Hyderabad. 12 March 2020. For Global Stars team members, Mark Jefferies, Chris Burkett and Steve Carver the most important man in the world for the next fifteen minutes is formation leader Tom Cassells: Their eyes never leave him for more than a heart-beat.
“Global Stars tipping in boys, and SMOKE ON!” demands Tom with a mock swagger. Four smoke switches are thumbed and the magic of onboard wifi bridges the void between four aircraft to give our trademark synchronised dotty smoke. There’s a feint whiff of smoke oil in the cockpit, the engine note changes slightly; and as the controls stiffen up, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that our speed is winding up fiercely in the dive. Down they go, down towards the runway and into the turbulence, very low down, and “pulling up, GO”. The formation climbs away as one towards the sun.
On comes the G, like a great weight. Hands and feet move throttle, stick and rudder with hard earned finesse and precision to keep the image of Tom’s aircraft personal and unwavering to each pilot. Beyond, and in soft focus, the horizon and landscape of the city in grey-biege are torn away under the nose and into oblivion.
Dramatic this may sound, and believe me it is, Tom will be flying the display, sympathetically, throttled well back to give everyone power in hand to stay in position. Listen carefully and you’ll hear those power changes as each aircraft describes a slightly different arc through the sky, and key to it all, in its very own personal time.
The G wanes as the suggestion of Hyderabad appears again, above and in front of them, still an impression, only this time they’re upside down. Down it is they go again, G coming on, into the last quarter of the loop. “And easing out”. Brief pause for a line and figure two “1/4 Clover right, and pulllllling aaah!”
They’ve walked this sequence through so many times on the ground, in the heart of England, visualised it sat lazily, sweating in the extreme heat and humidity of an Indian ‘noon: They know it well by now, and that’s all there is to it. Really?
No not really! The Global Stars hope that you enjoy their display for 2020.