Down to earth? Not exactly
Les Vorosmarthy is pleased. He points to one of the many dials on the dashboard of his aircraft. “Proof,” he says. “I pulled plus eight Gs and minus four.”
Friday 23 December 2011, 05:04PM
For the uninitiated, that means he experienced eight times normal gravity when pulling out of a dive or in a tight turn, and one fourth normal gravity when, for example, switching from a steep climb into a dive.
How come he isn’t wearing a G suit to counter the effects? “I’m not experiencing extra Gs for long enough for it to give me a blackout. Well not much, anyway.”
Les has just landed back at the Phuket Airpark after a 15-minute display of spectacular aerobatics above (sometimes mere metres above) the waters of Patong Bay as part of the Phuket Carnival. It’s not the first time he’s done it – he also flew over Patong at Songkran.
This time, he says, it was good. There were no parasailers. “Those things can just pop up out of nowhere.” Someone in Patong must have had a quiet word in the right ears.
A spry 56-year-old, Les has led a life of extreme adventure, starting in the early 1980s when he snuck out of his native country, Hungary, which was then in the dour depths of Communist rule, made his way right across Russia, thence to Japan and Mexico and into the US, where he arrived “with a couple of bags and eight dollars”.
He had a skill that was in high demand, however: computer programming, and in no time he was making good money.
He had to reconcile himself to the fact that he might never see his family again, but the inspiration of his parents’ skills in ophthalmology (his father ministered to the President of Hungary) stayed with him and led him soon enough to found his own company, making a gel implant for use in eye surgery. He now exports to 36 countries.
And since the collapse of the Soviet Union, he has been reunited with his family and has a Hungarian passport to add to his American one.
Pressure from his Chinese wife to live in China – a concept he admits he did not relish – led to compromise and the couple now live with their three children in Kuala Lumpur – a place with plenty of Chinese culture, yet international enough to keep Les happy, too.
He enjoys his flying visits to Phuket, however, and likes flying in and out of the Airpark, especially when he lands back from Patong drenched in sweat and is handed a cold beer as soon as he gets out of the cockpit. “That’s great service,” he grins.