"I started flying with my dad before I can even remember. I joined the Air Cadets when I was 13 and did a gliding scholarship, advanced glider training and a flying scholarship. I completed my PPL when I was 18 and trained in aerobatics, participating in one competition which I won. The family then acquired the RV8 and I spent many hours learning to fly in formation with military and ex-military pilots before moving into air displays. I hold an advanced aerobatics display authorisation. I started air racing with the RAeC a few years ago as I wanted to do something different with the aircraft. Since then I have also competed in a couple of pylon races in Portugal."
Race number: 26
Current racing aircraft: Vans RV8
Dream aircraft: Harmon Rocket or a Lancair Mako
What I love about flying: I have made a lot of new friends in air racing as everyone is really nice, but don't be fooled, they are also super competitive. I love racing to win and it is a great feeling when you get past your main competitor.
"Got my pilot’s licence in 2014 6 months after my wife bought me an experience flight. I had been racing cars for a number of years so air racing seemed like a natural progression. I became British Champion in 2018. Racing has also lead to other flying activities including becoming a display pilot"
Race number: 9
Current racing aircraft: Scottish Aviation Bulldog
Dream aircraft: Hawker Sea Fury
What I love about flying: Wining! And... Its a great way to improve your flying skills.
Its a fun way to spend a weekend with great camaraderie between everyone involved in the sport
"I got my PPL in 1987 when I was 23 and have spent the rest of my life expanding my knowledge, experience and ratings as I search for the next aviation challenge. After achieving my CPL/IR I became an instructor and then an examiner on single and multi-engine aircraft. Racing was the perfect next challenge for me as it involves precision and controlled flying, stick & rudder skills, excitement and fun."
Race number: 44
Current racing aircraft: Vans RV7
Dream aircraft: Extra 330SC
What I love about flying: Nothing beats getting out of an aircraft full of adrenaline and punching the air after a race well flown. Racing also gives you a great reason to fly to all four corners of UK getting to races and opens up a great network of keen aviators.
Cliff "Sideways" Hawkins
"My father had an aviation related business and when I was 8 years old I made friends with the son of the airfield owner. We would play on the airfield, riding motorbikes and driving Go Karts and then his dad would fly us to France for lunch. I was hooked!
When I bought my first plane, I wanted to have a purpose to my flying and came across air racing. I started back in 2003 and have been involved ever since."
Race number: 200 & 46
Current racing aircraft: Cessna 180 (C180) is my race 200 although I plan to also race my Leopard Moth (DH85) and if I do, that will be race 46.
Dream aircraft: Something vintage, either a Beech 18 or Lockheed Model 10 Electra. A Beech Staggerwing or Cessna 195 would be nice alternatives.
What I love about flying: I like the challenge and competitive aspect it adds to my flying and the occasional trophy that I have won.
There is also a great social side to the racing and getting away with fellow minded pilots to various locations and to race for trophies that have been fought for and won by legends such as Sir Geoffrey de Havilland really adds to the whole experience.
"I've flown for various airlines for over 20 years. I got into air racing after reading an article about it in a flying magazine 19 years ago. Whilst watching a race at Compton Abbas, I was impressed by the amount of fun that the competitors and ground crew were having as well as their professionalism and so a little while later I entered my first race."
Race number: 23
Current racing aircraft: RV-6
Dream aircraft: RV-4 with retractable undercarriage
What I love about flying: The exciting flying.
Alan Norton Turner
"I learnt to fly light aircraft in 1975 andI have accumulated 11,000+ hours. Two colleagues at my flying club were Royal Aero Club racers and they encouraged me to join. I flew my first race season in 1990."
Race number: 28
Current racing aircraft: Grumman A1C
Dream aircraft: Pilatus P12
What I love about flying: The camaraderie and the opportunity to visit different airfields as a competitor and to hone my flying skills.
"I first raced in 1999 when I read a magazine article which explained that the 3rs actually still raced for the Schneider Trophy. I entered the Schneider that year at Leicester and with the help of Sophia Salter crossed the line first ( sadly I had missed a corner during the Saturday race and could not be allowed to win the Schneider on the Sunday) I was hooked! and have enjoyed air racing every year since then."
Race number: 15
Current racing aircraft: Last one was an RV7
What I love about flying: Not only do I love the competition of the race but the effort one will have to make not only to be successful in racing but to actually to get to the race venue.
"I gained my PPL at the age of 18 in the USA after finishing school.
I then flew in spurts over the years, building hours in the US, Australia and New Zealand. A couple of years after starting work I converted my licence to the UK and commenced flying semi regularly out of White Waltham. I also gained my IMC rating. My flying mainly involved day or weekend trips to different parts of France.
Several years later, I left the UK and again had a few years of not flying. Then I completed my IR in the USA and the following summer had access to a SR22 in which I crisscrosses Europe for work and pleasure.
As a regular reader of Pilot since my teenage years - anyone interested in 30 years of magazines ? - I had always seen an advert for the air racing school. Then a CD with a couple of films about air racing came with the AOPA magazine at the end of 2011, so I decided that my next challenge for flying would be to give it a go. So I attended the school in March 2012 - with a broken leg - having flown in (commercially) from Continental Europe to attend and started racing later that year, once I had done the required training. "
Race number: 2
Current racing aircraft: None
Dream aircraft: To race: Extra 330; to fly: PC-12
What I love about flying: The ability of flying low and other things not ordinarily allowed.
The thrill of racing and (hopefully) winning.
"David Moorman and Race 22
Cap10B No 278 G-DAVM was built in 1998 in Epernay France by Mudry Aviaiton, with her first flight on 23rd March 1998. Exported to the US, registered as N73AE, where she spent some time in Florida before moving up the West coast to Daniel Webster Aviation College in Nashua New Hampshire. She and 5 more Cap10Bs were bought back into the UK by Robert Cole of Cole Aviation East Sussex and was restored to new, with the required by AD spar modification and check. I took delivery in February 2009, after the 18-month refurbishment. I put her on the G reg from April 2010. She is fully aerobatic with an inverted oil and fuel system.
I started aeromodelling in my teens, coming 2nd in the All in FAI competition in the South Bristol Gala in 1977. I started gliding in 1981 at The Kent Gliding Club in Challock Kent and obtained a Silver C, a Diamond Height, and an assistant instructor rating, winning The League 2 Task Week cup in 1983
After a break from flying in the nineties, when I started working with Specsavers Opticians; opening 3 stores in Chatham, Gillingham, and Sittingbourne North Kent, I started my PPL in 2003. IMC and Display Authorisation followed. I joined the 3Rs in 2012 winning The Schneider Trophy and the European Racing Championship in my first season.
My late Father saw the Schneider Trophy being won by the British team piloted by JM Boothman for the last time from his buggy on Ryde Pier IOW in 1931 It was sad he died before seeing me win It
Race 22 was the race number of Alex Henshaw - a famous racer from the 1930s who won the King's Cup in 1938, an achievement I managed in 2019."
Race number: 22
Current racing aircraft: Cap10B
Dream aircraft: Pilatus PC-12
What I love about flying: The challenge of racing and the comradery of the members
"Being flying since the 1980's, CFI at a flying club, Instrument ratings and multi engine ratings, co founded flyer magazine, took up air racing and aerobatics in the 1990's much preferred air racing, have a raced a variety of aircraft from a Cessna 340 nicknamed the pressurised pig to Cessna 150s, have been racing SF260 for the last 15 or more years. Presently hold 28 world aviation records "
Race number: 31
Current racing aircraft: Siai Marchetti SF260W
Dream aircraft: the one I'm flying
What I love about flying: Winning and of course the social aspects and people involved
Gabriel Gomila Frau
"I was an over 1000 hour pilot mostly on taildraggers also an ATCO and was looking up racing.
I found your organization and flew to the south of England from Mallorca to one of your races and met you.
A pilot took me up with him on a race... so a year later I flew to
Alderney , went through an exam and got my racing license.
After that I raced for 10 years in a row and won two races at Alderney.
I have had a gap in my racing for a few years, was supposed to come back in 2020 but COVID avoided that.
Hope to come back to racing this year if we come back to normal life."
Race number: RACE 13
Current racing aircraft: Jodel Ambassadour DR1050 - E-AUQ
Dream aircraft: Jodel Ambassadour DR1050 - E-AUQ
What I love about flying: You are a great group of friends, we all love airplanes, and its a very accurate sport and exiting on the final lap...
"Did ok in my racing career! Roger scholes got me into it!"
Race number: 47
Current racing aircraft: Don’t have one :(
Dream aircraft: PC24
What I love about flying: The rush as the flag goes down and the people!
"Been flying since 1978 and have 4600 hours, with IMC, Night, and Floatplane endorsements. Have travelled extensively all around Europe, all around Africa, all around Libya, all around Turkey, and through the Ukraine down to the Crimea in my own aircraft. Also two trips around Australia, one around New Zealand and around Central America via Cuba from Miami in rented aircraft. Planning to tour around Canada this year (cancelled in 2020 due to the dreaded virus)
Very much enjoy long-distance flying trips and tours with several aircraft. Represented GB in the world Precision Flying Championship in New Zealand in 1999.
Got into Air Racing by being introduced by a friend, a fellow racer, in 2010, and have participated ever since."
Race number: 25
Current racing aircraft: Robin DR400
Dream aircraft: Robin DR400 (Spitfire, actually!)
What I love about flying: The thrill of the chase! Adds a further dimension to my flying . Much more fun than pootling about from A to B. Great cameraderie.
"I had occasionally helped Dennis Hartas polish his race aircraft and warmed the engine of Race 7's Turbulent in the 1950s so I already knew a little about air racing when I began instructing on Chipmunks at Swinderby. The RAF had been entering a Bulldog and a Chipmunk into the national handicap air races and I volunteered to fly the Chipmunk. After 6 years I retired from the RAF and was so hooked on the racing that I continued to participate as a civilian flying PA28, PA32, PA34, BE55, Pup, Bulldog and Slingsby Firefly."
Race number: 6
Current racing aircraft: I don't have one this year
Dream aircraft: de Havilland Hornet
What I love about flying: Besides the camaraderie I like the challenge of trying to beat the handicappers.
"21 years Private Pilot and, been a seaplane/adventure flying instructor for the last 12 years. Day job is qualified Air Traffic Controller since 1986 working the big jets. Always wanted to race a floatplane in the Schneider Trophy, and have now done that 3 or 4 times :)"
Race number: 17
Current racing aircraft: Cessna FR172F Amphibious Floatplane
Dream aircraft: Mosquito
What I love about flying: The nice mixture of socialising and competition amongst like minded loonies.
"I gained my PPL IN 1989 at Leeds Bradford Airfield. I loved every minute of the course and still remember the thrill of going solo for the first time.
After a couple of years I was very fortunate to join the only group owned aircraft syndicate at Leeds flying a Grumman Tiger
The more experienced members took me under their wing and gave me the confidence to fly further afield.
The biggest leap forward in my flying career at that time was joining the Flying Farmers Association. This is a group of pilot farmers who get together for flying trips not only in the UK but abroad. Over the years I slowly built up confidence and have since flown with them to practically every country in Europe from the Arctic circle in Finland, the Danube delta in Rumania and Malta to the south.
I first became aware of air racing whilst I just happened to be in Alderney eleven or twelve years ago when the annual Alderney air races were taking place. That was it. I just had to have a go. It looked exhilarating and great fun. It certainly hasn’t disappointed. I have loved every minute of it.
It certainly sharpens up one’s flying skills and I enjoy the social side of it tremendously."
Race number: 82
Current racing aircraft: Robin DR401
Dream aircraft: Spitfire
What I love about flying: The exhilaration and camaraderie.
"Learned to fly aged 19 to try and impress girls. Can't say that it did :)
I watched the DIGITAL Schnider Trophy races from the Ryde pier during the 80's and 90's. It looked so cool an I hoped that one day I might get involved."
Race number: 49
Current racing aircraft: RV-4
Dream aircraft: Hawker Sea Fury
What I love about flying: Absolutely unique sport, run by a great group if people.
Geoffrey and I married in 2000 and I went from never having flown in a general aviation aircraft to air race navigator in no time at all. I started to learn to fly and did most of the PPL course and exams but I decided that knowing how to fly rather than having the licence was more important. Air racing with your husband is not easy! There have been some fraught moments but it’s been great fun. Having raced in a number of different aircraft types I have had to adopt to the different techniques from almost the slowest aircraft to the fastest. Its team spirit at the end of the day and we have won many of the major trophies including the British Air Racing Championship, European Air Racing Championships, Kings Cup and personally the Navigators Trophy as well.
I first flew in a small plane in 1987, Gordon then went on to get his PPL etc. I took a few lessons but we were restricted financially and time wise due to 3 children etc, my preference was sailing so I got my ticket and still sail now. Over the years I flew all over Europe with Gordon and did bits from the right hand seat, in 2016 we had a bad experience in the bottom of The Alps, due to The Mistral, we were thrown all over the place, Gordon got us out of it but I realised that if he had been hurt I couldn’t have, so it was learn or go commercial.
I started on a get you down course but as my instructor pointed out I really needed to get my PPL. Two years later I got my PPL and two years after that my IRR, thanks to two very patient instructors, the only thing left now is my night rating when lock down has finished.
Thirteen years ago Gordon took up racing, sometimes successfully, and I now navigate from time to time which I enjoy very much, there is also a good social side to it. I am looking forwards to more navigating as soon as we are allowed out.
I am often surprised at how few people race and also how few women have licenses, it is great fun.
I've had my Private Pilot License for almost six years and I love every second of flying. Becoming an air racing navigator started when my good friend (and fellow PPL holder) Simon Tilling asked me if I'd like to try my hand at navigating for him in an air racing event. Naturally I jumped at the offer and absolutely loved my first race.
The excitement and competitiveness of air racing is extremely addictive and always sees you returning for more! I have also made many good friends through air racing who I meet up with and fly with outside of the usual air racing events. Being crowned the 2018 Navigator Champion was an incredibly proud moment for me, as well as Simon who was crowned 2018 British Air Racing Champion. When it comes to air racing, team work and precision is everything. You simply won't regret giving it a go!
I was introduced to Air Racing through a colleague and friend from ‘work’, Jonathan Willis. We both fly professionally and good fun as that may be, the aspect of thrill, competition and adrenalin just aren’t there, probably for the better really. After Jon and I had flown together a few times he mentioned Air Racing’ which I thought sounded very Top Gun, right up my street. After pestering him for about a year, he finally caved in and invited me to navigate for him. It was the most epic fun I’d ever had in an aeroplane for years and I was hooked! I love the camaraderie, the banter and laughter that goes alongside the racing. It really gives a purpose to general aviation flying. We’ve raced together for 3 years now and won the British Championship in 2019.