Once he first got to know the Flying Bulls in the summer of 2000, carrying out different activities during an internship he could no longer abandon his dream of one day becoming a Flying Bull himself. He therefore left his studies and applied to become a military pilot in the Austrian Air Force. The following years, after successful completion, Haidbauer flew as an actively-deployed pilot in the "airspace protection and airspace defence service".
Haidbauer never lost contact with the Flying Bulls - and in 2009 he ultimately became a member of the Flying Bulls team, whilst still working as a pilot in the Tiger Squadron of the Surveillance squadron. He initially worked as a freelance pilot, primarily flying the Boeing Stearman. However when he was then offered the possibility to fly the Alpha Jet in 2010, he was able to reduce his work as a military pilot to part time. This shared working role – by all means a cooperation – with the Austrian Army and the Flying Bulls is currently unique.
In the middle of 2013 he ended his active service in the Air Force, despite the prospect of a place in the cockpit of a Eurofighter, and is now a full-time member of the Flying Bulls team of pilots. And what definite wishes/objectives does Haidbauer have? he now flies a considerable number of models from the hangar of the Flying Bulls … as already mentioned, the Boeing Stearman and the Alpha Jets, but also the Fairchild PT-19, the Extra 300, the C337 Push Pull, the Citation Encore+, and also the Douglas DC-6 since 2012 … but the dream is nevertheless not fully realised – because there are still other treasures in the fleet of the Flying Bulls, which he is still dreaming of being able to fly himself one day.
1. Do you remember your first flight as a pilot?
PH: In those days, it was still possible to buy pleasure flights with airliners. I was small, had been given a red cap to wear by the stewardess and was, of course, not the pilot! But from then on I wanted to be one.
2. How many flying hours can you look back on?
PH: I can look back on over 3,000 flying hours and almost 3,000 landings, more than a third of them in formation, and over 700 acrobatic flights and aerial battles. So far then, not so many hours that I’ve lost count, but for the most part they were very demanding!
3. F-22 or Corsair? Airbus 380 or B-25?
PH: A 380 and a Raptor fly without the pilot needing to do very much. With the Corsair and the B25 you have to do a lot more to keep them in check. Question answered?
4. Which aeroplane would you like to fly if you could choose any, and why?
PH: Let me put it another way: there’s no plane that I wouldn’t like to try flying some time. And I’d really like to learn to pilot a helicopter too – just for the love of flying!
5. Is there a (technical or design) feature on your aeroplane/helicopter which particularly intrigues you?
PH: I’m a big fan of the wings. They have proved to be very useful…
But seriously: I’m fascinated by the love of detail with which the planes have been restored and brought back to life!
6. Have you never had an uncomfortable feeling when boarding or during a flight because of the age of the machines?
PH: 1. If I feel uncomfortable I don’t even step on board.
2. I have every confidence in the excellent skills of the technical crew.
3. Old does not equate to worse!
7. What was the most turbulent flight you’ve ever had?
PH: Only life is turbulent – flights are sometimes smooth and sometimes less so.