Skip to content

Ward pushes limit in his MX2

72-year-old pilot has found the perfect aircraft for his .high energy flying'
Gary Ward says he's looking forward to bringing his MX2 show Boundary Bay this Saturday.

Gary Ward is one of the newcomers to the Boundary Bay Air Show.

The pilot, who lives in Georgia, will bring his MX2 to Saturday's event.

"I am very much looking forward to it as I am a big fan of that part of the world," he told the Optimist in an e-mail, noting that he's skied numerous times at Whistler-Blackcomb.

Ward has performed in Canada before, making trips to Nova Scotia, PEI and Quesnel just last summer.

Although he started flying at 16, Ward got into extreme aerobatics and air shows much later. He and a good friend acquired a Pitts S2-B biplane around 1996 and had it rebuilt. Another good friend encouraged him to fly air shows and helped Ward get his first "waiver." He flew his first show at age 57 in 1998.

"This lit the fire and by the following year, I had acquired the higher performance Giles 202 carbon fiber monoplane," he said. "I performed in it until 2006 when I became the

first pilot to begin performing in the all new MX2, which I am still flying and it is still the best airplane available for the high energy flying that I do."

The MX2 has a high performance Lycoming IO540 engine capable of producing more than 350 horsepower.

"In addition to being a high performance aerobatic aircraft, it is also a good cross country airplane," Ward explained.

He added that his normal cruising speed is about 218 mph and that the plane has enough gas capacity to remain airborne for over five hours and can cover almost 1,000 nautical miles non-stop.

Ward said his performance will cover the entire spectrum of the aircraft capability, from the very slow and stalled maneuvers to high speed stunts.

"I focus on the extreme maneuvers that most aircraft are incapable such as: rolling vertical torque rolls, tumbling maneuvers where I get the MX2 to go tail over nose several times, knife edge spins, and slow knife edge flight with the nose pitched way up in the air. I also do tiny 'outside micro loops' where I am experiencing negative G forces."

Ward constantly tries to improve his sequence of maneuvers as well as work on new ones.

"It is all about entertainment and it is important to make lots of smoke and noise and to keep it right in the face of the spectators."

Asked what he likes most about what he does, Ward mentioned the travel and the people he meets.

"I turned 72 a few days ago and the last 15 years have been an absolute blast," he said.

"I've made lots of friends in many places."

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks