Svetlana Kapanina was born on 28 December 1968 in Shchuchinsk, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union (today Kazakhstan). She is the best woman aerobatic pilot as she has won the "World Aerobatic Champion" in the women's category more times than any other pilot (in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2011).
In 1997, she received the Paul Tissandier Diploma by FAI. In 2005 she was awarded the Sabiha Gökçen Medal and the Centenary Medal by the FAI. In 2014 she entered in Guinness World Records book as the woman pilot with more World Champions than any other.
FlightSimmer.GR proudly presents you an interview with Svetlana.
Svetlana tell us, when was your first contact with Aviation?
I had a dream to jump with a parachute. So, they suggested me to join a sport Aviation and they promised me to jump with a parachute. So, I accidentally met Aviation and i hadn't the slightest idea about aerobatics.
What was the reaction of your people when they heard about your interesting?
In Russia there were a lot of women pilots that period… So, the reaction of my relatives was positive. It was my choice. Mom said, "I wouldn't be surprised even if you say that you are going to space»!
When and how did you start aerobatics? Did someone inspired you? How difficult is for a woman to follow aerobatics try it on flight. After trying on a plane too, i wanted to learn aerobatics!
As a woman, i can't compare, because I wasn't a man :-) For men and women, the complexity and overload is the same. The woman was created by God weaker than men, so it is more difficult for me to transfer the overload.
You have a family with two children. How does this affects to your pilot career?
Positively. They are the most important thing in my life. They understand me, support and pray for me.
Can you tell us what was your reaction and feeling the first time you flew? After all these years is it a routine for you to fly or every time is different?
My first flight with my trainer was unforgettable! So, that's why i fly... The soul must "sing" while flying. You don't always succeed that, because there is also the rough work. If you don't enjoy the flight, there will be no result,
so i try to do this every time.
Is it possible to push your limit for more aerobatics because of the crowd’s enthusiasm or you are always concentrated to your demo program?
Maybe... At the Airshows there are always nuances: the terrain, weather conditions, the requests from the organizers and of course the enthusiasm of the audience... Accordingly, the program is always varied.
What’s the feeling when you perform all these maneuvers with more than 7G? Do you need extra training to have this performance?
The Sensations of the overload cannot be expressed with words. You can only feel it. At overload of 10G, the body weight increases 10 times. With such Force, the pilot is pressed in the chair with a positive overload and vise versa "squeezes" when negative. It is a difficult task for an untrained body, even impossible.
Did you ever had any difficult situation while performing an airshow or during your practice?
Yes, it happens. Several failures of the engine, cut off the propeller in flight, flew a lantern, rushed seatbelts and a failure of the braking system on a short strip in mountain airfield. But do not want to remember!
How important is the aircraft for you? Tell us what aircrafts do you fly?
The aircraft for me is so important like a man needs a hand or leg! I fly the airplanes of the company Sukhoi and Extra.
Does your aircraft have any special tuning to perform all these amazing maneuvers?
No. The airplane is standard. Heavy and reliable. It is made for big and strong men... So, i have to take a flight "cushion" to reach the pedals and controls!
How many hours you have to practice a day and how many airshows are in your yearly Schedule?
In the team we used to flying more than 60 hours a year earlier. Now, up to 15 hours per year due to lack of funding. Each year the Number of airshows is different, but I try not to fly more than eight, because i got kids at home and i could not see them... But there are always exceptions.
You are a pilot instructor too. Do you see any interesting of other women for aviation and especially for aerobatics? Tell us the situation of aviation in Russia with a few words.
Yes, talented people in Russia have always been. The difficult is not finding them, but to create the conditions for self-realization in sport Aviation.
About the situation of aviation in Russia, i can say: at the moment, it's not on its best. After all these champions you have won, what are your next steps?
My goal is not only about winnings and champions. I want to create something new in flight, to improve it, to fly as no one other is flying. When it turns out – I am happy!