Wildcat Aerobatics is one of the most exciting acts on the air show scene, displaying close formation aerobatics and precision synchronised flying in the iconic Pitts Special biplane.
The team was formed in 2010 out of a mutual love of aerobatics by pilots Al Coutts and Willie Cruickshank.
Over the years, the team has developed an exciting choreographed air show act that combines a graceful mix of balletic, close-formation aerobatics and high-speed opposition passes where their closing speed is in excess of 400mph.
The team regularly displays all over the UK, the Channel Islands and northern Europe to hundreds of thousands of spectators evert year, both at large-scale public events and smaller private celebrations.
In addition, 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.
Al has been flying since the age of 19 when he joined the Royal Air Force. Some 36 years later he still gets the same amazing buzz when he steps into his Pitts S2B.
Al worked overseas for several years and gained his civilian pilots wings in Swaziland in 1992. He built a single-seat Pitts Special from drawings and then competed for five years in aerobatic competitions, winning a podium place in an international event.
He has subsequently rebuilt several Pitts Specials and Christen Eagles. He gained his Display Authorisation in 2005 and has been displaying at air shows ever since. He has over 1600 civilian hours flying, 1000 of which are in the Pitts Special. When not flying, he rears traditional breed cattle at home in south Norfolk.
Willie flew his first solo flight in an Air Training Corps glider at the age of 14. Awarded a flying scholarship three years later, he gained his pilot’s licence before he could drive. He was commissioned into the RAF in 1985 and began pilot training in 1990.
In 1992 he was posted to the Jaguar at RAF Coltishall and after an array of flying and staff appointments dispersed with frequent deployments to contribute to operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Willie found himself back on 6 Squadron in May 2004 – this time as ‘the Boss’.
Willie developed his passion for flying aerobatics in Chipmunk, Bulldog, Tiger Moth, Yak and Pitts aircraft. Retirement from the RAF in 2010 provided Willie with the opportunity to devote more time to his passion and paired up with Al to form Wildcat Aerobatics.
Ed has been around aeroplanes since he was 13, and can still vividly remember the first time he saw a Pitts Special – which incidentally was being flown by Wildcat One! Ed was lucky enough to begin learning to fly at 15, and flew his first solo on his 16th birthday. Ed completed his skills test a month before his 17th birthday, and thanks to the Civil Aviation Authority, was handed his licence on his 17th birthday. Four months later he passed his driving test! Now over ten years later, he still flies, and is also responsible for the Wildcat web presence, social media, and other technical issues. Ed married Kate L in 2014, where of course a Wildcat wedding display thrilled and amazed the assembled guests, some of whom said it was the highlight of the day: Ed couldn’t possibly comment!
He is also a CAA Tier 1 accredited Flight Display Director (FDD).
Ed occasionally Tweets as @eludlow.
Kate has been involved with Wildcat since 2013 when she flew with the team to publicise an air display at Cromer Carnival. She is a trained journalist and manages all things press-related for the team and can often be found commentating on Wildcat displays across the country.
In her spare time, Kate writes about country life in Norfolk through her blog Diary of a Country Girl, and Tweets as @a_countrylife.
She is in the process of learning to fly.
THE PITTS SPECIAL
Wildcat Aerobatics use the S2B two-seat version of the Pitts Special and are based in Norfolk.
The Pitts Special, which has proved a crowd pleaser over the years, has been in existence since its unveiling in Florida in 1946.
Designed and built by Curtis Pitts, an aircraft engineer and keen aerobatic pilot, the aircraft has proved to be so popular that it has been in constant production.
Our two aircraft came off the production line just six months apart in 1988 and have been restored by Al and Willie.
The agile aeroplane is incredibly responsive and allows the team to display in close proximity when performing formation aerobatics.