The Silence Twister started life as a world beating radio controlled aerobatic machine simply known as the Twister. It had been developed by Matthias and Thomas Strieker in Germany and was so successful that they decided to build a “real” version of the model. Team Leader Peter Wells saw the first production Silence SA180 Twister at the 2004 Aero Airshow at Friedrichshafen in Germany. He was looking at scratch building a composite single seat aerobatic aircraft – a modern day Fournier RF4 and found that some-one had already done it!
Peter gave his first public display in the original 80hp Jabiru-powered Silence SA180 Twister G-TWST at the Abingdon Air & Country Show 2008. Later that year Peter not only performed his own solo displays, but also joined forces with the Swift Aerobatic Display Team displaying at venues such as the RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day, Farnborough International Airshow and the inaugural Bournemouth Air Festival. Over the winter months, the Team also performed at the 2009 Al Ain Aerobatics Show in the United Arab Emirates.
2009 saw the completion and first flights of Peter’s second Twister, G-RIOT. While externally similar to G-TWST, ‘RIOT was a very different machine fitted with the more powerful 107hp UL Power UL260iSA engine. This new high compression engine gave the Twister true aerobatic performance with an inverted fuel system. G-RIOT took over display duties allowing G-TWST to be rebuilt to the same specifications as G-RIOT to create a matching pair of Twisters. Peter formed the Twister Duo in 2010 with fellow display pilot Guy Westgate. The team’s first “public” display could not of have been more of a challenge involving an epic pan-European transit flight for the opening of Turkmenbashi Airport in the former Soviet state of Turkmanistan! On their return to Europe the team went on to perform at venue across Europe including Volkel in de Wolken, the RAF Cosford Airshow, the Heart of Scotland Airshow and Eastbourne Airbourne.
2010 also saw the debut of Twister Pyro display. The Twister made its debut with wingtip pyrotechnics at the Bournemouth Air Festival in a solo display as part of the Swift Aerobatic Display Team’s performance at the event’s first “Night Air Dusk Display.” The full debut of the Twister Duo Pyro display occurred just two weeks later at the 1st Sanicole Sunset Airshow in Belgium.
2011 was another exciting year for the team. The team were sponsored for three years by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) and became known as the SWIP Team. SWIP used the Twisters and their aerobatic displays to create a new corporate branding throughout their business and advertising. The aircraft were repainted in the corporate colours of SWIP and registered G-SWIP and G-ZWIP performing at public and private displays all over Europe.
A highlight for the SWIP Team was an invite to perform at the Bahrain International Airshow 2012. A special container system was developed for the Twisters allowing them to be rapidly de-rigged and re-rigged as well as offering maximum protection to the airframes while in transit. 2012 also saw Jon Gowdy join the team allowing further flexibility for the team to maintain its display commitments across Europe during the summer months which included displays in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
2013 was another busy year. A third Twister, G-JINX, joined the fleet with a number of enhancements including a centre-line hard-point for ferry tanks, storage or even more pyrotechnic effects. To mark the 25th Sunderland International Airshow the team even preformed a three-ship pyrotechnic routine for the event’s Launch Party. Also at the beginning of the season, the team were delighted to give Will Hilton, an Air League Scholarship pilot, the chance to display a Twister at the Abingdon Air & Country Show where Peter had first met him as an Air Cadet in 2008!