The Twister Aerobatics Team, the only European outfit certified to fly after-dark shows, will light up the skies at the Barbados Festival of Speed on Saturday October 14, in its first-ever performance in the Americas.
The British-based team is the first act confirmed to join former Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button at the second Barbados Festival of Speed at Bushy Park.
The one-day event, which will be the first to benefit from the installation of the facility’s new all-arena lighting, which is currently under way, will run from day into night, starting at 2 p.m. In addition to the headline acts, more of which will be confirmed in the coming weeks, the eight-hour show will also include a cross-section of local motor sport activities.
The spectacular twilight pyrotechnic display is performed in a pair of 180mph Silence SA1100 Twister aircraft, which bear a passing resemblance to the famous WWII Spitfire fighter plane. Powered by a fuel-injected 110hp UL Power UL260iSA engine, the Silence Twister is a very nimble and highly efficient single-seat aircraft, which is unusual among certified aerobatic aircraft in that it can be de-rigged and packed into a trailer for ease of travel by road, or a container to travel by sea.
The Twister Aerobatics Team is led by Pete Wells, whose family background was in gliding – his father, brothers and wife have all held national titles, records and even world titles. Team-mate Chris Burkett is an aerodynamicist by profession – aside from planes, he’s also involved in designing wings on Formula 1 cars and sails for record-breaking racing yachts.
Wells said of the Twister: “People think that it’s a scaled-down Spitfire, but it’s not at all. It’s just an absolutely optimised aeroplane. It has a completely symmetrical wing and a tall bubble canopy, to give you a great view. The day into night format of the Barbados Festival of Speed provides an ideal opportunity to showcase both elements of our display, so we are really looking forward to our first trip to the Caribbean and lighting up the skies over Bushy Park.”
Bushy Park Circuit Inc’s (BPCI) operations manager Amy Willis said: “When the Festival of Speed was first conceptualised, it was always our aim to vary the programme each year, to keep the event fresh and also to bring acts to Barbados that our local patrons would never have seen. I am really excited about the aerobatics, as it will help us to stage a spectacular launch for our all-arena lighting.”
The Twister team’s traditional daytime display is an aerial ballet, combining sweeping, close-formation loops and barrel rolls with synchronised and opposition aerobatics, all within a tight space and always in front of the spectators. As day moves into night, the team switches to its acclaimed – and, thus far, unique in Europe – twilight pyrotechnic display.
As well as specially-developed pyrotechnic effects streaming from the wingtips, the aircraft also feature high-powered spot-lamps to illuminate the display smoke and coloured LEDs along the aircraft fuselage.
While the Twister Aerobatic Team, which was formed in 2010, has given displays at events across Europe and the Middle East, the Barbados Festival of Speed will mark its first trip across the Atlantic.