An aerobatic display team is set to appear at their home airfield at this year’s Old Buckenham Airshow in Norfolk.
Wildcat Aerobatics is one of the most exciting acts on the air show scene, displaying close formation aerobatics and precision synchronised flying.
The team, which calls ‘Old Buck’ its home is delighted to be displaying at the airfield which was a US Army Air Force B-24 Liberator base during the Second World War.
The team, who fly a pair of iconic Pitts Special biplanes, will appear at the event on Saturday, 29 July and Sunday, 30 July 2017.
Pilots Al Coutts and Willie Cruickshank, who formed the team in 2010 out of a mutual love of aerobatics, have 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.
Al Coutts, who has been flying since the age of 19, said: “We love displaying at Old Buck, our home ‘drome, Geoff and Matt are always so helpful to us so it’s great to repay their kindness.
“And of course, there’s no hiding at Old Buck as our friends, neighbours, colleagues and family are there to watch, too!
“We’ve tuned our 2017 display to be more dynamic and tighter and introduced some new manoeuvres.
“This season sees a mix of old and new venues for us across the year, some local some further away; we return to the Channel Islands and Ireland twice – Portrush and Newcastle (a first for us) and other new events such as Newark and Laval in France.”
This year’s display comprises formation loops, rolls, stall turns, an opposing knife edge pass and much more in-between.
Willie Cruickshank, who gained his pilot’s licence before he could drive, said: “I get a special buzz when flying at our home airfield and performing in front of the Old Buck crowd – The Old Buckenham Airshow is always a great weekend and one of the highlights of my year.
“For our 2017 routine we’ve retained many of the most popular elements from 2016 but also ramped everything up a bit and added a few new manoeuvres. Consequently, we have a routine that is designed to excite and entertain as well as showing off our iconic Pitts Special biplanes to the best of our ability.
“With some new display venues added to the mix, 2017 has the potential to be our best year yet – bring it on.”
Wildcat Aerobatics use the S2B two-seat version of the Pitts Special. The agile aeroplane is incredibly responsive and allows the team to display in close proximity when performing formation aerobatics.
For more information visit www.wildcataerobatics.com
About the pilots
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 competed for five years in aerobatic competitions, winning a podium place in an international event.
He gained his Display Authorisation in 2005 and has been displaying at air shows ever since.
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.
About the aircraft
Wildcat Aerobatics use the S2B two-seat version of the Pitts Special and are based at Old Buckenham airfield in Norfolk, which was a US Army Air Force B-24 Liberator base during the Second World War.
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.
The agile aeroplane is incredibly responsive and allows the team to display in close proximity when performing formation aerobatics.