The next stop for the Global Stars is the World Air Carnival in Zhengzhou, China.
Approximately 800km South West of Beijing . Pilots from the Global Stars team. Rolandas Paksas-formation leader, Steve Carver-nr2 left wing, Halim Othman-nr3 right wing, Mark Jefferies-nr4 in box. Svetlana kapanina, Mikhail Mamistov, Partick Davidson and Ramon Alonso also join us. The show takes place on the 25th – 27th September at Zhengzhou.
2nd October. Travels start at 04:30 with a bus ride to the airport some 1:30 away. First stop Chengdu, then BA 088 to LHR with just a 30 mins delay, home by 19:00 at total of 22.5 hrs traveling.
1st October. Nothing much happens today other than a trip to town for shopping. woppedo
30th September 50% of the teams personal have chosen to take a few additional days tourism in the area. A bus is laid on and travels to the Shoulin temple. Along the way we get to see the countryside. A mix of old and new. Old houses dug into the sides of vertical cliff faces, small farming “allotments” and modern high rise blocks of flats. The new building has taken much land from the farmers who seam to grow masses of maize. The only open spaces for drying the crop are the highways, roads and pavements. The crop is dehulmed and spread out to dry. After which a mobile “contractor” appears to thresh the grains. This different drying process reminds me of my travels to Albania in 1994 where i saw farming from the 1600’s to 1930’s
29th September. Final stowage of the aircraft making sure no parts are in the wrong containers. Also today we have been asked to disassemble the banner towing Husky for Aviad. This is not as simple as simple as first thought. The end of the day sees all aircraft packed and ready to depart on there travels.
28th September. Today the engineers are in charge, again it’s a 06:30 bus to breakfast and then off to the airfield some 40 mins later. 2 persons allocated to each aircraft we start work. The CAP 231 being the most demanding in the wing area for disassemble. Owner Phil Massetti and Andy McLuskie tackle this. By the end of the day the all aircraft are apart and in the container to be lashed.
27th September. Final day of the show. As per normal the visibility is not great, approx. 2km. Aircraft are removed from the hangar and taxied to the flight line. We take the opportunity to do a group photo shoot. Show flying gets underway with inflation of hot air balloons, parachuting with fireworks attached to the jumpers, autogyros and the paramotor display team.
The Global Stars have 20 minuets of live TV allocated in the 30 minuets’ segment of today’s show. We fill this with 4 ship formation, solo with Rolandas Paksas, 3 ship formation, Solo Ramon Alonso and a pylon race by Patrick Davidson. Precision timing is imperative.
After a quick trip back to the apartments its out again to the evening bash. Hosted by the Mooney factory. A few welcome speeches and we sit down to a buffet supper. After which awards are made. Phil Massettie being chief judge recites the rankings for the aerobatic race and freestyle contest. The contest is run on rankings per day. With rankings from 1 – 8 being issued. Over the 3 days the lowest rankings are discarded and then results totaled. At the final tally MJ wins, Ramon 2nd, Svetlana 3rd.
26th. September. Balloon bursting demonstration. This sounds easy but very easy to miss! With the balloon constantly rising the flight path needs very small adjustments. Basically find a target and aim at the balloon as you get closer just raise the nose a little. The pop of the balloon is quite loud in the cockpit. Just to add a bit more fun to the event I burst mine as I’m rolling 🙂
25th September. First show day. We have a morning and afternoon slots. By the end of the day I have flown 4 times. 2 different formations, Aeros race, Solo aeros and bomb dropping plus skywriting. All very intense and tiring.
24th September. Press and practice day. Little bit hectic to say the least. One flight in the morning and two in the afternoon. The Global stars team slot is 20 mins. We fill this with four ship formation, Solo YAK 50 freestyle, three ship formo and then myself solo.
23rd September. Today is a full practice day with every team vying for practice slots. The Global stars fly a 4 ship with Rolandas leading and then he does his solo practice. Its then the turn for the 3 ship with Mark leading Steve and Halim.
22nd September. Heavy rain till lunch time. Visibility starts at approx 2km in the morning increasing to 8km in the late afternoon. All teams practice, Global Stars 4 ship and 3 ship along with solos. Breitling, Yakovlevs and the other World Air Carnival pilots fly.
21st September. The China CAA brief us, procedure etc. With all planes to check its imperative we work to strict timings. I fly the 300L first. Climb to height and progressively check thru all aspects. Nothing abnormal so aeros commence. The next to test is the 300. Shortly after take off a section of gap seal comes loose and is tapping on the cowling….. Phil Massetti check flies the CAP 231. Rolandas flies the YAK 50 and we are all set for formation practice.
20th September. A visit to Shaolin Kung Fu school and Buddhist temple has been arranged. Those not under pressure to complete assemble of the aircraft travel to see this spectacular area and displays. We are meet by China TV who film our visit and interview us. Lunch is with the Nr2 Master of the Temple. Further photo opportunities and then back to the airfield to do a final check on aircraft before the following days check flights.
19th September. All aircraft removed from the containers and assembly takes place. Myself and Keith work on the 300L completing this by the end of the day. Ramon Alonso assembles his SU31, Kastas and Ricardas assemble the YAK 50 for Rolandas. The end of the day sees most parts looking like planes. My team leader Rolandas Paksas and right wing man Halim Othman arrive in the evening along with Mike Wood the “air boss”.
18th September Breakfast of popcorn and coffee as the hotel only does breakfast from 7 till 9. Then of to the airport opening the containers at 11;30 we find all 3 of the aircraft we packed in the UK some 8 weeks previously. Assembly starts with the Extra 300 as 2 persons can do this aircraft in a day. At the end of the day we meet Steve, Phil and Andy at the accommodation for supper.
16th September, Myself and Keith Taylor traveled down to LHR for the start of 24 hrs. traveling to Zhengzhou. LHR terminal 5 in heavy rain and 2 km visibility. We travel British Airways direct to Beijing arriving in the typical “China haze” of 1.5 km. Our Captain for the flight is Jeremy Vaughan who kindly upgrades us to a “flat bed” seat. A 5 hours wait and we fly to Zhengzhou for the evening of the 18th.
Travels for some of the team members, pilots and engineers commences on the 16th September to assemble the aircraft. CAP 231 EX, Extra 300L, Extra 300, YAK 50, 2 x Su31, Pitts S2B and Extra 330LC.
Rolandas Paksas is flying the YAK 50 as the Global Stars team leader on this occasion. He is the former President and Prime Minister of Lithuania. Now serving his country as an EU member of parliament. In former times he was a famous sports person in Lithuania. Several times, he won the aerobatics championship in Lithuania, and was the winner of international aerobatics competitions.
Halim Othman is a decorated Malaysian air display team leader and a former top gun pilot in the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Halim was captivated by flying as a child and fulfilled his dream at the age of 19 when he joined the Royal Malaysian Force. Halim rose quickly through the ranks and won Malaysia’s distinguished Top Gun Pilot award in 1991 as the best fighter pilot in the Air Force.
Halim was an air display pilot and flying instructor in the Malaysian Air Force’s tactical squadron and during his career has flown the Russian MiG 29N Fulcrum, the F18/D Hornet, the classic A4 Skyhawk and the F-5E Tiger fighter jet. He retired from the military having clocked more than 4,000 flight hours.
He is the first Asian national to take part in World Redbull Air race World championship and in the first year of his debut he won first place in both Ascot, UK and Las Vegas, USA while finishing 2nd overall in the final race for Challanger Cup in Austria in 2014 World Championship. It surprised many, but not Halim!.
Steve Carver, from from Derbyshire, is a Type Rating Examiner and Instructor course tutor on the Embraer 145 Regional Jet. Having his first aerobatic flight in 1973 in a Chipmunk; Steve joined the ATC, and after University and Post Grad, he flew gliders competitively. A PPL came in 1988, and shortly after he changed careers from lecturing in Pure and Applied Mathematics to aviation. A Pitts S1, and then an S2S, was followed by the Extra 260 which he has flown since 2002. Steve has been a medal winner at Intermediate, Advanced and Unlimited levels. He now focuses on display flying and directing, and is a team member of the Global Stars Aerobatic team.
Mark Jefferies took up aerobatics flying immediately after he got his PPL in December 1980. His first contest was in 1984, in 1985 he entered 6 contests and which saw 5 wins including the nationals in the 1936 designed Bucker Jungmann he rebuilt from a pile of parts obtained from the Spanish Airforce. In a quest for performance and the ability to enter at the higher levels he built a Laser 200 which enabled a win at the Unlimited nationals in 1994, the only person in UK aerobatics to have built and flown to the ultimate goal of aerobatics winning the national title at advanced and unlimited. He has now been UK national champion at all levels on 10 occasions.
Now flying the Extra 330sc he has placed in the top ten of the World Aerobatics on 2 occasions.
A gallery of random pictures from the event.