How Far Would You Go to Make Your Dreams Reality?

By Ruth Charlesworth

Maurizio Perissinotto, EAA Lifetime
1207972, had spent his childhood looking up to his father who was an airline
and Air Force pilot. Maz knew that someday he wanted to be a pilot, travel the
world, fly the most amazing airplanes, and tell stories about flights. A child
can only dream.

At the age of 17, Maz’s life turned
upside down when he lost both of his parents in an accident. His dream of becoming
a pilot seemed suddenly impossible, but he never gave up. He started working
for MyAir, the airline his father used to work for, as a dispatcher delivering
flight plans to the departing aircraft. To make a living, Maz had to look for
several ways to provide for himself and his little brother. He picked up
another job at a flight school scrubbing tires and washing airplanes in
exchange for flight lessons.

Maz later joined a flight school in
Spain called FTEJerez, earned his license, was top in his class, and was given the
Best Pilot Award. Back then, airlines were not hiring and he was back to square
one looking for a job. He started patching up used ultralight airplanes,
ferrying and selling them across Europe.

One night after work he was
exhausted and was resting in a motel after a hard day of flying, he heard the
phone ring while he was asleep. The person on the other end asked him to join
Qatar Airways. He woke up the next morning thinking he had merely dreamt it all
until he checked his call log and realized that, indeed, the call had happened.
He later found out that Qatar Airways had gotten in touch with FTE to hire its best
pilots and Maurizio’s name was high on the list.

Maz packed his bag and headed to
Qatar. He started flying with the A320, A319, and A321 moving on to begin
training on an A350. He was one of the youngest pilots in the world to be
trained on the new A350 airliner.

In 2012, Maz bought his first
aircraft, a Pitts Special S2B, in Florida. He started training to be an
aerobatic pilot in Turkey under the guidance of Ali Ismet Ozturk. Ali is a
legend of Turkish aviation and a world-renowned aerobatic pilot. He is known in
Europe for the daring maneuvers he performed in his modified Pitts biplane, and
while many sought his mentorship, he indulged few. Maz flew out of Qatar every
opportunity he got and trained with the Pitts. Within a year, he did his first
air show in Turkey. This man made that impossible dream possible, even across

Within the next two years Maz found
a BD-5J microjet for sale, a rare aircraft he had always dreamed of flying. Maz
bought the BD-5 from Aviation F/X, based in Santa Paula, California. After
discovering that Maz and Dan, the owner of AviationF/X, had a lot in common,
they started a keen friendship and have collaborated on many projects since

Maz is full of passion and loves to
inspire others to pursue their dreams. He says flying makes you a better person;
you learn to take responsibility. You learn to trust yourself and think ahead.
Maz has always wanted to be able to inspire, and he says the knowledge he has
is of no use if he cannot pass it on.

With this passion in heart, he let go of his successful career as an airline pilot a few months before being promoted to a captain position to commit to full-time aerobatic flying and started The Cloud Dancers Aerobatic Team.

Maz and I worked together to
prepare a professional and entertaining air show setup, starring the mighty
BD-5J Microjet. I took the role of crew chief and together we perfected all
aspects of the performance, from standard procedures to emergency scenarios,
through paperwork, media artwork, online presence, and financials. Two months
later, Maz was offered an air show in China.

Working next to other aerobatic
pilots like Paul Bennet, American Pitts legend Jason Newburg, the famous Jurgis
Kairis, and other inspirational air show veterans, Maz was the youngest pilot
at the air show with his BD-5J Freedom
, the lightest BD-5 ever built and the only one ever equipped with
aileron spades.

The BD-5J has a turbo jet engine
made in the Czech Republic, propelling the little plane to speeds up to 300
mph. Maz puts the jet through its paces in a series of aerobatic maneuvers, as
well as low passes at the maximum and minimum flight speeds. The key of a
successful air show is to exploit the peculiarities of the aircraft being
displayed, and the BD-5J is the perfect show plane in that it has a very wide
flight envelope and some unique features like its super fast-acting retractable
landing gear, which takes about half a second to deploy or retract. This allows
for a safe and simple air show routine, rich in sights and sounds that are sure
to remain in the spectator’s memories.

China is finally embracing the
world of general aviation and for them, seeing a BD-5J was definitely an
awe-inspiring experience. With a Ferrari red paint scheme the BD-5J cannot be
missed, even on its fast, low passes and high speed aerobatics. Being limited
by the Chinese authorities to a maximum 1,000 feet of altitude, one cannot risk
pushing the limits of the jet, but thanks to his experience in less regulated
countries, Maz had by then developed a strict self-discipline and professional
attitude toward air show work. Flying past the crowd, recycling the gear cycle
and performing various kinds of rolls, as well as using some basic optical
illusions to make flatish maneuvers look more vertical and daring — we
definitely did leave a mark on everyone’s mind.

Being out in China among many
experienced pilots was challenging and exhilarating mostly because we are
trying to make a stand in a line of work that is currently either
over-regulated or left in total anarchy, depending where in the world one

At the age of 30, not many would
think of Maz as a professional air show pilot when they first encounter him,
but once they hear how his passion is backed by relentless preparation and
patient determination, most realize this reflects in his airmanship. Aviation
at any age is a great involvement, it teaches us that passion is an important
drive but needs to be backed by dedication and sacrifice. This is the recipe
that skill is made from.

Like many other young aviation
enthusiasts, Maz was never gifted the luxury of flying while growing up and
never got the opportunity to get the support and encouragement from his
parents, but he grew up to be a great man and a great pilot. If his parents
were here today, they would have been so proud of him. Maz and I know that we
are just getting started in the wonderful world of aviation-inspired
entertainment, yet he silently hopes that one day his dream of being trained
under the guidance of his role model Sean D. Tucker will come true.

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