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Miguel Hochleitner

Airshow & parachutist pilot


Miguel Hochleitner first sat in the cockpit of a glider at the tender age of 15. The aircraft may have changed since then, but his passion for flying has not: it’s simply in his DNA. 

Having flown the legendary Saab 105 as a military pilot, he now showcases his skills at air shows in the Flying Bulls’ Corsair. In the T-28B, he is also the joker for the big formation pack. 


As a young man you flew gliders. Did you always want to be a pilot? What attracted you to flying at such an early age?

MH: I always found it magical. Back in primary school, I started flying model aeroplanes, even if most of them soon crashed. Later I attended technical college, studying aeronautics in Eisenstadt, then I took my glider licence, and so it went on. My goal was always to become a pilot. There were two camps at college: one was interested in civil aviation, the other was drawn to the military. I was in the second camp, I always wanted to fly jets. For me, technical college was hard going, but a good education. The depth of technical knowledge it gave me was my foundation to this day.

As well as flying for the Austrian Armed Forces, you fly for the Flying Bulls. What types of aircraft have you flown in your career?

MH: As part of my basic military service, I did my selection in a Cessna 150, and managed to pass. Then I moved straight on to the PC-7, followed by the PC-6 and the Saab 105. I’m currently flying the Porter in Langenlebarn.

How does it feel to fly a jet like the Saab 105?

MH: The unique features are its speed and the three dimensional nature of the airspace. In a propeller plane, you lift the nose and the speed decreases. You don’t really run free or occupy the space. A jet is completely different – you lift the nose, full thrust and you’re away. You burst through the clouds, reach flight level 250 in a very short time and have to be careful you don’t overshoot the airspace. It’s a feeling you want to experience again and again.

How and when did you join the Flying Bulls?

MH: It was during the 2007 Parachute World Cup event at Zell am See. I was flying a PC-6 for the Armed Forces and also got to join the Porter of the Flying Bulls. Of course we got talking, and it turned out they urgently needed another Porter pilot. A week later, I found myself in the cockpit. Much later I had the opportunity to train for the Trojan. I spent an awful lot of time flying the Trojan, until the Corsair came along. Then my dream came true!

What is special about the Flying Bulls?

MH: That blend of incredible aeroplanes in superb condition blows me away every time. Showing these planes off is just great fun. The way the formations are put together is exciting too. Having a Corsair alongside two Alpha Jets and a Lightning with a B-25 up front is something unique.

How does the Corsair handle?

MH: It’s a single-seater, so learning to fly it was very challenging with no instructor next to you. The ground training was intensive, we taxied around a lot and covered the theoretical side. Like the PC-6, there is no forward visibility. At some stage, I was ready to get into the air – one of the most memorable moments in my career. The flight itself was wonderful, really smooth. Take off, one circuit and a landing. You don’t need to flare when landing a Corsair, you just glide to the runway at a constant 500 feet per minute. Another unique feature is that the landing gear absorbs the shock when touching down.

Looking back at air shows you have performed at with the Flying Bulls, what were your highlights?

MH: Bucharest and the Aviation Fair at Pardubice in the Czech Republic were very special experiences. It’s always a thrill when we fly several aircraft at once, as we did for AirPower. I played the joker in the T-28 while the others got into position. That was great fun.

You are often seen flying in close formation. What are the key criteria for this?

MH: That kind of flying requires training and clear communications. Everyone needs to know exactly where they need to be at all times. Trust is also key: if you latch onto the plane in front and only watch their visual markings, you have to rely on that pilot to fly conscientiously. We trust each other.

Do you ever think about the spectators? There were 150,000 people at AirPower.

MH: It makes no difference to me whether one person is watching or 150,000, I still go through my demonstration. Mostly, you don’t even get time to look down. You are concentrating on the manoeuvres, watching for the runway and the display lines. It’s different on the ground, though, when you can roll past people and give them a wave. It’s so cool to have a chance to experience these things after the show.


I always wanted to be a pilot, everything I did was geared towards that.

Miguel Hochleitner
Miguel Hochleitner
Airshow & parachutist pilot