Ladislav Bezák – World Aerobatic Champion #1
1932 – 2018
News has reached us that Czechoslovakian champion aerobatic pilot Ladislav Bezák sadly passed away in November last year, 2018.
Ladislav was the gold medal winner at the very first FAI World Aerobatic Championship which was held at Bratislava in August 1960, narrowly beating his team colleagues Jirí Bláha and Frantisek Skácelík into the second and third medal winning places respectively. All of them flew Zlin 226 aircraft, in fact pilots from the Czechoslovakian team took eight of the top ten places.
You can find a complete results listing for this very first World Aerobatic Championship using the excellent historic contest results archive maintained by Michael Garbers at http://www.aerobaticcontestarchive.com/
Regulations for the programmes flown at this inaugural 1960 championship were clearly at an embryonic stage, preceding the general adoption of Colonel José Aresti’s now ubiquitous ‘aerocryptografico’ figure design system. Among the manoeuvres that required some judging instruction was the entirely unknown “Lomcovák” (figure-11 in Ladislav’s Free programme shown below here) where the gyroscopic effects of rotating propeller inertia are used to encourage the aeroplane through a seemingly impossible series of combined axis rotations that appear almost out of control, though it quickly became clear that this was not entirely the case. This word has since become part of the lexicon of aerobatic pilots, and may have stemmed from conversational use of the French term “L’homme Slovaque” which interestingly also translates colloquially as ‘wood head’ or headache in Slovakian.
With the 30th of these FAI World Aerobatic Championships due to take place at Châteauroux-Déols in France during late August this year under the well-established control of the FAI’s aerobatic commission CIVA, it is appropriate now to pay tribute to Ladislav and his many successors for the tremendous progress that has been made in this unique branch of sporting aviation since that first WAC in 1960, through over a half century of World and Continental championships under the aegis of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. The range of powered aerobatic championships now extends far beyond the original classification that we call Unlimited to cover the international Advanced, Intermediate and Yak-52 categories; the later-starting world of glider aerobatic competitions provides similar World and (historically) European championships for Unlimited and Advanced pilots. Since that foundation WAC in 1960 a total of 143 World and European FAI Aerobatic Champions have been declared by CIVA in classical (Aresti) and Freestyle genres, where the standard of flying and judging has continued to rise inexorably on the shoulders of everything that has been learned, practiced and developed by countless aerobatic pilots over the years since Ladislav and his colleagues established the pattern that we all follow.