Competition is in His Blood
Back in 2011, the Patey brothers took off from San Diego, California, in their home-built aircraft and flew side-by-side, landing to refuel in Brownwood, Texas. Mike then flew from Brownwood to Charleston, West Virginia, and set the northern route transcontinental record. Mark flew to Jacksonville, Florida to set the southern route record. Just last year, Mike set the world record for average speed in a single-engine turboprop plane – his unique, PT6A-powered “Turbulence” (see box below). The record was 438.02 miles per hour – what Mike calls ‘smokin.’
“From drag cars to hill climbs, I have always been driven to race things. I like to build bigger, stronger and faster aircraft. I like to say that you don’t have to be in the U.S. military to beat the U.S. military – I have set records that were previously held by the U.S. government.”
Mike’s an open book when it comes to sharing his aviation genius with others. He tells his competitors exactly how he modifies his aircraft to eke out better performance. “If someone beats me, then that’s great and it’s game on. It means that I’ll come back next year in an attempt to win the title back with better aircraft performance.”
Taking Risks Wisely
The risks he takes in setting aviation records are not lost on Mike and he says he’s had his fair share of piston-engine failures “I do take risks, but they are educated risks not foolhardy ones. It’s not courage that allows me to take risks, it is knowledge.” He’s prudent – he doesn’t fly piston engines over the mountains at night and avoids bad weather.
Mike and Mark live near one another and see each other virtually every day – where else but at the local airport. “We consider ourselves to be the luckiest guys ever. It’s great to always have your biggest fan and supporter standing next to you to cheer you on.”
A Little Turbulence Goes a Long Way
Mike Patey’s favourite airplane at the moment is his highly modified Lancair Legacy kit he has dubbed ‘Turbulence’. Powered by an 850 shp PT6A-42 engine, the plane has ‘smokin’ performance:
· Top speed recorded - 438.02 mph
· Climb rate is 7,000 feet per minute.
· 175-gallon fuel capacity gives Turbulence a 1,600-nautical-mile range at 375 KTAS.
· He re-designed/re-built 85 – 90 % of the now distinctive aircraft.
· Turbulence weighs 1,900 lbs and is made of 100% carbon fibre materials.