2016 Featured Performers
Grant Nielsen grew up in an aviation loving family. His father was a pilot and his brother was a career Air Force officer. After taking his first aerobatic ride, Grant was “bitten by the bug.” He started taking flying lessons within a month, training in airplanes and gliders concurrently. After getting his private rating in both classes of aircraft, he knew he wanted to learn more and become a better pilot. Grant joined a club in Minneapolis that had a Decathlon aerobatic training airplane.
While learning aerobatics Grant continued to train in other areas and received his Instrument ratings in single and multi engine planes, his Commercial rating in gliders and airplanes, Instructor ratings in single engine, multi engine, and instrument flight, Airline Transport Pilot rating, Flight Engineer rating for turbojet airplanes, and Pilot in Command (Captain) Type Ratings for the Boeing 757, 767 and Airbus 318, 319, 320 and 321 families of airplanes. In 2000 Grant changed careers from design and engineering work to aviation. He now flies Airbus aircraft for a United States Legacy airline. Grant makes his home in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
Grant’s aerobatic background started with a lot of great instruction in the Decathlon. After gaining some proficiency, he began flying aerobatic competitions. Nothing shrinks your ego and grows your skill like having 7 judges pick apart every detail of your flying. Eventually Grant also started giving aerobatic instruction, and learned more from his students than he thought possible. After 14 years of competition, Grant’s mentors thought he was ready to dip a toe into the air show water in 2012. Flying air shows has been a lifelong dream for Grant and he feels incredibly blessed to be able to accomplish it. After over 4500 hours of flight time, he still looks forward to every flight.
Some of the maneuvers you will see include the Hammerhead, the Torque Roll, the Cuban 8, the Half Cuban 8, the Shark’s Tooth, and of course Loops and Rolls.
The Pitts Special was designed in 1947 by Curtis Pitts.
Grant’s plane was built in 1994. It has 335 hours of flight time, with only 105 on a new engine. Weighing only 803 pounds, and with over 200 horsepower it is a real performer. Of course there is a high output smoke system, and the MT propeller turns the horsepower into thrust.Next Performer >