Biography

Peter Besenye was born on June 8, 1956 in Körmend. They lived in Szentgodhárt with their parents until they were 6 years old. Then they moved near the Budaörs airport. This is where he saw an airplane for the first time. The selected planes of the aerobatic team preparing for the 1962 World Championship flew over their house. As a small child, he was completely mesmerized by the sight of somersaulting and spinning machines. From then on, he often went out to the airport on foot or by bicycle, where he watched the planes take off and land. Later, he also ventured into the hangar, which was still guarded by soldiers. They allowed him to see the machines, to look into the cabins of the machines. However, it never occurred to him that he could be a pilot one day. He didn’t do anything about it until he was 15 years old. In vocational secondary school, he found out that one of his classmates flies a glider. He also signed up for the Ministry of Light Industry’s flying club in Dunakeszi and flew for the first time with a Hungarian Góbé type plane designed by Ernő Rubik.

At the age of seventeen, he applied to become a fighter pilot, but was rejected at the medical examination, saying that his spine could not withstand the load. He did not become a fighter pilot, but he obtained his aerobatic pilot’s license at the age of nineteen. At the age of 20, he entered his first competition, the Budapest Championship, with an old Super Futár manufactured glider. This was the first competition for Besenyei, and the last competition for the aircraft due to its age. While he flew the furthest in the first event, his performance was scored 0 because his barograph (recording barometer) did not work. Despite this, he finished second overall.

Az első startkönyv
Besenyei Péter vitorlázó repülőgépen kezdett repülni. Két évre ejtőernyősként csatlakozott a hadsereghez (104 ugrással)

He then joined the army as a paratrooper for two years (with 104 jumps). Kálmán Furkó practiced kyokushinkai karate in his first karate club. Later, he successfully passed the blue belt exam with master István Adámy. He was very talented and developed quickly, so Kálmán Furkó dealt with him separately and urged Péter to start his own club.

At the age of 22, in 1979, after demobilization from military service, he returned to the flying club. At the suggestion of Mihály Zámbó, the head of the motor division at the time, he was sent to Budaörs for retraining on a motor aircraft.

In 1980, he obtained his engine airplane pilot’s license, and in the spring of 1981 he began aerobatic training. As a sensational rookie, he already won the first two advanced category events at the Nyírség Kupa aerobatic competition in the fall, but then missed a figure in the third and only finished fourth. From then on, Péter only competed in the unlimited category. In the fall of 1981, national team coach Simon László selected him for the A-team.

By 1982, he became the youngest member of the aerobatic national team. In the same year, all the male members of the aerobatic team were killed in a plane crash. Péter was the only member of the Hungarian Armed Forces’ national team who was not allowed on the plane. As it turned out later, fate could have it this way, because tragically the plane with nine members of the national team crashed into the mountain. The tragedy took a toll on him and left its mark on his training for years.

After that, Peter Besenyei started at the Austrian National Championship, where he won all events. He excelled in the air at terrifying speeds and performed flying maneuvers previously thought impossible. His name also includes the knife-edge spin and the inverted flat spin.

At the 1990 World Championship, he won a silver medal with the oldest Zlin Z-50 machine and also received the factory’s special award.

He then worked for almost ten years at the Budaörs Central Airport of the Hungarian Defense Forces as a pilot trainer and in-flight pilot, then at Jet Stream and Indicator Rt. as a pilot.

In 2001, the owner of Red Bull asked him to develop the concept of an independent air race. He became part of the design of the Air Race and was the first to test the air gate-based course, and during this period he became the face of the Red Bull energy drink. With the help of Peter Besenyei, the event also reached the international stage of the world championship series. In his debut season in 2003, the flying legend won the overall first place. The competition series was organized from 2003-2019.

Zlin Z-50-es géppel szerzett ezüstérmet. Az Air Race tervezésének tagja lett, és ő tesztelte elsőként a légikapu alapú pályát.

One of his most memorable flying maneuvers was in August 2007, at an event related to the 22nd Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, when he flew under the Chain Bridge several times. The whole country got to know his name. Formula 1 world champions Senna and Prost watched with admiration and envy as their flying partner, aerobatic pilot Péter Besenyei, flew under the Chain Bridge in Budapest, which was broadcast by 47 national TV channels on 5 continents.

2010-ben részt vett a magyar fejlesztésű műrepülőgép, a Corvus Racer tervezésében. Besenyei Péter több mint harminc dobogós helyezést ért el pályafutása során.

In 2010, he also participated in the design of the Hungarian-developed aerobatics Corvus Racer, with which he made his debut at the Red Bull Air Race in June 2010. He competed with this type until 2015. He still flies his air shows with this plane today.

During his career, Peter Besenyei achieved more than thirty podium finishes at European Championships, World Championships and World Cup races. In recognition of his sporting achievements, Árpád Göncz was awarded the Presidential Gold Medal of the Republic, and he received the Paul Tissandier diploma from the International Aviation Federation. In 2008, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

In 2015, at the age of fifty-nine, he decided to retire from racing to spend more time with his family. He still didn’t stop flying. It is featured in many air shows to this day. Peter’s aerobatic performance is a combination of classical and individual elements, a kind of improvisation. His next figure is always the most suitable for the given situation. He never gives two shows the same, nor does he fly the same way, yet his character and style are unmistakably “Besenyei”.

Peter is open to almost everything. In addition to playing the piano and taking photos, he has been fishing, diving and skiing since childhood, and has also competed in car races. He competed in the Opel Astra Cup for two years and then in the Shell Power Racing Renault Clio Cup. He likes the music of Vangelis, Mike Oldfield, Yello and Oliver Shanti and has a substantial collection of Celtic tunes.

Péter Besenyei has been happily married to Tünde Besenyei since 2011, and has two daughters, Nikolett and Dóra.

Besenyei Péter horgászik és a Shell Power Racing Renault Clio Kupán versenyzett.

Égvilágom

Who is Peter Besenyi really? What do we know about him and aerobatics, beyond what is revealed from reports and newspaper articles? What did your parents say to the fact that as a child you always only looked at the sky, how did you feel when you first took off, why did you avoid airports for a long time? How does it feel to win and lose, to miss an opportunity, to own a handful of desert or a chapter in the Guinness Book of Records? What pain, fear, success and failure, danger, and passion mean to Péter Besenyei. What does aerobatics mean to him?

You can read more details in Peter Besenyei’s book My Sky (Égvilágom).