The Mazda Zoom-Zoom Aerobatic Team

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On my journey through cyber space this morning, whilst performing my daily search for topical news and exciting and interesting ‘tit bits’ to share with you here on our blog, I stumbled upon the following article. I had to share it with you! :)



Over the past seven years, the Mazda Aerobatic Team has established itself as one of the best Formation Aerobatic Teams in the world. They achieved International recognition led by South African Airways pilot Brad Bennetts, who flies the Airbus on local and International routes.


Flying as wingman is Ian Billing, a Captain for British Airways, Comair and is the current South African Aerobatic Champion. Together, they have accumulated over 20 thousand flying hours and developed a routine full of signature maneuvers and heart stopping surprises that redefine the limits of explosive, non-stop action from start to finish.

In 2007, the team upgraded their aircraft from the ageing Zlin’s to the best the world has to offer, namely the German built Extra 300L. Its clean lines allow it to achieve speeds in excess of 370km per hour and the aircraft is built to withstand the force of 12 G’s (12 times the force of gravity).

At 12 G’s, a pilot would feel the weight of over 850 kilograms on his body. They therefore have to be extremely fit to cope with such stresses and since they don’t wear fighter-style anti-g suits, it makes it all the more challenging.

The Mazda Aerobatic Team have flown close to 300 displays around South Afirca and this is their seventh year representing the brand – but they still work on new routines to keep things interesting.

Their aim is to build on the Zoom-Zoom concept which incorporates the joy of motion that one felt as a child. They are the only team in the country to incorporate the mirror loop into their routine and the only team in the world to fly the mirror barrel-roll – something that has to be seen to be believed.

Explains Brad, “Our margins are tight but the reward of flying a display to the standard we aim for is worth all the nerves and practice. We feel proud and justified representing this winning brand. Every year, we see the brand evolving and re-inventing itself to stay ahead. That in itself is enough motivation to for us to continually strive for perfection!”


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