A most obscure sport - Aeronautical Pentathalon
August 18, 2011 12:59 PM   Subscribe

The Aeronautical Pentathlon Has Six Events—and Flying Doesn't Count. Aeronautical pentathlon—which inexplicably has six events—is a riff on the modern pentathlon at the Olympics. Created 63 years ago, the military pilots' version has pretty much flown under the radar. And though the sport is based on flying, the nonflying parts of the competition determine the winner. While it is exclusively practiced by air forces, it was always excluded from the military Olympics—called the World Military Games—until last month's event in Rio de Janeiro. ... and the home team wins.

Complete rules and a short video
posted by caddis (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love sports like this - it's like an adult kickball league for pilots.
posted by muddgirl at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right ... up on the desk, flap your arms ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:24 PM on August 18, 2011


Aeronautical pentathlon—which inexplicably has six events—

I guess "hexathlon" sounds too much like a witchcraft competition. And if they went for a Latinate name, the "sexathlon" would probably increase web traffic but lead to a lot of irate comments.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2011


Basketball dribbling and shooting require the hand-eye coordination crucial to flying a plane. Fencing represents combat.

...A 100-meter swimming obstacle course that includes diving under a metal grate builds skills needed after a watery crash. Pistol shooting helps when captors get near. If a pilot gets caught, two more events aim to help train him to escape: an obstacle course and an orienteering race, where competitors must find their way in unfamiliar terrain.


So... pistol shooting doesn't represent combat while fencing does? Is there something about air combat I don't understand?

Also wouldn't, say, playing a flight simulator test hand-eye coordination better than basketball...?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:41 PM on August 18, 2011


Is there something about air combat I don't understand?

Helicopter pilots fly in the right seat so they have their sword arms free for combat. Or something.
posted by backseatpilot at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]



Ball Contest: The event is divided into two exercises. Exercise 1 is the Ability Course and Exercise 2 is Relaxation.


Finally, a contest component I could excel at.
posted by drezdn at 3:53 PM on August 18, 2011


This gives me hope that one day my event "Helicopter Jousting" will happen in the real world.
posted by drezdn at 3:53 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The combination of the events is based on the necessity of a pilot in combat in case it is necessary evade enemy territory. The purpose is enabling the competitor with multiple abilities.

I remember reading that the modern pentathlon was to train the skills that a cavalryman would need if behind enemy lines. Supposedly the idea is the same here, but the "ball contest" seem really out of place. I mean, you might have to run, and jump over stuff (obstacle course), then swim across a river or two. Fight your way with your sword through the enemy, and of course shoot them. Oh, and find your way with a compass. But "ball contest"? Perhaps a downed pilot will have to befriend a group of inner city youth by demonstrating his ball skills. Or perhaps enemy soldiers will accept a friendly pick-up game instead of capturing and torturing the fleeing pilot.

Even more inexplicable is this description: Ball Contest: The event is divided into two exercises. Exercise 1 is the Ability Course and Exercise 2 is Relaxation.

Competitive relaxation exercise? Did you see Johnson? His ability course skills are kinda weak, but that ace sure can relax. Did you even see that relaxation?

I'm sure there's something wrong with the translation there, but still.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:38 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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