Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Péter Besenyei was born in June 1956. At the age of 20 he entered his first flying competition piloting a glider and immediately showed how talented he was by winning a silver medal. In 1982 he was the overall winner at the Austrian National Championships but this time he piloted a motor-driven plane and performed aerobatics.

The run of success continued in 1990 when Besenyei, piloting a plane that most people in the sport considered to be obselete, finished in second place in the World Aerobatics Championships. In 1993 the world-famous watch manufacturer Breitling attracted by the spectacle offered by the sport of aerobatics and by its increasing popularity organised a series of competitions that were known as the Breitling Aerobatics World Cup. The world’s top twelve aerobatics pilots were invited to compete and despite his having to fly in various aeroplanes borrowed from other people Besenyei finished in the first three. In 1996 the World Cup was succeeded by the FAI Aerobatics Grand Prix series, of which 1996-98 Péter Besenyei was the overall winner.
In 1994, flying his own plane, Besenyei won a gold and a bronze medal at the World Championships, and in 1995 at the European Championships he won 2 gold and 2 silver medals and was the most successful pilot. In addition to participating in competitions the Hungarian ace also works as a professional pilot, flying instructor and test-pilot passing on to others and making use of the vast experience that he has acquired over the years. He is the most successful Hungarian pilot of our time and experts consider him to be among the world’s top 3 aerobatics pilots.
In addition to his international successes Péter Besenyei has been Hungarian national champion 10 times and has won the "Sportsman of the Year" award 14 times. For the last 16 years he has been a member of the Hungarian national aerobatics squad. In 1996 Péter Besenyei was presented with the "President of the Republic's Gold Medal" by Árpád Göncz the President of Hungary.

Patty Wagstaff

To Patty Wagstaff the sky represents adventure, freedom and challenge. A six-time member of the US Aerobatic Team, Patty has won the gold, silver and bronze medals in Olympic-level international aerobatic competition and is the first woman to win the title of US National Aerobatic champion and one of the few people to win it three times.

Patty flies one of the most thrilling, low-level aerobatic routines in the world. Flying before millions of Airshow spectators each year, her breathtaking performances give spectators a front-row seat view of the precision and complexity of modern, unlimited hard-core aerobatics. Her smooth aggressive style sets the standard for performers the world over.

Born in the USA, Patty grew up in and around airplanes. Moving to Japan when she was nine years old where her father was a Captain for Japan Air Lines. Her earliest memories include sitting with her father at the controls of his airplanes. At ten years old when her father let her take the controls of his DC-6, her lifelong love affair with airplanes began.

Though Patty was not raised to think of a career, her parent's supported her interests and encouraged her above all not to be fearful. From Japan her travels took her across Southeast Asia, Europe and to Australia where she lived and traveled up the west coast in a small boat. In 1979 she moved to Alaska and moved to a small town in the southwest, Dillingham, to work for the Bristol Bay Native Association where her job involved traveling to each of the remote villages in the region, areas only accessible by air.

Patty's first experience with bush flying was not a positive one: the same airplane she chartered crashed on its first flight. So Patty learned to fly herself, hiring friend and later husband, Bob, to travel with her in his Cessna 185 floatplane. Since then earned her Commercial, Instrument, Seaplane and Commercial Helicopter Ratings. She is a Flight and Instrument Instructor and is rated and qualified to fly many airplanes, from World War II warbirds to jets. Patty's sister, Toni, is also a pilot and a Captain for Continental Airlines..
Though she had never seen aerobatics, a lifelong curiosity led her to attend her first Airshow in Abbotsford, British Columbia in 1983, where she saw aerobatic pilots perform and promised herself "I can do that!" By 1985, five years after gaining her pilot's license, she earned a spot on the US Aerobatic Team.
Patty's skill is based on years of training and experience. She is a six-time recipient of the "First Lady of Aerobatics" Betty Skelton Award. In July 2004, Patty was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the National Air and Space Museum's Award for Current Achievement in 1994.

Having received many awards for her flying, she is particularly proud of receiving the Airshow industry's most prestigous award, the "Sword of Excellence", and the "Bill Barber Award for Showmanship" Recently she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Airforce Association, was inducted into the EAA/IAC Hall of Fame and in 2005 received the NAA/99's Katherine Wright Award.

For more info see www.pattywagstaff.com

2005 Recipient, Airforce Association Lifetime Achievement Award
2005 Inductee, International Aerobatic Club Hall of Fame
2005 Katherine Wright Award
2002 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Award
1998 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship
1997 Recipient, NAA Paul Tissiander Diploma
1997 Inductee, Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame
1997 Inductee, Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
1996 Recipient, Charlie Hillard Trophy
1996 GAN & Flyers Readers Choice Award, Favorite Female Performer
1996 Top Scoring US Pilot at World Aerobatic Championships
1985-1996 Member, U.S. Aerobatic Team
1995 Recipient, ICAS Sword of Excellence Award
1988-1994 Winner Betty Skelton "First Lady of Aerobatics" Trophy
1994 National Air and Space Museum Award for Current Achievement
1994 NAA Certificate of Honor
1993 International Aerobatic Club Champion
Us National Aerobatic Champion 1991, 1992, 1993 US National Aerobatic Championships
1990/1992/1994 Top US Medal Winner, World Aerobatic Championships
1991 Voted Western Flyer Reader's Choice Favorite Airshow Performer
1987 Rolly Cole Memorial Award for Contributions to Sport Aerobatics

Michael Goulian

Michael started flying lessons in 1984 and soloed a Cessna 150 on his 16th birthday. Michael’s yearning to fly aerobatics was so strong that he began his aerobatic training in 1985 while still a student pilot. Once he became and aerobatic instructor, Michael established an aerobatic school within EFA using a Decathlon trainer, and supplemented his income as a corporate jet pilot while working his way toward the top ranks of air show display flying and competition aerobatics. Following a shower of regional titles he gained national recognition when at age 22 he became US National Champion in the Advanced Category. A year later he won the prestigious Fond du Lac Cup invitational competition and by 1992 he was the top ranked US male aerobatic pilot and Silver Medalist in the Unlimited Category, an achievement he repeated in 1993. His performance earned him a spot on the 1994 US National Aerobatic Team which represented America at the World Aerobatic Championship held in Hungary. In 1995 Mike reached the pinnacle of American aerobatics by becoming the US National Champion in the Unlimited Category. Not one to rest on his laurels, Mike has been a member of the 1994, 96, & 98 US Aerobatic Teams. Today, Mike focuses his attention on airshow flying and he is pushing the envelope with the goal of leading the industry to new heights entertainment and professionalism. For more info see www.mikegoulian.com

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dave Morss

Dave is a two-time recipient of the Pulizter Aviation Award for speed records in Sport Class. He holds thirteen world speed records, ten of which stand. He has over 22,000 hours in over 300 different types of aircraft. He is the recipient of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Spirit of Flight Award for his accomplishments in testing. Dave started Myriad Research, a test flight business, in 1984. He has done first flights in 33 prototype aircraft. Dave has raced at the National Championship Air Races for 24 years competing in Biplane, Formula One, Sport Class and Unlimited. He is the three-time Sport Class Gold Champion.

For more info see www.davemorss.com

Friday, January 13, 2006

Betty Skelton (Frankman) 1926-2011

High-flying, fast-driving Betty Skelton (later Frankman) was born in Pensacola, Fla., in 1926. At age 12, she soloed in an airplane. By 1950, Ms. Skelton and her open-cockpit biplane, Little Stinker, were famous worldwide. From 1948 to 1950 she won three international aerobatics competitions for women.
One of her specialties was a maneuver known as "the inverted ribbon cut," in which she flew her plane upside down, 10 feet above the ground, and sliced through a ribbon stretched between two poles.
In 1949 and 1951 she set the world light-plane altitude record. In a car, she set the women's land-speed record three times at Daytona Beach, Fla., the last time being 1956 when she hit 145.044 m.p.h. in a Corvette (the men's record was only 3 m.p.h. faster). In 1951 she broke the North American transcontinental speed record for driving coast-to-coast from New York to Los Angeles, covering 2,913 miles in 56 hours 58 minutes (an average of more than 51mph). Two years later she crossed South America, from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso in Chile, in 41 hours 14 minutes.
In 1960, when the Mercury astronauts were making headlines, Look magazine asked Betty Skelton to undergo the same rigorous physical and psychological training regime ordained by Nasa. She passed every test, winning the respect of the seven Project Mercury astronauts, who nicknamed her “number 7½”. Betty Skelton set her last major land-speed record when she took a jet-powered car to a speed of more than 315mph at Bonneville in 1965.
She held more combined aviation and automotive records than anyone else - man or woman - in history.