Pilots compete in the 18th annual Lone Star Aerobatic Championships

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Dozens of pilots from all over the state are taking off from North Texas Regional Airport - Perrin Field this weekend to compete in the Lone Star Aerobatic Championships.

The contest kicked off at 10 A.M. Friday morning and will go on until 7 PM Friday night.

News 12 spoke to one pilot competing this weekend about the skill and preparation that goes in to this competition.

More than 30 pilots from around the state will take to the skies to show off their skills in the Lone Star Aerobatic Championships Friday and Saturday.

NTRA Airport Director, Mike Shahan, says the public is invited to come out and watch all the stunts for free.

"It's just like an airshow watching those pilots fly," Shahan said.

Pilots can compete in five categories: primary, sportsman, intermediate, advanced, and unlimited.

Shahan says it's a great way for pilots to sharpen their skills.

"An aerobatic pilot is probably the best there probably is because they know how to fly in unusual latitudes and stuff like that," Shahan said.

Curt Richmond has been competing in the Championships for four years and says aerobatics pilots practice year round to be ready for this event.

"Doing just some very benign maneuvers and what we would call unusual latitudes," Richmond said. "We learn to recover, we learn what it feels like to feel g's, to fly upside down, and then we start practicing more."

Shahan says the competition not only benefits the airport and pilots but it also provides a lift to the Grayson County economy.

"You know they're staying in hotels, eating out, the businesses on the airport like Lake Texoma Jet Center is selling them fuel, there can be some aircraft maintenance, and just a whole lot," Shahan said.

Pilots will compete until 7 P.M. Friday night if you want to come out and watch for free.

They'll start back up tomorrow around 9 A.M until mid afternoon, weather permitting.

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