AIRPOWER22: Highlights of the Flying Bulls' formation flights

The Flying Bulls, alongside the Austrian Armed Forces and legendary international squadrons such as Italy’s Frecce Tricolori, Croatia’s Krila Oluje, and Switzerland’s Patrouille Suisse, set highlights on AIRPOWER22’s first day. AIRPOWER22 is organised by the Austrian Armed Forces, the Province of Styria, and Red Bull. Find out all about the Flying Bulls’ displays on AIRPOWER22’s first day here:


The Flying Bulls’ first display at AIRPOWER22 introduced the Flying Bulls fleet: four pairs of aircraft, each presented in constellations of two. The two water planes, the Aviat Husky (built 1969) and the Cessna 208 Amphibian “Caravan” (built 1996), which can land on both water and solid ground, opened the display. The Flying Bulls’ PT-17 Stearman biplane and Fairchild PT-19 monoplane, both built in 1943, served as training machines for the US Army. The two aircraft’s distinctive feature is their wooden wings – both are fabric-skinned aircraft in which the pilots sit in the open air.

Then the Cessna 337 Skymaster “Push Pull” (built in 1969) and the Pilatus Porter PC-6 (built in 1998), two real powerhouses, took the stage. They were designed for the special challenges of landing and taking off in terrain with particularly short runways. For example, the Pilatus Porter PC-6 is currently used by the Flying Bulls to drop the Red Bull Skydivers – as at the Red Bull Aerobatic Triple world premier or the AIRPOWER22 opening show a few minutes earlier. The Flying Bulls’ small fixed-wing formation was rounded off by the two aerobatic aircraft Extra 300 LX (built in 2013) and Sukhoi SU-29 (built in 2000).


This approximately 20-minute display saw the Flying Bulls present a mixed formation, unique to the Flying Bulls worldwide. The joint formation flight took place with the North American B-25 “Mitchell” (built in 1945); the Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” (built in 1944), the fastest piston aircraft in the 1940s; the Chance Vought F4U-4 “Corsair” (built in 1945); and the two Alpha Jets (built in 1980/1981). Only the Flying Bulls have this combination of propeller and jet aircraft in their portfolio because it is a real challenge for the pilots to combine the power distribution of the two propulsion types in one display.


As part of the Large Fixed-wing Formation 2, the Flying Bulls displayed the legendary Douglas DC-6, flanked by the North American T-28 (built 1955), and the North American T-6 (built 1942). The DC-6 is considered the crown jewel of the Flying Bulls fleet. It captivated AIRPOWER22 with its size and engine sound. By the way, the DC-6 became known worldwide as Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia’s “Air Force One”.


The Flying Bulls squadron closed the display with the legendary Tiger Tail Formation, which dates back to the NATO Tiger Tail Association, founded in 1961. Today, 24 international air squadrons are members of this association, including the Austrian Federal Army, the UK’s Royal Air Force, the Swiss and French Air Forces, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Flying Bulls pilot Stefan Doblhammer takes off for the Tiger Tail formation with the Alpha Jet, which boasts the distinctive Tiger livery.

© Joerg Mitter & Sebastian Marko