30 Jul The Little and Large of the airshow world: G-Force Aerobatics Extra 300 and model
If you think this display looks like two full size Extra 300 aircraft performing a stunning routine of formation and opposition aerobatics – you would be right. Well, almost! One aircraft is indeed a full size, high-performance, single-seat Extra 300S aircraft flown by Chris Burkett. The other aircraft is a 40% scale, radio-controlled model flown by Mike Williams.
Chris’s first experiences of flying and aerobatics were in a de Havilland Chipmunk as an RAF cadet. Some years later he was able to complete his Private Pilot’s License on the Chipmunk and own a share in his own machine. This led to his first taste of display and formation flying as part of Captain Neville’s Flying Circus, involving balloon bursting, flour bombing and flying ‘limbo’ underneath bunting! Mike started flying radio controlled models at the age of nine and by the age of ten was learning aerobatics. Today he is one of the UK’s foremost competition and display model pilots and has won numerous UK and international championships.
The full size Extra came from the production line. The model extra came from Mike’s workshop. With a 3.1m wingspan, a length of 2.9m and weighing 18kg – this is no off-the-shelf model. Designing and building such a model requires plenty of time and cash. Scale performance is similar in most areas to the full-size version apart from in the area of power-to-weight ratio as you will see when Mike performs his helicoptering manoeuvre.
The Extra 300 aircraft was designed by former world aerobatic championship competitor, Walter Extra, with a single aim in mind; to be the world’s top performing competition aerobatic aircraft. He succeeded. The German designed Extra 300 is the world’s most successful certified sport and performance aerobatic aircraft. It has proven its performance in international aerobatic competition, and in combination with its great handling and stability, it is the perfect cross-country touring aircraft. For pure power, handling and performance nothing can match Walter’s Extra.
But even Walter himself would be surprised and impressed by this novel and skilful display. Pairs formation flying is difficult enough with both pilots in the air, it is a completely different story when one is on the ground! The display requires trust, ability, planning and plenty of practice.