Mark Watts is one of only a very few UK pilots to have won the British Championships, a PWC, the UK X-Contest League, AND held the open distance record (at 275 km, which held until 2017). He has been on the British team many times, currently shares the out and back record in the UK with Hugh Miller and has been competing for over 25 years. Relentlessly fast, tactical, and consistent whenever Mark shows up at a comp you’ve got a formidable opponent. Mark has been one of the most-requested guests we’ve had because he avoids the spotlight, so while his flying resume speaks for itself not much is known about what makes him tick. In this episode we rewind the clock to learn about his father, another UK legend and the rather unique steps he laid for his son to take up flying; how he got into comps and how he views them now; the personal costs of pursuing flying; suggestions for finding the headspace required for winning; being honest about the risks; and some rather sobering advice from someone who’s never really been hurt but has seen an awful lot and how we can do a better job at playing the long game. I felt honored to have been able to have this conversation, it really made me think and…you’re going to dig it!
- Mark recounts how his Dad got into flying and some rather remarkable incidents he and Mark had in the early days
- Learning flying from building top end paper airplanes
- Learning, teaching, and flying in the early days
- The comps start and mentors
- Sponsorship and learning from the legends
- Keeping the passion alive…at what expense?
- Sun Valley
- Crushing comps- the headspace to seek and why not caring about the result helps achievement
- Flying tactics- Joe Jitsu strategies for every pilot. Hold everything- stay in the air!
- Equipment- what Mark uses and why
- Looking back- the moments you’ll never forget
- Bucket list/ must hit spots to fly in the world
- Rewind the clock- what would you do differently?
- Advice to lower hour pilots and playing the long game. Let’s be honest about the risks.
- It’s going to happen to you. Don’t be fooled.
- “We’re flying around in the sky looking for patches of turbulence. How is that being careful?”
- Is it worth the risks?
Mentioned in this episode:
Guy Anderson, Lucho Jimenez, Air Nomads, Koni- XCTracer, Rogallo, Nate Scales, John Pendry, Robbie Whittall, Bruce Goldsmith, Fly Sussex, Gin, Ozone, Brad Gunnuscio, Bill Belcourt, Russ Ogden, Adam Hill, Seb Ospina, Gradient, Hugh Miller, Godfrey Wenness, Matt Dadam, Matt Henzi, Nick Greece, Craig Morgan, Fly Sussex