Meet a Member - Marcelo Sabat
By Gary DeBaun, IAC 4145
IAC No.: 436577
Hometown: Irati, Paraná, Brazil
Chapter Affiliation: Chapter 288
Occupation: Aeronautical science student
GD: Marcelo, you come from a country which is a "little" more restricted in its approach to sport aviation, so how did you find your way into aerobatics?
MS: You are right; Brazil is very restrictive in the aspect of aerobatics nowadays. We don't have any aerobatic schools anymore. Although we have a lot of aerobatic planes, most of them are private; they don't belong to any school, so it's a little hard to find a way to practice if you don't own an airplane. I was always fascinated with aerobatics; I always dreamed about it since I was a kid. So after I got my private pilot's license, I had the opportunity to get some lessons in the Mudry CAP-10B from the club. (It also doesn't belong to the club anymore, it was sold.)
GD: You were a competitor at the 2013 season opener in Keystone, Florida. That's a long way to come for a three-day aerobatic contest, so what motivated you to do so?
MS: Since we haven't had any contests in so many years, I decided that I needed to go somewhere where the aviation really flies! And that country of course is the United States.
GD: How is aerobatic competition viewed in your country, and what is different from a U.S. contest versus a contest in Brazil?
MS: In Brazil there are no contests anymore. I think a Brazilian national may happen in August, but the last contest we had was back in 2008 or 2009, a long time ago. I wasn't involved with aerobatics at that time, so I can't really say the difference between here and in the U.S. The only thing I can say is that the U.S. has so many contests during the year, I can say there's at least one per month. Different from here; we haven't had any in almost four or five years.
GD: How did you hook up with the Embry-Riddle boys to fly N260AB at Keystone?
MS: I searched for some contests and aerobatic schools around Florida, and I found the Keystone Heights contest's website. I contacted them and asked if they knew any airplane I could rent to compete in, and they told me about the Eagle Sport Aviation Club. It is a fantastic club, with an awesome airplane and instructors. I had a very nice time!
GD: Do you have anybody in the sport who has mentored you along or anyone special that you look up to for guidance in the sport?
MS: Yes. Sergio Machado, Francis Barros, and Luiz Dell Aglio helped me with a lot of things, such as flying techniques, flying tips, or whatever I wanted to know about competition flying.
GD: Who's the biggest star in Brazilian aerobatics?
MS: I don't think there's only one star here in Brazil. The pilots I can name today who I consider stars in the country are Francis Barros who will fly in the WAC 2013; Adilson Kindlemann, who flew in the Red Bull Air Race series with a MXS; Fernando Paes de Barros, Luiz Guilherme Richieri, Luiz Dell Aglio, and so many others that I would need to write a huge list.
GD: I know you are new to IAC, but being from a different country, is there anything that the IAC can do differently to assist international members of our sport?
MS: Yes, there are a lot of things that IAC can help, not only the members but the whole community. Documents such as the IAC Rulebook, articles on the website and in the magazine - they can all be useful references for us to develop aerobatic competition in Brazil.
GD: What's your favorite aerobatic aircraft?
MS: I don't have only one favorite aerobatic aircraft. It depends on which kind of aerobatics. If it's a classic, I love the Stearman, Bucker, T-6, Pitts - all kinds of classic airplanes that can do aerobatics. But in matters of modern aircraft for high-level competition, I would go with the Extra 330SC.
GD: Do you have any specific goals you would like to accomplish in aerobatics?
MS: Yes, my goal is to become a world-class pilot competing in the World Aerobatic Championships. And what really brought me into it is the challenge that you need to master the precision flying skills and pursue the perfection.
GD: Do you have any other interests outside of flying and aerobatics?
MS: I like to hang out with my family, go out with friends during the weekend, drink some beer, eat a barbecue. I also like flying R/C airplanes. (That's how I learned to read Aresti codes, and it's where I started in aviation.)
GD: Should helmets be required for aerobatic competition?
MS: I think it can be recommended for airplanes with open canopy or something like that, but I don't think it needs to be required in any kind of aerobatic airplane.