Newcastle Aircraft Profile day 5 – Wildcat Aerobatics

Day 5 of our Newcastle aircraft profile are the Wildcat aerobatics team who are making their Newcastle debut this weekend!

The Wildcat Team

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!

The Wildcat Pitts Special

The team use the Pitts S2 aircraft. The S2 has been used by teams in the US, Europe, Africa and the Far East and is a proven air display favourite. The biplane has a special appeal to airshow crowds and has been displaying in various guises since it’s unveiling at Homestead, Florida in 1946.

The aircraft was designed and built by aircraft engineer and keen aerobatic pilot Curtis Pitts – it proved to be so popular that it has been in constant production to this day, the factory now resides in Afton, Wyoming and in addition to building and supporting the S2 Pitts, they manufacture the Aviat Huskey.

The Pitts Special is the world’s leading high performance aerobatic biplane. In the USA the Pitts Special has won more unlimited-class aerobatic contests than any other aircraft type.


Check back tomorrow for another Newcastle Aircraft Profile

Info from Wildcats website & photo from Airwaves Portrush




Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 4 – Team Raven

Day 4 of our aircraft profile for the Newcastle Festival of Flight is Team Raven who are returning to Newcastle for the 3rd year..

Team Raven are a formation aerobatic display team that formed in May 2014. They are the phoenix to the disbandment of Team Osprey & Team Viper the former a Yak 52 team which consisted of Bob Oliver (now the Team Raven commentator), Steve Lloyd and Barry Gwynnett. And the latter being a 5 ship Hawker Hunter display team.

Having formed embryonically in late 2013 with Steve and Barry they were looking for more RV owners with formation and display experience. Gerald Williams was an obvious choice with a soon-to-be completed RV8 and fresh from Team Viper; along with him he brought Mark Southern, also from Team Viper with a recently acquired RV8. Originally flagged to have Gerald as the lead pilot, a recent life and mind-set change from Simon ‘Sid’ Shirley in February 2014 lead to the purchase of an RV4 and the Team had a leader.

Despite this apparent disparate collection of pilots, the Team have known each other for many years; indeed, Steve, Barry, Gerald and Sid have flown in and around Swansea in Yak 52s for many years and Gerald has flown with Mark for a number of years in ex-military fast jets. This has resulted in an extremely close knit Team that revels in each other’s company.

Entirely self-funded, the Team has striven to create a professional and effective display team with a corporate image right off the bat that sets the right tone in all that they do. Although in some senses they are differing characters, the Team Raven pilots (and indeed support crew) share the same professionalism, drive, enthusiasm and passion for aviation and display flying; they are also great mates with a shared sense of humour!

The choice of aircraft is purely down to the vision of Steve, who having bought an RV4 in 2008 declared that “these things are the future of affordable performance light aviation”. He was right. Initially keeping the RV4, Steve sold his Yak 52 and embarked on building his RV8 whilst trying to convince the other 2 members of Team Osprey to sell the Yaks and buy RVs – he was 50% successful. The Team name ‘Raven’ came from a play on the letters ‘RV’ and makes more sense if written ‘RaVen’ as per the badge on the sides of the aircraft fuselages.

In 2015 Team RaVen flew a 4 ship display in Newcastle however for 2016 this has been increased to 6 aircraft with multiple new display moves added to their routine..


The Ravens use Van’s RV aircraft with a mix of 1 RV4 and 5 RV8s. All are self build aircraft, albeit only Ravens 2 and 4 have been self built by the Team. They are of aluminium construction and use standard Lycoming io-360, 180hp engines coupled to constant propellers, which given their light weight results in an agreeable power to weight ratio. Performance is very good, especially climb rate when measured against typical flying club aircraft such as the C152 & PA28/38s, but they are not carbon fibre rocket ships such as the Extra 300s and Edge 540s on the display scene and competition circuit. However, they are fully aerobatic with a decent ‘g’-limit range and a aerobatic ability and as such are ideal for the requirements of Team Raven.

The Team have self-modified their aircraft with smoke systems. The aircraft as well as being fully aerobatic are relatively quick and frugal which further adds to their attraction for private ownership.

They are a pilot’s aircraft and a delight to fly, but being tail draggers are always able to keep the unsuspecting pilot on their toes! We are above all, passionate aviation enthusiasts and consequently are more than happy to discuss our aircraft with anyone who cares to listen at any venue we attend. The aircraft are all self funded and owned and run by each of their pilots respectively.

We really look forward to seeing Team Raven in Newcastle again in the 5th August!

Info from Team Raven website and photo from ourselves at Bray 2016!

Check back on Monday for another aircraft profile!



Newcastle Aircraft profile day 3 – Lauren Richardson – Pitts Special

Day 3 of our Newcastle Festival of Flight aircraft profile is an exciting debut in Newcastle, and I believe it will be the pilots first ever display in Northern Ireland, Lauren Richardson and her fantastic Pitts Special.

Lauren is one of the top aerobatic display pilots in the UK and unlike a lot of the pilots you will see in Newcastle next weekend she did not come from a family with aviation roots making her story even more unique.

Beginning flying lessons at 19 and getting her licence Lauren Richardson had never even considered aerobatic flying until she first flew in the Pitts S2A. Taking aerobatic lessons she soon won her first tournament and in 2012 became the British Female Aerobatic champion before attaining her display authority in 2013 allowing her to display at airshows. Since then she has become one of the top displays on the airshow circuit.

The Pitts Special she flies is a Pitts Special S1-S registered as G-BKDR with a fantastic Red and White paint scheme.

First thought up by Curtis Pitts in 1943-1944. The Pitts Special has been continuously refined and modified since the first flight in 1945 and is known as one of the best aircrafts for competitive aerobatic flying dominating competitive flying in the 60s and 70s and still a firm favourite for airshows to this day.

Designed and built for serious aerobatics, Lauren’s machine, G-BKDR, has over the years received a few modifications to increase its performance and strength beyond that original design – over-sized control surfaces (ailerons, rudder and elevator) mean that she rolls blisteringly fast, flick rolls even faster and performs almost any conceivable aerobatic manoeuvre with style and aplomb.

With only one seat in this version of the aircraft it is very lightweight and strong providing very powerful displays and a very easy flow from one manoeuvre to another.

It will be great to see Lauren Richardson make her debut in Newcastle! It is sure to be a brilliant display. Check back tomorrow for another aircraft profile as we get closer to the 2017 Festival of Flight.

Info from Lauren Richardson’s website and other various sources and photo from

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Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 2 – Global Stars

Day 2 of our Newcastle Aircraft profile are the Global Stars Aerobatic Team who are making a return to Newcastle on the 5th August after making their debut last summer and put on a fantastic display to close the show in extremely challenging windy conditions.

The Global Stars are a team of British aerobatic champions past and present flying air shows World over. All aircraft carry the new “dotty smoke” systems adding to the dynamic nature of the air show. The display is very dynamic with a short solo by Mark Jefferies or Tom Cassells (both British Champions) keeping the action right in front of the crowd.

in 2012 the Global Stars were formed by Mark Jefferies with Tom Cassells as his wing-man.

The Global Stars team provide spectacular formation air displays or solo air displays. For 2016 Mark has purchased the very latest, highest performance certified aircraft the EXTRA 330SC. The team have flown many flying displays and air shows around the World in recent years.

Typically the Global Stars team lead by Mark Jefferies perform 3 International shows per year. Tom flying as formation leader of the Global Stars team have flown Bahrain and Hyderabad (as of writing, March 2016) Bookings for 2017 now in for China and a World Air Masters (WAM) event in March 2017.

Mark is flying the new EXTRA 330SC; Tom flies the Extra 300L or CAP 232, Chris the Extra 300s, Steve the Extra 260 will put on a stunning, world-class air display. Back up reserve pilot Michael Pickin flying the CAP 232.

Mark Jefferies has achieved great success and worldwide recognition as one of the most accomplished aviators in the UK; including 1st in Zhengzhou 2015 WAM, 3rd in the 2011 WAM, ranked 8th in the World in 2007 and 10th in the World 2009. Nine times British aerobatic champion (Advanced & Unlimited).

Mark Jefferies has spectacular manoeuvres, tumbles and spins in the Extra 330SC leaving pilots and spectators alike saying “how did he do that?” A flying display your audience will never forget… No show too large or small to attend. Corporate, Weddings and private parties a specialty – it’s not as expensive as you might first think and far better than fireworks.

Mark bases his Extra 330SC at Little Gransden, Cambridgeshire (ICAO EGMJ) Gransden is a farm strip and has a main grass runway of 810 meters. The airfield is open to visitors either by road or by air. Gransden is the home of the Global Stars and as such, most likely you will find some aerobatic training taking place. Duel training in the Extra 300L or solo competition/air show training in the Extra 300s or 330sc.

The Aircraft

Extra 330sc

Extra 330SC (single competition) is the top of the range awesome aerobatic aircraft with +10/-10 G limits. G-IIHI, it is one of the first of its type to be built, its serial number is 008 and it is entirely in a class of its own. It is fitted with the newly certified Lycoming AE10-580 engine which has been specifically developed for high performance aerobatic aircraft. The engine produces an impressive 320hp (580 cubic inches but only turning at 2700 rpm) which when you consider there is no ground resistance, is quite incredible.

Its maximum diving speed is 418 km/h and it has an incredibly fast roll rate of 420 degrees per second. If the weather conditions are right, the aircraft can be seen to hover and in the right hands, it really does performs manoeuvres that should not be possible!
Mark Jefferies is one of the few pilots that can fly this aircraft to its limits! As well as its sporty paint scheme,

the Extra 330SC has a unique smoke system fitted which enables smoke to be “pulsed” out, offering something different to air show audiences.

With the latest technology cameras fitted to the aircraft, live footage can be transmitted to trackside screens giving the audience a bird’s eye view of the event. Cameras can be fitted anywhere on the aircraft, including inside the cockpit which gives a very interesting perspective of the world. Footage can be given directly to TV news channels to report on and promote the event or can be used later for promotional material.

Extra 300L

The Extra Flugzeugbau EA300 is a two-seat aerobatic monoplane capable of Unlimited category competition. It was designed in 1987 by Walter Extra, an award-winning German aerobatic pilot and built by Extra Flugzeugbau.

Design of the Extra 300 was based on the Extra 230, an early 1980s monoplane having a wing made of wood. The Extra 300 has a welded steel tube fuselage covered in aluminium and fabric.

The mid-set wing has a carbon fiber composite spar and carbon composite skins. A symmetrical airfoil, mounted with a zero angle of incidence, provides equal performance in both upright and inverted flight. The landing gear is fixed taildragger style with composite main legs and fiberglass wheel pants.

The engine is a fuel-injected Lycoming AEIO-540 which produces 300 horsepower (224 kW). The first two-seat Extra 300 made its maiden flight on 6 May 1988 with German type certification following on 16 May 1990. The single seat Extra 300S flew on 4 March 1992. The Extra 300 is stressed for ±10 G with one person on board and ±8 G with two.

Cap 232

The CAP Aviation CAP-23x family is a family of high-performance aircraft designed for competition aerobatics. The CAP 230 airframe was a direct development of the CAP 21 competition single seater strengthened to cope with a 300 hp 6-cylinder Lycoming AEIO-540 engine instead of the 200 hp original 4-cylinder Lycoming AEIO-360.

The CAP 230 was primarily developed in 1985 for the French Air Force. From the basic CAP 21 airframe, trailing edge apex triangular surfaces were added to the basic trapezoidal wing. The CAP 230 keeps a full wooden construction and certified to cope with +10/-10 G-forces. The CAP 231 was developed in 1990.

The fuselage design remained unchanged and only leading edge triangular apex surfaces were added to reduce buffeting during high G pullups. The CAP 231 was world champion in 1990. To increase performance, in 1991, a carbon-fiber wing taken from an EXTRA 260 (thus the -EX name) was adapted to a few CAP 231 airframes.

The CAP 231EX evolved in 1994. While the fuselage construction retained wood, a carbon-fiber wing was specially designed for durability and light weight. The design has won the World Championships in 1998, 2000 and 2007, as well as a number of other national-level competitions. With a roll rate of 420° per second and a climb rate of nearly 3,300 feet per minute, the CAP-232 is still well suited for the aerobatic circuit.

We look forward to seeing the Global Stars in Newcastle once again. Check back tomorrow for another aircraft profile. Info from Global Stars website photo our own from 2016.


global stars

Newcastle Aircraft Profile day 1

Day 1 of our Newcastle Festival of Flight aircraft profile is the amazing Rich Goodwin and his very colourful Pitts Special Muscle Bi-Plane.
Now returning for the 3rd year in a row Rich Goodwin has become a firm favourite not just in Newcastle but all over the island of Ireland taking part in many shows over here in recent years.
G-EWIZ has been specially modified to provide the ultimate Biplane for Air Show displays, The modification programme has given this Biplane enhanced capabilities producing a unique style of Aerobatics you won’t see in many other aircraft.
The Pitts Special may surprise you if you have not seen the display before with her ability as looks are very much deceiving in this case, she is no ordinary prop aircraft.
Some of the manoeuvres you will see include
Harrier Flight. Hovering on the powerful MT prop.
Double hammer head.
Tower of power. Torque roll and backwards flight
High Alpha Knife edge flight
The centrifuge
As for the Pilot, flying has always been Rich Goodwin’s blood. His father flew the Hawker Hunter and Lightening jets for the RAF and Richard is a former Tornado pilot with the RAF after doing his training in the Hawk T1 (The same aircraft the RAF Red Arrows use) He is also a former pilot of Boeing aircraft.
We very much look forward to seeing Rich Goodwin once again at the Festival of Flight in Newcastle on the 5th August, it is one display you will not want to miss as it will leave you wanting more!
Information from various sources including Rich Goodwin Airshows and photo from ourselves in 2015 at Airwaves Portrush
Tomorrow we will profile another aircraft due to display at Newcastle in just under 2 weeks time!

Newcastle line up revealed

***** Newcastle Line up revealed *****
With just a month to go until the beginning of the Newcastle Festival of Flight more aircraft have been confirmed via Translink’s website. Translink are an official partner of the FoF.
First up one of the most talked about displays from the last few years will be returning to Newcastle when Rich Goodwin brings his Pitts Special to Newcastle for yet another fantastic display.
Mark Petrie will be returning in his Strikemaster jet which has proven to be very popular over the last couple of years adding a bit more jet power to the display. Mark Petrie always puts on a fantastic show.
Team Raven will be displaying in Newcastle in their Vans RV aircraft having attended the Festival of Flight since 2015. Last year their display became a 6 ship display and put on a great show.
The P51 Mustang, a WWII fighter will once again take to the skies having displayed in Newcastle in 2016 in very challenging windy conditions adding the sound of yet another Merlin engine to the Newcastle skies.
Finally The Global Stars will return to Newcastle in their Extra 300 and Cap 232 aircraft flown by Mark Jefferies, Tom Cassells, Chris Burkett, Steve Carver & Michael Pickin who are all British Champions.
global stars
Finally making a debut in Newcastle, a Piston Provost will add to the line up. Designed in the1950s as a replacement for the Percival Prentice. The Provost has the distinction of being the last piston-engine basic trainer aircraft to be operated by the RAF.
This adds to the already announced RAF Red Arrows, RAF Chinook, RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane and the debut of the Wildcat Aerobatic Display Team.
All photos our own with the exception of the Provost, full copyright of that photo belongs to Eric Fishwick. As of this moment it is not known what Provost will be at Newcastle and photo used for illustrative purposes..