This single man is living his dreams by setting records in anything that flies.
Ladies, start your engines. Pilot Matthias Dolderer is the German James Bond of the skies and he’ll have you taking numbers just to wait in the wings. Not only can this singular “Double-Oh-Seven” fly anything thrown at him ― plane, helicopter, rocket ship ― he’s refined, witty, fit and handsome to boot.
Way back in 1985, the same year the very first dotcom domain name was registered, Dolderer turned 14 and performed his first solo flight. Today, he’s setting aerial speed records that give race spectators whiplash.
His passion for flying began on the farm he grew up on in Germany. His father had a passion for flight and dreamed of creating a place where pilots could congregate and enjoy quality time with likeminded aviators. “It was all about getting together to honor the spirit of flight,” Dolderer said.
His father built an airstrip on the family farm and from there, gradually added facilities including a golf course, tennis courts, a swimming pool, a restaurant, a hotel, a chapel, and even a flight school. Picture a country club that you fly to, not drive to. Talk about dropping in for a game of tennis! The Dolderers even projected movies outdoors like at an old-fashioned drive-in theater, but instead of cars, the audience arrived in aircraft.
From the start, Dolderer was hands-on with the family business. As a child, he worked on his dad’s airport, helped in the restaurant and refueled airplanes. A prodigy in aviation, this young pup even assisted in directing air traffic from the control tower. While most kids were obsessed with getting their driver’s license, Dolderer was flying around in gliders and enjoying the exhilaration of aerobatics.
Instead of the usual high school diversions, Dolderer worked on becoming the youngest certified flight instructor in Germany. “Infecting my students with the spirit of flight and watching them solo was such a great feeling,” he said.
In his later teens, Dolderer competed in the German National Ultralight Championships and was the youngest ultralight pilot in Germany. After only one week of self-instruction, he placed 3rd at the German Nationals. Shortly after, he joined the National Ultralight team and competed for three consecutive years all over the world, and in 1991, he won the German championship.
Steadily, this flyboy’s certifications continued to accumulate. By the age of 24 he had his commercial pilot’s license, and since then, Matthias has achieved 15 more flight certifications, amassed over 7,000 hours of flight time in over 110 different aircraft and has made some 25,000 landings. Revered by the aviation community, the Egyptian, German and Israeli Air Forces hired him to train their pilots in aerobatics and formation flying.
In 2008, Dolderer was selected to fly in the Red Bull Air Races ― an extremely popular international competition based on velocity and accuracy ― considered a dream job by most pilots.
“Flying in the RBAR is the best thing I’ve ever done ― aggressive flying, precision, skill, speed, media, fans ― it’s just got everything,” said Dolderer. “Flying through the most scenic parts of the world and in the middle of metropolitan cities like New York, Rio, Perth, Budapest, Porto ― it’s the Formula One of the air!”
Former Red Bull teammate Marco Groebner said, “Matthias is one of the most talented pilots of the air race circuit ― always looking for ways to improve. He also expects improvement and commitment from his race team but never forgets how important it is to have some fun with the team in spare time.”
Unable to resist aviation’s lifelong gravitational pull, Matthias has no regrets. He’s a man who lives in the moment, perhaps expected when your vocation involves racing high-speed aircraft at low altitude, around pylons, through narrow corridors in the sky. He is a quiet individual, and although people mistake that for bashfulness, he said he’s just “taking it all in” and that he doesn’t take his blessings for granted.
It’s hard to imagine what will come next for this rock star of flight. It doesn’t seem like there are any barriers he can’t break. As Dolderer puts it, “Perhaps the sky is not the limit.”
Copyright © Barbara Bloom/2011 Singular Communications, LLC.