The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
© 2007 The Mountaineer Publishing Company Limited.

The Mountaineer Sports Hall of Fame:
Jerzy Strzyz

Strzyz has been the Canadian Unlimited National Champion at least 14 times. He has represented Canada at the World Championships in both Advanced and Unlimited categories.
At the 2020 Aerobatic Nationals at the Rocky Airport on Sept. 5, 2020, Stzyz finished second in the Advanced category. Neil Harris beat him by the narrowest of margins.
Strzyz, who is also a commercial pilot and airshow performer, described the abilities of his Sukhoi 26 plane to The Mountaineer several years ago.
The aircraft can reach a maximum speed of 450 km/h, and has a range of 1,200 km before refuelling is needed. Its thrust to weight ratio is one to one, and it boasts a climb rate of 19 m/s. For better G tolerance, the pilot seat is reclined at a 60 degree angle, with his or her knees being at the level of his or her head. The position allows the pilot to withstand 12 Gs without blacking out.
At the 2010 Rocky Airshow, Strzyz talked about performing manoeuvers like the “inverted ribbon cut” during his 13-minute sequence.
He said he’s looking forward to performing for the local crowd. When asked the difference between competition flying and performances like airshow he said competition flying is strictly judged by five people whereas with airshow flying “you’re a local hero for a day.”
“I like them both,” Strzyz said. Competition flying, which he does in his Sukhoi 26, is “always a drive for perfection.” Airshow flying is “trying to impress the public.”
Strzyz has been flying most of his life, starting at an early age in Poland.
“It’s been my passion since I was a little kid,” Strzyz said. “I sort of grew up at the airport.”
When he moved to Canada in the mid-1980s he started flying “as soon as I could afford it.”
The aerobatic pilot moved to Rocky about 13 years ago.
He said it is a beautiful region.
“I love it here.”
“What we like to think about today is precision aerobatics,” he said. “We like to think of ourselves as professionals.”
While his favourite manoeuver for competition is the vertical snap roll, which he described as the most challenging, at airshows he enjoys performing tumbling maneuvers and something he called “the cobra.”
He said for airshows he likes to make airplanes perform moves people do not expect planes to be able to do.
Jerzy’s routine at air shows includes gyroscopic tumbles, torque rolls, tail slides and other high-energy aerobatic maneuvers.