Aerobatics has been performed in aircraft almost since the first flight of a powered aircraft. In the early years before World War I, aerobatics served as entertainment for crowds fascinated by these new aerial machines. Later, it became an essential part of a military pilot’s training and utilized in combat. In more recent decades, it has been recognized as an important part in a pilot’s training in order to make him or her more proficient in controlling their aircraft in all flight attitudes.
The challenge of performing aerobatic figures precisely led to the development of aerobatic competition. The first competitions were held in the early 1930’s, at the Olympics in Berlin in 1936, and at various national competitions after World War II. FAI recognized the need for a sanctioned World Championships which led to that first post-war competition in 1960.
World Championships in Power are held every two years and in Gliders every year. Continental Championships are held in the off years. Pilots who compete in World and Continental Championships are selected by their FAI member organizations and compete both individually and as teams.