Team Xtreme spreads its wings

Team Xtreme, a formation aerobatic team that operates globally and performs a high-energy dynamic four-ship display of formation and freestyle aerobatics, cross-over passes, synchronized manoeuvres and solo gyroscopics, will perform at this year’s Bethlehem Airshow on Saturday (25/08).

This team has a combined experience of over 48 000 flight hours and has performed over 100 displays in South Africa and Asia since 2010.

Nigel Hopkins:

For Nigel, flying in airshows is about bringing the love of aviation to the community.

“It gives us the opportunity to display our passion all around the world,” he said.

He is the leader of the team and he has been participating in airshows for the past 22 years. His father is a pilot and aviation enthusiast, so he grew up spending week­ends at parachute clubs and airshows. Nigel was the world rally flying champion in 2003, the vice world advanced aerobatic champion in 2010, seven-time South African rally flying champion, five-time South African precision flying champion and four­time South African aerobatic champion.

Nigel has also been named as the South African freestyle aerobatic champion for the last five consecutive years. He started flight training in 1991 and obtained his private pilot license in 1992 while working as an air traffic controller. In 1993, he completed his commercial license with an instructors rating and began flight instruction full time. He resides in Centurion and is a training captain for South African Airways and has over 19 000 total flying hours.

Jason Beamish:

Jason’s position on the team isTeam Position: #3 (LH Wing) and aircraft engineer. He is an aircraft engineer with Absolute Aviation, Southern Africa, and has 2 700 flying hours. He has been rated on Number of aircraft rated on:65 aircraft.

Total Flying hours: 2 700

Age when he started flying: Age 9 in a J3 Cub, Solo on his 17th birthday.

Mark Sampson:

Mark is the #2 wingman and is in charge of his team’s media. He is the captain of the B744 / B748F Cathay Pacific Airways to Hong Kong, and has 11 500 flying hours. He has been rated on 23 planes and six helicopters.

Age when he started flying: 20

Flying achievements: Advanced World Aerobatics 2010 Poland - 11th place overall, silver medal for Team South Africa. Represented South Africa at Unlimited World Aerobatics 2011 in Italy. Captain on Boeing 747.

Mark Hensman:

Mark’s position on the team is #4 (box), and he is also a solo freestyle pilot. He is the team manager and a retired training captain of B747 MK Airlines. He has 15 000 flying hours and has been rated on 35 aircraft.

Total Flying hours: 15,000

Number of aircraft rated on: 35

Age when he started flying: Solo in a glider at the age of 15.

Flying achievements: SA Aerobatic Champion 2006 and 2009. Silver medal for the South African team at both 2007 and 2010 Advanced World Championships. 5th at the 2010 China International Air Sports Fiesta and 4th in the World Air Masters, China 2011.

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