Hyper-precision in aerobatics from the Flying Bulls team

Hyper-precision in aerobatics from the Flying Bulls team

The mirror formation is the exclusive preserve of these daredevils

Hyper-precision in aerobatics from the Flying Bulls team

Impressive, precise and awe-inspiring, the Flying Bulls were all these and more at the last air show. The European team returns to Bengaluru for Aero India 2015, all ready to showcase their formation flights of absolute beauty.

The four pilots, comprising three men and a woman, have been rehearsing well to make that big splash in the air on show days.

Aerobatic stunts happen at close distances. Flying in complex formations, the four aircraft are often separated by a few inches! For instance, the “mirror” formation has the leading plance fly on its back. Following the leader, a second aircraft flies right side up. The idea is to exactly mirror the partner plane’s manouvre, making it an amazing sight to watch for viewers on the ground.

As if this is not spectacular enough, the Bulls fly a third aircraft flying around the leader and mirror follower in close barrel rolls.

For starters, this mirror formation is an exclusive preserve of the Czech Republic-based Flying Bulls team. Having begun with a bang in 1960, the team showcased its skills in airshows across the globe. To make it happen, the Flying Bulls chose stunt planes such as the Zlin Trener, before settling for the Zlin 50 LX in 1992.

In their earlier avatar as “Sky Box,” the Bulls had gone on a hugely popular Asian tour in 1999. During that tour, they performed a formation fly-through of the rock arch at Tienmen. Three years later, Radka Machova joined the team as a leader, arguably a top stunt pilot with loads of experience.

Back to 1960. It was in this year when four friends formed the “Box Trener” display team. But since the country’s regime did not permit them from flying beyond their borders, they gave up aerobatic formation flying 1982. However, in 1989, the team regrouped as the “Unimax Devils” and started performing with the Zlin 50 aircraft. Three years later, they switched to the current aircraft, Zlin 50 LX. 

So, how did they get their current name, the Flying Bulls? It was a title they earned when the team joined the Red Bull family in 2001. An year passed, and it was time for Jiri Tlusty, one of the four team founders, to hand over the leader plane position to Radka Machova. The other team members are Jiri Saller, Jirí Veprek and Miroslav Krejci.

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