Courtesy of Red Bull Motorsports
The Flying Bulls are a bunch of aviation enthusiasts with a great passion for rare historical aircraft. But that’s not all, not only do they watch over the most beautiful and exceptional fleet of planes in the world, they have played a significant role in the creation of Hangar‑7. Their knowledge of plane maintenance and restoration is second to none. Take a look behind the scenes of the Flying Bulls at Hangar‑8. Climb with us into the plane and helicopter cockpits and join our mechanics and technicians who make sure the aircraft are in great shape every day. The history of the Flying Bulls began in the 1980s. During this time, Sigi Angerer, a Tyrolean Airways pilot, flew modern jets, but his true loves were historic planes. On his search for an affordable war bird, he found a North American T-28B and took it back to Innsbruck, Austria, for restoration. He soon added a Grumman G44 Widgeon and the legendary Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair to his collection, when he met Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz. The Corsair brought Angerer and Dietrich Mateschitz together, and the latter saw an ideal corporate symbol for the “Red Bull gives you wings” advertising slogan in the extraordinary aircraft. And so the idea of the Flying Bulls was born. As the energy drink began to conquer the world, so did the fleet. With space running out at Innsbruck airport, a plan was hatched in the late 1990s to build a new hangar next to Salzburg airport. It was also time to give the loose network of pilots and technicians a more permanent residence, and so “The Flying Bulls” company was created in 1999. Since then, the combination of technical excellence and stunning looks has made stars out of the Flying Bulls.
HANGAR-7 It all began with an entirely pragmatic problem: the Flying Bulls were looking for a suitable hangar that could be put to various additional uses. The core of the airplane collection and by far the largest object is a DC-6B with a rudder nine meters high. The basic idea was to construct a self-supporting shell around this airplane – as a symbol of the heavens. The enclosure of altogether 64,300 cubic meters of space—with materials including 380 tons of special glass—was concluded on 22 August 2003 with the grand opening of Hangar‑7. Afterwards, the airplanes of the Flying Bulls moved into what is certainly the most spectacular place that airplanes have ever called home. Even just the architecture rises quite literally above all other such structures: viewing it from the outside, one immediately thinks of a wing. The structure seems dynamic, practically weightless—despite weighing far over 1,500 tons. From the inside, the airplanes appear to be sheltered by their own heavenly canopy. The imposing form was achieved via the use of exactly 1,754 pieces of variously sized glass plates, some of them curved, which were joined to form a steel-and-glass construction.
HANGAR-8 As a functional compliment to Hangar‑7, a further highly unusual hangar for restoration and maintenance of the airplanes belonging to the Flying Bulls was constructed and it fulfils the function of a maintenance facility. Ground was broken for Hangar‑8 in early May 2002. The building was officially inspected by December 2003. In early 2004, all maintenance activities of the Flying Bulls were moved to Hangar‑8 from Hangar 9, which stands on a property adjoining Salzburg Airport and had served as a temporary facility. In terms of working conditions and technical installations, Hangar‑8 exceeds all the usual international standards, and that’s no surprise: airplanes such as those flown by the Flying Bulls demand extensive, highly professional attention. Despite the more humdrum requirements of a maintenance hangar, Hangar‑8 is architecturally sophisticated in its own right: after all, it has to fit into the overall ensemble, and the determining stylistic factor here is Hangar‑7: the steel construction of Hangar‑8 consists in a triangular, netted supporting structure including around 1,650 glass plates. Here as well, we see a striking interplay of steel and glass, and the resulting impression of lightness.