Aerobatic flying is sane insanity: Türkiye’s first female aerobatic pilot

Aerobatic flying is sane insanity: Türkiye’s first female aerobatic pilot

Ece Çelik - ISTANBUL
Aerobatic flying is sane insanity: Türkiye’s first female aerobatic pilot

Aerobatic flying is a sane insanity, says Semin Öztürk Şener, Türkiye’s first female aerobatic pilot.

“Aerobatic piloting is an unexplainable passion for me,” said the 31-year-old, the daughter of Türkiye’s first civilian aerobatic pilot Ali İsmet Öztürk. “I am proud to be my father’s daughter, but you are alone in the plane.”

Aerobatics is a very different feeling from flying, it’s the ultimate, she said. “We have a saying, ‘Aerobatics is the effort of the supreme will to surpass itself.’ It’s an endless state of learning and adrenaline, a sane insanity.”

“Those who don’t know behind the scenes think that we are taking big risks,” said Öztürk Şener, quipping that Istanbul traffic is riskier than an aerobatic flight.

“We take a risk that can be taken for the sake of our dreams.”

Noting that her mother also has a pilot’s license and that they used to fly as a family all the time, she said, “My father taught me places that would be suitable for landing when I was 8 years old.”

“They used to put cushions under me as my feet couldn’t reach the pedals. That’s how I met aviation.”

She said when her father started taking aerobatic training when she was 9 years old, she wanted to go on flights with him, but she couldn’t as the parachute needed to be worn on aerobatic planes was too big for her.

“When I was 12, the parachute started to fit me and I did my first aerobatic flight. I flew with my father until I got my license,” Öztürk Şener said.

Öztürk Şener last performed in the airshow held in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir’s Sivrihisar district, after taking part in the show in the Aegean province of İzmir last month.

She also pointed out that she has two or three training flights a day in the camp she enters before airshows. “I also make a flight plan in my head when I am not training. Actually, I continue to fly on the ground.”

“There are times when we concentrate only on the airshow for 2-3 months. For example, I prepare my body by doing the training at the same time of the day as when I will fly at the show,” she said.

Saying one needs a long time to develop in aerobatics, she stated, “It is not a job for an impatient person, you have to be stable.”

Receiving training in the U.S. and visiting there from time to time to receive refresher trainings, Öztürk Şener also noted that aerobatic training is not available in Türkiye.