Published on June 17th, 2023 | by Jenny Jacobs


Support Laura Russell at the World Advanced Aerobatics Championships

Laura Russell from Monsktown in Cork is planning to become the first Irish woman to compete at the World Advanced Aerobatics Championships (WAAC) which are held every two years under the auspices of the FAI Aerobatics Commission. Member countries vie annually to host the event with a group from the USA submitting the winning bid for 2023. This year’s WAACs will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Jean Nevada airport from 24th October to 4th  November, and will see tight competition from some of the world’s top pilots.

Laura obtained her PPL with Atlantic Flight Training, Cork in 2006. In 2016, she completed her Flight Instructor certificate with Atlantic Flight Training Academy and, after winning a cadetship with Aer Lingus, she commenced an Integrated ATPL course at FTE Jerez, Spain. Laura is a First Officer with Aer Lingus based at Cork Airport flying the A320 and occasionally the A321LR on US routes.

She also works as an instructor at Waterford Aero Club, holding both an EASA and a UK ATPL, with Flight Instructor privileges to teach aerobatics and AUPRT. She has been competing in national aerobatics competitions for well over a decade and can often be found at the British Aerobatic Academy in the UK. Recently Laura was the keynote speaker at the Inaugural Women in Aviation Mid-West Region Networking Event.

Describing her passion for aerobatics Laura said “What I do is competitive. It’s a sport with very specific rules. There are rules governing your manoeuvres, their order and how precisely you fly them. It’s basically the aerial equivalent of ice skating in that ice skaters have to complete a particular set of manoeuvres. What we’re doing is like what ice-skaters do but in the air. I have difficulty describing how the whole experience makes me feel because it’s a uniquely personal thing. It’s a completely addictive sport. The sensation of flying a series of aerobatic manoeuvres is an amazing feeling. There is something absolutely ethereal about the experience. When you’re back on land it’s hard to shake the adrenaline out of your body.”

To try and cover competition expenses – which will set her back a minimum of €10,000 euro – a number of fundraising events are being planned by her supporters including a Fly-In on 10th September at Birr Airfield. There is also a GoFundMe page being set up and you can make a donation following this link https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-laura-make-history-for-irish-female-pilots all donations are greatly appreciated.

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About the Author

Jenny has been involved behind the scenes with Flying In Ireland since it’s foundation in 2002, initially creating the crosswords for the hard copy magazine. Since returning to Ireland from the UK at the beginning of this year she has begun to write more regularly for the website. Jenny is a director and the operations manager of Pilot.ie a dedicated online pilot supplies shop and consultancy for pilots in Ireland in partnership with FlyingInIreland Editor Mark Dwyer. Their 4 year old daughter Maeve is the boss.

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