30 YEARS OF AEROBATICS

I did all of my learning the 'hard' way. In fact there really is no short cut in this game, other than to try and see. Fortunately I was surrounded by, and mentored by, experts at an early age who never failed to impress with their classic airmanship and superlative handling skills.

In my late twenties I was offered the opportunity to turn professional with a three-month contract touring France with a Ford-sponsored Road Show. This developed nicely into a three-year commitment all around Europe and Scandinavia using a Pitts S1.

In 1983 I teamed up with Brendan O'Brien to form a unique display act billed as an aerial ballet using the delightful Fournier RF4 motor glider. This is where the brand Skyhawks was born. Over the following seasons the act developed into a three-ship display with music soundtrack (by Pink Floyd) and specially designed wing tip smoke generators.

After an interlude in the commercial finance world I joined up with Brian Lecomber and the Firebird Aerobatic Team. Using the brand new composite monoplane from Extra we delivered one of the most popular duo display acts, culminating in the award-winning Microlease Aerobatic Team with the enhanced Extra 300L.

My favourite moments were always associated with Team operations. I think the combination of talents and the sheer focus of effort to produce a real spectacle was the richest experience in flying. In fact the lyrical grace and balletic choreography of the original Skyhawks Team proved one of the most original display acts. It was certainly a challenge to squeeze as much energy as possible from a motor-glider with forty horsepower engines!!

Perhaps the best experience achieved in the last ten years is meeting all sorts of characters and individuals during the course of personal coaching. Some of them have developed their skills to become championship contenders at international level, others have followed the path of self expression and become accomplished display pilots in their own right. All of them, without question, demonstrated a passion to succeed and a commitment to excellence.
 
John Taylor Skyhawk Aerobatics