Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Hammerhead Roundup Back in Borrego, April 18 – 20


Last updated 4/9/2024 at 1:02pm

They are back to grace the skies of Borrego with their death-defying flying, filled with excitement and distinct precision.

The International Aerobatic Club (IAC) Chapter 36 San Diego Hammerheads are back in town for the Annual Spring Roundup competition from April 18 – April 20 at the Borrego Valley Airport. And unlike most air shows, these Akrofest pilots, flying in multiple categories, follow precise routes with specific-point ranked figures, while making insane climbs, twisting, stalling and diving.

Chapter 36 is one of the strongest chapters in the IAC and in the Southwest region. It draws members primarily from the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. It hosts two contests per year, judge certification programs, critique sessions and special programs. It formerly held contests in Ramona, California, and now has an excellent aerobatic practice and contest box in Borrego Springs.

Each pilot will perform three-minute flight programs in five categories – Primary, Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced and Unlimited. At the end of the contest, smoke trails and amazing maneuvers fill the skies above in a Freestyle (finale) contest.

The four-minute free has no limit to the number or style of figures and can be flown with smoke and music in order to add points for presentation. The competition is composed of flying for four minutes. Any long or shorter could be subject to penalties that can drop a pilot from first to last. However, chaotic it may look to the spectator, it is judged to standards like the rest of the competition.

Akrofest is held in April and October every year in Borrego Springs.

All are encouraged to head down to the Airport on Thursday April 18 to meet the pilots and learn more about what they do and the planes they fly. Then come on back on Friday April 19 for the first day of the competition. An air display by the top three pilots will take place later in the day at around 5 p.m., don’t miss it.

The final day of the competition will be Saturday April 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some notable names like Howard Kirker, Jim Bourke, Susan Bell Magne “Max” Nerheim, AJ Wilder, and Hiroyasu Endo will possibly be back to compete, setting high standards. But new pilots may be in action giving you all a surprise.

So remember to bring your chair, binoculars, refreshment of choice and enjoy the Hammerhead Round Up 2024 at the Borrego Valley Airport.