Talking to Flying Bulls’ chief pilot Raimund Riedmann about AIRPOWER22 makes it clear that the event is more than just a normal air show. He talks about his highlights and insider tips in an interview.
Hello Raimund, AIRPOWER22. is starting in a few days. How great is your anticipation for the air show in Zeltweg?
Raimund Riedmann: There is hardly anything bigger in Europe. We get around a lot, fly at numerous air shows, and are often asked how an aerobatic team can get to AIRPOWER. The event’s international reputation is fantastic.
As Flight Operations Manager & Chief Pilot of the Flying Bulls, you take off yourself at AIRPOWER22 and also have an overview of your AIRPOWER22 programme. What are your Flying Bulls fleet highlights?
Raimund Riedmann: Taking off for thousands of aircraft fans and presenting our aircraft – and over home soil – is a highlight for all of us. In terms of displays, the highlight will certainly be the world premiere of the Red Bull Aerobatic Triple and the joint formation flight of the P-38 Lightning, the 1940s’ fastest piston aircraft, and the two Alpha Jets. The combination of a propeller plane and a jet is new. Here, too, a lot of work goes into planning and implementation. We looked at it in theory and were sure that a joint air show should be possible. The training sessions were promising – this will certainly be a real highlight of AIRPOWER22 for aircraft fans.
Speaking of training: Do you train exclusively in Zeltweg at the Hinterstoisser military airfield for AIRPOWER22?
Raimund Riedmann: No, we also practice our formation flights and go through all the details near Linz. But from Thursday, we will be in Zeltweg for joint training and the acceptance of the displays by the flight director because we need his approval to fly at AIRPOWER22 .
The Flying Bulls are considered one of Europe’s most diverse aircraft collections, if not the world. What makes the Flying Bulls so unique?
Raimund Riedmann: It’s the extreme spectrum of aircraft – in terms of age and area of use. I think there are no more than five other private aircraft collections in the world comparable to the Flying Bulls. While there are also large collections, especially in the US, they often focus on certain manufacturers or only former military aircraft. We have one of the most all-inclusive aircraft collections, from military aircraft from different eras to seaplanes, jets, and the civilian DC-6 to helicopters.
How many planes do you pilot yourself during AIRPOWER22?
Raimund Riedmann: I will fly three aircraft types at AIRPOWER22 – including the P-38 Lightning and the legendary DC-6.
Wow! That means you must show a lot of flight time for all aircraft. What are the special challenges for pilots when they have to control several different aircraft types in a short period?
Raimund Riedmann: Flying different aircraft is not difficult for experienced pilots, but it’s about how you fly, how the aircraft behaves in the air and assessing what works and what doesn’t. Because every move in the formations and displays has to be right – that only works with a great deal of commitment and routine. This wealth of experience can only be acquired through a great deal of practical flight training.
Raimund, when talking to you about AIRPOWER22, one notices your burning enthusiasm immediately. After so many years as a pilot and air show regular – what makes AIRPOWER special for you?
Raimund Riedmann: The scale of more than 300,000 visitors is already unique for a European air show. You also meet many pilots from all over the world, some of whom fly historic aircraft from the 1950s and 1960s, which appealed to me as a youngster. Such as the t Norwegian Air Force’s Historical Squadron’s first-generation jet aircraft. You talk shop with your colleagues, exchange experiences, and pick up a tip or two. AIRPOWER is an incredible meeting place for many (old) acquaintances from the scene – it’s a highlight of the year for me!
© Helge Kircherger