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Australia take on World's Best Pilots
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The clear blue skies above Tocumwal are abuzz this week with the sound of the Australian Aerobatic Team honing their skills in preparation for the 2011 World Aerobatic Championships (WAC) to be held in Foligno, Italy later this month.
The community of the small Riverina town, located on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, has thrown its full support behind the team, as they lead Australia?s first bid for a championship title in more than a decade.
Current Australian Aerobatic Champion Paul Andronicou, a small business owner from Melbourne, and triple Australian Champion Richard Wiltshire, an aircraft engineer from Sydney, will be representing Australia in the 10 day competition, commencing August 31.
This will be the first time Australia has fielded a competitor at the WAC's since 2000 in Toulouse, France, when Queensland eye surgeon John Ambler finished a credible 21st in a Russian built Sukhoi aircraft. Australia's best ever performance on the world stage was way back in 1984 at Bekescaba, Hungary where Victorian airline pilot, Frank Fry achieved 8th overall.
The 2011 team has secured the use of a German built Extra 300S aircraft for the competition, they will be sharing this aeroplane with competitors from Italy and the USA.
This will be the first time the World Championships have been held in Italy. The host city, Foligno, is an ancient town with a population of approximately 60,000. It is situated close to the centre of Italy, approximately two hours drive from Rome.