WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The U.S. National Aerobatic Championships are taking place in Salina this week.

The competition started Sunday, Oct. 2 and continues through Friday, Oct. 7 at the Salina Regional Airport, 3237 Arnold Ave.

The U.S. National Aerobatics Championships will be going live on their Facebook page and live streaming on their Youtube channel during the event if everything goes as planned.

The best aerobatic pilots in the country brought their precision aircraft to perform aerial gymnastics above Salina.

“We have 85 pilots competing here in Salina and about 70 aircraft. So, needless to say, we need a pretty big hangar to put all those airplanes in. Salina has got these ex-Air Force hangars, and they’re just perfect for that and long runways,” Contest Director Mike Heuer said.

On Tuesday, pilots in the International Aerobatic Club flew under overcast skies and against the Kansas wind.

“What was that?” asked Grant Nielsen, an aviation enthusiast. “I can’t hear you over the wind noise.”

“The wind is a challenge,” said Dagmar Kress, an aerobatics instructor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “If you were to fly a loop, for example, and the wind is from the side, and you have to fly a looping this way, the wind pushes you. So, it makes that loop maybe look think of a bicycle helmet with a very stump front and a long tail because the wind pushes you.”

Although wind might be a factor, fear will not be.

“Aerobatics. All I can say is the first time you ever do it, at least from my standpoint, I said this is what I’ve got to do. Because to see the earth from all sorts of attitudes whether the earth is above you or below you’re over here. It’s really quite something,” Heuer said.

“It takes the spirit of the roller coaster. Of going up and over. Flying upside down. Of being fast or slow or stalling or spinning. But if we’re not careful, that can be dangerous,” said Kress. “So, I think we are also pilots very calculated.”

Nielsen says, “The feelings are different when you’re upside down looking up at the ground. It’s a completely different world.”

If you’re in Salina this week, look to the skies for the stunt guys with their eyes on the big prize.

“They love to fly before the panel of judges that are out there on the field, grading their figures, you know, one by one, and to try to bring home those national champion titles,” Heuer said.

The competition is an all-day event and is open and free to the public.

Competing pilots will perform at least three routines. The championships will be Friday, Oct. 7.