First published in 1960,  José Luis de Aresti’s ‘Sistema Aresti’ provided a simple and efficient means of writing down and demonstrating a sequence of aerobatic maneuvers on paper. The system breaks down each maneuver into basic lines and curves and as such provides a relatively easy to understand, pictorial view of the way a sequence is to be flown. It was adopted for official use by the FAI in 1961.

There are some truly excellent resources available online that go into detail about the Aresti Catalog (the included link list being far from exhaustive), but for the purposes of the site here, I’m going to be providing a few posts talking about the basic symbols and the maneuvers attached to them, starting here with a simple introduction to the symbology that is used in the ‘2011 Standard Known Sequence’ video now up on the Videos tab (go and watch it if you haven’t already).

I’ll be going into detail about some of the maneuvers soon, but for now, this is what was flown:

2011 BAeA Standard Known Sequence

The sequence was the one that constituted the ‘Standard Known’ for the 2011 British competition season. I’ll go into more detail about how aerobatic competitions actually work and what’s required from the pilots in yet another article at a later date.

A couple of initial points I should just clarify, are that each maneuver is started from straight and level flight, and in competition the beginning of the sequence is indicated by the pilot giving three ‘wing rocks’ before or partly during an initial dive to gain the airspeed necessary to fly the first maneuver (not shown in the video).

The sequence:

  1. 45° climb
  2. 1½ turn precision spin – the aircraft is brought to the stall with power off, before full rudder input is introduced to start autorotation. Recovery is initiated after 1 ½ rotations and with the aircraft flying vertically downwards when power is re-introduced.
  3. Full aileron roll straight into a half cuban
  4. ‘Humpty bump’ – a vertical up-line with a tight half loop into a vertical down-line
  5. Immelman (half loop/half roll)
  6. 90° aerobatic turn – not a conventional turn
  7. Split-S (half roll/half loop)
  8. Stall turn, with a ¼ roll on the down-line – everybody’s favourite, also known as a ‘hammerhead’. A vertical up-line until the point of stall, when full rudder input initiates a rotation around the wingtip into a vertical down-line.
  9. Reverse half cuban
  10. Loop
The black triple indicator arrow at the top (may at times be drawn slightly differently) shows the ‘into wind’ direction that the sequence is to be flown with reference to. The ‘competition wind’ and actual wind conditions may not always be the same though, as the competition wind always needs to place the sequence to be flown across the box (the box is the ‘arena’ in which the sequence is to be flown).


Useful links:

BAeA judging and Aresti notation

Slope Aerobatics Aresti Tutorial

BruceAir PDF