Massive congratulations to Gerald Cooper who’s just won gold medal for his Unlimited Freestyle flight at the European Aerobatic Competitions 2012.
This win comes amidst the olympic & paralympic gold-rush of London 2012, so it’s easy to be a little blasé about such a remarkable result. However, Gerald and all the British team spend a great deal of their own time and money training to compete against countries, like France, where aerobatics is state funded.
Wickenby friends Philipp Steinbach and Eric Vazeille also flew in the Freestyle competitions coming 5th and 10th respectively. To see all the results from the competitions visit the CIVA Results website.
Gerald on the podium (Video courtesy of BAeA Facebook page)
This win comes just a few weeks after the British Advanced team made their mark in Hungary at the World Advanced Aerobatic Championships. New competitor (and Wickenby pilot) Tom Bennett made a strong first impression being awarded 5th place overall, with fellow team mate Paul Tomlinson taking 11th place.
Wickenby airfield would like to extend our congratulations to Gerald, Tom and all who took part in this year’s competitions, and wish them all good luck for future events.
Gerald after arriving in Italy, photograph by Philipp Steinbach, designer of the Sbach aircraft.
Congratulations to Wickenby Airfield co-owner Gerald Cooper for his achievement at the World Aerobatic Championships held last month at Foligno in Italy.
He came 10th which is a superb result given that Gerald had very little time to practise in his brand new Sbach 300 aircraft.
The CAP 232 has been his aircraft of choice for many years winning the British Championships repeatedly and gaining 7th position at WAC 2009. However, Gerald was very pleased with the performance of the XtremeAir Sbach aerobatic aircraft. Of his own performance he commented: “I was happy with 10th position overall. Though I’d have been happier with a nought taken off the end!!”
Gerald continues: “This being my first WAC in the new Sbach 300, combined with it only being ready a few weeks before the event, ensured this was always going to be a tough competition.”
The new Sbach 300 in front of Italian landscape. Photograph by Philipp Steinbach.
Unfortunately the usual British Team members were not all in attendance this year with just Gerald and Tom Cassells representing their country in the classical aerobatic compeitions. Team coach Eric Vazeille also flew for the UK in the Freestyle Competition, being awarded 5th place.
Of Tom’s performance Gerald added: “Tom had a couple of great flights but an engineering technical failure in one of his later flights saw him slide right down the rankings. This sport is truly unforgiving as one tiny split second mistake will see you slide ten places at best.”
Unlike many other national teams, the UK does not sponsor aerobatic training for its pilots, and practise can be not only painful (comparable to boxing) but very expensive. Despite this Gerald, Tom and Eric are determined to continue to place British pilots on the podium. We can only wish them the best of British luck!
Gerald Cooper’s winning streak is still running with him receiving a gold medal in the Freestyle Event and silver medal overall in the FAI’s ‘Desert Challenge’. Gerald was sole representative for the UK in this competition, out performing some of the best pilots in the world.
Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, hosted this event during it’s impressive annual airshow. Despite strong winds marring the first few days, the weekend has managed to be a great success with tens of thousands of people visiting to watch the breath-taking flying.
Autocar magazine have been visiting Wickenby Airfield – but not to review a new model of car!
For those of you who thought Autocar was just for car fans, think again. In the December issue 2010 there’s a lengthy review about XtremeAir’s state of the art Sbach Aircraft. UK Agent Gerald Cooper demonstrated the advanced aerial ability of the Sbach 342 to the autocar reviewer on a crisp snow covered day in the skies over Lincolnshire.
Photographs courtesy of Autocar
Autocar say: “Every Christmas Autocar road tests a vehicle with a difference, and this year’s offering is one of the most nimble, wacky and fun yet.” They continued “the Sbach is the world’s first all carbon fibre aerobatics aeroplane. In car terms, it’s like something out of the World Rally Championship, because just as a WRC car is easy to drive, so the Sbach is not particularly difficult for an amateur to fly.”
The review has gone down well on the Autocar website, sparking requests for an NCAP rating and passenger seats with Isofix fittings!