The Wildcat Aerobatic team were fantastic at the 2015 Carnival and now they are back to wow us once more on 26 June 2016! This year’s Carnival arrangements are well underway, as is our fundraising programme so please support us as much as you can. With your support we can make Hunstanton Carnival 2016 the best ever.
Meet the Wildcat Aerobatic Team:
- Following a short time in the RAF, Al Coutts (from South Norfolk) has worked overseas gaining his civilian pilots wings in Swaziland in 1992. He went on to build a single seat Pitts Special from drawings going on to rebuild several Pitts Specials and Christen Eagles. Al has taken part in competitions for 5 years achieving bronze at International level. He went on to gain his Display Authorisation in 2005 and has been doing airshow work ever since clocking up nigh on 1,500 flying hours.
- Willie Cruikshank made his first solo flight aged 14 in an Air Training Corps glider. A flying scholarship award came 3 years later and he was a qualified pilot before he could drive. He became an RAF navigator in 1985 but dreamed of being a fast jet single-seat pilot. He started pilot training at RAF Linton on Ouse on the Jet Provost in the summer of 1990. Graduation from the Advanced Flying Training courses at Valley and Chivenor led to his desired posting to the Jaguar and he joined 6 Squadron at RAF Coltishall as the new junior pilot in November 1992. After an clutch of flying and staff appointments with frequent deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Willie returned to 6 Squadron in May 2004 – this time as ‘the Boss’.
- Ed Ludlow has been into planes since the age of 13. He recalls the first time he saw a Pitts Special – flown by Wildcat One! Ed began learning to fly at 15, and flew his first solo on his 16th birthday – the youngest age you can legally do this in the UK. Just a month ahead of his 17th birthday he completed his skills test, and thanks to the Civil Aviation Authority, was handed his licence on his 17th birthday – again, the youngest age at which this is possible. Today (ten years on) Ed still flies, and is maintains the Wildcat website and social media.
- Rory Cruickshank has been involved with Wildcat from the start from the age of 11. He has grown from a “useless 11 year old Crew Chief” (although he did have small hands for getting in to small places) to a pretty cool 16 year old display commentator. As he is now tall enough to reach the rudder pedals Rory is also proving useful as the pilot of Wildcat 2 on transit flights between display sites and has aspirations to get a PPL before he can drive. Rory is the latest member of the Wildcat Media Team and is responsible for the operation of all of the team’s on board cameras.
Here are a selection of the fantastic photos taken of the Wildcats in action at Carnival 2015 by Neal Sanderson (Hunstanton Backpackers & YHA Hostel):