2018 Performers

2018 Performers

RJ Gritter: The son of a test pilot dad and a flight instructor mom, RJ has been in the cockpit his entire life. Growing up around the airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, he started flying before he was tall enough to see over the instrument panel! He soloed on his 16th birthday and got his private pilot license on his 17th birthday. RJ developed a passion for aerobatics through radio-control (R/C) flying. He started competing in R/C aerobatics at age 16 in national and international events, representing the US in indoor precision and freestyle aerobatic championships. R/C flying gave him a strong background for “full-scale” aerobatic flying. RJ attended school at North Carolina State University where he earned his Bachelors’ degree in Aerospace Engineering. After graduation, he moved to Manassas, Virginia where he works at Aurora Flight Sciences. Little did he know when he moved there that he would live just down the street from the Bealeton Flying Circus! The Flying Circus is the world’s longest-running airshow, hosting shows every Sunday from May through October. RJ joined the ground crew at the Flying Circus in 2015. He got his Decathlon at the end of 2015 and has since flown nearly 300 hours in the airplane, flying his first airshow at the season finale of the Flying Circus in 2016. He now flies an aerobatic demonstration there every Sunday. As a new airshow pilot, RJ has an 500ft solo aerobatic card, meaning he must stay above 500ft during the show. As he flies more and more shows, he’ll be allowed to fly lower and lower.

Adam Messenheimer grew up in Northern Virginia and began flight training out of Leesburg soon after graduating high school. He now holds single and multi-engine commercial ratings and is a certified flight instructor. Adam travels the country with his support team, competing in competition aerobatics, and is engaged in his first season of air show flying. He is honored to study under aerobatic hall of fame member, Bill Finagin. Adam enjoys riding motorcycles and playing music, saying that both help keep his mind prepared for the rigors of extreme flying. This year, he is very excited to fly in his home air show! Adam’s 2018 performance is sponsored by Glassman Wealth Services.

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The Flying Circus airshow is a demonstration of the “Golden Years of Flight”, which is characterized by the barnstorming era that came about in the years between the two World Wars. The Flying Circus has grown not only in its membership, but also in the variety and number of aircraft in inventory. The aerial demonstrations, thrilling acts, and the ride hopping operations, which were central to the barnstorming era, are still an essential part of their program at The Flying Circus Aerodrome in Bealeton, VA.

National Capital SquadronCAF National Capital Squadron: Formed in 1957, the Commemorative Air Force is dedicated to preserving the history of American military aviation. The National Capital Squadron is based at the Culpeper Regional Airport in a hangar/museum building equipped for the maintenance and display of a fleet of aircraft known as the Ghost Squadron. The NCS now has a total of thirteen aircraft assigned or associated with the unit.

Scott FrancisScott Francis, originally from Wichita, KS and now residing in South Riding, VA, has been a licensed pilot for 29 years. The son of an experimental test pilot and the grandson of an airline pilot, Scott grew up around aviation and has been flying in airplanes as long as he can remember.  His early graduation present in high school was training for and obtaining his private pilot’s license under the tutelage of a very strict instructor – his father.  In 2003, after flying more or less straight and level for 18 years, Scott got the itch to do something different.  He took a few aerobatic flying lessons and the hook was set. Less than a year later he purchased a Pitts Special and began competing at the Sportsman Level in International Aerobatic Club sanctioned aerobatic contests.  Scott sold his beloved Pitts in 2007 and purchased a Giles 202 carbon fiber monoplane and moved up to Advanced Level competition.  After winning a number of contests at the Advanced level, Scott moved up to Unlimited Level competition in 2012.  In April of 2013 he acquired the airplane he currently flies – a 330 hp, all carbon fiber MXS aerobatic aircraft, and continues to fly a number of airshows and aerobatic competitions in it each year. In his “real life”, Scott is an electrical engineer for a defense firm in Alexandria, VA.  He is also President of the Washington DC Area Chapter of the International Aerobatic Club. Scott’s 2018 performance is sponsored by Saab Sensis Corporation.

Mark Meredith, is a US Navy retired captain and an aerobatic pilot and aircraft rebuilder. Today Mark is a full time flight instructor at Navy Annapolis Flight Center in Maryland, teaching private, instrument, commercial and new flight instructors. Mark purchased his N7DW as a project in 2009- it was old and tired. He totally rebuilt it over 5 years and 5,000 hours. Since 2014 Mark has competed in International Aerobatic Club contests and now has returned his world traveler Chippy to airshow flying! Look for his open cockpit upper Chipmunk routine at the Leesburg Airshow this year!

*Subject to change*