Mikhail Mamistov learnt to fly in 1983 in the then Soviet Union and went on to become one of the most decorated pilots in the history of Aerobatics competition.
“I was 18 in 1983," he explained during an interview at the 2016 FAI European Aerobatics Championship in the Czech Republic. “I studied physics at university, but after I discovered flying I soon forgot about physics!”
He found his discipline in aerobatics. “You can do everything in three dimensions. It’s not just flying point A to B, like a bus or a ship. Aerobatics is real flight.”
Now, Mamistov is a fulltime aerobatics instructor based in St Petersburg. He teaches aerobatics at home and abroad.
Mamistov entered his first competition in 1987. “My first medal was for cross country flying. But then my first international competition was in 1995 and it was Glider Aerobatics. We went to France and I won.”
That same year he went to the FAI European Glider Aerobatic Championships. “And I won that. Then the next year I won the FAI World Glider Aerobatic Championships.”
Having won both European and World titles in glider aerobatics he moved to powered aerobatics.
“From 1999 I took part in all the competitions. 2000 I was second, 2001 I was World Champion, and 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012 I was European Champion, and 2011 I was World Champion again.”
It is that list that qualifies him as the world’s most decorated Powered Aerobatics pilot.
Mamistov puts part of his success down to his country's system of Powered Aerobatics training. The system has its roots in the Soviet era, when aerobatics received more state funding than it does today.
The sport has been good to him. “I have had many high points. My first international competition in 1995 was very good. In 2001 when I was World Champion that was very good. And 2011 when I was World Champion again was very good."
He added: “All my life I dreamed of flying. From five-years old I understood, ‘Yes, I want to be that.'"
1995: FAI World Glider Aerobatics Championships, Gold
1996: FAI European Glider Aerobatics Championships, Gold
1997: FAI World Glider Aerobatics Championships, Gold
2001: FAI World Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2004: FAI European Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2006: FAI European Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2008: FAI European Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2011: FAI World Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2012: FAI European Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2013: FAI World Aerobatic Championships, Silver
2014: FAI European Aerobatic Championships, Silver
2015: FAI World Aerobatic Championships, Silver
2016: FAI European Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2017: FAI World Aerobatic Championships, Gold
2019: FAI World Aerobatic Championships, Bronze