Born in Warsaw in 1981, he decided to devote his life to glider aerobatics after an aerobatic flight with his school instructor. He is currently training young glider aerobatic pilots and also himself in the powered aerobatics to compete in international championships. To him 'Freedom and no limits' is the meaning of aerobatics.
As a child, did you ever dream about flying?
I always wanted to become a pilot. When At school as a young child I had to describe my dream job, the answer was easy - I want to be a pilot because that's the best job in the world.
How did you discover glider aerobatics?
I was very lucky because my first glider instructor was also an aerobatic pilot. Before I started my glider course I had the opportunity to fly with him on a reconnaissance flight, which lasted three hours. We flew around 150km route and at the end of our flight we made also a lot of aerobatic figures. It made a huge impression on me. Probably, that was the moment when I realized that I wanted to be a glider aerobatic pilot. This was a tough decision because instead of earning money from airlines I decided to train glider aerobatics. It means that all the money I earned during the winter at the airfield, plus the money from the glider winch operator and later on as a glider instructor was all spent on the preparation for the World Championships.
"Freedom and no limits' is my meaning of aerobatics"
How do you feel when you are performing aerobatics?
I feel that my glider and I are connected. No words can describe the impressions which an aerobatic pilot feels during the flight. They are tremendous. I love that experience and I don't see myself doing something different in my life.
How does it feel to win the world glider aerobatic championship?
It is indescribable. I think that for any sportsperson the greatest reward after years of training is to hear the national anthem while standing on the top step of the podium. That is a thing that you can’t compare with anything else.
Champions are made, not born. What is the secret to become the number one?
Motivation is the most important thing. My motto is “ difficulties are motivation”. This phrase helped me especially when it was really hard. When everything seemed to go wrongly and when I had problems with funding and equipment. It is very important to believe in yourself and the other people supporting you.
|"Freestyle is in fact flying for real"|
How often do you train per year? Do you think it is important to be physically and mentally prepared for this sport?
In the past three years I trained much more than in previous years. From 50 to 80 flights a year. I think it's better to do fewer flights thoughtfully better than doing a huge number of them without analysis. It is also important to have someone who evaluates the flights. In my case that person is Adam Michałowski, a former vice-world champion in Glider aerobatics and former coach of the Polish national team. Concerning the physical preparation, I think it is essential but even more important is dealing with your own psyche. During the competition I try to focus on the next flight and I don't think about what will happen after it. I like to actively spend time outside the airfield, ride a bike or swim.
How would you describe yourself in front of your opponents?
It's a very difficult question to answer. I would say that I try to represent a very high and equal level during the whole competition. I always try to do my best. And I try not to calculate during the flights. I also know that every flight is a new lesson which helps me to improve my abilities.
"Waiting is physically and mentally the most
exhausting part in a contest"
Who has been the toughest opponent so far in your career?
It seems to me that you can’t point out one such person. Jerzy Makula, Ferenc Toth and Georgy Kaminskiy are in the strict forefront of glider aerobatic pilots in the world.
What is the most memorable moment in your career?
The moment, when for the first time, standing on the top step of the world championship podium, I heard the Polish national anthem.
Do you think that the luck factor is a determinant factor in aerobatics? Why?
As the saying states 'you have to be good to be lucky', I certainly agree on the fact that the conditions during the aerobatic flights are very important. Although this year I have proved that even with 12 m/s wind and strong thermals it is possible to win the free programme. Luck helps but still the most important part of every success is the pilot and his abilities.
|"It's time to move on to powered aerobatics"|
Do you have any pre-competition routines?
I try not to eat a heavy meal before the flight.
What is the hardest part of a contest for you?
Definitely, waiting is physically and mentally the most exhausting part, and probably The one nobody likes.
Where do you see yourself in 5 year's time?
2014 was very busy for me. In addition to participation in competitions in glider aerobaticS, it was my first full season competing in powered aerobatics in Poland. A few days ago I returned from my first Polish Aerobatic Championship in the advanced class, which I won. This year was really good for me. I won a glider World Championship in Toruń, my student become a Polish Champion in the glider advanced class and finally, I won my first Polish Championship in powered aerobatics. My goal for the next season is increasing my abilities in powered aerobatics. However it depends on the availability of equipment and the possibility to obtain financial or strategic sponsorship for my training. Also, I would like to get my student win the title of World Champion in glider aerobatics.
Would you like to compete in another discipline one day?
That's the plan for the next years. Airplane aerobatics gives me huge satisfaction. In glider aerobatics I have already a whole collection of gold medals. So it's time to move on to powered aerobatics. I realize that the way to the top steps of the podium in the powered aerobatics world championships will be long and difficult. But as I said before, my motto is 'difficulties are motivation'. I hope I will find enough funding to straighten out my abilities and one day become the World's Champion in Powered Aerobatics.
What do you prefer, classic aerobatics or freestyle?
Freestyle is in fact flying for real. We do not apply any restrictions beyond the limitations of equipment and safety regulations. Therefore it makes flying freestyle very enjoyable and exciting. Flying during an air shows provides amazing feelings. On the other hand, the perfect execution of a classic flight during the official competition gives you lots of satisfaction.
Which advice would you give to young aerobatic pilots who dream about becoming world champions?
Difficulties are motivation”. Never give up! Remember that it’s always much easier to win than to lose.