Have you ever seen a Denny Dobson display? What did you think of it? I'm curious...doesn't matter if you're an aerobatic ace, or an airshow spectator...I'm just wondering if I'm missing the point of this fellow. I know that ego is a part of a display pilot's character, but our Denny really takes the biscuit. He's continually touted as an aerobatic legend, yet his displays in his blue and yellow Extra300 don't seem to me to be that accomplished....which is not a major problem in itself, since he appears to be safe...How does he stand up though, when compared to pilots like Brian Lecomber, Nigel Lamb, Will Curtis, Alan Cassidy, Mark Jeffries, Diana Britten, Steve Jones, Paul Bonhomme etc... I only ask because of all the hype that surrounds this guy. It's incredible , really it is. I know he was "self-taught", which may explain some of his flying, and I've heard that he doesn't charge for his displays, which I'm not sure I believe, because he does seem to work quite hard at it. I guess the point I'm making here is that if he's as good as he thinks he is, why does he always seem to be going on about it? The best pilots I know just get on with it and let their flying do the talking..if anything, they're highly self critical. If he's not as good as he thinks he is...well, that's another problem altogether.
Maybe I'm a bad person. Maybe Denny is really recapturing the spirit of the barnstormers...but I don't think I have a particular axe to grind. I'm just an aerobatics pilot who has flown in a few contests finds it mildly irritating to hear someone who is not that proficient to be hailed as the finest performer in the country...He's certainly industrious though, can't fault him for that.
Fortunate enough to briefly meet him at RAF Waddington airshow in the hosting tent after the show, seemed to be a genuinly nice bloke, who works hard on his displays, didnt get round to talking about it as other men in green bags wanted to chat(eg nudge away the bloke NOT in a green bag-moi). My point is that, although the bloke is indeed a very good display pilot, and somewhat of a legend within the display community, perhaps he is not yet worthy of such an accolade on a national or global level! Wouldnt have minded a go in the extra tho
I booked Denny for an event my wife was running and I can assure you he does charge for his display. It was basically a non-aviation audience and without exception they all said it was the best display they had seen, so that says he is satisfying one audience. It must be tough to make a living out of aerobatic flying so I guess some self-promotion comes with the territory. He also did a corporate day for us so it is possible that you can get airbourne in the Extra. By the way Waldo what do you do that matches his low-level, high-speed ribbon cut?
I've seen Denny fly and I can honestly say it was one of the best displays I've ever seen. The ribbon cut is awesome, and the general interaction between himself and the audience makes the display more entertaining (through the self-commentary). His maneuvres may not be spot on to a critical eye (I don't know) but his displays are certainly exciting and this is what the public wants, and if the public is happy than surely this makes it easier for all of us involved in aviation.
Well, I saw him flying at Shoreham today, and in fairness his display seemed much improved. He's winding the Extra up a bit now, and doing a few gyroscopic manoeuvres. If he's liked by the public, maybe that's the answer. Perhaps I've been spending too much time on the competition scene, where we spend much of our time critiqueing individual figures...still as to the ribbon cut, I'd be more impressed if it was flown inverted...
....ah I don't know some people are never pleased . Next news you'll be saying you want to see the utterly butterlies cutting the ribbons with scissors!!
What would the wright brothers say if they heard us now, just flying for them (and us I suppose!!) was a massive break through now we're talking about cutting ribbons inverted, what will it be in the next 100 years, cutting ribbons with light sabers!!
Agree that the aerobatics are OKish but IMHO a bit rough around the edges. Compared to Brian Lecomber, Nigel Lamb, Will Curtis, Richard Pickin, Xavier De Lapparent, Pete Kynsey, John Harper, Alan Cassidy, Paul Bonhomme, Steve Jones, Mark Jefferies, Gennady Elfimov, Nikolai Timofeev, Diana Britten and quite a few others, it's not very polished! Yet through relentless self-promotion, and sponsors (albeit minor) who insist on using the Extra 300 as a flying hoarding, he'll continue appearing at displays.
It's a crazy world we live in!
Last edited by Vere de fakawee; 31st Aug 2003 at 06:48.
Seen him at Oshkosh (two years running) and he's utterly amazing. He's not the most technically accomplished but he wins the crowd like nobody else. His displays just flow. And on the ground - his image is so cheesy you just HAVE to grin; George Hamilton tan, carefully bouffant, white grin......
Of course, there's something about a Pitts being flown well that looks so right!
For accurate aerobatic flying any of the crop of current competition pilots beat Denny Dobson hands down. Airshow aeros, for pure smoothness any of the Brietling Fighter pilots and Pete Kinsey. In terms of light aeros I think that the MicroLease Extra duo and Matadors are way better in presentation and technique than any of the others. That said, Denny Dodson does a great deal to promote display flying in a positive and enjoyable light. The majority watching are interested in only the spectacle and in this area you have to give him top marks.
Its a bit like comparing apples and pears. Denny is a display pilot whose success can be judged on whether the public are impressed and whether the display organisation book him for next year. Many of the others named are competition pilots whose goal is to impress judges and win medals/titles. The two types of aerobatic flying are not the same.
If our competition aerobatic pilots are so good, how come they don't do better in the World Aerobatic Championships. Is it lack of funds, biased judges or the style of UK aeros? I have to say that none of the UK guys got close to de Lapparent on content or style the last time I saw him at North Weald for the Aerofair.
Can't say I've ever heard any hype about him beyond the commentary that every act has, and he's probably the most genuine, easy-going and friendly pilot I've ever met - no prima donna stuff at all, and he is endlessly self-critical which all rather begs the question of why you, Waldo, are slagging the bloke off so much when anybody's who ever actually spoken to him comes away with entirely the opposite impression.
I booked him to fly a bunch of mates at my stag do and none of them will ever forget an incredibly entertaining day out - though one of them has put "Bring it on" in his book of phrases-never-to-be-spoken-to-an-aerobatic-pilot. He even joined us in the pub for the evening. And then I booked him to fly at my wedding too - and the crowd thought he was brilliant.
Still, maybe you're just ticked off he did 4 ribbons at Shoreham rather than 3 you expected eh.
The very very best I have seen, in terms of entertainment, is Jurgis Kairys in his 450hp Sukhoi 26M. Absolutely mindbogglingly good. How is 16 consecutive snap rolls in the downwards vertical stopping precisely on his intended exit line? Just for example.... or a "cobra" on take off from 20 feet ...
Technically, Xavier du Lapperent may be more accomplished, but IMHO, Jurgis flies a display that is more entertaining to the general public - Xavier appeals to the more aviation / aerobatically minded audience.
Shame that Jurgis is not often seen in the UK - a bit of a hike from his base in Lithuania. Storming aeroplane though. Spins a huge 4 bladed prop and has to be the ultimate SU26.