• 00_header_hans_pallaske_pilot_the_flying_bulls_photo_by_mirja_geh_2024.jpg

Hans Pallaske

Parachutist pilot & more


Even as a child, Hans Pallaske would gaze longingly at every aeroplane he saw in the sky. Becoming a pilot was his dream. 

However, the route to the cockpit would be anything but straightforward for the boy from Bavaria, encompassing several professional stopovers. In the end, though, he simply had to fulfil his dream. He started by building his own aeroplane, then became a flight instructor, and finally made it to Hangar-8 of the Flying Bulls. Today, there would hardly be a skydiver who hasn’t leapt from his Pilatus Porter, and scarcely an aviation enthusiast who hasn’t seen his B-25 perform at an air show. Hans and his seaplane are also a familiar sight on various lakes. 


Hans, you didn’t always fly for a living, but was it always your calling and your dream?

HP: I always wanted to be a pilot, but as life turned out, I started with an apprenticeship as a dental technician. After turning self-employed in this field, I began training as a private pilot. Once I got my licence, I started building my own aeroplane – a Kitfox, which I still have. It took around 18 months to construct in my garage, which was terrific fun – the journey really was the reward. Getting the licence took me 3,500 hours, day and night. I can’t count the number of wonderful experiences I’ve had with flying – often taking a tent along, to England, Italy, the far north. To me, that’s the ultimate in freedom.

Can you remember your first solo flight?

HP: Yes of course, it was here in Salzburg in a Cessna 150. It happened on the spur of the moment, which is generally the case with flight instructors to stop people getting too nervous. The controller told me to hurry up because an airliner was trying to line up behind me, so there was no time to think about it. I just accelerated and took off. Until that point I had never flown in the rain, but just then, in the traffic pattern on my first solo flight, it simply poured. In fact it pelted down so hard, I thought the plane was going to fall apart. But the landing was great and I was happy with that.

After gaining your CPL (commercial pilot licence) and instrument rating, you became a flight instructor yourself. How did you join the Flying Bulls?

HP: When the Flying Bulls acquired a Pilatus Porter, my friend Hans Gasser, who I worked with at flying school, asked me if I’d like to drop skydivers. The third time he asked me, I agreed. We both spent the next few years flying a PC-6 the whole time. It was a wonderful period flying an aircraft I always thought was incredible. Later I approached Sigi Angerer, the chief pilot at the time, to ask if I could fly something else. That’s how I ended up in the B-25. We went from one air show to the next with no technicians or support team, delighting the crowds and meeting a lot of great people. The B-25 remains my absolute favourite.

What is it that makes the Flying Bulls unique?

HP: Flying gems like these is the coolest thing. As a little kid in the countryside, I never dreamed I would get to fly a B-25 in my lifetime.

How does it feel to fly a grande dame like the B-25?

HP: You are aware of the full weight, and it always feels incredibly smooth. You really have to anticipate everything, but on the other hand it is extremely responsive, especially when making slightly sharper moves at an air show. The noise in the cockpit is something else too.

What have been your best, most defining experiences with flying to date?

HP: A sunset approach into Moscow in the B-25 on a runway almost six kilometres long. The amazing moods in the air produced by the clouds, sun and rain. It’s also wonderful to share those experiences, regardless of whether you’re flying a Citation at sunrise, landing a Caravan on water or performing to an appreciative air show audience in a B-25. As a flight instructor, it’s also good to pass on the passion you feel from the very first lesson.

You have trained a great many future pilots. What qualities does a good pilot need?

HP: The technical side is something you can learn, it’s everything else that makes a good pilot. Someone you can rely on, someone who is meticulous. It is necessary to be self-critical, never to think you are infallible or immortal. Tricky situations happen to everyone, and you can’t close your eyes to them.

How do you manage risk in general terms?

HP: I think flying is generally safe, but incidents and other things can always throw you off course. Most of all there’s the weather, in the mountains for example. I look out in the morning and call ahead to my destination so that I don’t end up in a situation where I can’t continue or turn back because of the weather. You also have to be able to say no, that’s extremely important. If you get the sense it’s not safe or you just don’t feel right, you have to refuse. That’s what makes a pilot – taking a decision and standing by it.


As a pilot, you need to make decisions quickly and stand by them.

Hans Pallaske
Hans Pallaske
Parachutist pilot & more