ANN Correspondent Tyson "The Kid" Rininger
Sitting in a service bureau in Monterey, California, I was
watching a graphic designer put together the poster for the
California International Air Show in Salinas. Everything looked
great, each performer and air show participant was being recognized
in a profound way except for Mike Goulian scheduled to fly at
Salinas on October 2 & 3rd. Something just didn't look
right…he had a new sponsor, Air BP, better known to us folks
as Castrol. Eeek, we gotta fix this!
Being a mostly right coast performer and I a left coast
photographer, I really didn't know a whole lot about Mike other
than hearing he was a really great guy. Since I work in an industry
full of really great people, I pretty much took it at face value.
As soon as I got to Florida's EAA Sun 'n Fun Fly-in I learned Mike
was on the schedule to perform. Perfect! I get to meet the guy and
hopefully update his pics for the poster. Who knows, I may get to
write an article about him too…still working on that!
The morning fog was just beginning to lift as were the multitude
of hot air balloons as the Sunday morning races were just getting
underway. Moisture covered the windscreens of just about every
aircraft while the grass glistened with reflections from the
morning dew. Mike and his wife Karen were kind enough to secure me
a Cessna 182 for a photo ship piloted by Ward Bryant. Shortly after
7:30am we departed Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and headed for
Lake Hancock and its surrounding estuaries.
At an altitude of 750 feet, Mike tightened up on our right side
as we entered air space over the lake. His aircraft displaying the
signature red, white and green Castrol colors, glistened in the
morning sun…, as did his pearly whites from within the
cockpit. Not a single bump in the air was to be felt while we did
our two 3-mile radius turns.
Heading back to Lakeland we learned of an unfortunate incident
that closed the airport and inhibited our return. Instead, we
rerouted to local Bartow Air Field and hung out at the FBO. Unlike
other photoshoots where talking with the pilot consists solely of a
briefing followed by incremental aerial movements and a post-flight
ogling session of captured images, we actually had an opportunity
to talk. It was quite a pleasure.
Mike is a cool-headed, smooth guy, articulate and humorous. He
manages to make people feel as if they had been friends for years.
And his flying isn't bad either!
Born into a family of aviation enthusiasts in Arlington, MA, he
helps run the family business of Executive Flyers Aviation, one of
the oldest and largest flying schools in the Northeast
Mike first began flying when he was 15 years old, before he was
even allowed to drive. By the age of 17, he had already won his
first title and performed at his first air show. His passion for
aerobatics began after seeing the movie "Cloud Dancer" with David
Carradine. Soon after college he began training and won his first
National Advanced Aerobatic Championship in 1990 making him the
youngest ever recipient of the award. In 1995, he became the
youngest to win in the elite Unlimited category. Mike has also
competed in three world class aerobatic contests and was ranked 7th
in his last world contest held in Slovakia in 1998.
Mike's list of accomplishments is a long one and his continued
passion for flying only suggests the list will grow longer. Not
only is he a member of the International Council of Air Shows Board
of Directors, but he's also the principal aerobatic consultant and
celebrity endorser for aerobatic flight simulator software for
Flight Unlimited. He's hosted two FAA safety videos, "Avoiding Wake
Turbulence" and "Loss of Control Avoiding Spins". Mike is one of
only six pilots invited to compete in the first annual Championship
Air Show Pilot's Association (CASPA) series and is the winner of
the Fon du Lac Cup.
Performing in the European built CAP 232, of which is considered
by many to be the world's best aerobatic aircraft, it seems to be
the choice plane for competition aerobatic pilots having won three
of the last four World Aerobatic Champions. Many of Mike's routines
flown by the CAP 232 have yet to be repeated by any other pilot.
According to Mike, the CAP 232 is most impressive when the airspeed
drops below 100 mph., "When similar aircraft are out of energy, the
CAP is at its best".
I could certainly go on and on about Mike, Karen and his support
crew. They're a great bunch of people and the apogee of teamwork.
Mike will be performing at the following shows:
- June 12-13 -- Cincinnati, OH
- June 19-20 -- Quonset, RI
- July 3-4 -- Traverse City, MI
- July 27-Aug 2 -- Oshkosh, WI
- Aug 7-8 -- Milwaukee, WI
- Aug 14-15 -- Springfield, MA
- Sept 4-5 -- Toronto, Canada
- Sept 16-19 -- Reno, NV
- Sept 25-26 -- Oceana, VA
- Oct 2-3 -- Salinas, CA