Last year at RIAT 2019 (Royal International Air Tattoo), we interviewed two of the four-strong flight crew of our A400M aircraft, flying throughout the weekend.
Pilots: Eduardo Curiel Tormo and Geri Krähenbühl sat with us before one of their flight displays showing off the A400M’s impressive capabilities. Both pilots have extensive flying experience (Eduardo has been flying since 1992 and Geri since 1981). Their flying experience includes; A400M, Eurofighter Typhoon, A300, and A320 amongst other aircraft.
Both pilots agreed Airbus aircraft are different. Eduardo said that the newer planes are easy to fly and the airplanes are well designed to help in any situation a pilot may find themselves in. Geri agreed, stating Airbus had a really smart approach to designing aircraft that are a joy to fly.
We asked Eduardo and Geri about how they prepare to fly in front of thousands of people at a show like RIAT? In the first instance, it takes a certain number of flying hours as well as an acrobatics background (both Eduardo and Geri have over 1000 flying hours in A400M).
Prior to a display, a process of stringent preparation in a simulator is required. Eduardo and Geri would typically spend 2-3hrs a day in a simulator for many weeks in advance of a show. After weeks of preparation, memorising parameters and manoeuvres, they are ready to practice physically. Then typically there are two to three practice flights.
As a last question, we asked Eduardo and Geri what had made them interested in a career in aviation? For both, their love of flying started early on. At five years old, Eduardo was collecting pictures from aviation magazines and watching movies. Now, as a fully trained pilot, Eduardo calls the sky his office. It is also a similar story for Geri, who originally wanted to be a ship builder but after buying a magazine about the German Air Force, was hooked and later grabbed the opportunity to learn to fly.
For someone interested in a career in aviation, Eduardo and Geri’s advice would be to ‘go for it’! There are many opportunities to become either military or civilian pilots. Geri recommended that in addition to a degree in a related subject, a technical aviation background is beneficial to anyone who later wants to go on and be a test pilot.
Last year, to celebrate Airbus’ 50th anniversary, Eduardo and Geri flew their A400M with The Blades aerobatic display team. They were excited to fly as a team of four and show everyone at RIAT 2019 just what a great aircraft A400M is. They said: “Everyone is part of the team. And since we have the team, we can perform to the very best of our abilities.”
Indeed, we can all benefit from that advice!