British team challenges for World Helicopter Championships

From: British Helicopter Team
Published: Wed Aug 06 2008

So far, Britain has never won the trophy but the team manager – and former Championship competitor - John Matchett, is confident that he has selected the best helicopter crews in the country. Matchett, who recently announced the British team, commented: "The team includes military personnel and professional helicopter pilots.

The British team for this, the 13th World Helicopter Championship, contains the current Ladies World Helicopter Champions, Caroline Gough-Cooper and Imogen Asker.

"Our team captain, David Monks, is used to representing his country in international competition," said Matchett. "He has already represented Great Britain at swimming and badminton.

"Ron Watkins, Jeff James and Michael Buckland are among the British Army’s leading helicopter pilots, while Alastair Sutherland is one of the most experienced civilian pilots in the country and the winner of five British Championships – and Martin Rutty is the current British Club Champion."

Among the favourites to take the World Championship title this year, the British team came fourth in the previous championships – help in Rouen, in France, in 2005. In Rouen, the team missed out on third place by just 68.49 points – trailing the German team, which scored 3281.83 points.

Russia took the team title last time, with France coming second. However, the British pairing of Caroline Gough-Cooper and Imogen Asker won the women’s event, with two teams from Russia – Galina Shpigovskays & Ljubov Goubar and Svetlana Chupina & Elena Prokofieva taking second and third places respectively.

"It’s always a ‘David and Goliath’ battle against the Russians, all of whose pilots are full-time professionals," Matchett said, "but we have the drive and the mindset to succeed."

In selecting and preparing the British team for this year’s Championships, Matchett, a businessman and entrepreneur by profession, has applied psychology and business strategic thinking. He commented: "We not only have the skills to win the competition but the team also has the determination and will to take the ‘pressure’ and succeed.

"We’re deeply grateful to the Team’s sponsors - Haywards Aviation; Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay; Enable Software; EADS UK; Sywell Aerodrome; Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield, and Eazzee – for making it possible for us to challenge for the World Title this year," Matchett added.

"The British team has a great chance to improve on its fourth place in the previous World Championships. Not only do we have some of the most gifted and talented helicopter pilots in the world but we’ve assembled a highly experienced team.

"Collectively, the team has flown in 22 championships, won in 12 and secured places in 18. In 2005, Caroline Gough-Cooper and Imogen Asker retained the Ladies World Champions title with a resounding win and the ‘Team GB’ gained a highly respectable six crews in the top 15 places - earning fourth place in the overall event."


About The British Helicopter Team

Announced by the team manager, John Matchett, on behalf of the Helicopter Club of Great Britain, this year’s British team for the World Championships is:
• David Monks (Captain) & Jonathan Penny
• Ron Watkins (Coach) & Jeff James
• Caroline Gough-Cooper & Imogen Asker
• Martin Rutty & Simon Lichtenstein
• Alastair Sutherland & Colin Morison
• Andrew Taee & Michael Buckland
• Peter Barker & Candy Stockton

In addition, Dennis Kenyon will take part in the Freestyle (aerobatics) category.

All seven crews will compete for the individual World Championship as well as Event Championship Awards. The top five crews will compete for the overall Championship Team Award in which the top three scores of the five crews count in each event.

For further details, visit:

About the World Championships

The World Helicopter Championships was conceived over 30 years ago after two helicopter pilots - one British and the other German – met, by chance, in an airport lounge and discussed which country they thought had the world’s best helicopter pilots.

This led to the first World Championships being held in 1971 in Vodick, Poland. The event now takes place every three years and continues to maintain a strong interest with potential host nations competitively bidding every three years to hold the event.

The rules for the Championships are determined and controlled by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Each event within the World Championship is designed to test the flying and navigational skills of both pilot and co-pilot.

All participating countries are members of the FAI Rotorcraft Commission. Most delegations from each country hold their own national competitions every year in their home country to the rules of the World Championships.

The Championships consist of a number of tasks:
• Long navigation and load drop off;
• Fender rigging;
• Precision flying;
• Slalom, and
• Freestyle.

The types of helicopter allowed in this year’s Championships are: Robinson R44; Robinson R22; Bell 206 JetRanger; Eurocopter EC120; SA341 Gazelle; Alouette II; Alouette III; Mil Mi-2; MD 500; Schweizer 300; Eurocopter AS350, and Agusta 109.

About The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI)

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), is the world air sports federation and was founded on 14th October 1905, in Paris. Now an organisation of some 100 member countries, its world headquarters was established in Lausanne, the Olympic Capital, in 1998.

The FAI is a non-governmental and non-profit making international organisation with the basic aim of furthering aeronautical and astronautical activities worldwide. Its activities include establishing rules for the control and certification of world aeronautical and astronautical records.

Further information from:

John Matchett, British Helicopter Team, 01295 788394;
Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, 01727 860405;

Company: British Helicopter Team
Contact Name: Bob Little
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 00 44 (0) 1727 860405

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