Patrick Davidson

Patrick Davidson, 35 Year old Port Elizabeth Aerobatic pilot

Patrick Davidson, Port Elizabeth aerobatic pilot Patrick Davidson felt pretty special after being hand-picked to compete in the Red Bull Air Race Challenger Cup. Patrick had lots of reason to feel this way, after being SA’s top preforming pilot in the WAC 2017 held at Malalane, South Africa in September 2017 and now being part of the Red Bull Challenger Cup. Patrick will fly the Edge 540 in the Challenger Cup. Patrick flew his Sukhoi 31, Reg ZS-SUK, in the WAC2017 and finished at the 13th Spot, NOT Bad…..
To follow Patrick on Facebook click here.
To Read more on the Edge 540 that Patrick will fly in the Challenger Cup click here
To Read more on Patrick’s Redbull profile click here

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What is The Challenger Cup?The Challenger Cup offers a new generation of talented pilots from around the world a chance to experience the thrills of the sport.  Pilots will be racing for Challenger Cup points. The twin aims of the Challenger Cup are to give new pilots the chance to develop their low altitude flying skills under racing conditions and further enhance the overall safety of this new dimension in Motorsport.”

Patrick took the time to write us his own story while in the Netherlands for his *SWET training.
*Shallow Water Egress Training

Read Patrick’s own story:

One of my first vivid memories was of me at about 7 years old and getting strapped into a Pitts S2B if my memory recalls MMZ was the reg, i had complained a few times to my dad that i could not see and that the belts were too

ZS-MMS Pitts S2B

tight…his standard response for most things in life, still to this day was, ‘you’ll be alright once we get going!’ We continued to get airborne and to ‘watch’ from the air the late Collin Nelson in his Decathlon doing some aeros, or what i could see at least, followed by a few loops, rolls, stall turns and so on, which was then followed by me puking all over myself and the plane and yes this is how i decided to become an aerobatic pilot believe it or not! My dad had me clean up the mess and desperate to do better I asked the following day if we could go up again and again and again until such time as i was able to fly the figures myself without feeling sick and it was from then I was sure this is what I wanted to do, not only aerobatics but FLY! I was lucky enough to have my dad mentor me from such a young age and continued flying aeros in a/c such as Yak 52, Zlin 142, Sukhoi 29, T6 and a few others. I was able to reach the rudders and all other required implements by around 12 and with the take-off and landing skills of my world champ safety pilot Mr Timofeev I was able to compete in the wild coast in a Suk 29 in the graduate class and to win.

T6 ZU-AZX Photo by Pete van der Spek

I continued to fly as much as my dad would allow spending most wends at Seaview in and around some incredible people that my dad had met/invited to visit and coach him over the years, from WW2 German fighter pilots to Peter Besenye and the likes. Seeing the pictures and hearing the ‘war’ stories these guys had to tell over a few beers around the bar at Seaview was more than enough to make me want to continue reaching skywards to a level I could only  hope/imagine would be anywhere close to where these guys were or had been. This coupled with my dads ever willingness to put time aside to teach and guide along was/is the reason i am where I am today! My dad and I had discussed that at 17 I would plan to do my first solo on my 17th b-day in our T6 ZU-AZX, my dad had earmarked my ‘legal’ instructor the late Tedd Lundt an ex RAF Hunter pilot to drill me to completion and the lord knows I really needed some drilling as at this age girls and boozing had come into the picture, good thing my wife Liana rocked up on the scene and gave me some much needed direction! Long story short I completed my training and before school on the 7th June 1999 i went solo from PE main in my Harvard, Awesome I had done it, but now needed a lift to school as I still had no drivers license! I started flying airshows almost immediately and with my dad competing still at the time, this was a given for me too. I competed in the Harvard to start, progressing to a Yak 52 then the Suk 29 and eventually the Extra 300L, which took me to my first National championship title in 2007 and another 3 Advanced titles (as this was the highest level in SA at the time) thereafter. Mark Hensman then had a bright idea to start flying Unlimited with Nigel joining shortly after, I had made a decision to remain at Advanced for a year more so i could compete at the AWAC the following year. With this said, I had a number of top ten placings at AWAC with the highest being a 3rd overall in 2014. By this time I was already flying Unlimited in RSA and if my memory serves me had won 2 SA unlimited titles flying my much loved SUK 31. In 2014 I was invited to fly at the Sky GP of aerobatics held in Durban, I managed to pull off a 2nd place to the then current WAC champ Francois LeVot, continuing on this positive note I was able to proceed and win this same event from Rob Holland in second in 2016. Late in 2016 I made contact with RB SA in connection with the RBAR and before I looked again I was at the first training camp in Ocania Spain being coached by the worlds best air race pilots!  On the 1st Sept 2017 i was assigned the title of both Hella and red bull athlete in SA and in Nov 2017 I was announced as South Africa’s first entrant into the RBAR challenger cup, quite a moment to say the least! From then it has really been a blur from media-tours, a second visit to the RB DTC and as i write this i have just completed my SWET training in Den Helder Netherlands. So with the support of my family and 2 incredible sponsors namely HELLA and RB, i can’t wait to put RSA on the podium in the 2018 Challenger series and yes I have confirmed they have our anthem…!

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Patrick, His Wife and Daughter just after completing his last flight at the WAC2017

From Patrick’s Facebook page

Got the girl, the plane and the runway! Life is good!

Below is some YouTube video on South Africa’s new Aviation Star Patrick Davidson!

SU-31 costume change! 3 Days from plain to Red Bull / Hella plane

90 seconds with Patrick Davidson, ShortFinalTV got to catch up with Patrick at the Durban Sky Grand Prix earlier this year after he finished in 2nd place.

Patrick Davidson training for World Aerobatics Championship 2017 in his SU-31

Patrick Davidson shows us the Harvard he did his PPL in

2 Responses to Patrick Davidson

  1. […] The James Gilliland Trophy is presented to Patrick Davidson for the most meritorious feat over the past year. In 2018, Patrick Davidson became the first pilot from South Africa to fly in the Challenger Class in the Red Bull Air Race. Although a newcomer to the Red Bull Air Race, he achieved a 2nd place on the Podium in Kazan in Russia, and a third place on the podium in Indianapolis in the United States. Patrick says “I feel that becoming a part of the Red Bull Air Race is one of the highest accolades that an aerobatic pilot could dream of. This is a different kind of flying and I would like to learn as much as I can, but having the personality that I have, I also want to achieve as best I can! It is an awesome privilege and an honour for me to fly the South African flag in this sport.”  Read more on this great man here  […]

  2. […] My first photo was taken at this year’s SAAF Museum Airshow held in May. The wind was scares and the smoke hung nicely in the air. Patrick Davidson did not disappoint with his display. I used my Canon Powershot sx530hs camera on shutter priority for this shot.  (Read more on Patrick Davidson) […]

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