Poland is one of the world’s leaders in aerobatic gliding, despite the fact that Poland’s gliders are better known internationally than in Poland itself. Events showcasing gliding disciplines help popularise the sport and they allow us to share our passion for the sport with a wider audience, Maciej Pospieszyński, a two-time aerobatic gliding world champion tells Polska.pl. Pospieszyński is one of the stars of the Air Show in Radom, taking place between 22 and 23 August.
At the Air Show in Radom you will be performing acrobatics in the air above an audience of around 100,000 people. How is this event different from those held at world championships?
These types of events are an opportunity to share our enthusiasm and our passion for flying. It is a nice feeling to know that among the hundred thousand people gathered below, several young people looking up at us will later decide to become pilots. The show is a chance for Polish competitors to share their talents and achievements with their compatriots. Poland is a world leader in aerobatic gliding, gliding competitions, world rally flying championships and ultralight triking, however not many people know this because they are not even aware that these sporting disciplines exist. Events such as the Air Show help popularise disciplines that do not receive much media attention although they are amazing to watch. For me the Air Show is also a good way to train for this year’s World Air Games in Dubai, where I will be competing in two disciplines.
Last year you became world champion in the Unlimited category for the second time. Since then you have become a crowd favourite at the Air Show. Many of the hundred thousand visitors are coming to the event mainly to see you. Despite this, your road to success was a long one – and not exactly typical.
It took me a dozen or so years to get where I am. Until I was 32, I did not have a full-time job because I was convinced that at some point I would be able to earn a proper living from being an aerobatic glider. When I told this to more accomplished Polish competitors, they just looked at me as if I was crazy. None of them decided to go professional and all of them had normal jobs, whereas I did everything I could to avoid signing a job contract, even as a commercial pilot. I made ends meet by working part-time at the airport. During the season I worked as a gliding instructor and working a winch, helping gliders take off. I also did a bit of menial labour. I did all of this so that I could be as close as possible to flying, so that I could dedicate every spare moment and money I had towards training. However, because I also had to earn a living, I was only able to train half of the time, which meant that I was never as well prepared as the world’s best. In 2012 I decided to train full-time for the upcoming championships. Friends of mine lent me 15,000 zl and I dedicated myself entirely to training. It paid off. I became world champion.