Meet the Virgin Australia pilot who is also an aerobatic champion

Brad Mulcahy is a captain for Virgin Australia and spends his days flying passengers across the airline’s network. However, in his spare time, he competes in aerobatic competitions and is currently the Australian Unlimited Aerobatic Champion. 

Brad’s aerobatic aircraft is the Ziviko Edge 540, which weighs a little over 500kg and has a cruise speed of 360km per hour. A little different to the Boeing 737 he flies for his day job with Virgin Australia, the aircraft is designed to allow for unparalleled manoeuvrability with fast changes of directions, and climbing and descending very rapidly. We caught up with him to find out more…

How did you get into aerobatic flying?

My first aerobatic experiences were with my father who flew and competed. When I was learning to fly my instructors all had a keen interest too which furthered my experience and where I initially gained my aerobatic ratings. I was quite nervous at first but grew to love it very quickly!

What’s the best part of aerobatic flying?

There are several things I specifically enjoy about aerobatic competition flying. I really enjoy the combination of both a mental and physical sport, the sequences of manoeuvres we fly at a contest are quite complex and have many elements so to fly them and position the aircraft optimally for the judges while under varying G loading is a challenge. I also enjoy the competitive side of the sport (all sport!) and that it obviously involves relatively high performance aircraft.

What’s the best part of flying for Virgin Australia?

The best part about flying for Virgin Australia is getting to work with a great bunch of people. We are very lucky to have some real camaraderie amongst our crews, not just flight crew but right throughout the company. While the company has grown hugely in the 14 years I have been here it still feels relatively small and friendly. I also enjoy having the opportunity to fly some great aircraft on diverse routes.

How do you find balance between flying for Virgin and competing in aerobatic competitions?

Most of my aerobatic flying takes place on Annual leave or days off. Obviously we have mandated yearly flight hour maximums so this has to be monitored but generally that is not an issue. A lot of preparation can also be done away from the actual Aerobatic flying in terms of fitness and mental preparation. Virgin Australia has always been very supportive of its employees following their passions.

Brad will be travelling to South Africa in September 2017 to compete in the World Aerobatic Championships – make sure you’re following Virgin Australia on Twitter and Facebook to find out how he gets on.


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