THE RED BULL HELICOPTER
For years, there was only one pilot licensed in the world licensed by the FAA to perform aerobatics in a helicopter. That pilot, Chuck Aaron, thrilled air show audiences around the world with his feats in the MBB-BO 105 until he retired from flying air shows in 2015.
That's when another "Aaron", Aaron Fitzgerald stepped up to learn to fly the Red Bull Helicopter. And after several years without the Red Bull Helicopter appearing on the air show circuit, fans are clamoring to see this very unique act again.
Fitzgerald is not new to flying. After he served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, he went through civilian flight training in Long Beach, California, and began working as a pilot right after. From flying crews building power lines to flying news helicopters, Fitzgerald got plenty of flight time in.
Fitzgerald had a relationship with Red Bull after working in a different capacity with the company for years in his previous career, so when his predecessor, Chuck Aaron, retired he got a chance to go for the gig. He said flying aerobatics was about as far from the other flying he’d done as it gets.
"I was honored to be chosen for the training,” Aaron said. “I wasn’t sure how well I would do because I hadn’t flown a lot of aerobatics, obviously. A lot of the training was basically me unlearning the things I had learned for the last 20 odd years. It was a challenge, making the transition, for sure, but I’ve really been enjoying it."
After completing his aerobatic training and getting his Statement of Aerobatic Competency at the end of 2017, Aaron was all set to go for the 2018 air show season. Performing has been a different experience for him, but one he certainly enjoys.