Russia proved difficult to beat, as in past years, with France taking the gold and Russia the silver. Between them, the two countries accounted for the top six positions in individual competition.
The two countries alternated, with French pilots winning first, third, and fifth places in individual competition, while Russian pilots won second, fourth, and sixth places. The highest scoring American in individual competition was Jeff Boerboon, who won eighth place. Michael Racy took the twelfth spot.
A performer usually in the competition for a top finish, Svetlana Kapanina, came in eleventh in the competition, which takes place every two years. For a complete listing of competition results, see the World Aerobatic Championships Web site.
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