In the summer of 2012, three dedicated gyrocopter pilots came together and formed the “Rotorwings Formation Team” with an aim to share their passion, and redefine the limits of gyrocopter flying.
The team consists of pilots Peter Metzger, Otmar Zotter and Thomas Rest, who are also part of the Red Bull Rotorwings team – a flying team established by Zotter. As a group, they have shared a close friendship and a passion for flying for many years.
Otmar Zotter, has been a Red Bull pilot for 27 years, and also has years of experience flying paragliders (motorized and non-motorized) in various competitions.
Peter Metzger, who earns his living as a doctor, swapped his model aircraft for a glider. He has been actively flying motorized paragliders alongside his friend, Otmar Zotter, since 1997.
During flight, the gyrocopter with its broad range of speeds has a distinct advantage over winged aircraft. The outer gyrocopters turn at speeds of 120km/h while the inner one turns at a speed of 80km/h. Both speeds are a breeze for this ultra-light rotorcraft. Observance of minimum speed and play with the flaps, both typical considerations when flying a winged aircraft, don’t apply to the gyrocopter. Flying altitude is usually 150m above ground, although pilots don’t mind flying lower when permitted. They will always ensure a safe distance between them and the crowd.
Microlites are restricted by law; acrobatics are taboo – but this is not seen as a handicap by the pilots. Quite the opposite – they play with the gyrocopter’s extensive potential. Says Peter Metzger: “It looks really good when we auto-rotate vertically down through our own smoke. Technically, this is a harmless maneuver, but one that looks great, thanks to the beautiful swirls created by the rotor.” And Otmar Zotter adds: “It is enough to fly in a triangle formation and spice it up with some colored smoke to leave an impression on the audience. After that prelude, one of the gyrocopters will swing upwards in a swooping turn.” The concerted takeoff and landing procedures add further exciting elements. It’s here where gyrocopters profit from their short take-off distances.
Being part of the formation demands particular dedication, with two to three training sessions per month and several performances on top of those.