Wildcat Aerobatics: Who we are, what we do, and why…
Formed in 2010, Wildcat Aerobatics was created with the aim of promoting the amazing world of aerial sport flying and the more extreme elements of the leisure aviation industry. It does this primarily through the delivery of a crowd-thrilling formation aerobatic display that entertains hundreds of thousands of spectators every year at shows across the length and breadth of the country ranging from large-scale public events to much smaller private celebrations. In addition, as a minor part of the overall activity of the team, Wildcat Aerobatics also provides introductory flights to people eager to experience the thrills of flying formation aerobatics. Through these exclusive activities, we aim to promote the team, its sponsors and attract new pilots to this most demanding and exciting of extreme sports.
Over the years, the team has developed a unique and excitingly choreographed airshow act that brings together unbelievably close-formation aerobatics with precision pairs synchronized flying. The display fleet is made up of a pair of iconic Pitts Special biplanes: proven crowd pleasers for over 65 years!
For introductory experience flights, our Pitts Specials are both of the S2B two-seat variety which enables us to provide multiple options of formation aerobatic experience flights. Each flight includes a thorough mission pre-flight brief, comprehensive sortie profile including various elements of formation flying and finally a ‘warts and all’ team debrief delivered with the aid of an accompanying in-cockpit video – a copy of which is presented to our guests. Although these experience flights are available for individuals to purchase, they are most successful as part of a corporate entertainment or team building event that can be either held at Old Buckenham in Norfolk or at a more convenient airfield of your choice.
The 2016 display team of Willie Cruickshank and Al Coutts
Wildcat Values – click them to expand…
At Wildcat Aerobatics we’re committed to entertaining spectators with a high quality, memorable, exciting and dynamic formation aerobatic experience that is enjoyed by the whole family. With a background in professional aviation involving high performance aircraft, the pilots at Wildcat Aerobatics deliver thrills without compromising safety but most importantly – always have fun.
At Wildcat Aerobatics our mantra is quality rather than quantity. As a result, our displays are usually limited to around 6 minutes in duration with half being close formation flying and half synchronized opposition work. Routines can be adapted to meet the demands of the audience and display location with our signature ‘Heart in the Sky’ manoeuvre proving to be a winner at both weddings and anniversary celebrations.
The Wildcat Aerobatic display might look easy from the ground, but the truth is that to produce such a polished and professional performance of precision flying requires awesome teamwork. Wildcat 1 leads the formation and is ultimately responsible for making sure that the two Pitts S2 aircraft are in the right place, at the right height and the right speed for each of the complex aerobatic manoeuvres they fly. Throughout history, the wingman’s role has been to ‘stick, search and report’ and Wildcat 2’s job is no different today. His job is to make sure his aircraft is always in the right place relative to his leader and – as the immortal words of the Squadron Boss in the 1969 film The Battle of Britain put it – stick to him like glue.
Trust is an essential component of any formation aerobatic flying team and the pilots at Wildcat are no different. Operating within clearly defined operating procedures and aircraft performance parameters the pilots have team and individual safety responsibilities. Simply put, Wildcat 2 has 100% trust in his leader’s ability to ensure that all manoeuvres are flown without risk of collision with the ground and Wildcat 1 has 100% trust in his wingman’s ability to avoid a collision between the two aircraft.
Open and honest discussions are key to developing a cohesive team so Wildcat Aerobatics use the same mission debriefing system used by the RAF Aerobatic Team The Red Arrows. Each flight – practice or display – is thoroughly critiqued through open and honest assessment of self and each other. With the recent addition of the DRIFT HD 170 video cameras that are fitted to each of the aircraft, the team now also has the ability to examine each manoeuvre in detail and inform appropriate tweaks and changes.
Based at nostalgic Old Buckenham Airfield, Wildcat Aerobatics is very much an East Anglian operation and whether displaying at local airshows, weddings, corporate events or just outside a family pub on the beautiful Norfolk and Suffolk coast on a Sunday afternoon, we entertain those who live in our community.
The team at Wildcat Aerobatics are always keen to share the thrills of an aerobatic flight with others. For a list of charities and organisations we’ve provided support to, have a look here
At Wildcat Aerobatics we are proud of our achievements so far and of those that have contributed to our development. We take pride in every flight and know that even if we are flying a practice over open countryside we could have hundreds of people looking up and watching us. As the only Pitts aerobatic team in this part of the country we know that our activities are easily attributable and we take pride in producing consistently high quality displays.
Want to find out more about the men behind the machines? Click the button below to read more…
Meet The Team
Don’t let the grace and beauty deceive you; the Pitts Special is world renowned for its fierce aerobatic abilities.
See Aircraft Specs