The other day, I was privileged to meet Lauren Richardson, aerobatic display Pilot and former British Female Aerobatics Champion. Lauren performs her superb routine, in her customised Pitts Special S1-S aeroplane, at airshows all over the UK, before crowds of tens of thousands of people or more.
I also got to meet her partner, Simon Wilson, who is himself an accomplished diplay Pilot, displaying the vintage Percival Provost at airshows all over the UK.
Lauren and Simon are well-known in the British airshow circuit for their highly professional, sparkling displays of these two classic aircraft; displays that are so different (although both aerobatic) and each riveting in their own unique way. Apart from their immense skill, what makes display Pilots like Lauren and Simon so special is that they have to perform their displays at a low level, typically below a maximum height of about 2,000ft, because if they went any higher than that, the crowd wouldn’t be able to see them well enough. In fact, that figure of 2,000ft is only the very apex of their manoeuvres; most of the display is actually performed much lower than that. And this kind of low-level flying, and the consequent lack of time for recovery from an error, means this: there is no such thing as a minor incident in low-level aerobatics. These guys have to get it right first time, every time; there is very little margin for error. Flying like this requires a precision that is unmatched in virtually any other type of flying, with the possible two exceptions of fast-jet operations on aircraft carriers, and low-level terrain-following flight.
Lauren has recently begun publishing ‘behind the scenes’ videos of her flying, detailing such subjects as why she loves what she does, what preparation she has to do before each display and so on. She has also started doing videos of, well, not exactly ‘how-to’ videos, because you can’t just hop in any old aeroplane and perform these manoeuvres, but at least videos showing how she personally is handling the aeroplane in each manoeuvre. I find these videos quite fascinating, so I have showcased this video today, the second in the series, with Lauren’s permission. Here it is; enjoy!
I would also like to point out that not only does Lauren do public airshows, but she also performs routines of up to 12 minutes for private functions too, such as weddings, corporate functions and the like. The service Lauren provides includes all the paperwork and insurance and what-have-you, so it’s totally hassle free for you. If you’re interested in booking Lauren for your event, click the image below or follow this link for further details.
Header photo: Hushkit.net
Lauren’s Pitts in Knife-Edge: BritishAirshows.com
Percival Provost photo: Photozone72.org.uk
Private function photo: lauren-richardson.com