Photos by the author
Tea USA (L-R): Verne Koester,
Bryan Hebert, Brett Wickizer,
Andrew Jesky, Joseph Szczur,
Jason Shulman, Don Szczur, David
Stodart, Kevin Young, and Mark
Silver medalist Tetsuo Onda from Japan, gold medalist Christophe Paysant-Le Roux of France, and bronze medalist Andrew Jesky of Team USA.
close behind. Joseph also flew well, but the competition on
this stage is intense and his scores were putting him in the
middle of the pack. At only 13 years old, he will become a
force to be reckoned with in the future.
At the end of the preliminary rounds, Andrew was sitting
comfortably in eighth place, with Jason and Brett in 13th and
15th respectively. All comfortably made the semifinal round,
but Jason and Brett would have work to do if they hoped to be
in the finals. Joseph ended his performance with a solid final
flight and finished 54th overall. He was out of the running for
the semifinals, but had a respectable showing in his first World
With a day off between the preliminaries and the semifinals,
we were off to Snoopy’s for another long day of practicing
the F pattern. Neither Jason nor Brett was going to go down
without a fight, each flying more than 10 flights until the sun
was setting on these short winter days.
The temperature got colder and the winds picked
up for the semifinal, which seemed to work in
our favor. All three members of Team USA flew
spectacular flights. When the flights were complete,
Andrew had moved up to third place, and Jason
moved up three places to squeak into 10th place,
making the finals. Brett also moved up to finish 12th.
He was disappointed to not be in the big show, but
his strong placing was critical to our eventual Team
It’s hard to describe the finals— 10 of the best pilots
in the world flying in 20-mph winds blowing straight
out, through some of the most difficult sequences
possible, and making it all look easy.
Andrew and Jason owned the wind. Their ability
to position their aircraft in such a strong crosswind
was amazing. They, along with Christophe Paysant-