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Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team (FBAT)
name:Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team (FBAT)
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Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team


The history of the team began in 1958 at a small airfield in Chrudim, where an acrobatic group began to be formed. This team became a legend in a short time. The pilots Jiří Tlustý and Božej Struž, who met one another at the military flight school, began to fly formation aerobatics together with Antonin Klimenda as an aerobatic trio. Later Ladislav Bezák joined them, being replaced later by Laco Trebatický  in 1968. They flew ZLIN Trener aircraft, the best sports aircraft of the 60s.


They performed their first public display in 1962, under the name "Box Trener". Their unique performance was immediately admired not only by public, but also by the aviation professionals in Czech and abroad. Airplane wings are only a few centimetres away one from another during the whole program, and with these minimal spacing, the pilots perform all the elements of solo acrobatics. The second part is so-called „mirror flight“. One airplane flies inverted and the other one flying just below it, accurately copies each manoeuvre of the leader.


Although the interest from the air shows organizers to have this truly original and very demanding performance on a variety of air shows throughout Europe was enormous, Czechoslovak government officials have tried to make the life of the team pilots as hard as possible. The pilots had more and more troubles to use the government owned aircraft. Finally the team had to end their activities in 1982.


Nevertheless, team members did not give up. Jiří Tlustý tried to resurrect the group. The situation seemed to be more than hopeless when November 1989 came with all its political and economic changes in the Czech Republic. Jiří Tlustý started to look for a sponsor and he managed to. The first performance was in 1990. The team flew in the new composition: Tlustý, Struž, Saller, Polonec. They have performed just two events under the name "Unimax devils" and the group ended again due to bankruptcy of the aircraft owner.

At that time, the CEO of the joint-stock company N T C Chrudim appeared, and he ordered four brand new Zlín 50 LX aircraft. With these aircraft, another successful era of the team began. The team fleew under the name SKY BOX and since 2000, thanks to the new sponsor Red Bull, the name has changed to Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team. ZLIN 50 aircraft faithfully and reliably served the team until spring 2014 when the ZLINs reached the end of their technical life and they were replaced by the new XA42 Xtreme Air aircraft. Behind the ZLIN 50s control sticks there were several pilots. Božej Struz was replaced by Mirek Krejčí, later Daniel Polonec was replaced by Jiří Vepřek and Jiří Tlustý, the formation leader was replaced Radka Máchova, the only female aerobatic formation leader worldwide.


In 1998 the team achieved FAI award as the winner of the World Cup in the category of aerobatic teams.  Until the FAI WGPA ended, the team was always placed on the podium.


Over the past few years, the team has performed their show in some quite exotic countries such as Japan, China (flight through the Tian-men Cave), India, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, Albania and perhaps all European countries except of Great Britain.


Recent formation is flown by Stanislav Čejka who is the formation leader, Miroslav Krejčí (the only ex SKY BOX pilot), Jan Rudzinskyj and Jan Tvrdík. The group continues to honour the philosophy of the founders and maintains very high technical difficulty of acrobatic manoeuvres performed, which has always distinguished our team from the other formations. In the program are for example included manoeuvres like perpendicular climbing half-roll, a formation loop in vertical formation, a mirror acrobatics or a full diving inverted loop.


Text: Martin Nepovím, FBAT


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Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team (FBAT) Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team (FBAT)