We had the unique opportunity to talk with the World Champion - Glider Aerobatic Pilot Luca Bertossio who made us the honor to answer our questions just a few days before he visits Tatoi - Greece for his demonstration during Athens Flying Week 2013.
Q: When did your journey in the Glider Aerobatic world start? Can you recall what was your first experiences with aviation?
A: I started with Glider Aerobatic in 2010 after get my private pilot license and being a tow pilot on my Aeroclub, I started flying at 12yo with a friend of mine who sometime give me some “flight lessons” in some ultralight airplanes…
Q: How many different types you have flown with? How many flight hours approximately? Do you fly with other airplanes except your glider?
A: About Aerobatic Gliders I fly with: Ask21,IS28-B2,MDM Fox,Swift S-1,I got around 400 hrs of aerobatics with gliders so around 2500 aerobatic flights…not so much but I keep going…I also fly power airplane like Cessna, Piper, Maule, Mudry Cap, Aviat Husky, Zlin 526 and many others…
Q: For our visitors who are not familiar with gliding could you please remind us in a few words what are the “FAI badges” (silver, gold etc) and what do they represent?
A: FAI Badges are prizes given to a Performer for a World/European Result competition result, of course there are Bronze,Silver and Gold Medal and the Aerobatic Competitions consist of 4 different programs and results where Badges are given to the performers: The Know Compulsory program medals, The Free Program medals, The Unknowns medals, the Team Result Medals… I got 4 Gold Medals on WAGAC 2012
Q: When and how did you realize that you could except flying also perform aerobatic maneuvers? You are young so when did you actually pass the red thin line between Gliding towards Aerobatic Gliding?
A: Well,I never made soaring flights in my life with gliders…every flight I made I,at lease,made some simple aerobatic figures…flying is not going from A to B but…but how you go from A to B…the best part IS NOT the arrival but the Trip ;-)
Q: In forthcoming September we expect your participation in the Athens Flying Week 2013 (23-29 September). It is not your first time in Greece and especially in Tatoi airfield. Could we consider the flying conditions in Tatoi ideal for your demonstration?
A: Yes,is going to be the second time in Tatoi, I’m so happy to be there again! For the flight scenery and for the people that I found there… Usually there’s a lot of wind in Tatoi AFB,this means that I’m little bit more limited in flight maneuvers but I’m going to try to do my best as always…for me and of course for the spectators
Q: Cpt. Manolis Karachalios (ex HAF F-16 Demo Team pilot) explains in a recent article of his about the responsibility of a pilot flying over audience. The article is entitled “Zero Tolerance”. Do you also believe that the tolerance on human errors should be zero when flying over crowds? Which are the extra responsibilities in that case?
A: I got some rules about that: Get amazed the experts,Improve myself and do not scared anyone…People must be there to enjoy the show and not to risk their lives, just for this we have to keep the safety in the first place before everything else…Every pilot make mistakes,because he is human…for this we have to put some margin of tolerance and safety (considered inviolable) between us and the public…
Q: Which are the extra precautionary measures for having a safe air-show flight?
A: Never improvise something,never risk the public safety to do a figure or sequence, respect the limit of the display line,and consider in case of emergency what to do in every situation.
Q: You have won a lot of medals in the past three years in Italian and international events. What is the next step? Which is your goals for the forthcoming years?
A: Well,keep on this way of course…I just begin my career,I would like to win as much as possible,I would like to share this sport to all the world and to show to the people how great and exiting could be the aerobatic sports.
Q: You are a professional pilot. What does that mean in every day life? How often do you practice? How hard is your schedule?
A: Yes,I do what I do to live everyday,well…that’s the best question…the most of you of course,only look at the last part of my job (the display)…but behind of that there’re a lot lot of things to prepare,manage and generally do…It’s not really easy, specially because I would like to do all by myself because I like and know how to do that but sometime there’re too much things to follow and I need help from my team of course, so without them nothing would be possible.
Q: You have your own sponsors supporting your work. How important is that for you Luca? How essential is their help for the final result?
A: This year I got CITIZEN and Sparco as Sponsors,they do different things for me,they are complementary for my activity…It’s important to have people who know what you need and knows how things must be done…and last but most important It’s a big honor to have names like those who thrust in you.
Q: Your glider is specially decorated. Is the special decoration of aerobatics airplanes important? Except helping the audience to recognize the aircraft in the skies does it also offer extra confidence to you?
A: The MDM-1 FOX-P, dressed the CITIZEN® livery that Mr. Mirco Pecorari from Aircraft Studio Design produce and study for it, he’s for sure the best Aircraft Delivery producer of the whole world and it’s a huge honor that he dressed my glider…A good and unique livery make a unique glider that people can recognize for all time long.
Q: Do you have a favorite Air Force aerobatics team or Solo Demonstration airplane? (e.g. Red Arrows or RNLAF F-16 Demo).
A: I was born, live, train myself and generally fly at less than 20km from Rivolto AFB where Frecce Tricolori are…I know all pilots and they know me,that’s for sure my preferred Team. About Solo Pilot…well I know Cpt. Manolis and I had the chance to speak with him for a long time, he’s professional, safe and a great guy…so have no doubt about my favorite Solo Jet Pilot.
Q: Who are your favorite aerobatics pilots that you really enjoy watching?
A: About favorite Aerobatic Display Pilot…also here no doubt…Jurgis Kairys,he is such an extraterrestrial pilot,after him I find Rob Holland and as precision aerobatic pilot I have Renaud Ecalle…he was/is my impressive for me.
Q: What is your relationship with military airplanes? Have you ever flown with any of them? Which is your favorite type and why?
A: Unluckily no…About WWII my dream is the Spitfire Mk IX,about modern jets I have 2 first the Mig29 and second the F16,I wish like to fly those airplane only for 2 things: Fell the tons of thrust on my back and after take off reach around 50.000ft in few minutes…after that I can land…that’s all for me!
Q: What would you like to suggest young people who wish to fly either as a hobby or as their main profession. Should they follow their dream and what aerobatics flight would offer them in particular?
A: I suggest to give all sacrifices and all energy for flying, everything will come back now or later… Flight is an art with emotions and feelings without equal, but you have to approach it and live it with the right mindset and philosophy, be professional and do not forget that you put your life in your hands through and airplane, and that every joy or sorrow depends on you…
Aerobatic is the most sincere, pure and elevated art of flight that a pilot can live ... it helps to create a mindset in everyday life, is not made to look for free trouble but to tend to a desire of a pure unlimited perfection.
Q: We are waiting for you to come in the forthcoming Athens Flying Week 2013 next September. What should the audience expect from your demonstration?
A: I’ll fly the glider MDM Fox as I love to do,so I’ll paint and dance in the sky like a butterfly but also make some incredible stunt like my 3 new figures like the “Helicopter figure” and the others…can’t wait to show them what a glider can do if wear like a good dress and pilot with the heart and not with the hands ;-)
Click on image above to get informed about forthcoming demonstration by Luca Bertossio at Athens Flying Week 2013.