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October 23, 2023

The Aerobatic Maestro: Aaron Fitzgerald’s Red Bull Helicopter Ballet in the Skies

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:15 pm

Daredevil. Maverick. Maestro of the skies. There are many monikers one could assign to Aaron Fitzgerald, the extraordinary pilot for the Red Bull Air Force, also known as The Flying Bulls. Coming from Wenatchee, Washington, Aaron Fitzgerald is not your average helicopter pilot. He is a craftsman of the air, painting the skies with jaw-dropping aerobatic maneuvers that leave spectators in awe. With the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, I had the privilege to experience Fitzgerald’s prowess first-hand at the Pacific Airshow in Huntington, CA. The world from above, punctuated by breathtaking loops, rolls, and flips, was a testament to Fitzgerald’s mastery and the incredible capabilities of the aerobatic helicopters he commands.

 And I didn’t puke – win for both Aaron and I.

Aaron’s journey to the skies was rooted in a childhood passion. Growing up in Wenatchee—home to a USFS Tanker base—his eyes were often drawn upward, watching aircraft gracefully navigating the skies as they battled wildfires. These early inspirations propelled him into a fascinating journey through the aeronautical world, where today, with more than 9,000 flight hours under his belt, he embodies the pinnacle of helicopter aerobatics.

RedBullwithAaronFitzgerald (1:15)

Joining the prestigious team of The Flying Bulls in 2018, Fitzgerald became a beacon of helicopter aerobatics in North America, having been tutored by the esteemed Rainer Wilke and Blacky Schwarz. Traversing a career landscape as diverse as the geographies he flies over, Fitzgerald has significantly contributed to film and television productions, allowing audiences to virtually experience the vast and entrancing perspectives of our world from above.

In a Red Bull display, viewers are treated to a deftly executed airborne ballet. The Bo.105 helicopter, under Fitzgerald’s command, dances through the air performing hammerheads, loops, half Cuban eights, rolls, and more, all meticulously choreographed to maximize the awe-inspiring potential of aerobatic flight. One can almost trace the invisible lines and curves drawn by the helicopter in the sky, an artistry that echoes the comprehensive skill and control that Fitzgerald possesses.

Having had the honor to accompany Fitzgerald, it is easy to feel the palpable passion and precision he brings to the cockpit. Each maneuver, from the dizzying loops to the exhilarating Immel flips, is conducted with a finesse that speaks volumes of his extensive experience and profound respect for the aerobatic craft. The technical prowess of the Bo.105 is fully unleashed in these displays, exhibiting the phenomenal aerobatic capabilities of the machine and the synchronized harmony between pilot and helicopter.

Aaron and Mike Sarraille at Pacific Airshow 2023

Mike Sarraille

Fitzgerald’s experiences, from his early days as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division to his remarkable contributions to utility flying and aerial coordination for films, showcase his diverse expertise and unwavering commitment to excellence in aeronautics. His exceptional record, punctuated by recognition such as the Medal of Valor from the California State Firefighter’s Association for rescuing a down news helicopter crew, illuminates the impactful presence he has had in the industry.

Throughout his impressive career, Fitzgerald has never lost the spark of curiosity and awe for flying. From his initial flights in a Cessna 172 at 15 to navigating the powerful Bo.105 in breathtaking aerobatic displays, his journey reflects a profound admiration for the evolution and capabilities of flying machines. The Sikorsky S58T and MD500 remain on his wish list of helicopters, highlighting a passion continuously fueled by the marvels of aeronautical design and performance.

Aaron Fitzgerald’s name is synonymous with the extraordinary realm of helicopter aerobatics—a space where precision, passion, and relentless pursuit of mastery harmonize in a dazzling symphony of flight. His performances, a sublime tribute to the art of aerobatics, continue to captivate, inspire, and push the boundaries of what is possible in the boundless theater of the skies. If allowed to see Aaron in action at an airshow, like the Pacific Airshow, don’t pass it up.


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