QUEEN’S ROAD: When Radka Machova was 15, she decided she wanted to fly. Now 66, she leads the Flying Bulls (Czech Republic), one of the world’s leading aerobatics team.
“I have been flying for more than 40 years, from 1971. At 15, I did my first parachute skydive. But I knew then that I didn’t want to fall from a parachute. I wanted to control a machine. I wanted to fly like a bird,” Radka told City Express.
Her four-member team consists of Jiri Saller (62), Jirí Veprek (55) and Miroslav Krejci (58); and they will be performing their stunt duties at Aero India in Bengaluru on February 21 and 22.
The original Flying Bulls team was formed way back in 1960, and was then called the Box Trener. “But with the new century came our association with Red Bulls and since then we call ourselves the Flying Bulls Aerobatics team. In 2002, after more than 40 years, the former leader Tlusty finished active flying. In the same year, I began my formation flying as the new leader for the team,” says Radka.
When asked what drew her to aerobatics flying, Radka is contemplative and says, “It connects the beauty of flying to the freedom of the human mind. For example, for our flying displays, we use the smoke system. The audience can see beautiful white smoke trails against the blue skies, and it’s an exhilarating experience for them.”
The team currently flies the Zlin 50LX. “It is a very good Czech-made aerobatics airplane. I feel it is the best for formation flying. The machine has a wide range of safety speeds for aerobatics manoeuvres and is very pilot-friendly. I have been flying Zlin 50LX from my solo aerobatics flying days,” says Radka.
Team coordination is key to aerobatics flying. And hours of practice. A 15-minute practice session can tire a pilot out. So it’s a slow learning curve. And yet, Radka prefers aerobatics to commercial flying. “Commercial flying may be a good job with a good salary. Aerobatics, however, is a more expressive style of flying. But it’s also more than that. It teaches you how to handle an aircraft extremely safely and it gives you control over the machine like nothing else does,” she explains.
The team has visited Bengaluru twice, in 2011, and again in 2013. “Flying conditions in Bengaluru are very different from those in Europe. Here, we love the elevation of the airport, hot air, and plenty of big birds in the sky, and most importantly, a very, very encouraging audience,” says Radka.
This weekend, audiences will be treated to their full display sequence which includes the famous mirror flight, the invert loop and their signature apache roll.
Visit https://www.aeroindia.in/GeneralVisitorExhibitionRegistration.aspx for registration and tickets.