Redbull hangár

Redbull hangár

2010. november 5., péntek

Two ways of aerobatics

Text: Gabriella, glider photos: Helen, video: Gergő

I lived my flying experience passively, as a passenger so far. I don’t want to change it for the present, because for me, it’s a miracle every time. Although, regarding my work, I used to travel a lot, I couldn’t ere now that unique feeling, when an airliner take off and touch the ground. (Moreover, I admit, that I like it, even when we lands more roughly or the plane starts to lift on some thousand meters high.) As cheap airlines have appeared on th market, most people can afford to themselves this kind of air traveling – but usually stops at this point. But I gladly try out more extreme types of flying if I have a chance. When I say extreme flying, I think about aerobatics.

Topi and me
My first experience regarding it, was jet aerobatics – just as a spectator, of course. I’ve been visiting military airshows for many years, where it is exercised on a very high level both in solo and in a formation. It’s incomprehensible for me, how can man and machine be in such a harmony, how can the display pilots bridle this state-of-the-art technique and in the meantime, amaze the public with breathtaking choreographies. As a journalist, I was lucky to meet major Zoltán SZABÓ (rather known ’Topi’) who was one of the masters on this field, as he is a former display pilot of the Hungarian Air Force. Unfortunately I couldn’t experienced, how is jet aerobatics sitting in front of him, inside of his MiG-29, but he had the opportunity at a media event to familiarize me with the secrets of rolls and other maneuvers, flying with a Bulldog aircraft. I as rather excited before take off than nervy, but I didn’t know how would I stick the training, as I didn’t have any benchmark. Although I tried out tandem parachuting and was speeding on a racetrack with a racing driver, but I suspected, that G force would affects me differently this time. It’s interesting, that although the plane’s marketing was good (this single-engine aircraft was used by the Swedish Air Force to military training; it was the last level before the young pilots get into a jet), but for me, it was just secondary. I was rather interested in the person of the pilot, as I prepared to take off a man, who got the Arthur Award with his aerobatics program in Fairford at the most prestigious military airshow of the world. I was intent on not to get sickness and I keep my cool image. Fortunately Topi is not that kind of pilot, who likes to torture his passengers, so he offered before climbing into the cockpit, just tell him if I have enough of fun. Then we climbed into the cockpit, I’ve fastened myself and put on the ear-phone, and after a short technical checking we were already rolling on the runway. We started with a sharp banking, and as we reached the appropriate height, the rollings were coming, the ’fan’ and for my request, the knife figure. I don’t deny, that I took deep breath sometimes before the every falling, but I enjoyed it more and more. The wide smile has been stayed on my face and it was unbelievably good to learn my physical limits. I could compare this experience to a tricky roller coaster. Tho whole program wasn’t longer than 15 minutes, but because of its intensity, I didn’t feel scant the time, what we spent in the air. Otherwise the plane can deal with 6G in plus, we take 4 from it and 3 in minus, which is the maximum at this type. I was proud of myself to hold the field and Topi’s aerobatic program has outshone my expectations. I'm sure, that the dependency to aerobatics has been evolved in me.


One year has passed, till I could experience it again, thanks to Gergő GÁLFI, who was the member of the Hungarian glider aerobatic team. When I visited their training first time, I could sit behind him straight away. I can definitely state, that it was a totally different adventure, compering it to the former one. Beginning with the fact, that it was an MDM-1 Fox glider – without engine. I already flight with a similar type, so the feeling of  the towing was familiar to me. But what was coming after getting off the hook! Gergő told me at the very beginning, that as it is a training day, so he would fly his complete free-program with me, and there won’t be any passenger-friendly, „light version”. Accordingly to it, I tried to be a silent ballast on the back seat. The silence was perfect, just the the plane’s body was cracking during the maneuvers, which aroused respect with some fear in me. Respect to plane and the pilot, who rules the elements in the ultralight composite cockpit. To tell you the truth, it took a minute at least, while I realized this feeling, because at first, I was busy with timing the deep breathes and the straining of my stomach muscle. Though Gergő called back over his shoulder, asking if I’m still alive, and told me the next maneuvers, but everything happened so fast (we fell into figure to figure), that I couldn’t comprehend, what to expect by the name of the maneuver. I think we were in a horizontal position only on the ground, and I tell you honestly, that sometimes I didn’t know where is the sky and the ground. At first, it was unbelievable to me, that every figure is possible with this no-engine plan what the jets are able to do, even the tower. And there’s no technical support here, the pilot can manage only the speed, the height and his own knowledge. It put me a bigger physical strain than my previous aerobatic experience, but it was a discharging feeling and I even didn’t mind, that I got some bruises. Not because of hitting myself to-and-fro in the cabin, as there was a handrail, which I grasped strongly, when we were hanging upside down. However the guys fastened me with the five point seat belt so tightly, that it has left its print on me. But if they told me to go another round, I would have said yes, without thinking it over.

MDM-1 Fox

Here it is a link to present the feeling. This is how Gergő flied 3 years ago. He has developed his skills even more since then, I can testify it.