Their total flying experience is over 12,000 hours
Their symphony in the sky left the awestruck audience crying for more on a bright Wednesday morning at the Air Force Station Yelahanka. Heartstoppingly poetic, this bunch of four pilots, who initially got into flying as a hobby, treats each of these aerobatic performances as rigorous practice.
“Each display is a practice for us. The important thing is that you gain experience in flying and not on a simulator,” said Radka Machova (64), one of the pilots in the Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team.
“Practice sessions usually start at our base during the season, and three days of such practice sessions are dedicated each week,” the Czech veteran told The Hindu. The team participates in 18 to 20 shows each year.
The other three colleagues are Jiri Saller (60), Jiri Veprek (53) and Miroslav Krejci (56). The Flying Bulls regaled spectators during Aero India 2011 too. The four, who fly the Czech-make lightweight Zlin 50 LX, have a combined experience of over 12,000 flying hours. Mr. Saller has been a member of the team since 1991, with the others joining later.
Core formation and precision flying is what the aerobatic team is all about, says Ms. Machova. “Loop is a basic manoeuvre, but it is the loop with a mirror position flying or the quick drop or even the hammerhead position that are among the toughest.”
The team chooses the sequence according to weather conditions and limitation in altitude among others. It avoids tough manoeuvres initially when a new pilot enters the team.
“Selection to the final team depends on experience, licence, minimum three years of flying practice with the team and team spirit,” Ms. Machova, who has been part of the Flying Bulls team since 2002.
She is quick to respond when asked if the age factor is crucial. “We undergo medical tests every six months and we have flying experience. Experience is what matters.”