Meet the Challengers: Patrick Davidson

South Africa gets its first Challenger Class pilot

Davidson at the World Aerobatic Championships

Patrick Davidson is one of two new pilots joining the Challenger Class in 2018, taking the number of competitors up to 10. He already has a long list of awards and will be a tough contender from the start!

Those in the wider aviation world will be more than familiar with Davidson already. The South African, who lives in Nelson Mandela Bay, has claimed multiple national championships as well as podiums on the world stage – he is also a leading display pilot that sees him travel the world.

Born in 1982, Davidson has aviation in his blood, both his father and grandfather were renowned display pilots. Growing up at airfields, a young Patrick was eager to get behind the controls. He earned his private pilot licence at age 17, and by 25 he became South Africa's youngest aerobatic champion!

Since then, Davidson has not only added more national titles to his name, but his numerous podiums at the World Championships include highlights such as third place overall in individual competition, as well as silver medals with Team South Africa. He has clinched wins and podiums at a variety of other prestigious international events as far afield as China, and he has been named Aeroclub South Africa's pilot of the year in 2014 and 2016.

Beyond competition, Davidson has a strong passion for preserving historic aircraft and sharing them with the public in display flights. His personal collection includes biplanes and classic World War II fighters as well as today's high-performance aerobatic planes and even a jet. Altogether, the South African, who also possesses experience flying as a commercial pilot, has flown over 30 different aircraft.

 Davidson has said that joining the world of the Red Bull Air Race is: "an awesome privilege and an honour for me to fly the South African flag in this sport."

You'll be able to see Davidson compete in Abu Dhabi on 02-03 February 2018. Get your tickets HERE.