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20 Jul, 2010 08:37

Sky aces struggling for audience interest

The Russian champions in aerobatics were decided at the weekend. Despite the fact that Russia is one of the leaders in the sport, there is hardly any mass appeal.

“One of the problems is that it is very difficult to attract sponsors, because the TV, unfortunately, doesn’t pay so much attention to the sport. It is difficult to show it,” pilot Elena Klimovich said.

Mikhail Mamistov is one of the most famous pilots in competition aerobatics. He won this year's Russian championships in the unlimited category. Sometimes Mamistov gets upset about the lack of investment in his sport.

“Unfortunately, we don't get support from out government. They prefer to turn their eyes towards Olympic sports, for example curling. I do respect that sport, but aviation can really build a country's glory, and I think it is far more important,” he said.

Due to that lack of funding the Russian team is forced to fly on old planes.

“New planes for our sports haven't been produced for 15 years. Our team tries to make ourselves heard and asks to restart its production. But so far we haven't received any reaction,” Viktor Smolin, Russia's aerobatics team head coach, explained.

The World Aerobatics Championships start in Poland next month. The Russian team will be hot favorites, and they all know a good performance will be a huge step towards taking the sport’s popularity to new heights.