Times-Age reporter Beckie Wilson got a taste of the action British aerobatic glider pilots, Guy Westgate and Tim Dews are capable of, soaring and swooping more than 500ft into the sky over Wairarapa yesterday.
AeroSPARX pilots Mr Westgate and Mr Dews are promising, weather permitting, to give punters attending Wings over Wairarapa “a spectacular show” tomorrow night.
The duo arrived in Masterton this week rehearse their moves and to make the most of the great flying conditions the region is known for internationally.
“It’s an exciting time for UK pilots as New Zealand, for many reasons, is seen as a flying mecca,” Mr Westgate said.
Mr Westgate is an eight-time UK national gliding champion, and has been flying Boeings and Dreamliners since being joining British Airways as a new pilot.
Mr Westgate and Mr Dews, a composite repair specialist and an accomplished display pilot, bring their unique talents with gliders together in night-time aerobatics displays that include fireworks and LED lights.
Mr Dews said the pair are “healthily nervous”.
“We’re never nervous for safety, we are just nervous we won’t deliver.”
The Grob109 aircrafts are mounted with pilot-controlled pyrotechnics and LED lights at the tip of each wing to provide the ‘wow’ factor.
In the aerobatic formations, Mr Dews leads with Mr Westgate following — which seems to work to his advantage.
“I get to see him fly, and I think it’s so cool,” Mr Westgate said.
Mr Westgate will also attempt to set a world record during a roll-on tow stunt, both the number of continuous rolls, while attached to the tow plane, and the number of rolls in one flight.
“It will be everything I’ve learnt in the last 15 years flying gliders until now.”
Craig Stobbs, from the re-formed Masterton Soaring Club, will be Mr Westgate’s tow pilot for the world record attempt.
Mr Stobbs said: “The attempt is something unique and I have never had such a thing done with a plane.”