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Manfred Radius began his career in flying sailplanes in 1961 at age 17 in Hamburg, Germany. He has logged in excess of 5,000 flights and accumulated over 2,000 hours in at least 60 types of sailplanes.Manfred immigrated to Canada in 1969 and became a gliding instructor in 1972, adding the glider aerobatic instructor's endorsement in 1977. He is a former member of the Flight Training and Safety Committee of the Soaring Association of Canada.

In 1974 he reached a high point in his career when he achieved an altitude of 35,000 feet above sea level over the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs. Flying the same sailplane in which he performs at air shows, Manfred flew a distance of 550 km (340 miles) over the Appalachian Mountains in May of 1986, a flight lasting 8 hours and 45 minutes.


For many years, Radius was the only one in North America who competed in glider aerobatic championships. In 1977, in 1979 and in 1981, he competed in the prestigious German Glider Aerobatic Championships, and in 1977, received an award as the 'best foreign aerobatic pilot'.

In 1985 he competed in the First World Championship in Glider Aerobatics, held in Austria, representing Canada as its leading glider aerobatic pilot.


Manfred Radius is a top professional air show performer who ushered in a new era in sailplane demonstrations. He has the distinction of having introduced world championship-level sailplane performances to air shows in North America.

In addition to his daytime demonstrations, Manfred also performs at night with his sailplane. His spectacular night act has been enjoyed by millions in North America and in Australia.


Manfred was inducted into the SUN ‘n FUN Flight Path of Fame at the SUN 'n FUN Int'l Fly-In Expo in Lakeland, Florida, in April of 2015.

At AirVenture 2016 in Oshkosh he received the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship.


In 1989 he was the first recipient of an Excellence in Performance award, presented by the Corn Belt Shrine Club in Mattoon, Illinois.

Manfred Radius has been described as 'Sailplane Superstar' and as 'The King of Sailplane Aerobatics'. Spectator's comments about his performances include superlative terms such as: awe-inspiring - fantastic - mesmerizing - outrageous - heavenly - and 'you made the show'. USAviator wrote in it's January, 1995 issue: He is absolutely incredible; a truly phenomenal presence in the airshow biz. Very highly recommended.


His skills go far beyond doing a simple air show performance. On Sept.6,1992, he succeeded in doing the world's first inverted ribbon cut by a sailplane over water. He did it during the Canadian International Air Show, held over Lake Ontario across downtown Toronto.


Manfred Radius

Manfred was featured on television shows such as That's Life, Stuntmasters, Magic in the Air, Skybound, Science of Fun and THE AVIATORS. He was also featured in the books A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE by Daniel V. Dempsey, THE CANNIBAL QUEEN by Stephen Coonts and THE FLYERS by Noah Adams.


He performs from coast to coast in North America and internationally as well. Manfred thrilled large audiences when he performed his daytime and night acts at the Australian International Air Show and Aerospace Expo near Melbourne in 1995, 1997, 1999 and again in 2001.

He joined the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) in 1978.

An experienced skydiver, he logged over 1,100 jumps in more than 30 years in the sport.

Photo Credits:

Shanda Furman

Eric Dumigan

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