Courtesy of Red Bull Motorsports
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The “English Weeks” from the beginning of June to the end of July 2018 were a highlight of the annual event schedule of The Flying Bulls. We can look back on five unique events on the British Isle. We made some great new friends and flew away with beautiful memories.
Before the “tour” even started, a historic meeting took place on the 7th of June. Our Bristol Sycamore helicopter travelled to Bristol for a family meeting of sorts. Sir George, the great-grandson of the founder of the Bristol Airplane Company, personally inspected the only remaining airworthy model. Thus, the legend was resurrected officially not far from the traditional location of the family business at Filton Airport, the birthplace of all Bristol aircraft and the Concorde. It was a truly special meeting that resulted in long conversations and offered sufficient time to indulge in old memories.
This venerable start was, however, only the beginning of our journey across England:
RAF COSFORD AIR SHOW The Bristol Sycamore then travelled on to London to perform a number of displays with the BO105. The airfield close to London offered some truly spectacular panoramic views of England’s metropolis.
RNAS YEOVILTON INTERNATIONAL AIR DAY The next stop was Yeovilton, a historical military airfield in southwest England. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, The Flying Bulls showcased all their skills. Given that this event is one of the largest military shows, the visitors were not merely interested in the displays, but also in marvelling at the many historical aircraft on the ground. The event organisers decided to honour particularly spectacular flight performances. Siegfried Schwarz, our very own helicopter head pilot, achieved an outstanding result: he bagged the first and second prize in the Best Display Rotorwind contest in the BO105 and Bristol Sycamore respectively.
FLYING LEGENDS AIR SHOW In July, Duxford once again hosted one of the largest and most famous Warbird Air Shows in Europe. On the site of the well-known Imperial War Museum, visitors were afforded an opportunity to marvel at some real rarities and popular classics. The Flying Bulls arrived at the event with a respectable selection of its fleet: the Lockheed P-38 “Lightning”, the North American B-25J “Mitchell”, the Chance Vought F4U-4 “Corsair”, and the Douglas DC-6. The latter proved to be a real crowd pleaser, not only because of its remarkable history, but also because it was by far the largest aircraft at the air show. Our B-25 and P-38 were adorned with a classic pin-up for this event.
ROYAL INTERNATIONAL AIR TATTOO The RIAT Fairford took place at the same time as the Flying Legends Air Show in Duxford. This is an event that no military pilot can miss! The Fairford Airbase, which was opened in 1943 as a temporary US Army Air Force base, played host to one of the world’s largest military air shows with more than 300 military planes and helicopters. The Flying Bulls complemented the fantastic display with a static display of its unique Bristol 171 Sycamore. It was a befitting celebration of the Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary.
FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW The last stop of our “tour” was Farnborough, where we spent a glorious weekend at the end of July. More than 600 exhibitors and 150 aircraft ensure that this particular event is among the largest of its kind in Europe. It was here that our grand finale took place: the Douglas DC-6, the B25J “Mitchell”, the Lockheed P38 “Lightning”, the F4U “Corsair”, the Alpha Jet, the BO105, and the Bristol Sycamore flew their spectacular displays in front of more than 80,000 spectators. Despite covering many thousands of miles and spending countless hours in the air, The Flying Bulls were blessed with good weather throughout. Lots of sunshine and little rain – which is, in all honesty, rather unusual for the British Isle – created a unique atmosphere at all events. But what’s even more important for Bristol Sycamore pilot Siegfried Schwarz: “Our 60-year-old helicopter mastered the tour through England without any problems.”