Mark Hensman grew up in Zimbabwe. He went solo in a glider at the age of 15 and started his Airline flying career at age 26. In 1995 Mark entered the first Advanced World Aerobatic Championships (AWAC) flying a Christen Eagle bi-plane that he had built himself. Under the guidance of his mentor Nigel Lamb, Mark achieved 11th place in the first program and 17th overall. He has competed in 5 World Championships at both Advanced and Unlimited level.
Mark upgraded his Christen Eagle with a Yak 55 which he restored. Then in 2008 he bought a new American all composite MX2. 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 the team expand to a 4-Ship making it’s first debut at the 2011 World Aerobatic Masters in Dazu, China. In 2012 He ended his Airline career as a Boeing 747 Training Captain in favour of pursuing his dream to run his own Aerobatic Display Team.
The success of the Team Xtreme motivated Mark to find a partner in China to help set up a brand new world class formation aerobatic team. The FireStars Aerobatic Team was born in 2014 and later consolidated its name as Team Xtreme Airshows to operate globally.
Martin Schulze was born in Durban, South Africa. At the age of 9 he moved to the USA for a year where he was exposed to the wonders of aviation in America. This ignition of passion led to the continued love of aviation with some initial training in his teenage years. Martin completed his pilots license in 2007 where he moved into Aerobatics. He holds a Multi Engine turbine rated with Solo and Formation Aerobatic Display ratings. Martin is married, a father of 2 boys, and a full time business man with a number of commercial interests in businesses across various industry sectors.
Eugene du Preez grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. His flying started as a hang-glider pilot in 1993 while studying BSc Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria. He obtained his fixed wing Private Pilots License in 2005 and his Commercial Helicopter License in 2008.
Eugene started flying competition aerobatics in 2014, and formation aerobatics in 2020 before joining the Marksmen Aerobatic Team in 2021.
"Formation Aerobatics is all about teamwork and the ultimate trust in one another. It is immensely satisfying and all consuming. Your mind cannot be anywhere else. I find that hugely rewarding.”
When not flying aerobatics Eugene enjoys family life and being involved in his kid’s sports and activities. He is a family man at heart. He also enjoys riding off-road motorbike trails, mountain biking, snow skiing and playing golf.Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Mark Sampson, also known as 'Sammy', grew up in Cape Town. His flying career started with a PPL in 1990 at age 22 before joining the South African Airforce (SAAF) in 1993 where he trained on the Harvard T6 and flew helicopters for 22 Squadron based in Cape Town. He joined the Airlines in 1997 to fly the DC9 & MD80 for Sun Air, followed by B737-200 for Nationwide. In 2001 he moved to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific where he has flown the B747-400 & B777-200 as First Officer. He is now a Captain on B747-400 and B747-8F.
Sammy joined Team Xtreme Airshows in 2014 flying the XtremeAir XA42 in China. After buying his own XtremeAir XA41 aircraft the well known 2-ship team expanded and became a regular 4-ship display at South African air shows.
"Formation Aerobatics is the ultimate challenge of teamwork, precision flying and aerobatics. It is hugely satisfying and provides great entertainment and inspiration to spectators of all ages."
When not flying aerobatics Mark enjoys flying his Rotorway helicopter, riding motocross & enduro, mountain biking, and kite surfing in Cape Town.Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Leigh grew up in Fish Hoek, Cape Town. His flying career started with a PPL in 1991 at the Good Hope Flying Club before joining the Cape Aero Club where he completed his Commercial, Airline Transport Licence and Multi Engine Instructor’s Rating. He joined the Airlines in 1997 to fly the DC9 & MD80 for Sun Air, followed by B737-200 for Nationwide. In 2001 he moved to South African Airways for a brief stint as a “boy pilot” on the B747 Classic Fleet before moving to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific.
He flew the A340-300/600, A330-300 and later the B747-400 as a First Officer. He is now a Training Captain on A330-300 where he later moved to the Middle East with Qatar Airways.
Leigh represented South Africa in the inaugaral Intermediate World Championships where SA took Gold and also later at the World Advanced Aerobatic Championships held in Romania in 2018. He also participated in airshows in China with the Firestars Formation Team.
“One of the hardest disciplines in flying is undoubtedly Formation Aerobatics. It requires focus, team work and trust to get it absolutely right. Being absolutely right in formation aerobatics though, is very rarely achieved. It’s a lifetime’s worth of challenge.”
Hobbies include staying fit in the gym, hiking and the odd spate of surfing.Aerobatic Aircraft Flown: