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Neville Ferreira - Aerobatic Wizard

Neville Ferreira like many of the top aerobatic pilots grew up in an aviation family, Neville’s father was a charter pilot and as a result he spent much of his childhood at an airfield.

Many people expected Neville to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a commercial pilot, but he decided to go into business and only started flying later in his life.

I managed to catch up with Neville between practices at Kitty Hawk airfield where he is based and is currently preparing for the World Championships.

As soon as Neville Started flying he started working towards flying aerobatics, his first truly aerobatic machine was a Yak 52 which he acquired in 2005 a year after he started his aerobatic training. He first competed in a competition in 2010 with his trusty Yak 52.

By this time the bug had well and truly bitten and Neville’s highly competitive nature compelled him to put in many hours of practice. Neville progressed from nose wheel to tail wheel in 2011 when he purchased a Yak 55, in which he started to take part in many local aerobatic competitions quickly moving up through the ranks.

In 2012 Neville competed in the Yak52 World Championship and managed a fourteenth place overall which was very good considering he had less than two years aerobatic competition experience and he was competing in a borrowed aircraft.

In 2014 the Intermediate World Championships were held in Mosel Bay, Neville took part where he obtained a very respectable third place overall in his brand new Slick 540, the same machine he is using today and will be competing in the Worlds with.

In addition to competing in Aerobatics competitions at the highest level Neville is also a well-respected airshow display pilot the two disciplines are very different.

Competition Aerobatics is flown in an “aerobatic box” where the contestant is judged by a panel of judges who review the flight based on the flight sequence they have in hand. The competition consists of up to 4 flights per pilot and is held over a week in the case of the World Championships.

Display flying on the other hand, the pilot has the freedom to create their own display sequence with no judges to criticize or to rate the display sequence. The display sequence is intended to thrill the spectators and to be able to showcase the aircraft and the pilot’s capabilities. As one progresses in competition aerobatics so do your privileges increases in display flying. At first a display rating will have a min altitude for aerobatics at 500 feet. Currently Neville’s Display Rating allows him full aerobatics down to 50 feet.

Neville currently has over 1500 hours total time of which at least 600 were clocked up doing aerobatics. Neville maintains that the discipline that governs competition aerobatics tends to be carried over into the airshow displays, making the pilot a much better and safer and this is very important when one is subjected to G loads of 12 G positive and 10 G negative continuously for a 4 to 6 minute display. Neville strives to fly his Slick 540 in abnormal ways during gyroscopic manoeuvres where normal aerodynamic principles do not apply.

Neville good luck with the upcoming World Championships we wish you all the best.



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