Popular Mechanics South Africa

FLYING IN THE FACE OF GRAVITY

SITTING DOWN FOR my Zoom chat with Patrick Davidson, one wouldn’t think he spends much of his time upside down in an aircraft travelling at speeds and pulling off manoeuvres that can only be likened to the way UFOs travel in sci-fi movies. I’m not sure what such a person would typically look like, but Patrick simply seems like your average down-to-earth guy from Port Elizabeth who enjoys a good braai on weekends.

WINGS BEFORE WHEELS

What makes Patrick the ideal candidate to have become the daring sky-runner he is today, however, lies beneath the surface – in his genes. His father was an SA Unlimited aerobatics champion – Unlimited being the highest skill-level in aerobatics, one step above Advanced, and one below absolutely insane. Before most kids his age had even mounted their first bicycle, Patrick was strapped into the co-pilot seat of one of his dad’s planes, jetting around with him from the age of five. He also got his pilot’s license before his driver’s, without a moment wasted – the day he turned 17; ‘The youngest that you’re legally allowed to do it.’

THE HISTORY OF AEROBATICS

Aerobatics originated in WWI when fighter pilots realised that being able to pull off rapid, unexpected manoeuvres in their aircraft

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