LOWER TOWNSHIP – There is good news and bad news in regards to the county’s effort to host the 27th annual FAI Aerobatic Championships in 2013.
“The good news is that the president of the international aerobatics club did visit and found the airport and the Cape May County area to be a venue that could host a world-class event,” said county freeholder Will Morey.
But, even with the successful visit by the president of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the 27th annual FAI Aerobatic Championships event organizers decided to locate the 2013 event in Texas.
“Yes, the competition went to Texas, but we are definitely on the map – in terms of these kinds of events for the future,” said Morey. “The team thought that keeping the event there would give them an advantage, in terms of not having to relocate for worlds.”
According to Morey, the annual U.S. event has been held at the Texas site “for something like 30 or 40 years.”
“We impressed the group. They found the airport facilities and local attractions to be the right mix for an event of this scope,” said Morey. “We are going to continue to lobby for a chance to host the national event here in the future.
“This is certainly a step in the right direction for the airport. Working in collaboration with the Naval Air Station Wildwood, we could certainly attract an air show that would draw a sizeable group to the airport and the county,” said Morey. “Taking a holistic approach, we are trying to remove obstacles for businesses and events at the airport.”
Morey appeared at a regular meeting of the Lower Township Council in early May to ask for local support for the bid. The effort had the support of county freeholders, the Delaware River Bay Authority, the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce and Lower Township Chamber of Commerce.
The world event, tagged as the 27th FAI Aerobatic Championships, is only held every other year, with the event making its way to the United States about once a decade. The competition is slated to run from October 9 to 13, 2013.
FAI was founded in 1905 and is a nonprofit organization – unaffiliated with any government – with the goal of furthering “aeronautical and astronautical activities worldwide, ratifying world and continental records and coordinating the organization of international competitions.”
There are 100 member countries in the group, which has held the World Aerobatic Championships since 1960.