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Team Xtreme Pilots


Mark Hensman


  • Date of birth: 15 October 1965
  • Team Position: #4 (box) and solo freestyle pilot.
  • Day Job: Team Manager. Retired Training Captain B747 MK Airlines.
  • Total Flying hours: 15,000
  • Number of aircraft rated on: 35
  • Age when he started flying: Solo in a glider at the age of 15.
  • 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 and 4th in the World Air Masters, China 2011.



Mark was born on 15th October 1965. At the age of 7 he attended boarding school in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). It was here that his lifelong interest in aircraft and aerobatics began. From model aircraft he progressed to gliding and went solo in a glider at the age of 15. Whilst maintaining his active interest in model aerobatics and competitive gliding, Mark embarked on a career as an airline pilot in 1991. The airline flying provided the resources for Mark to begin building his first aerobatic aircraft, a Christen Eagle.

In 1995 Mark entered his first aerobatic competition flying his Christen Eagle under the guidance of his mentor, Nigel Lamb. The First Advanced World Aerobatic Championships (AWAC) was held in Cape Town, South Africa. Mark achieved 11th place in the first program and 17th overall.

Soon after, Hensman upgraded his Christen Eagle with a Yak 55 which he restored. Then in 2008 he bought a new American all composite MX2. Mark has competed in 5 World Championships at both Advanced and Unlimited level, gaining 2 silver medals in the process. He has twice held the title of South African Aerobatic Champion.

In 2010, after 15 years of performing solo displays around Southern Africa, Mark and Nigel Hopkins set up the well known ‘Team Xtreme” MX2 duo. A year later, Mark decided to expand the team to a ‘4-Ship’ making it’s first debut at the 2011 World Aerobatic Masters in Dazu, China.

The success of the Team Xtreme 4-Ship motivated Mark to find a partner in China to help set up a brand new world class 4-ship XA42 formation aerobatic team. The FireStars Aerobatic Team was born.

In 2012 Hensman ended his airline career as a Boeing 747 Training Captain in favour of pursuing his dream to run his own Aerobatic Display Team. The Red Bull China sponsored FireStars Team performed at the 2015 Linyi Airshow in Shandong province, thereby completing it’s second season of operations.



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