Sky Sailing Inc Warner Springs is home to the Sailplane Magic Air Show Team. We are a family oriented air show and have been professional performers in Airshows since 1979. This is Bret, and I'm the pilot, with Karen our towpilot, Garret with narration and little Boyd the "Co-Towpilot".
Sailplane Magic is a German made Grob G-103 Acro sailplane. It has two seats and is our handicapped trainer. As a rental ship, Magic is the pride of our fleet. Wingspan: 57.4 ft and weighs 900 pounds. We do many VIP and press rides at air shows.
Our routine is a great audience pleaser since it contrasts with the loud and fast maneuvers of most air show acts.
The Sailplane is towed aloft by our Cessna 180, piloted by my wife Karen. Upon completion of the act before ours, the Air Boss signals my son Garret or Boyd to coordinate the start of our show.
Our routine is timed to music and Garret/Boyd gives me an exact count for start. We often use a separate radio system so I can listen directly to Garret/Boyd and the music.
We open the show with two and a half minutes of slow and soft music. I narrate about sailplanes, their use and about the sport of soaring, the attempt is to inspire people to learn to fly. At approximately one to one and a half minutes, I release from tow 4,300 AGL (above ground level) and start one Orange tail smoke grenade.
Until the next music starts I do big, slow, graceful circles to lull the spectators into thinking that this is all that a sailplane can do.
At 3,900 AGL, new music starts as the wing tip grenades start (white or orange). This music may vary but is usually Terms of Endearment. I start the aerobatics with a loop into a roll, etc. The aerobatics are very graceful, smooth and gives a feeling of freedom. I start the last tail smoke (white) so that it will taper off on landing.
The last series are loops with the music changing to very lively and exciting for the final downwind pass with the wing tip smoke changed to red and blue (white tail is still burning) as the new music starts. The last loop begins at 300 AGL and finishes on the deck for a downwind pass at over 130 mph only feet above the ground. I thank the audience and pull up and land a little long or short, depending on the show line. We roll to a stop within inches of a cone or the announcer!
TheSailplane Magic Night show is very unique. The backseat becomes home to batteries and 5 high beam automotive lights. Each Wing has projector lamps pointing toward the fuselage and numerous pyrotechnics! The tail has both pyro and projector lamps lighting the tail. Projector lamps on the gear also light up the wings and fuselage. All pyro and lighting is controlled to give different effects which are radioed from the ground. As with all the shows, Bret listens to the music and maneuvers to the beat!
With over 70 different pyrotechnics on board, Magic lights up the sky!
Garret can inspire youth into aviation by telling of his solo flights. On Garret's 14th birthday he soloed 18 different planes. Two days later started on a solo cross country in a single seat Baby Grob painted similar to Sailplane Magic. The cross country over the next three days ended in New Mexico. Mom (Karen) flew the Cessna 180 and I got to fly a French built sailplane. Imagine at the age of 14 flying cross country in a single seat sailplane! And yes he did make a few world records.
Garret and Dad on Garret's14th birthday. Father and Son fly together!
Garret is now 30. Guess what he did on his 16th birthday? Garret soloed all our towplanes: 2 PA18-180 Cubs, 1 Callair, and our Cessna 180. And on the same day, he earned his Private Pilot Glider rating, so he could now carry passengers. At 18, he bought a Cessna 140 which was built in 1947. The wings have been completely recovered (by Garret). Garret flew to El Cajon to go to Grossmont Junior College for a year or so, and has now transferred to Emery Riddle College. His little airplane will give him the flexibility to build his hours. Garret also won the Gogos scholarship for soaring which gives him $2,500 worth of soaring experience. Way to go Garret.
So what about his 18th birthday? He earned not only his Commercial Glider rating, which means he can carry passengers for hire, he earned his Certified Flight Instructor rating. So now he teaches 4 days a week. 2 days at school and one day for study!
Garret is also a 3 time member of the United States Junior Soaring Team and represented the US in Slovakia 2003 & in England in 2005! Garret is now two time member of the USA Soaring team. Garret and his commercial glider pilot wife, Renee (full time RN) have two girls, Leena and Nadeen. Both have enjoyed sailplane rides,
Did you know that you too are allowed to solo in a glider at the age of 14!
BOYD WILLAT: well little Boyd (now at 6'4") had to beat his brothers record and on May 19th 2005 he turned 14 and soloed 23 Sailplanes!! see story Boyd is a full time Flight instructor here at Sky Sailing and on his off days flies jumpers as pilot of Twin Otters, Platus Porters and Sky Vans as well as a wind tunnel instructor, and yes he jumps out too! And oh yes working on his college degree.
Unique & Memorable Show
Again, our show is designed to be different and usually is the act the audience remembers and enjoys the most. I find that women and children are most fascinated and remark how they liked us best!
One remarkable thing about the sailplane is its high cross-wind and rough weather capabilities. Also, I often work with shows to allow a ramp or taxi-way landing as the sailplane is far more maneuverable than almost any act in the air show circuit today.
I will endeavor to work with your show on anything to bring in more spectators. Our
show is family oriented and involves our family's participation.
Upcoming Show Schedule
We are happy to answer any of your questions and look forward to flying for you in the following shows:
The Following Photos are courtesy of Fred Bruenjes. More of his outstanding work can be seen: http://www.bruenjes.org
Thank you Fred these are some Great shots!! Your friend Bret
I have a CD with high resolution pictures available.
For your convenience the following pdf's are on this site for download:
Bret Willat Bio (long form of Biography)
Written Article for Airshow or media use (already to use!!)
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Fly along inside Sailplane Magic at the Yuma Airshow 5:47 No audio
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Let your heart soar and see 'ya in the blue!
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