VIJAYAWADA: On their first visit to India in 2017, daredevil aerobatic pilots Mark Jefferies, Tom Cassells, Chris Burkett and Steve Carver, from Global Stars Flying Club of UK, are all set to spread their charm during the first air show to be held in Vijayawada from Thursday.
The four-member pilot team has already landed in the city and has been practising for the show from the past couple of days. The aerobatic team is led by 57-year-old Mark Jefferies, who won British the Aircraft Championship consecutively for three years. With more than two-and-half decades of flying experience, he has been participating in various air shows across the globe since 2002. Right from the age of 6, Mark aspired to become a pilot. Being an adventure freak since he was a child, his passion drove him to choose the aerobatic wing.
“Flying is my passion. I feel life inside the aircraft rather than any other place on earth. Somersaults and smoke gradients are my favourite of all the formations,” he exclaims.
Tom Cassels, who is in his early 50s and is the second chief for the Global Stars team, says, “It is a pleasure to visit a city like Vijayawada. Its river edge is pretty suitable for aviation. Clear boundaries and bird-less sky are primary requirements for air shows and the city has fulfilled the same.”
To a question, he explains that fearlessness is the first requirement for being a pilot and an aerobatic. “One should jump over the rules and boundaries to bring out one’s spirits.”
The aerobatic team of UK won many prestigious awards and championships across the world and performed in over 300 air shows globally.
The team got four performing pilots and two spare pilots, who are equally experienced and ready to take up the show at any point of time.
Michael Pickens, 26, the youngest in the team, shares his experience as aerobatic pilot. “My dream is to win the British Aviation Championship and I am trying and practising for that moment. I missed it in a hairline in 2016, but I will make it this year. My family is very supportive and they are happy for me,” says Michael.