9000 Hours | XA41 SP-EED
Born in Warsaw, Poland, Artur Kielak is 37 years old and has over 9,000 flight hours. He initiated his aviation carrier at the age of 17 as a glider pilot. He was also a skydiver after he started flying airplanes. His love for aerobatics came from when he was a young child, by looking at fighter jets, flying over his head. Currently Artur is Captain of a Boeing 737-800. Before that, Artur worked as a corporate pilot and demonstration pilot for Cessna Aircraft Company. He also worked as an Instructor for a flight school and a pilot in skydiving operations flying an Antonov-2. Artur was also a ferry pilot on singe engine airplanes, flying over Baltic and Mediterranean Sea as well as Atlantic Ocean. He holds JAA Airline Transport Pilot License and FAA Commercial license for airplanes and helicopters. Throughout his career he flew more than 25 types of airplanes, and helicopters with piston, turbine and jet engines. He has been an airshow and aerobatic pilot for many years, being a member of the Polish National Aerobatic Team. He was Polish National Champion and United Kingdom vice-champion in the Unlimited Aerobatic competition. In 2015 Artur finished the World Aerobatic Championship in France in 8th place and was the 2016 vice champion of World Air Games in Dubai where he won a silver medal. Artur is also a dealer and demonstration pilot for XtremeAir factory in Germany, which is manufacturing fully certified, carbon – unlimited aerobatic plane: XA41 and XA42 which Artur will be flying during the ARC - Air Race Championship Artur graduated from The Academy of National Defense in Poland and holds a masters degree in Aviation Navigation Systems. He is a big fan of martial arts, sailing and metal music.
14 000 Hours | Extra 330LP
Bob is from the Netherlands and started flying gliders at the age of 14. Fell in love with aviation and decided he wanted to fly every single day. He started his flying career in the USA where he was a Flight Instructor and a charter/commuter pilot. Sometime later he joined the KLM flight academy and become an airline pilot flying a Fokker F100 in the Far East. Later he joined Martinair, where he is being flying for the last 21 years. Currently he is a Captain flying the MD-11 travelling all over the world. Bob loves flying aerobatics and helicopters and his favorite airplanes are the XtremeAir 42, Extra 330SC, P-51 Mustang, Boing B787 Dreamliner and Cabri G2 helicopter. Bob is looking forward to the ARC - Air Race Championship, which he feels will be a great challenge. For Bob safety comes first, even tough he is really excited with the idea of entertaining a huge crowd. He will be a serious competitor, although it will not be an easy task with so many experienced pilots racing. Let the race begin... He will be race number 12.
1000 Hours | Extra 330SC
Chris was born in Biel-Bienne, the world famous Swiss Watch City. Since a young boy, he always played with small planes and dreamed of flying like a bird. He started flying at the age of 16 with hang gliders and in the last 30 years he collected all Pilot licences possibly available with the exception of the licence of Helicopters and Skydiving which is probably on its way. During his young years, Chris enjoyed flying Hang and Para gliders and started flying Balloons at the age of 19. By 27, Chris had founded his own Flying Company, the Take-Off Balloon AG (www.ballonfahren.ch / www.airventure.ch) and currently runs 12 Hot-Air Balloons, 3 Aerobatic planes and 2 Passenger Planes (www.transwing.ch). During his studies in Economics, Chris learned to fly motor powered planes in San Diego, USA. At the age of 36 he finally managed to buy his first Extra300L and has been an enthusiastic and fanatic Freestyle Airshow Pilot ever since. Chris has flown thousands of passengers in Hot Air Balloons and several hundred is his Double Seaters Extra 300/330’s He is currently the CEO of a Swiss Powder Metal Manufacturer (Meyer Sintermetall AG, www.sintermetall.ch). Chris is married and is the father of 2 sons, Kim (2002) and Tom (2008).
13 500 Hours | Extra 330SC
Gerrit was born in Belgium, in a small city close to Brussels and has a passion for aviation from an early age. He passed the selection process for the Belgian Civil Aviation School and started to fly as a pilot with the now defunct airline SABENA airlines on Boeing 737’s, following a temporary 2 year period for the Luxemburg passenger airline Luxair on B737’s. Having logged over 13,500 flight hours, he is currently a Captain on the Boeing 747-400 and 747-8 for Cargolux Airlines, a Luxemburg based cargo company, for whom he has been flying for the past 20 years. Gerrit’s passion for aviation also included aerobatic flying. While a student pilot for the Belgian civil aviation school, he was introduced to aerobatic flying on the Siai Marchetti SF260, as part of the airline pilot’s flight training. Years later, Gerrit started to take advanced aerobatic flight lessons on the Pitts Special, an airplane he quickly outgrew and moved on to fly the Extra 300 series unlimited aerobatic airplanes. He is now an aerobatic instructor after years of training with top aerobatic pilots such as Nicolas Ivanoff, Catherine Maunoury, Gerald Cooper and Claude Bessière. Gerrit has participated in several European and World aerobatic competitions. The participation in the ARC - Air Race Championship in Portugal, introduces him to a new kind of flying where he will be able to use all his flying skills differently. Gerrit lives with his 2 children in Luxemburg and in his spare time he enjoys downhill skiing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, tennis, and fast cars. Gerrit will be racing on the Philipp Steinbach’s last creation, the Game Composites GB1, one of the most innovative and revolutionaries airplanes of the twenty one century. For sure he and his GB1 will be one of the stars of the event.
8500 Hours | Extra 330LT
Jorge was born near Paris, but has lived most of his life in Portugal. At the age of 19 Jorge left home in the south of Portugal and joined the Air Force Academy. In 2005 he become an airline pilot and Currently Jorge flies as an airline Captain for TAP Portugal in the Airbus 320 fleet and holds over 8,500 hours in helicopters, jet and piston airplanes and gliders. Jorge is a Former Combat, Search and Rescue helicopter pilot in the Portuguese Airforce, with 2 tours outside the country. He was also a flight instructor at the Air Force Academy and participated in several firefighting campaigns. Since 2007, Jorge has performed over 200 aerobatic exhibitions and participated in several European and World championships as a member of the Advance Aerobatic National team. He was also a co-creator of the first Portuguese civilian aerobatic patrol, with 2 Yak 52’s - The Smokewings. At the moment he is a member of the Aerobatic Team YAKSTARS formed by three Yak 52’s. In the inaugural 2014 ARC - Air Race Championship in Cascais, Portugal Jorge earned a 3rd place Flying an Extra 300 in the Extreme Class and is currently a Formation Flying Instructor at the ARC. Besides is love for aviation, Jorge has acquired others hobbies such as surfing, playing American football and enjoying his family.
11 000 Hours | XA42
Scott Farnsworth started his obsession with aviation as early as he can remember. Ever since his first flight in a small Piper aircraft on his 15th birthday Scott has passionately pursued everything that flies. Scott’s adventurous spirit led him into the Baja Bush pilot lifestyle while attending college in San Diego CA. His unique flying opportunities into some of the most challenging environments provided the experience that allowed Scott to be hired for his first airline job at a young age. When he was hired, Scott was the youngest pilot within the airline. At the age of 22 Scott moved into jet airliners a setup in an already successful career lived with dedication and enthusiasm. Scott’s position both as an Airbus 321 Captain for Jetblue Airways and founder of AircraftWraps has allowed him to explore and pursue his passions in both aerobatics and low-level competition pylon racing. In 2015, Scott competed in his XtremeAir XA42 and earned the position of Champion in the Reno National Air Races Sport Class.
7500 Hours | Extra 330LX
Born and raised in California, Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. With more than 7,000 hours of flight time and over 1,200 parachute jumps, Vicky has a passion for everything airborne. Her flying career has spanned over thirty years and she currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters, seaplanes, and gliders. In 2005, Vicky began training with air show legend and trainer to the stars, Wayne Handley. Competing in aerobatic contests throughout the US, Vicky won first place in the Intermediate category in both the Northwest and Southwest Regional Championships in 2006. Two years later she placed in the top 10 finishers at the US National Aerobatic Championships in the Advanced category. In between flying in aerobatic contests Vicky began performing in air shows. Today she focuses her energy on flying airshows. Vicky holds a surface level waiver and a formation card, and has flown well over 100 air show performances at venues across the US, including performing at the largest airshow in the world, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. In 2010, Vicky began racing in the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV and was chosen “Rookie of the Year” after winning her first race ever. In 2014, Vicky brought home the first place Sport Silver and Bronze Jet trophies. And in September 2015, Vicky made history as the “fastest woman” racer ever in the history of the Reno Air Races when she qualified a one-of-a-kind L-139 jet on the race course at 469.831 mph. In addition to her aviation pursuits Vicky holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and has had a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry. Vicky is currently Vice President of the Sport Class Air Racing Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA. Vicky is proudly sponsored by APECS Aerospace Corporation, an engineering consulting firm that specializes in providing support to aviation maintenance repair organizations. Other sponsors are Oregon Aero, maker of seating systems and helmet and headset upgrades and ASL Camguard, creator of advanced engine oil supplements to reduce engine wear.
1000 Hours | Extra 300L
Stefano from Italy, is an aviation enthusiast and loves everything airborne. He started jumping out of airplanes at a young age while in the military service. Later he flew from the mountains with paragliders, ultralights and motor aircraft. Soon after he obtained his PPL license, he started flying aerobatics which has been one of the passions of his life. Throughout his flying career he has been developing his aerobatic and formation flying skills with very experienced instructors including some military pilots of the national aerobatic team. One of the adventures of his life was when he flew over the Oahu ocean, flying on the iconic Boeing Stearman and a Waco, with an old and charismatic military pilot. Since then he has been completely addicted to old and classic airplaness, most particularly vintage military aerobatic planes. At the moment Stefano owns and maintains several historic planes, like a 1940 Boeing Stearman, Mudry Cap 10 and a Yakovlev 11 (www.old-birds.com). He is an enthusiastic airshow pilot, displaying his old birds all over Europe. This year he will be displaying in some emblematic places like the Hahnweide Oldtimertreffen, Croatian International Airshow, Zeltweg Airpower, FlyParty-Italy, etc. Other than flying old machines, he also loves flying taildraggers. Very recently he discovered the magic of advanced aerobatics while flying his “new-old” toy, an Extra 300, the well known v1, the first production machine from Walter Extra. He is really excited with the idea of participating at the Lisbon race. He will compete at the Extreme class and will be race 90.