If you were in the area near the Marana Regional Airport on Friday or Saturday, the chances are you might have seen some aircraft doing some fancy flying. The airport was host to the 2017 Tequila Cup, a regional aerobatics competition that has called Marana home since the early 1980’s.
“Everybody appreciates coming to Marana here and the hospitality,” said pilot Will Allen. “The airport is really welcoming for us.”
The event draws aerobatic pilots from all over the western United States. This year’s contest drew 35 pilots who competed in a number of different categories bases on experience levels and aircraft type. In addition to airplanes, there were also a number of glider pilots from the Air Force Academy competing.
Aerobatics is similar to figure skating, except for the fact the event takes place in the sky and not on a sheet of ice. Pilots fly a set of figures and are judged on a number of criteria including accuracy and difficulty.
In addition to the pilots and judges, there are support staff, family members, and even fans who come out for the event.
“It brings a lot of people to the town who might not come otherwise,” said Peter Jelinas who was visiting from Seattle. “The airport brings us here.”
The Tequila Cup is one of a number of regional competitions, which then feed into a national championship every year. The event is sanctioned by the International Aerobatic Club and put on by the AZ Aerobatic Club.
Video of Az Aerobatic Club members and event competitors can be seen below: