Aprovados para a corrida de 2016
Bob começou a voar muito jovem tendo-se aventurado sozinho no ar com apenas 16 anos de idade. Depois disso foi piloto militar na “Royal Air Force”, tendo ao longo de 23 anos voado em diversas aeronaves tais como o Vulcan, Jet Provost, Hawk e o VC10. Posteriormente, e durante 6 anos, Bob voou como piloto comercial num Cessna Citation business jet (com sede em Lisboa), tendo mais tarde transitado para o Airbus A320/321. Terminou a sua carreira profissional como “Process Operator” numa refinaria de petróleo do Reino Unido, função que desempenhou durante 8 anos. Foi durante a última fase da sua carreira profissional que Bob construiu o seu avião, um Vans RV8, considerado em 2012 o melhor kit de construção amadora no Reino Unido. Atualmente reformado, Bob participou pela primeira vez em 2015 na sua primeira temporada da “UK Handicapped Air Race”, tendo sido o campeão Britânico, após uma luta renhida com vencedor das duas épocas anteriores. Segundo as suas palavras, “foi o ponto mais alto da minha carreira na aviação". Desde sempre que o Bob é apoiado pela sua esposa Jill, tendo ambos viajado no seu avião por vários países, tais como o Reino Unido, Portugal, Espanha, França e Tanger (Norte de Africa). Bob está bastante animado com a ideia de participar no ARC - Championship Air Race em Portugal. Espera que os fãs apreciem o avião que ele dedicou cerca de 5 anos e meio a construir na sua garagem. Mais informações podem ser encontradas em www.rv-8.co.uk
Carlos Costa é de Viseu e é Engenheiro Civil de formação, sendo proprietário e gerente da sua própria empresa de engenharia especializada em design estrutural e desempenho energético dos edifícios. Durante os últimos 20 anos, Carlos tem sido um piloto entusiasta, sendo atualmente instrutor e examinador de voo no Aeroclube de Viseu. A sua formação acrobática foi alcançada na Zlin Air School da República Checa, sendo desde essa altura um verdadeiro aficionado dessa nobre arte aeronáutica. A sua enorme paixão por tudo aquilo que voa, motivou-o a voar o maior número possível de aeronaves. Na sua caderneta de voo constam horas de voo solo em inúmeras aeronaves tais como, C150, C152, C172, 7ECA, PA-28, PA-28RT, Zlin 142, RV-6, RV-6A, RV-7, RV-7A, RV-8A, RV-9, RV-9A, CRUZ, CT2K, DAL4, VEZE, ECHO, GOLF, SNX, WT9, ATEC Solo, Asso V-Xray, PIVI e Land Africa. Carlos também possui experiência em outras aeronaves tais como o Pitts S-1A, Pitts S-2B, Extra 300, EUPA e LNC2. Em parceria com um amigo, foi o primeiro construtor do primeiro Vans português, registado como CS-XAO. Atualmente é presença regular em muitos festivais aéreos, sendo integrante da Patrulha Fantasma (http://pfantasma.blogspot.pt/). Em 2008 foi o campeão nacional na classe acrobática Sportsman. Carlos possui mais de 1,600 horas de voo incluindo 600 horas em Vans RV6’s.
Javier del Cid nasceu em 1959 e é natural de Madrid na Espanha. Javier foi admitido na Academia da Força Aérea em San Javier (Múrcia), tendo-se graduado como oficial em 1982. Um ano mais tarde terminou a qualificação de piloto de caça na base aérea de Badajoz, tendo sido escolhido para desempenhar as funções de piloto instrutor de combate. Em 1985, foi transferido para a 14th Wing em Albacete, onde exerceu as funções de piloto instrutor na Esquadra “Tiger” 142. Nesse período de tempo efetuou 1,400 de voo em Mirage F-1. Em 1993, foi transferido para a 23rd Wing tendo realizado um total de 1,700 horas de voo no F-5. Entre 2010 e 2013 foi nomeado para comandar a Base Aérea de Albacete. Durante o seu comando, coincidiu a despedida do Mirage F-1 após 37 anos ao serviço da Força Aérea Espanhola e a receção dos primeiros Eurofighters Typhoons EF2000. Neste momento possui mais de 3,300 horas de voo aos comandos de jatos de combate e mais de 700 horas em aeronaves com motores convencionais militares. De entre os aviões que ele voou na Força Aérea, encontram-se o Bonanza E-24, Aviocar T-12, Mentor T-34, Texan T-6, Casa 101, Northrop F-5, Mirage F-1 e esporadicamente o B-52, F-16, F-18 e o Eurofighter Typhoon. Em paralelo com a sua carreira militar, Javier tem a licença de piloto privado, piloto comercial, instrutor de voo (FI) e piloto de acrobacia. Também desempenhou funções como piloto instrutor nos aeroclubes de Badajoz e Albacete. Foi igualmente um dos primeiros pilotos espanhóis a obter uma licença JAR FCL, tendo sido nomeado piloto examinador (SE, ME e IFR) quando a nova legislação JAR foi implementada. Também exerceu funções de instrutor de simulador FNPT-II na escola AEROTEC de Madrid, dando cursos de Multi-crew Coordination Course (MCC) e lecionado aulas de fatores humanos. Em 2007, começou a começou a construir um Vans RV-8 de construção amadora, tendo realizado o seu primeiro voo em 25 de junho de 2012. Em 2013 foi escolhido pela Fundación Aérea Comunidad Valenciana (FACV) para ser o piloto de teste do projeto Bleriot XI, tendo voado pela primeira vez em 13 de abril de 2014. Javier é casado com Coco Ferrándiz e é pai de Miriam. Atualmente vive e trabalha em Munique, na Alemanha, onde aproveita todas as oportunidades para voar no seu RV8.
James Stringer é natural de Ware, em Hertfordshire, na Inglaterra, e é proprietário e piloto de um Vans RV6 G-JSRV - Race 46. James é relativamente novo no mundo da aviação, tendo iniciado a sua carreira em 2002, depois de ter sido seduzido por uma interessante viagem de helicóptero no Canadá. Ao regressar a casa, decidiu começar imediatamente o curso de pilotagem, tendo obtido a sua licença de piloto na Califórnia, nos EUA. Desde então já acumulou mais de 1,250 horas de voo em diversos países tais como os EUA, Canadá, Austrália e praticamente em quase todos os países da Europa. James construiu o seu avião em um ano, tendo voado pela primeira vez em Maio de 2006. Desde então já fez inúmeras viagens pela Europa, desde a Suécia até Marrocos e Tenerife nas Canárias. James iniciou-se no voo de formação em 2008, sendo atualmente um protagonista regular em inúmeros espetáculos aéreos no Reino Unido, integrando uma formação de 3 aviões RV. Quando não está voar, James dedica-se às suas duas outras paixões, o rugby e o esqui. Tendo começado apenas com 10 anos de idade, está neste momento na sua 40ª (e última!) temporada de rugby, a jogar na equipa Hertford RFC. James também é um experiente esquiador na neve. Depois de ter trabalhado como guia e instrutor durante 3 épocas de ski, é possível encontrá-lo todos os invernos a desafiar as descidas mais ingremes dos Alpes Suíços, muitas vezes depois de inúmeras horas de trekking para conseguir atingir as zonas nas espetaculares e fora dos roteiros normais. James é um competidor habitual do famoso downhill Murren Inferno na Suíça.
Born and raised in Ribadumia, Spain, José Carlos, will be racing with the superb Vans RV-7 – “Memphis”. José has always been interested in aviation. At the age of 16 he began practicing model aircraft in the form of free-flying gliders, moving then to U-control line models and later to radio-controlled slope soaring. José soon began practicing micro light flying, later earning an instructor rating. Although José has a degree in law, working for the of Public Health Administration, he has always been connected to the world of aviation. At the moment José is a private pilot, having accumulated over 1,100 flight hours in several aircraft. José enjoys any kind of air activities, including aerobatic flying, gliding and skydiving. Always interested in amateur building since his days as model airplane maker, he built in 2001 a Jodel D-92, a low-wing wood and fabric airplane, which he has been flying since then using it for cross country flying. At the moment he’s building a metal airplane, a Colomban MC-100 “Ban-bi”.
Having grown up in south-west London, Peter had no real links with aviation and does not know where his love for airplanes and flying comes from, all he knows is that aviation has been at the centre of his life for the past 35+ years. He first flew solo in a glider when he was 16 and has now over 2,500 flying hours. He holds a display authorization for powered airplanes with approvals for formation displays and aerobatics, and is also a gliding instructor and glider racing pilot. Before he left school, Peter decided he did not want to be a professional pilot and that a career in aircraft engineering would be much more rewarding. He joined British Aerospace at Kingston-upon-Thames, where the Harrier and Hawk were designed and built. After studying for a degree in Aeronautical Engineering he trained to be an aerodynamicist specializing in aircraft handling qualities and flight testing. A spell in the Royal Navy followed as an Engineering Officer in the Fleet Air Arm, including 4 years at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. After leaving the RN he led the avionics and weapon systems architecture design team for the Harrier GR9 aircraft and was then selected to join the Joint Strike Fighter design team in Fort Worth, Texas. Due to the decline in the UK aerospace industry Peter moved into submarine systems design when he returned to the UK. He is now a Chartered Engineer and Engineering Manager at a composite aircraft and sailplane servicing & repair company, Southern Sailplanes, in Berkshire. Peter will be racing in his RV-6A ‘Casper’ which he has owned since 2002. As well as flying all around Europe with his wife Diana in Casper, he has trained in formation flying at the UK RV formation flying school – which he set up with other RV owners – and has competed in aerobatic competitions flying an Extra 300 and more recently a DR107 ‘One Design’. Casper has been through a few modification programmes in his lifetime with a few more go-faster changes in progress for ARC.
From Belgium, Pierre has accumulated over 9,000 flight hours. Pierre started gliding at the age of 16 with the Belgian Air Cadets and really enjoyed the feeling of silent ﬂying. A few years later, he started ﬂying in the Belgian Air Force as student pilot on Siai Marchetti SF260 and in July 2000 graduated on the Alpha Jet. After this, he joined the transport squadron ﬂying the C-130 Hercules. In 2006, he returned to the basic ﬂight training on SF260 as an Instructor and Examiner. From 2009, Pierre started a civilian career ﬂying for TNT Airways, then Cargolux on Boeing 747 freighter. In his spare times he also enjoys flying in several single engine aircraft, teaching the art of aerobatic flying and flight discipline to young pilots. Pierre is married and has two children. When he is not flying, Pierre loves to spend time with his family and 2 dogs.
From Brighton, on the South coast of England, Stephen’s love for flying started at a young age after flying with his Father growing up on a farm in Cambridgeshire. The airstrip on the farm was used by a skydiving club and he started his flying career jumping out of planes rather than piloting them. Stephen got his Private Pilot's Licence in 1996 and soon started flying a Startduster open cockpit biplane in which he started teaching himself aerobatics. The limited aerobatic capabilities of the Starduster soon became apparent and Stephen moved on to a Pitts Special. Over the years Stephen has flown all the different models of Pitts; S1C, S1S, S1T, S2A, S2B, S2C along with many other types of aircraft including a 1946 Globe Swift which he Imported from the USA. He currently flies an Extra 230 and a Vans RV7. Stephen has flown competition Aerobatics for the last 12 years and in 2014 represented Team GB in South Africa.
Etienne Verhellen is an ex-Belgium Air force C-130 pilot now working for British Airways as a pilot on the 747 fleet. Etienne is a Flight Instructor FI(A) and an Aerobatic Instructor (http://www.vliegeniseenkunst.nl/node/224) specializing on the Yak 52, and is also a member of the prestigious British aerobatic team “Yakovlevs” (www.yakovlevs.com) flying as a Yak 2. Etienne started ‘flying’ as a Reserve Officer (National service) in the Belgium Parachute Regiment (completing 35 jumps). He then joined the Belgian Royal Air Force as a pilot on a Short Service Commission (SSC) flying the SIAI Marchetti SF-260M, the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet AJ-1B and the C-130H Hercules. After his time in the Belgium Air Force, Etienne flew as an Air Taxi pilot on a Piper PA-31 Navajo, did some glider towing and some flight instructing before joining European Air Transport as a ‘Freight Dog’ initially flying the Convair CV-580 followed by 5 years as a skipper on the Boeing 727-100 and 200 Series for DHL. In 2007, he joined British Airways flying the ‘Classic’ Boeing 747-100 and 200 Series, but moved on to the more modern and iconic Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet when the Classic fleet was retired. Etienne has had the opportunity to take in the first two Yak World Aerobatic Championships organized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. The first FAI Yak WAC was in 2008 in Novosibirsk, Siberia and the second in July 2009 in Rojunai, Lithuania. Etienne is married to the very wonderful and beautiful Véronique who he met when he was still flying in the Air Force. They have two lovely teenage daughters, Saranne and Julyne. They all love flying in ‘Janie’, the family Yak 52. Saranne loves rolling, Julyne is really keen on ‘looping the loop’ while Véronique prefers going places with the Yak straight and level. Odile, the family dog occasionally flies as well… When not flying the 747 or Yaks, Etienne treasures the time he can spend with his family and friends in the Belgian countryside where he lives. He enjoys gardening, but has a real passion for building Russian Datchas for Datchniks friends.
To Fernando, the sky represents adventure, freedom and challenge. Fernando is an aerobatic and racing pilot who loves flying and wants to spread his enthusiasm and encourage everyone who dreams of flying. Born in Aveiro, but raised in Alenquer, Portugal, Fernando is the Director of Training, Formation and Race Instructor for the ARC - Air Race Championship. He graduated from the Air Force Academy and earned his pilot wings after attending the Undergraduate Pilot Training in the USAF. In the Air Force Fernando served as a Ground Attack Pilot flying the FIAT G-91 for the 301 Tiger Squadron and as an Advanced and Weapons Instructor flying the ground attack version of the Alpha Jet for the 103 Squadron, the oldest active jet-powered squadron in the Air Force. During his tour he also served as #3 and #5 pilot with the national aerobatic team "Asas de Portugal." After leaving the Air Force, Fernando joined TAP Portugal as a First Officer flying the Airbus A319/A320/321 and A340, before becoming a Captain in 2006. At the moment he enjoys the challenge of being Type Rating Examiner (TRE) and Type Rating Instructor (TRI) on the Airbus A319/320/321. Parallel to his airline career, Fernando is also a Certificated Flight Instructor (FI) and an accomplished aerobatic and display pilot with over 150 airshow performances, flying all kinds of airplanes ranging from Yaks, Pitts Specials, Extras, Vans RV’s, etc. He is also a member of the Yak Aerobatic Team YAKSTARS formed by three Yak 52’s. Fernando has logged over 15,000 flight hours, with more than 2,000 in formation aerobatics and low level aerobatic flying. In 2014, he took part in the inaugural ARC - Air Race Championship in Cascais, Portugal, where he raced a colorful Yak 52 to a third place finish in the Vintage Class. In 2016 Fernando will be racing in a Yak 52 affectionately known as "The Golden Yak".
Miguel currently flies as a long haul Captain on the Airbus A330/340 for Iberia Airlines. With over 15,000 flying hours on several Airbus types including the A300, A320, A330 and A340, he is also a Type Rating Examiner (TRE) on the A330/340. Miguel is an accomplished airshow and aerobatic pilot, with participations in several aerobatic competitions having achieved some top positions. The most relevant one was in 2007 during the Evora championship. Miguel also enjoys formation flying and is a member of the "Asociación Jacob 52", the house of the famous "Jacob 52 Aerobatic Team". Passionate for vintage aircraft, Miguel is a member of the "Infante de Orleans" Foundation, a flying museum at Madrid - Cuatro Vientos, where he enjoys flying the Polikarpov Po-2, a soviet biplane rebuilt in 1956. In his spare time Miguel enjoys practicing martial arts (Karate/Kendo/Iaido) and water skiing.
From Madrid, Nacho Pozo, has logged over 7,000 flying hours. At the young age of 12, Nacho had the incredible privilege to fly with Felipe Aresti in an old Bucker Jungman. After so many years, he can still feel the emotion of his first looping on that memorable day. At the age of 18 Nacho joined the Spanish Air Force Academy and was a graduate of the 40th Promotion. After receiving his pilot wings, Nacho became an operational fighter pilot, flying the French made Dassault Mirage F-1 for 10 years. During this period Nacho logged 1,500 hours in the 462 and 141 Squadrons in what he considers the best part of his life: High g forces environment, flying faster than twice the speed of sound on test flights, air to ground low and fast (600KIAS) missions, air refueling, air combat and great comradery. He graduated from the Tactical Leadership Program and was flying instructor in the Mirage F-1, CASA C-101 and Tamiz. Nacho has also flown F-18, F-4 Phantom, F-5, A-37, Pucara, PC-7, T-34 Mentor, Bonanza with total of 2.100 hours in the Air Force. After being promoted to Major, Nacho left the Air Force and joined the Business Jets Arena flying as captain of a Citation Jet, Citation V, Falcon 20, Falcon 900, Bombardier Global Express, Global 5000 and Global 6000. He has also been involved in several management positions such as Deputy Flight Operations Manager, Flight Safety Manager, Human Factors Expert and Crew Resort Management Instructor (CRMI). At the moment he is Bombardier Global 6000 Captain/TRI for MJet. Nacho is also a member of the Spanish Jacob 52 Aerobatic Team enjoying formation flying and teaching on his Yak 52. Nacho is a rookie in the ARC - Air Race Championship expecting to have fun in this new challenge. Aviation for him means: Passion, freedom, action, effort, challenge, courage, perfection, control, power, no limits, taking decisions..... a dream come true. Friend to his friends. Nacho loves a nice siesta and good chat.
From Madrid, Patrick, loves everything airborne. Since his childhood that he wanted to be a pilot, making his dream come true in 1996 when he obtained his private SE and ME pilot’s license. For the last 20 years Patrick has tried to acquire as much experience as possible, flying many airplanes like C150, C172, C177RG, C182, C210 Centurion, Beechcraft SR24, Beechcraft Bonanza 33, DA20, DA40, RV7, Piper Arrow, Piper Warrior, Piper Seneca, Piper Aztec, Citation II, Citation V, Yak 52, Extra 300, Extra 330, etc. In 2004 Patrick became addicted to the aerobatic world when he acquired a Yak 52. He then joined the "Asociación Jacob 52" and since then he has been developing his aerobatic skills and was introduced to the fantastic world of formation aerobatics. At the moment Patrick is a full member of the Jacob 52 Aerobatic Team, a formation team formed by 5 Yak 52’s. For many years this team was exclusively flown by former military pilots, but at the moment two non-military pilots fly with the team and Patrick is proud to be one of them. Patrick is also a member of the Repsol Bravo 3 Aerobatic Team, equipped with two Sukhois, working on the team’s technical side. During his flying career Patrick accumulated over 1,100 flight hours, with more than 400 in aerobatic flying. In 2014 Patrick took part in the inaugural 2014 air race in Cascais, Portugal, racing a Yak 52. Patrick was very enthusiastic with his participation in 2014 and is looking forward to racing again in 2016.
From Lisbon, Portugal, Pedro has 34 years of flying experience and accumulated over 20,000 flight hours in 128 different aircraft types. Pedro started his flying career in 1982 when he joined the Air Force. He´s first flying experience was with the DHC-1 Chipmunk, followed by the Cessna T-37 and Lockheed T-33. Pedro was assigned as a fighter pilot to the 303 Squadron “Tigres” at Lajes Azores, flying the FIAT G-91. In 1987, Pedro ended his exciting tour in the Air Force and joined TAP Portugal as an airline pilot. Ever since, Pedro has enjoyed a successful career and currently flies an Airbus 330/340 as Captain. Throughout the years he was also type rated on the Boeing B727, Lockheed L1011, Airbus A310 and Airbus A319/320/321. Flying is in his blood, so in his spare times Pedro enjoys flying everything airborne, including several classical and historical airplanes like the Boeing Stearman and Chipmunk. Pedro is also current in many auto-gyros, motorgliders, ultralights, delta-wings, etc, and is an accomplished and dedicated aircraft builder, having completed two airplanes, a Rans S-10 and a Bradley Avenger. He is also an enthusiastic member of the Yak Aerobatic Team YAKSTARS formed by three Yak 52’s. For 10 years, Pedro was also a synthetic simulator instructor FNPT-II in the GAir flying school in Cascais teaching Multi-crew coordination course (MCC) to rookie ATPL pilots. In 2016 ARC - Air Race Championship Pedro will race in the Vintage Class and is very excited with his new challenge. Pedro is the father of a son and two daughters as well as a very proud grandfather of three lovely kids.
Peter is the only Swiss Sport Class Air Race Pilot in Reno, USA, where he flies a Thunder Mustang, which is a replica of the world famous North American P51 Mustang. Peter enjoyed success air racing in his first year at Reno, placing 3rd in the Sports Gold Class in 2014. In the ARC - Air Race Championship, Peter will fly in the Vintage class with a Yak 52. Peter’s love for flying began with paragliding and skydiving but quickly grew to flying aircrafts. Peter holds a ATPL pilot’s license for both airplanes and helicopters. His experience includes flying business jets, mountain flying in the Himalayas of Nepal and helicopter rescue in the Swiss Alps. He is a Certified Flight Instructor (FI) as well as a Flight Examiner (FE). Peter loves the challenge of flying, though his main concern and priority is always on safety and friendship. Before Peter started flying, he worked as a professional mountain guide, climbing many of the biggest north faces of the Alps, such as the Eiger, Matterhorn and Grande Jorasse. Peter also did multiple expeditions in the Himalayas and Andes. Peter is now managing his companies Scenic Air, Skydive Switzerland, MX Management and Share Plane, which are all based in Interlaken, Switzerland.
Andrew, from USA, grew up flying in the backcountry of Idaho and loves to share aviation with friends and family. He has raced his entire life, downhill skiing, snowmobiles, motorcycles and air racing. He has raced in Reno for the last three years in the Sport Gold class flying over 350mph each year in his twin turbo Lancair Super Legacy. He won rookie of the year in 2013, the Airmanship award in 2014 and finished 3rd in 2015. His best lap speed was 370mph. His educational background includes a BSME, a MSME, a MBA, and has flown 33 different types of aircraft. He has a background in engine development at BRP (Evinrude) and currently works for STIHL Inc.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, Artur Kielak is 37 years old and has over 9,000 flight hours. He initiated his aviation carrier at the age of 17 as a glider pilot. He was also a skydiver after he started flying airplanes. His love for aerobatics came from when he was a young child, by looking at fighter jets, flying over his head. Currently Artur is Captain of a Boeing 737-800. Before that, Artur worked as a corporate pilot and demonstration pilot for Cessna Aircraft Company. He also worked as an Instructor for a flight school and a pilot in skydiving operations flying an Antonov-2. Artur was also a ferry pilot on singe engine airplanes, flying over Baltic and Mediterranean Sea as well as Atlantic Ocean. He holds JAA Airline Transport Pilot License and FAA Commercial license for airplanes and helicopters. Throughout his career he flew more than 25 types of airplanes, and helicopters with piston, turbine and jet engines. He has been an airshow and aerobatic pilot for many years, being a member of the Polish National Aerobatic Team. He was Polish National Champion and United Kingdom vice-champion in the Unlimited Aerobatic competition. In 2015 Artur finished the World Aerobatic Championship in France in 8th place and was the 2016 vice champion of World Air Games in Dubai where he won a silver medal. Artur is also a dealer and demonstration pilot for XtremeAir factory in Germany, which is manufacturing fully certified, carbon – unlimited aerobatic plane: XA41 and XA42 which Artur will be flying during the ARC - Air Race Championship Artur graduated from The Academy of National Defense in Poland and holds a masters degree in Aviation Navigation Systems. He is a big fan of martial arts, sailing and metal music.
Bob is from the Netherlands and started flying gliders at the age of 14. Fell in love with aviation and decided he wanted to fly every single day. He started his flying career in the USA where he was a Flight Instructor and a charter/commuter pilot. Sometime later he joined the KLM flight academy and become an airline pilot flying a Fokker F100 in the Far East. Later he joined Martinair, where he is being flying for the last 21 years. Currently he is a Captain flying the MD-11 travelling all over the world. Bob loves flying aerobatics and helicopters and his favorite airplanes are the XtremeAir 42, Extra 330SC, P-51 Mustang, Boing B787 Dreamliner and Cabri G2 helicopter. Bob is looking forward to the ARC - Air Race Championship, which he feels will be a great challenge. For Bob safety comes first, even tough he is really excited with the idea of entertaining a huge crowd. He will be a serious competitor, although it will not be an easy task with so many experienced pilots racing. Let the race begin... He will be race number 12.
Chris was born in Biel-Bienne, the world famous Swiss Watch City. Since a young boy, he always played with small planes and dreamed of flying like a bird. He started flying at the age of 16 with hang gliders and in the last 30 years he collected all Pilot licences possibly available with the exception of the licence of Helicopters and Skydiving which is probably on its way. During his young years, Chris enjoyed flying Hang and Para gliders and started flying Balloons at the age of 19. By 27, Chris had founded his own Flying Company, the Take-Off Balloon AG (www.ballonfahren.ch / www.airventure.ch) and currently runs 12 Hot-Air Balloons, 3 Aerobatic planes and 2 Passenger Planes (www.transwing.ch). During his studies in Economics, Chris learned to fly motor powered planes in San Diego, USA. At the age of 36 he finally managed to buy his first Extra300L and has been an enthusiastic and fanatic Freestyle Airshow Pilot ever since. Chris has flown thousands of passengers in Hot Air Balloons and several hundred is his Double Seaters Extra 300/330’s He is currently the CEO of a Swiss Powder Metal Manufacturer (Meyer Sintermetall AG, www.sintermetall.ch). Chris is married and is the father of 2 sons, Kim (2002) and Tom (2008).
Gerrit was born in Belgium, in a small city close to Brussels and has a passion for aviation from an early age. He passed the selection process for the Belgian Civil Aviation School and started to fly as a pilot with the now defunct airline SABENA airlines on Boeing 737’s, following a temporary 2 year period for the Luxemburg passenger airline Luxair on B737’s. Having logged over 13,500 flight hours, he is currently a Captain on the Boeing 747-400 and 747-8 for Cargolux Airlines, a Luxemburg based cargo company, for whom he has been flying for the past 20 years. Gerrit’s passion for aviation also included aerobatic flying. While a student pilot for the Belgian civil aviation school, he was introduced to aerobatic flying on the Siai Marchetti SF260, as part of the airline pilot’s flight training. Years later, Gerrit started to take advanced aerobatic flight lessons on the Pitts Special, an airplane he quickly outgrew and moved on to fly the Extra 300 series unlimited aerobatic airplanes. He is now an aerobatic instructor after years of training with top aerobatic pilots such as Nicolas Ivanoff, Catherine Maunoury, Gerald Cooper and Claude Bessière. Gerrit has participated in several European and World aerobatic competitions. The participation in the ARC - Air Race Championship in Portugal, introduces him to a new kind of flying where he will be able to use all his flying skills differently. Gerrit lives with his 2 children in Luxemburg and in his spare time he enjoys downhill skiing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, tennis, and fast cars. Gerrit will be racing on the Philipp Steinbach’s last creation, the Game Composites GB1, one of the most innovative and revolutionaries airplanes of the twenty one century. For sure he and his GB1 will be one of the stars of the event.
Jorge was born near Paris, but has lived most of his life in Portugal. At the age of 19 Jorge left home in the south of Portugal and joined the Air Force Academy. In 2005 he become an airline pilot and Currently Jorge flies as an airline Captain for TAP Portugal in the Airbus 320 fleet and holds over 8,500 hours in helicopters, jet and piston airplanes and gliders. Jorge is a Former Combat, Search and Rescue helicopter pilot in the Portuguese Airforce, with 2 tours outside the country. He was also a flight instructor at the Air Force Academy and participated in several firefighting campaigns. Since 2007, Jorge has performed over 200 aerobatic exhibitions and participated in several European and World championships as a member of the Advance Aerobatic National team. He was also a co-creator of the first Portuguese civilian aerobatic patrol, with 2 Yak 52’s - The Smokewings. At the moment he is a member of the Aerobatic Team YAKSTARS formed by three Yak 52’s. In the inaugural 2014 ARC - Air Race Championship in Cascais, Portugal Jorge earned a 3rd place Flying an Extra 300 in the Extreme Class and is currently a Formation Flying Instructor at the ARC. Besides is love for aviation, Jorge has acquired others hobbies such as surfing, playing American football and enjoying his family.
Scott Farnsworth started his obsession with aviation as early as he can remember. Ever since his first flight in a small Piper aircraft on his 15th birthday Scott has passionately pursued everything that flies. Scott’s adventurous spirit led him into the Baja Bush pilot lifestyle while attending college in San Diego CA. His unique flying opportunities into some of the most challenging environments provided the experience that allowed Scott to be hired for his first airline job at a young age. When he was hired, Scott was the youngest pilot within the airline. At the age of 22 Scott moved into jet airliners a setup in an already successful career lived with dedication and enthusiasm. Scott’s position both as an Airbus 321 Captain for Jetblue Airways and founder of AircraftWraps has allowed him to explore and pursue his passions in both aerobatics and low-level competition pylon racing. In 2015, Scott competed in his XtremeAir XA42 and earned the position of Champion in the Reno National Air Races Sport Class.
Born and raised in California, Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. With more than 7,000 hours of flight time and over 1,200 parachute jumps, Vicky has a passion for everything airborne. Her flying career has spanned over thirty years and she currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters, seaplanes, and gliders. In 2005, Vicky began training with air show legend and trainer to the stars, Wayne Handley. Competing in aerobatic contests throughout the US, Vicky won first place in the Intermediate category in both the Northwest and Southwest Regional Championships in 2006. Two years later she placed in the top 10 finishers at the US National Aerobatic Championships in the Advanced category. In between flying in aerobatic contests Vicky began performing in air shows. Today she focuses her energy on flying airshows. Vicky holds a surface level waiver and a formation card, and has flown well over 100 air show performances at venues across the US, including performing at the largest airshow in the world, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. In 2010, Vicky began racing in the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV and was chosen “Rookie of the Year” after winning her first race ever. In 2014, Vicky brought home the first place Sport Silver and Bronze Jet trophies. And in September 2015, Vicky made history as the “fastest woman” racer ever in the history of the Reno Air Races when she qualified a one-of-a-kind L-139 jet on the race course at 469.831 mph. In addition to her aviation pursuits Vicky holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and has had a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry. Vicky is currently Vice President of the Sport Class Air Racing Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA. Vicky is proudly sponsored by APECS Aerospace Corporation, an engineering consulting firm that specializes in providing support to aviation maintenance repair organizations. Other sponsors are Oregon Aero, maker of seating systems and helmet and headset upgrades and ASL Camguard, creator of advanced engine oil supplements to reduce engine wear.
Stefano from Italy, is an aviation enthusiast and loves everything airborne. He started jumping out of airplanes at a young age while in the military service. Later he flew from the mountains with paragliders, ultralights and motor aircraft. Soon after he obtained his PPL license, he started flying aerobatics which has been one of the passions of his life. Throughout his flying career he has been developing his aerobatic and formation flying skills with very experienced instructors including some military pilots of the national aerobatic team. One of the adventures of his life was when he flew over the Oahu ocean, flying on the iconic Boeing Stearman and a Waco, with an old and charismatic military pilot. Since then he has been completely addicted to old and classic airplaness, most particularly vintage military aerobatic planes. At the moment Stefano owns and maintains several historic planes, like a 1940 Boeing Stearman, Mudry Cap 10 and a Yakovlev 11 (www.old-birds.com). He is an enthusiastic airshow pilot, displaying his old birds all over Europe. This year he will be displaying in some emblematic places like the Hahnweide Oldtimertreffen, Croatian International Airshow, Zeltweg Airpower, FlyParty-Italy, etc. Other than flying old machines, he also loves flying taildraggers. Very recently he discovered the magic of advanced aerobatics while flying his “new-old” toy, an Extra 300, the well known v1, the first production machine from Walter Extra. He is really excited with the idea of participating at the Lisbon race. He will compete at the Extreme class and will be race 90.