Tamas Nadas: self-taught aerobatic pilot who died yesterday.
By Anil John/Sports Editor
World champion stunt pilot Tamas Nadas has died in a plane crash while performing a daring manoeuvre over Al Khor airstrip.
Hungarian Nadas, popularly known as the “Schumacher of the sky”, was flying his plane upside down during a race with a sports car when it spun out of control and hit the ground.
Rescue teams rushed to the spot but were unable to save the 44-year-old’s life, casting a pall of gloom on the high-octane world of aerobatics of which he had been a star for several years.
Nadas was an expert at flying several types of single-seater aircraft and it was not immediately clear what make he was piloting when the tragedy occurred.
The stunt was part of the Qatar Racing Club organised Qatar Mile event which was billed as the “biggest speed festival of the region”.
Qatar Racing Club posted a message on its Facebook page last night condoling Nadas’ death. Today’s races in the two-day event have been cancelled following the tragedy.
“On behalf of Qatar Racing Club we would like to inform you that the Qatar Mile will not take place tomorrow (Saturday) as scheduled,” the statement said. “This is in respect for the courageous pilot Tamas Nadas who unfortunately lost his life today in the airshow doing what he loved. We would like to express our deepest condolences and our prayers are with his family and friends, may his soul rest in peace.”
Racing enthusiast Mubasher Zaman, who saw the plane hit the ground, told Gulf Times that it was Nadas’ second show of the day.
"The plane was flying upside down very close to the runway and I thought it wobbled a little before crashing to the ground at the end of the airstrip. I immediately knew it was going to be serious,” said Zaman. He added that it was held late in the afternoon and probably the poor light contributed to the tragedy.
Zaman said Nadas’ family were also watching his show at the venue. “He had thrilled the crowd during his first show a couple of hours earlier but the second went horribly wrong. It’s a sad day, a horrible tragedy especially because it happened when his family were at the venue,” he said.
Another witness, Hugo Nascimento, also told Gulf Times that the plane was flying too close to the ground.
“The pilot was Hungarian Tamas Nadas and he was flying upside down, close to the runway when the plane crashed. I was too far away to see in detail. May he rest in peace,” Nascimento said.
Earlier the Ministry of Interior had tweeted that an accident had taken place at Al Khor airstrip. However, the tweet didn’t have the pilot’s name, merely stating that he was of European nationality.
Nadas was a regular at stunt shows in the Gulf and had performed in Qatar as recently as last January when he wowed spectators at the seventh Al Khor Fly-In.
Nadas himself had posted a few pictures only a couple of hours before his death on his Facebook page. Those pictures, however, were not connected to yesterday’s show at Al Khor airstrip.
He got hooked to flying after a pleasure flight in 1998 when he was 28 years old and got his pilot’s licence after just a month of training following which he decided to pursue a career in aerobatics.
In a January interview with Gulf Times, Nadas had said he took to aerobatics because “straight-forward flying” didn’t excite him very much.
“Initially, I had absolutely no interest in flying at all. My first experience with flying was in 1998 when I was 28. I had just gone along with friend for a joy ride. That was the turning point - the experience had such an impact on me that I was totally hooked. I enrolled for flying lessons right away and after 30 days had earned my own licence,” he had said.
“However, just straight-forward flying wasn’t satisfactory enough, so I went on to learning aerobatic manoeuvres and stunts. This is where my passion lies.”
Nadas had also added that he was a self-taught aerobat and that sometimes he feared for his life.
“The single biggest challenge was that some of the stunts that I now perform were not taught to me by any instructor - they are all self-taught. I had to risk my life as I tried some of these challenging manoeuvres. There have been several occasions when I felt I was going straight down, but thankfully I would somehow regain control at the last minute”, Tamas had said.
Unfortunately, fate willed otherwise yesterday.
Tamas Nadas’ achievements
2009: Hungarian Championship: gold medal
European Championship programme Q: gold medal
International Cup silver medal
Mediterranean Cup bronze medal
2010: Hungarian Championship gold medal
World Championship: overall 8th place
2011 : Hungarian Championship: gold medal
Hungarian Aviation Association Aerobatics Pilot of the Year
2012 : Hungarian Championship: gold medal
10th FAI World Advanced Aerobatic Championship Programme Free: gold medal
2013 : Hungarian Aviation Association: Aerobatics Pilot of the Year
1) A picture of Nadas flying his plane posted on his Facebook page.
2) Tamas Nadas flying his plane upside down moments before it crashed at Al Khor airstrip yesterday. PICTURE: Mubasher ZamanLast updated:
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