Didi & Sigi’s Excellent Collection

How do you align your brand with energy, superiority, and effervescence? Build the best private airplane collection in Europe

(Caroline Sheen)
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A two-and-a-half-year overhaul followed. Once the airplane was fully restored, Angerer flew it from Texas to Innsbruck, a flight lasting 27 grueling hours.

"It was very nice," he says sardonically. "We flew at 5,000 feet...[in] very bad weather, rain, storms. The waves were like houses."

The Red Bull ground crew hangared the new acquisition in Innsbruck, and Angerer spent the next several years based there while flying airshows for Red Bull. When hangar space opened up in Salzburg, where Mateschitz was living at the time, the two men jumped at the opportunity for more room for their aircraft.

On August 22, 2003, the elliptical glass Hangar-7 opened its doors to the public. The floors were buffed to a shine, the aircraft were displayed in all their glory, and a ritzy on-premises restaurant called Ikarus held a grand opening.

As the Flying Bulls collection and staff grew, so did their need for yet another space dedicated solely to their airplanes. Ground was broken for Hangar-8 in May 2002, and in December 2003, the last piece of curved and pressure-treated glass was dropped into its frame. Now there was a place for maintenance (Hangar-8) and a place for exhibits and fancy parties (Hangar-7).

The separation between the glamorous and rather leggy staff of Hangar-7 and the maintenance team in Hangar-8 is rigid. Socializing between the two is actively discouraged. Hangar-7 falls under the purview of Red Bull, which is a separate entity from the Flying Bulls. The world-renowned restaurant, Ikarus, with its list of star international chefs who do guest stints; the chic lounge, Carpe Diem, where guests sip exotic tea and bask in the view of the airplanes and the Alps; the Mayday bar, with its moody lighting and thumping music; and the Threesixty bar, with its transparent floor overlooking the hangar-all are part of an image Mateschitz cultivates for his brand.

Last summer the hangar featured the work of consumers from around the world who had been invited to create sculptures out of Red Bull cans. Admission to the Red Bull museum in Hangar-7, which features a rotating exhibit of aircraft and art, is free.

Hangar-8, on the other hand, is the boisterous sibling, and is closed to the public. Jokes fly, props spin, and guests arrive piloting their own warbirds. And, of course, everyone is pounding Red Bull like it's water. Coolers filled with the stuff are all over the place.

Today, the Flying Bulls' ever-growing collection comprises a North American T-28B Trojan, a North American B-25J Mitchell, a Cessna C208 Amphibian Caravan, a Vought F4U-4 Corsair, five Fairchild-Dornier Alpha Jets, a Pilatus Turbo Porter PC-6/B2-H4, and a Pitts S2B.

There are also a couple of helicopters (including a decommissioned Bell AH-1Z Cobra), race pilot Lefty Gardner's old Lockheed P-38 Lightning-currently being refurbished in Texas-and a Fairchild PT-19 and Boeing Stearman being refurbished in Hangar-8.

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