At the age of six, he flew in a helicopter at an air show – this had a significant effect on his life – but the dream of becoming a pilot initially appeared unachievable. Rainer Wilke always had two major dreams: fast cars and flying. Once completing the training to become a mechanic, he completed his national service – as an armoured infantryman, not really his desired objective. However he put everything into being able to start his pilot training in the German Army! Rainer ultimately managed this – he was trained on an Alouette II helicopter, then Rainer’s development continued constantly – at the age of 36, he then got involved with aerobatics for the first time. He had to make do with just four hours of instruction – Rainer Wilke acquired his current ability as a helicopter aerobatic pilot over the years himself, from constant training. He was also the spark for the Flying Bulls starting aerobatics! Wilke is now one of the best helicopter aerobatic pilots in the world – he knows how to move his BO 105 at the absolute limit of aerodynamics.
1. Do you remember your first flight as a pilot?
RW: Yes, I do, but I won’t tell you why.
2. Which plane would you like to fly if you had free choice, and why?
RW: The SU 30. Because it can do incredible manoeuvres, considering it’s a jet.
3. How many flying hours have you completed so far?
RW: About 8,800 hours.
4. Are there any technical or design details of the BO 105 that fascinate you in particular?
RW: The rotor system, without a doubt. In terms of its flight qualities it was way ahead of its time, even today’s modern helicopters can’t beat it.
5. What are the flight qualities of a BO 105 that inspire you the most? And is there anything you’d criticise?
RW: I find it fascinating that the pilot reaches his limits much sooner than the helicopter. I personally have nothing to criticise at all.
6. Have you ever worried about the age of an aircraft once you’re on board?
RW: No, never! That’s because I know how much effort goes into the maintenance of our aircraft.
7. What was the most turbulent flight of your life?
RW: That’s difficult to answer. I’ve had plenty of turbulent flights...