The FairPlay System

FPS - CIVA's Contest Results Calculation System

For many sports simple "first past the post" or merely ranking each competitors' raw scores is a sufficiently respectable basis from which to create the final results. At top level aerobatic championships the complex international mix of teams, pilots and judges coupled to the subjective nature of aerobatic judging makes it almost impossible to reach a fair result without a careful review of the raw data to balance judging styles and weed-out suspect or biased input. Since the first FAI World Aerobatic Championships in 1960 CIVA's development of increasingly smart solutions has culminated in the current FairPlay System (FPS), which has remained essentially unchanged since 2005.

In FPS the calculation of pilots scores uses a statistical system to detect judges' grades and calculated scores that don't fit within an acceptable range of variations for the whole panel, and replaces them with more appropriate "fitted values" so that the pilot always gets a fair result. FPS is highly respected as a reliable way to catch ill-fitting marks and to resolve unintentional bias among our panels of international judges.

This is a complex subject, and the final scores from the top teams at CIVA events are often extremely close. The currently used FairPlay algorithms are the end-result of many years of careful development work, through which CIVA has employed increasingly refined statistical methods to ensure that its international aerobatic championship results are fair and that pilots are always given the benefit of any doubt. The theoretical basis for FPS is published on this website in the CIVA Document Store 


Revisions to FPS have so far included a change from the original direct substitution of detected 'outlier' judge grades by their Fitted Value to a process that proportionately blends the revision from one to the other, and improvements in the judging performance analysis which are published as separate web pages linked to each judge at the foot of every single-sequence results report. These are openly available for anyone to read, and provide the foundation data for our annual judge selection process for all championships; you can find this data below the results for the last three year's events results on the index page of the CIVA Championship Results website

A short guide to "How the FairPlay System works" is available below to spread a little understanding around Pilots and Judges alike, followed by a more detailed version which walks the reader through the whole process. These should dispel the mysteries of FPS when viewing a Pilot's online Score Sheet (as exampled above) and reviewing the extensive performance analysis that we now publish for every judge, and lead to a better appreciation of the wealth of information available when paging through the contest results on the CIVA-Results website. We hope that these documents offer a degree of insight into this remarkable achievement:

  A short guide to How the FairPlay System (FPS) works
  Processing Judges marks and CIVA’s FairPlay System (FPS)

For further information please contact the CIVA FPS Group chairman as shown in the Committees and Working Groups page of this website.

Scroll to Top