Flying Bulls BD-5J crashes in Austria

May 3, 2013

Austria’s Flying Bulls, and the larger BD-5 community, are mourning the loss of a skilled pilot who crashed May 1 while attempting an emergency landing.

The Flying Bulls posted online a brief announcement expressing “shock and sadness” at the death of Guido Gehrmann, who was returning from an appearance in Tirol in the team’s BD-5J, a single-seat turbojet that has been an airshow favorite since James Bede developed it in the 1970s. The team, created by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, announced Gehrmann was attempting an emergency landing after reporting engine failure, but the attempt “ended in tragedy.”

Local media published a photo and preliminary account of the crash near Innsbruck, Austria.

While the BD-5J’s history is fraught with mishaps, and its commercial viability ended with the bankruptcy of its creator, it remains in limited use around the world, including service as an airshow performer and on U.S. Air Force special missions. An updated version has been developed as a kit sold by an Oregon firm, a story told in detail in the December 2012 issue of AOPA Pilot.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore | Online Associate Editor, AOPA

AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.