Mark Hensman

Position: #1 - Team Leader
Team Manager & Technician
Aircraft: MX2

Gary Glasson

Position: #3 - Wingman and Solo
Aircraft: XtremeAir XA42

Johnie Smith

Position:#2 - Wingman
Aircraft: Extra 330 LX

Eugene du Preez

Position: #5 - Box Slot
Aircraft: Extra 330SC

#1 Mark Hensman

  • Team Position: #1 Team Leader, Manager, Technician
  • Flying achievements:
    • SA Aerobatic Champion 2006 and 2009.
    • Silver medal for the South African team at both 2007 and 2010 Advanced World Championships.
    • 5th at the 2010 China International Air Sports Fiesta
    • 4th in the World Air Masters, China 2011.
    • 15,500 Flying Hours

Mark Hensman grew up in Zimbabwe. He went solo in a glider at the age of 15 and started his Airline flying career at age 26. In 1995 Mark entered the first Advanced World Aerobatic Championships (AWAC) flying a Christen Eagle bi-plane that he had built himself. Under the guidance of his mentor Nigel Lamb, Mark achieved 11th place in the first program and 17th overall. He has competed in 5 World Championships at both Advanced and Unlimited level and been South African Aerobatic Champion twice.

In 2010, after 15 years of performing solo displays around Southern Africa, Mark ventured into formation aerobatics flying lead in the Team Xtreme Duo which expanded into a world class 4 ship team displaying locally and internationally.

In 2014 Mark left his airline career as a B747 training captain to pursue his passion for formation aerobatics full time.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:

  • Yak 55
  • MX2
  • XtremeAir 42

#2 Johnie Smith

  • Team Position: #2 Wingman
  • Flying Achievements:
    • 2011 Advanced National Champion.
    • 2013 Advanced National Champion.
    • Represented South Africa in the Advanced Class in 2010, 2012 & 2014.

Johnie was born in Heilbron, Orange Free State. His first flight in an aeroplane was with his dad when he was 4 months old in a 1947 Tiger Moth… from there on he was hooked on aviation! He started his flying career in 1988 when he got his Private Pilot License. Even though he was working fulltime he still managed to complete his Commercial Pilot License and IF rating achieving both in 1991. He started a successful crop-dusting business in 1995, a successful business that still continues today.

Johnie has now surpassed 9500+ hours of spraying. He started his business with a C188 and progressed to an AgCat and was later the proud owner of a range of Air Tractors which included AT401, AT402, AT502 and an AT602.

Johnie started aerobatics in 2006 with a Pitts S1S when he joined the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa.  He later bought the South African made Slick 360 and started competition aerobatics. Johnie flew it for 420 hours in air shows and aerobatic competition. In 2013 he purchased a XtremeAir XA42. He was crowned 2013 National Advanced Champion using this aircraft. Johnie has flown +- 120 solo aerobatic air shows in South Africa from 2010 to 2018. His total aerobatic hours stand at 670 hours.

Johnie turned to Aerobatic Judging in 2016 and progressed to International Aerobatic Judging in 2018. In 2019 Johnie together with his scribe were rated best judge & scribe at an international competition.

Johnie started formation aerobatics in February 2022 and did his first formation aerobatic display in November 2022 in Nanchang China.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:

  • Slick 360
  • XtremeAir XA42

#3 Gary Glasson

  • Team Position: #3 Wingman
  • Flying Achievements:
    • 2013 Sportsman National Champion.
    • 2015 Intermediate National Champion.
    • 2017 Advanced National Champion.
    • 2018 Advanced National Champion.
    • 2021 Nationals – 3rd Place Unlimited.

Gary was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Like most aerobatic pilots, Gary has had a passion for aviation since childhood. He started his flying career in 2003 when he got his PPL on a Cessna 172 at Wits Flying Club, Lanseria. He quickly realized he needed a greater challenge and also wondered what flying upside down would feel like! He managed to get some time in a De Havilland Chipmunk with well-known instructor and air show pilot, Bob Ewing and was instantly hooked! He acquired a Yak 52 which gave Gary a superb grounding in aerobatics and many years of pleasure. 

He then purchased a Pitts Special S1 Falcon and got involved with competition aerobatics joining the Sport Aerobatics Club of South Africa, a club Gary ultimately served on as club chairman in 2019 and 2020. He together with his father is nearing build completion of a DR107 One Design aerobatic aircraft which he hopes will allow him to further his Unlimited Class aspirations.

When he is not flying, he enjoys spending time with the family. He loves getting away to mountainous areas of our beautiful country as well as the family home on the North Coast of South Africa.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:

  • XtremeAir XA42

#4 Mark Sampson

  • Forever our trusted #4…………………

    If you ever see our four-ship formation in the skies, remember there is always a fifth pilot flying with us. Sammy will continue as #4 and the rest of us will fly as #1, 2, 3 and 5.

#5 Eugene du Preez

  • Team Position: #5 Box Slot
  • Flying achievements:
    • Advanced World Aerobatics 2018 Romania – 23rd place overall.
    • South African Advanced Champion 2019.
    • Qualified as Unlimited Aerobatic Pilot in South Africa 2020.

Eugene du Preez grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. His flying started as a hang-glider pilot in 1993 while studying BSc Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria. He obtained his fixed wing Private Pilots License in 2005 and his Commercial Helicopter License in 2008.

Eugene started flying competition aerobatics in 2014, and formation aerobatics in 2020 before joining the Marksmen Aerobatic Team in 2021.

“Formation Aerobatics is all about teamwork and the ultimate trust in one another. It is immensely satisfying and all consuming. Your mind cannot be anywhere else. I find that hugely rewarding.”

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:

  • Extra 330SC
  • XtremeAir XA42

Martin Schulze

  • Team Position: Reserve Wingman
  • Flying achievements:
    • Airshow pilot with solo and formation Aerobatic Display ratings.
    • Advanced Aerobatic rating in South Africa.

Martin Schulze was born in Durban, South Africa. At the age of 9 he moved to the USA for a year where he was exposed to the wonders of aviation in America. This ignition of passion led to the continued love of aviation with some initial training in his teenage years. Martin completed his pilots license in 2007 where he moved into Aerobatics. He holds a Multi Engine turbine rated with Solo and Formation Aerobatic Display ratings. Martin is married, a father of 2 boys, and a full time business man with a number of commercial interests in businesses across various industry sectors.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:

  • L29 Jet
  • XtremeAir XA42

Johnie Smith was an obvious choice for the Right Wing position. He’s a rock solid character and an exceptionally talented pilot, both attributes being essential qualities for the spot. He’s a highly respected senior member of the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa and has represented South Africa many times at World Aerobatic Championships both as pilot and judge. He’s also a hugely experienced agricultural pilot and owns a very successful crop spraying business in the Lowveld.

Johnie did all his formation training with the Marksmen under the guidance of Sammy, Mark and Eugene. Ground school began in February 2022. After 2 days of ground school, 60 briefings, 60 training sorties and 60 debriefs, Johnie received his display authorisation and final assimilation into the team in August of 2022.

Gary Glasson is a pillar of the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa. He’s an ex-chairman of the club and notably one of the very few pilots in the world capable of flying a Pitts Special in the Unlimited Class to a very high standard. His skill as a pilot, and the consistent high standard he sets for himself combined his humble good humour made him an obvious choice for the team. We had to drag him kicking and screaming through the initial stages of his formation training as he refused to believe that he possessed the talent for the task. I’m happy to say that once he finally realised that he was totally wrong in this regard, his learning curve became uncommonly steep!

Gary received most of his airborne instruction from his best mate Eugene Du Preez, with Mark flying lead for them. Ground school began in February 2022 and after 2 days of ground school, 60 briefings, 60 training sorties and 60 debriefs, Gary received his display authorisation and his final assimilation into the team in August of 2022.