My name’s Lauren Richardson, and I’m a 26 year old Pitts Special aerobatic pilot.
I’m one of those people blessed with being a keen and fast learner – I have what many people tell me is a very quick mind and of course a great deal of focus and determination. From the age of about ten I knew that I wanted to learn to fly some day. Always a realist, I knew the only way I could ever get into the skies would be through my own effort – I never once thought of asking my parents to support any kind of flight training. At 16 I left school, became an apprentice engineer and began to make my own way in the world.
Several years after starting work as an apprentice I’d managed to save enough to finally think about taking flying lessons. At 22, I passed my Skills Test and gained my Private Pilot’s License.
Toward the end of 2010 I had my first experience flying a Pitts Special S2-A. I’d never actually intended to even try any basic aerobatics, let alone get hooked and decide to devote my life to it – all I’d wanted initially was to have a flight in a Pitts as I’d always loved the type, ever since seeing a single-seater in the hangar where I learned to fly. My little treat to myself did of course lead to what many may term an addiction, and towards the middle of 2011 I made the decision to actually learn to fly aerobatics and start competing.
It became apparent quite early on that not only was I destined to become hooked on flying aerobatics, but that I was also actually pretty good at it. My tendency to pick things up quickly meant that not long after flying my first ever sequence I was entered into my first competition in the S2 (with an instructor on board) and won my category quite convincingly. A few weeks after that first Beginner level competition I started flying the Pitts on my own and was signed off to compete at the British Standard level for the start of the 2012 season.
At the beginning of 2012 I became the very proud owner of G-BKDR, an incredible Pitts Special S1-S single-seater, in which I hope to become worthy of the description ‘aerobatic pilot’.
Welcome to The Aerobatic Project, this is my story!
Read more about my origins in this blog post.