March 20, 2013
By Mike Collins
In the skies above Salzburg, Austria—and elsewhere around central Europe—it’s not unusual to see uncommon aircraft sporting the bright Red Bull logo. The diverse collection includes former German Air Force Alpha Jets, a North American B–25J Mitchell that once served as a firefighting airplane, an Extra 300 LP, a Lockheed P–38 Lightning once flown by Marvin “Lefty” Gardner, and a Bell TAH–1F Cobra.
One of the collection’s showpieces—for its sheer size, if not its extensive four-year restoration—is a Douglas DC–6B that once flew Yugo-slavian and Zambian heads of state. Red Bull’s Cessna Caravan, standing tall on amphibious floats, was the first floatplane registered in Austria.
Over the years, the collection has grown to 25 aircraft. Its roots go back to the 1980s, when Sigi Angerer, a Tyrolean Airways pilot, acquired a North American T–28B. His passion for historic aircraft led next to a Grumman G–44 Widgeon and a Chance-Vought F4U–4 Corsair. Others joined in, and by the late 1990s there was no longer enough space for the rapidly expanding Flying Bulls fleet, which originally was based at Innsbruck Airport. This led to the idea of constructing a hangar at Salzburg. Casual associations were incorporated—literally—and pilots, aircraft, and mechanics were brought together under one roof with the founding in 1999 of The Flying Bulls.
Work began almost immediately on the design and construction of the Hangar-7 museum, located on the Salzburg Airport. The bright, open structure, built with 1,200 tons of steel and 75,000 square feet of glass, is shaped like an airfoil—the thinner “trailing edge” is strategically pointed toward the adjacent runway, so the facility would meet height requirements in the runway environment. It opened in August 2003.
The Flying Bulls aircraft fly regularly, often at airshows and other events in countries across Europe. When the aircraft aren’t flying, they’re either on display in Hangar 7 or they’re undergoing maintenance in the adjacent Hangar 8. The maintenance facility, although smaller than Hangar 7, is constructed of the same materials and shares the same airfoil cross-section. It also features such details as underfloor heating, to ensure good working conditions year-round. The ground crew includes mechanics and avionics technicians from countries around the world.
Typically the aircraft fly, return to Hangar 8 for maintenance, and then cycle back into Hangar 7 for display. “The museum is very dynamic,” explained Marisa Rubenbauer of the Hangar-7 marketing and communication staff. “If you come tomorrow, it could be completely different. Even people in Salzburg come back because it changes.”
The museum combines Red Bull’s passion for aviation, cuisine, and art, Rubenbauer said. Artwork on exhibit in the hangar changes regularly, and the museum’s signature restaurant, Ikarus, hosted more than 100 guest chefs during its first 10 years. Each month last year, visiting chefs shared cuisines from across Europe as well as Australia, China, Mexico, Spain, and Thailand.
Food and drink also are available at a lounge-café, which also serves breakfast; an outdoor lounge that features barbecue dishes; and the Mayday Bar.
In addition to aircraft and artwork, a collection of Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 cars are displayed in Hangar-7. Like the aircraft, each vehicle has a story to tell.Sebastian Vettel drove one of them, RB7, during the 2011 season when he became the youngest driver ever to win double world championships. There also are motorcycles, other race cars, and—capitalizing on the hangar’s greenhouse-like qualities—a diverse array of trees. There are tamarind trees, weeping figs, and a variety of olive and palm trees, among others.
The Hangar-7 aircraft museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and admission is free. Fly-in guests are welcome to park at the facility, on the expansive ramp between Hangar-7 and Hangar-8, although aircraft parking arrangements must be made in advance and overnight parking is not allowed. Additional information is available on the museum’s website (www.hangar-7.com/en/).
While the Flying Bulls aren’t expected to visit the United States this year, other Red Bull aircraft are on the way across the Atlantic. Fans here will have the opportunity to see two Red Bull Air Races this fall. In the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, aerobatic pilots battle in the air for the fastest time as they navigate 82-foot-high pylons at speeds as high as 230 mph.
The 2014 Red Bull Air Race season began February 28 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. After stops in Rovinj, Croatia; Putrajaya, Malaysia; Gdynia, Poland; and Ascot, England, the racers make their sixth stop in Fort Worth, Texas, September 6 and 7, in the Texas Motor Speedway, a venue that regularly hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and has hosted IndyCar Series races. Saturday will see qualifying and the Challenger Cup, followed Sunday with the Master Class finals.
From there, the action moves to Las Vegas—and another automotive venue, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway—October 11 and 12. Both venues offer a variety of seating options, as well as Race Club and Sky Lounge packages that include premium seating, a wide selection of food and beverages, and other amenities.
More information is available online.
Video Extra: Tour the Hangar-7 aircraft museum in Salzburg, Austria.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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