Pilot’s record attempt will wow crowds at Old Buckenham Airshow

Record breaking attempt plans - Brendan O'Brien with his aircraft and the truck.

Record breaking attempt plans - Brendan O'Brien with his aircraft and the truck. - Credit: Archant

He couldn't do it last year – but it wasn't for lack of trying.

Brendan O’Brien's Flying Circus will be performing at the Old Buckenham Airshow in 2013.

Brendan O’Brien's Flying Circus will be performing at the Old Buckenham Airshow in 2013. - Credit: Archant

This year pilot Brendan O'Brien is hoping to wow crowds at Old Buckenham Airshow as he attempts to break the record for the shortest-ever truck top landing.

The landing involves Mr O'Brien steering his plane within a hair's breadth of the perfect spot on the flat-bed truck, the wheels skimming the cab as the truck is driven along the runway.

While it was once long enough for Second World War American bombers to take off and land, the runway at Old Buckenham has been shortened and in the world of aviation, it is actually pretty short. This doesn't give Mr O'Brien long for that record attempt.

That is one of the reasons he loves Old Buckenham and Norfolk.


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'I like Old Buckenham because it is not the Paris or Farnborough air show. It is a proper lovely country show, it's about entertainment. It's about barnstorming and that's what I do,' he said.

Barnstorming harks back to the 1920s when pilots loved to show off their first planes, landing pretty much anywhere they could, gathering a crowd and taking people for flights.

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'After the Second World War there were these young guys, pilots, back from the war, pumped up with adrenaline.

'They were buying these old wartime planes and going around the country, landing and taking people for a ride, looping the loop and trying to outdo one another.

'They were barnstorming, they were performers and that's what I do. It's all about entertainment and Old Buckenham Airshow is a brilliant place for that,' said Mr O'Brien.

He said Old Buckenham audiences clearly enjoy his flying. 'They're a good crowd. Landing on top of a truck takes 90pc bottle and 10pc skill,' he said.

Watching him put an aircraft through its paces, it clearly is entertainment.

When Mr O'Brien takes off he seems to barely leave the ground before his plane is sideways or upside down.

'I am low and close. To me it's much more exciting than being 3,000ft up,' he said.

Mr O'Brien has been to well over 1,000 air shows, either as a commentator, performer or visitor.

If he gets the record at Old Buckenham, it will be another to add to his clutch of aviation medals, trophies and achievements.

The show is on July 26 and 27. Visit www.oldbuck.com

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