Egg Farmers of Ontario sponsors aerobatic champion
It’s hard to find something to talk about when the name Hella Comat comes up, but not because there is nothing to mention. The problem is the Halton native has so much going on.
As the first woman to win a Canadian National Aerobatic Championship, you could say Hella knows a thing or two about flying. Earning her Canadian pilot’s license in 1975, Hella has been flying ever since. If that isn’t enough, she started as an aerobatic competitor in 2008 and has competed in 38 competitions in the Canada and the US. What is Aerobatics you ask? It basically involves stunts performed in flight by an airplane, such as loops, rolls or spins. Not for the faint of heart.
Hella’s accomplishments are not just limited to the air. As a teacher for more than 30 years, Hella was the recipient of the 1997 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics. Add published writer and accomplished speaker to the list and you’ve only just got her figured out.
Egg Farmers of Ontario is proud to support Hella Comat and all of her aerobatic maneuvers.
How does Hella like her eggs? We didn’t ask, but it’s probably scrambled!
Update: Hella Flys High at National Aerobatic Championships!
Congratulations to Hella Comat for her second place finish at the Canadian National Aerobatic Competition! Despite low cloud cover and scattered showers, pilots from across Canada and even some from the south made it out to test their skills. Read below as Hella recounts her weekend at Nationals:
"I flew up Thursday morning, hoping to get in some practice in the aerobatic box at Hanover on Thursday and/or Friday. The terrain, runway orientation, and visual cues that we count on for our various attitudes in the manoeuvres are so different depending on the airport, so practice at the contest airport is critical. I dodged light rain on the way north, but after I landed at Hanover, it started to rain with a vengeance. Both practice days - Thursday and Friday - had low cloud and on and off rain so no practice was possible for anyone.
Regardless of weather, the pilots and volunteers who had arrived early were tasked with the job of placing 6 box markers - large white canvas shapes that denote the edges and centre of the aerobatic box on the ground. These markers are invaluable for pilots orienting our aircraft and staying within the boundaries of the airspace - a 1000 metre square cube. We had to brave muddy ditches, electric fences, suspicious cows, and lots and lots of cow pies to measure, place, and stake the markers.
It was even a challenge for pilots arriving from as close as Oshawa, Brampton, and London, but by Friday evening, we had competitors from as far away as Quebec, Michigan, and Illinois making the trip successfully. Our aerobatic airplanes do not have the sophisticated instruments that allow pilots to fly in instrument meteorological conditions, so we have weather minimums that restrict our travel. Unfortunately Saturday’s weather plagued us with continued low cloud. The International Aerobatic Club rules require a minimum of 3000 feet of altitude, so we didn’t have Mother Nature’s cooperation until 5 pm, when finally blue skies and a few cumulous clouds allowed us to hold the safely briefing, place the judges, and launch the first aircraft.
I had to fly my Known sequence first. This is a set of about 12 figures that is new each year for each of the categories and that each pilot must fly. There was quite a crosswind from the west, keeping us all very challenged! Three out of the four categories - Sportsman, Intermediate, and mine - Advanced - were able to fly until twilight shortly after 8 pm.
Sunday finally dawned clear and relatively windless - a perfect day to finish the aerobatic competition. Local spectators from Owen Sound, Walkerton, and others from Toronto, Brampton, and further afield attended and enjoyed the noise, excitement, and spectacle of aerobatics at all skill levels. We all flew our second flights - the Freestyle - in which we design our own sequences, fulfilling a difficulty requirement at each category. There wasn’t time to fly the Unknown, which is a sequence given to competitors the day before, but must be flown without any practice. This is the most challenging of the flights, as there’s always figures or combination of figures that a pilot has never flown before - the combinations are infinite!
I finished second in Advanced.
We had expected some competitors from western Canada but unfortunately the weather kept them from attending. All pilots who competed had a safe, fun, and very challenging and highly competitive event. Our sincere thanks to the volunteers and organizers who made this event such a success.
Thank you to the Egg Farmers of Ontario for your invaluable support! I couldn’t have done it without you. Seeing and talking to the kids, young girls, teens, and adult spectators who watched the competition and saw that anyone can aspire to reach a dream was an important and rewarding aspect for me in competing at this event.
Now to begin sharpening my skills for next year!"