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2011 UK Airshows : FEATURE

Roll up, Roll up! - The Flying Circus is coming to town!

2010 saw the welcome return of one of display flying's great display acts, and the very welcome return of Brendan O'Brien to display flying. Brendan's voice will be very familiar to a lot of airshow goers having been commentator at Biggin Hill, Bournemouth and Dunsfold for many years. Now, Brendan has formed his own Flying Circus, using his considerable showmanship and flying skills to create a versatile act that will wow the crowds at displays around the UK and Europe in 2011.

All photography copyright of Paul Johnson/Flightline UK and James George/Flightline UK.

There have been very few barnstorming displays in recent years on the UK airshow circuit. Vic Norman's Wingwalking Team and the occasional appearance by the Tiger Club's Turbulent Team and Capatin Neville's team have really been the only displays aimed at providing some real barnstoming entertainment. In the USA, barnstorming displays have never been out of the public eye and have always been an important part of their massive airshow circuit with many different professional acts providing all sorts of crazy flying and set piece stunts that we never see this side of the Atlantic. All that changed in 2010 at the Cotswold Airshow at Kemble when Brendan O'Brien debuted his Flying Circus!

O’Brien’s Flying Circus mixes barnstorming and innovation to create an exciting and awe-inspiring display, combining the art of Crazy Flying with the precision required to land an aircraft on top of a miniature moving runway! Brendan is also sourcing a variety of additional new acts to create a Flying Circus that will incorporate a wealth of new aviation talent.

Brendan has been flying for over 40 years and has amassed an impressive list of achievements:

Brendan has been involved with air displays for many years and he has been involved with some of the biggest names in the business. His was the commentator for the famous Rothmans Aerobatic Team and also formed and led the original Fournier RF4 to the music of Pink Floyd. Brendan also flew for Vic Norman's wingwalking team and performed the first ever inverted wingwalkin Europe with Helen Tempest.

O’Brien’s Flying Circus headlines with a routine that Brendan developed during the late 1980s and involves a Cub landing on the back of a mobile platform. With Brendan at the controls things become increasingly entertaining as the Cub cavorts around the airfield with a zany flying routine. The crazy flying can also stand alone at smaller airfields and off airfield sites.

Brendan comments “I am a huge supporter of air displays, Flying Circus dates back to the 1920s and the opportunity to develop new ideas to entertain and hopefully amaze the public is very rewarding. We are working on some unusual ideas to add spectacle to the shows and also plan to take the Flying Circus around the country providing an aerial extravaganza to suit each venue from intimate to immense. We showcased the Trailer Top Landing/Crazy Flying at some key events during the 2010 season and the overwhelming support and positive feedback received from organisers and the public has motivated me to continue developing the Flying Circus concept.

Providing operational support will be team manager Helen Tempest. Helen was introduced to display flying at an early age by her father Barry and went on to become a world record wingwalker with Vic Norman’s AeroSuperBatics team. Helen says “I have spent most of my life either watching, participating in or working within the display industry. Brendan and I have flown together in the past and I have always admired his sense of ‘the spectacular’. This will be an amazing adventure, there are exciting times ahead”.

Thanks to Helen Tempest

To find out more about Brendan, and his flying circus please visit his website.

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