The Global Stars team after a successful Formation Aerobatic Championships left 2 EXTRA’s in China for the summer show season. Three further shows are booked for July, August and September.
The first show is at Anshun. This is a very green area of China with some interesting geology (Karst hills), lovely food but very little wild life.
Its back to the airport at 08:30 to continue preparing the aircraft for shipping. We have to take the planes apart and move by road to the next venue in August. Believe it or not its cheaper. In the press we hear all about how China airspace is opening up, thats a maybe. The fact of the matter is yes you can fly A to B below 3000ft but the costs and organisational approvals are prohibitive. 5 persons disassemble and pack 2 Extras in less than 9 hours.
Last show day, very high clouds with lots of blue. 2 flights scheduled for today. The first is at 09:35 in very good conditions, not too hot. Its our first chance to fly the full show without compromises of height. Tipping in from 2500ft for the first 1/4 clover with dotty smoke on. With the height of the airfield being approx 4600ft add the density altitude and that gives us the equivalent of 7100ft take off height. The sequence is all about keeping energy, wing overs are always looking for height (energy) and the G is kept to a minimum.
We fly the second show of the day at 12:00, this turns out to be our last display. After lunch its start of the disassembly.
The weather is set into a pattern, low scud rising in the morning. The Global Stars are first to fly. We manage a mixture of the normal show in the gaps and the low show. Just like shows in the the UK, India and the World over the locals are surrounding the airport standing on any vantage point.
The afternoon flight is in near perfect conditions, fluffy white clouds with a base of 2500ft. We fly the full show.
First show day, guess what….low cloud and drizzle. This slowly clears to a 500 – 600 ft base. The Global Stars are cleared to fly at 10:45 for 15 mins. We fly a flat show obviously, my nr 2 Phil stays on my wing like a dog on a lead. Wing overs, tight turns, roll arounds with flypasts down at 50 feet. By afternoon the skies clear to broken 2000ft so we manage a full show in the afternoon slot. Skip Stewart as always put on a magnificent show, he’s the pilot that all pilots come out to watch.
Last practice day, just one flight due to rain and low clouds. We got the chance to demo the pyro to a VIP for future show bookings. All goes well even though we have to demo 1 hour before sunset due to the opening ceremony/ party. The party is in a big hall with some very talented singers. As with other presentation parties China really knows how to do this with the whole stage a wall of monitors with very exciting, colorful graphics and video.
The engineers continue the build while I install the J & C Engineering Services Ltd (EASA.21J.037) Minor Change No.JC/ER/4697 Issue 2. This is the approved pyro wing tip modification. A very time-consuming process indeed. Lunch is served on the wing, by the end of the day we have G-IIZI completed. Phil Ansel my nr 2 arrives in the evening.
Breakfast at 8AM, the body clock says its 01:00…. then of to the airport for security passes, as usual this process take an inordinate amount of time. On this occasion the police man concerned didn’t know his way around his PC and Coral draw. Anyway 2 hours later we get to the hangar and meet the other teams. Air Combat Australia are here with 5 aircraft along with the Viking Catwalk team from Sweden.
We find our aircraft in the same condition as packed in Zhengzhou, straps tight so all is well. We start the build. We work late into the evening.
15th and 16th July,
its back on route to LHR to take a Virgin VS0250 flight to Shanghai then onwards to end traveling some 31 hours later at Anshun. I meet up with my team of engineers, Neil and Keith. 2 films, 2 meal services and approx 4 hrs sleep we are in China. We meet our part 66 licensed engineer Arunas in Shanghai.