View Full Version : Display Flying

6th Apr 2002, 13:10
Does anyone know what it takes to become a display pilot?

Is it only for CPL's or would a sufficiently experienced PPL do? How would you start it? I can't say I've ever seen a C152 at an airshow doing a high speed pass!! Is there a big difference between displaying aero's and non-aero's?

At what level do you start having the plane (maybe even yourself) paid for you efforts? Who would do the paying? (sponsor or organiser of the airshow)

And now the ultimate - flying warbirds! Is there a way in without being a multi-millionaire and/or ex-Mil?

If anyone can put anything useful in (esp. if you know something about it in NZ) then please do!!

Cheers, Dupre.

tiger burn
8th Apr 2002, 17:16
Well sadly, Dupre, I missed WOW this year, but I do recall at the show 2 years ago there were a couple of Top dressing aircraft performing a rather nifty display routine. Maybe something of novelty might catch the organiser's eye?

Here in UK, we did have a Tiger Moth display team called "Diamond Nine" but sadly they disbanded a couple of years ago. However I know of one Moth pilot who set up his own outfit called "Captain Neville's Flying Circus" & he does one man shows in a deH 82 at Shuttleworth, Moth Fly ins etc.

Re Warbirds, not that I'm an authority on this, but some pilots are ex RAF, the Hannas for eg & some of the boys who display at Old Warden, but then someone of the late Tom Middleton's calibre made it from flying Saabs commercially, to running Biplane Adventures at Wanaka & becoming Sir Tim Wallis' chief pilot, test flying the Polikarpovs etc. I guess he proved anything is possible.

Hope this is of use? Out of interest, how was Wanaka this year?

Piece of Cake
9th Apr 2002, 02:09
I was lucky enough to go to Wanaka this year,it was absolutley fantastic! I can't think of a better venue for an airshow anywhere in the world. They had some interesting formations like:

2 P-51s, 2 P-40 Kittyhawks and 2 Vampires all in formation then doing a tail chase.

The Hunter and Sea Fury and Hurricane did a goog routine,

The Hurricane and Spitfire flown by Keith Skilling and Ray Hanna respectively also did a superb pairs formation sequence.

The Polikarpov's were also really good as was the mock airfield attack by the Harvards. There was also some RNZAF types suchas C-130, P-3 and 727, red checkers and RNZN Sea Sprite.

Piece of cake

9th Apr 2002, 04:19
dupre, in the UK you have to get a display authorisation from the CAA. This comes in multi layer as appropriate to your experience.

It goes something like this as explained to me by the aforementinoed Mr. Neville who is a CAA authorised display examiner:

1. The basic display is a flypast down the runway centreline.
2. You demonstrate to the examiner that you can accomplish this safely and know how to do it in various wind conditions without flying over the crowd.
3. You get your display authorisation for the flypast only.
4. From this basic level you then practise new routines and demonstrate to the examiner and, if he/she is happy as above, you get further extensions to your display authorisation.

A Public Transport C of A is not required cos no passengers are allowed. I'm assuming this as most of the warbirds operate on a CAA Permit plus a lot of the Yaks etc are on their own country registrations.

Under the terms of a PPL you can get "paid" your direct costs for the display, ie fuel, oil and a sandwich. If you want payment over and above that, you need a CPL or ATPL.

It's yet another thing I would love to do but haven't done anything about. This year for sure :D :D

9th Apr 2002, 04:29
I was at Wanaka on Easter Saturday, and I agree it was a superb display of real flying and airmanship, however----, most of those pilots, in fact the majority, a very, very experienced. The Gavin Trethewey's and Keith Skillings of this world are almost all ex-RNZAF or, in Ray Hannas case, ex-RAF[ though he is a kiwi of course] with thousands of hours flying experience.They are chosen because of their experience, and the fact of their military training because that can never be bought and paid for in the general aviation field. The Hunter owner/pilot was also ex-RNZAF, and what a treat it was to see that again!

I realised the other day that I have been watching Gavin Trethewy display flying for something like forty years! While on 14 Sqn RNZAF he was the dedicated display pilot for the Canberra B12, and to my mind, and I've seen a few Canberra solos, he was the best. He then went on to fly with Air New Zealand, until retirement as a 747-400 Captain.

So, while there a pilots of this calibre around, there wouldn't seem to be much room for a PPL or even a CPL unless you had somehow gained similar experience

Genghis the Engineer
10th Apr 2002, 21:10
I've been attempting to become a display pilot for some time (well since early last year, but circumstances - varying from FMD to the chap teaching me the skills' wife having a kidney transplant, have got in the way somewhat). However, I'm slowly getting there and hope to do a few shows this summer.

There's no money in it. so don't even think about that aspect - the best you'll get is a reasonable contribution to costs. But, a commercial license is not a requirement, a good few hundred hours in whatever you're going to display probably are. There's a CAA publication, CAP403 which covers the strict regulations.

First trick, find an experience display pilot and persuade them to teach you the skills of display flying, planning, rehearsals, etc.

Second trick, do lots and lots of practice.

Third trick, get a CAA display evaluator down, they'll go through your routine, discuss safety issues, watch your display, and eventually write a DA recommendation to the CAA.

Final trick, get yourself insured, and persuade an airshow organiser to give you a go. Expect to start out doing village fetes and small local shows before you get enough of a reputation to start doing any significant shows.

I'm somewhere between 2 and 3 at the moment, but fortunately my display partner / teacher / is vastly more experienced than I am, so I'm personally optimistic about 4.