British Helicopter team continues World Rankings rise

From: British Helicopter Team
Published: Wed Aug 20 2008

"This progress puts the title of World Helicopter Champions firmly in our sights for the 2011 competition, being held in Russia," commented the British team manager – and former Championship competitor - John Matchett.

The Russian team, which won its ninth World Championship title in Germany (out of the 13 competitions held) achieved 96 per cent of a ‘perfect’ score, with 3730.8 points out of a maximum possible of 3900 points. The British team, which took third place, was only 12 per cent behind this.

"The Russians and the Germans produced some of the most stunning and competitive flying that I have ever seen," said Matchett. "The Russians, in particular, produced some superb performances – and, in some events, achieved the amazing result of incurring almost no penalties at all."

In selecting and preparing the British team for this year’s Championships, Matchett, a businessman and entrepreneur by profession, applied psychology and business strategic thinking.

He commented: "It’s always a ‘David and Goliath’ battle against the Russians, all of whose pilots are full-time professionals. Nonetheless, the British team not only has the skills to win the competition but we are developing the drive and the mindset to succeed despite the ‘pressures’ of international competition.

"The British team captain, David Monks, is used to representing his country in international competition, having previously represented Great Britain at both swimming and badminton," Matchett added. "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.

"In addition, the British team included Caroline Gough-Cooper and Imogen Asker, winners of two Ladies World Championships.

"The British team did extremely well to compete on level terms with teams that are wholly professional and which attract a large amount of sponsorship," he said. "We’re deeply grateful to our 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 so effectively for the World Title this year.

"It’s important that we consolidate our prominence in this sport and develop an even better team for the next World Championships in 2011," said Matchett. "To do so, we need to attract further sponsorship to fund the training and equipment we need if we are to lead the world in this event."

The World Championship’s final table was:
Russia 3730.8 points
Germany 3484.4
Great Britain 3256.2
Austria 3241.0
France 2943.7
Ukraine 2381.0
Switzerland 1896.0

In all, 48 teams competed in the Championships. The maximum possible points total – that is, with no penalties for each event – is 3900.


Pictures of the 2008 World Championships are available on request from Bob Little Press & PR (tel 01727 860405; email

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 was:
• 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 took 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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