Pilot in Command – James “Satan” Leavelle
James Paul Leavelle was Born in Troy Ohio, October 30, 1968 and currently resides in
Mentor Ohio with his wife and three children.
James began flying as a child due to his fathers love of aviation. He grew up with a small grass strip in his backyard and was a neighbour to a resident Wingwalking team. In the early days he was a Waco factory test pilot: a position that he maintained for three years. His civilian life saw him pilot Stearmans, b17, b25, skyraider, L39, t37, t38, t6 Texan and helped secure him over 7 thousand flying hours.
Early on, James joined the military were he acted as crew chief for F4 and F16 for 7 years. James, however, was not content just wrenching and became an A10 pilot. He has served a total of 24 years in the USAF and flown over 2 thousand hours in the A10. He has done 6 combat tours; 4 in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan. He has received multiple flight awards including 5 Air Medals. He retired with the rank of Major and the well deserved handle of Satan.
Upon retirement, he was highly recommended to Third Strike Wingwalking and secured a training position on the team in 2010. He later worked with the Hopper team, flying the Skyraider, trained with the Aeroshell team in the T6 and toured the North American circuit with his own T6. 2017 saw him come back home to Third Strike were he completed wingwalk accreditation and tours as our lead pilot.
Pilot in Command – Mike Tryggvason
Mike Tryggvason is one of a unique few who can call flying a privilege, a passion, and a profession. From the first time taking the controls of a Cessna while sitting on his father’s lap as a toddler, flying has been his life’s work, with each and every day dedicated to the calling. Since achieving his commercial pilot’s license in 2004, he slowly worked though the flying ranks, first as a bush pilot, then a regional pilot, then an airline level instructor, and finally a jet pilot at a major airline. From the beginning, high performance aerobatics has been his driving motivation. He is happiest when He gets to strap into a plane with excessive horsepower and turn the world upside down. His first introduction to aerobatics was in 2004 when he learned how to land a Pitts Special with Gerry Younger, and later took spin and formal aerobatic training with Debby Rhin-Harvey. Since then, he has been flying in aerobatic competitions and airshows, most recently competing in the Advanced category at the US National Aerobatic Championships, achieving a second place finish on the final Team selection Unknown flight. Michael views flying the Stearman with a wingwalker on the wing as a thrilling progression to his aviation adventure. Michael lives in the greater Toronto area, is an avid parachuter and enjoys motorcycle racing during his down time.