Who: Chuck Aaron, Red Bull helicopter pilot
Hours: More than 20,000
Aircraft: Aaron flies a modified MBB Bo-105 that’s rated to negative 1 and positive 3.2 Gs.
Extra: You can see Aaron do his extraordinary flying in one of his many shows around the country. See the schedule online or follow him on Twitter (@Chuck Aaron) and Instagram #chuckpaaron.
An accomplished mechanic, Aaron built three flying AH-1 Cobra helicopters from surplus parts.
Rolling or looping an airplane is one thing, but a helicopter? That is something else entirely. Red Bull’s Chuck Aaron is the only pilot in North America approved to do such a harrowing feat at airshows. And although he is a thrill seeker, Aaron is proud of his safety-minded approach to the risky world of
Started in aviation… My dad was an Air Force pilot and he got me started and taught me how to fly when I was 17.
Performing in airshows… It’s exciting and fun and thrilling. I am an adrenalin junky and I like pushing to my technical limits. But I try my best to do it methodically. I ask my friends and mentors a lot of questions, I think every maneuver through carefully first, and I practice a lot.
Going upside down… Of course I was extremely tense. I had a lot of help, but it was a long process of building it up to get myself confident and to do my first loop.
In training… It’s just like any long, hard project one might be on. Even in this discipline there is a safe way to achieve success. I grew up during the times of the original Mercury Seven astronauts when they lifted off into space. I remember watching them on TV “reach out to the stars.” We all have dreams and we can reach them, if we just challenge ourselves.
Advice for students… Concentrate on being methodical, memorize your flight manual—and pay attention!