As some of you probably know, I am a freelance filmmaker and music producer and for the past two months I have been planning and filming a brand new series with Innsbruck Tourism called Epic Innsbruck.

Epic Innsbruck will showcase epic activities performed by experts in different parts of the Innsbruck region. So you get to see and experience Innsbruck in weird and wonderful ways.

It is my pleasure to present you the first episode (18-01) which features local aerobatic pilots, whose base is Innsbruck’s international airport.

I am a fan of the classic film Top Gun, so filming and experiencing aerobatics was on my bucket list for a very long time. We even managed to film an inverted scene similar to the movie, check it out in the video. Absolutely wicked!

Epic Innsbruck inverted

Danny Hickl inverted over head.

Aerobatics with Extra-G

Extra-G is a group of four well trained pilots who own an Extra EA 300 XS two seater mid wing racing plane, just like those in the Red Bull Air Race.

The 345bhp plane has a max speed of about 400 km/h, a G limit of +/-10 and a roll rate of 380° per second. It is a serious bit of kit.

Extra 300

The Extra 300 before take off.

Henry Bohlig has been performing aerobatics since the early 80’s and has won many international competitions.

Bernie Kinzner was a professional skier, now an air traffic controller at Innsbruck airport and pilot instructor.

Markus Lewandowski (Lewi, pronounced Levee) has over 13 years experience as an aerobatics pilot and is also a gliding instructor and a sports event presenter.

Danny Hickl earned his wings as a glider pilot at 17 and now flies regularly in a 747 all over the world.

The Extra-G pilots

The Extra-G pilots from left to right; Henry Bohlig, Bernie Kinzner, Markus Lewandowski and Danny Hickl. Photo © Extra-G.

All money earned from passenger flights, air shows, event openings and sponsorship goes straight back into running and maintaining the plane, Extra-G does not earn a profit.

My exhilarating ride for Epic Innsbruck 18-01

I took my first ride with Bernie and I can honestly say that it was the most amazing experience of my life and I’ve experienced a lot. It pushes the body to the limits and puts you in a state that you don’t experience every day (unless you’re an aerobatics pilot of course).

Flying above Sellrain

Flying and filming above the Sellrain Valley.

This is not for the faint hearted!

The guys can take you up and give you a trial of some rolls to see how you get on, then they can step it up. In my flight we reached +6 G and -2 G. Overall I loved it, but there were a few moments where I had to get Bernie to give me a rest before the next set of aerobatics. There were some very scary moments!

Hoadl Haus - Epic Innsbruck

Bernie performing a roll over Hoadl Haus at Axamer Lizum.

You can see at the start of the video, when we were heading south towards Innsbruck, it seemed like we were heading straight for the Nordkette mountain near Hafelekar, then Bernie pulls back and left all my internal organs behind.

heading towards nordkette - epic innsbruck

Heading towards the Nordkette mountain range.

We were heading straight up to space then he forces the plane into a tumble as if we were falling down from Seegrube towards Hungerburg.

I did not know which way up we were until I saw the beautiful lights of Innsbruck. With perfect weather and the moon out, it was absolutely breathtaking! I had to check if all my body parts were still there!

Bernie Kinzer and me

Still standing after an epic ride! Bernie Kinzner and me.

Formation flying

On another day, we did some formation flying. I was in the camera ship, a 1950’s Piper PA-19, with pilot buddy Bernie Rupp.

Bernie Rupp and me

Myself and camera ship pilot Bernie Rupp after a successful flight.

We planned our flight paths and aerobatics to perform then got everything ready to go.

 

Camera check

It’s always a good idea to double check the cameras before you’re in the sky!

Being a much slower plane, Bernie Rupp and I took off from Innsbruck airport towards Kühtai’s ski area. Danny followed a little later as he can get there within five minutes.

Camera ship Piper PA-19

Myself and the camera ship, the Piper PA-19.

Once in position, we opened the Piper’s window, I stuck the camera out and waited for Danny to approach. When ready, Danny performed some epic manoeuvres.

formation pov epic innsbruck

Formation flying over Kühtai.

Both pilots were in communication with each other and the tower at Innsbruck airport (the other Bernie), to make sure we were clear in the sky. As Danny was so close, hand signals and head nodding was also used (no birdies though). It was a lot of fun.

We did a few circles at Kühtai then headed home. Before landing we performed a fly over of the city and the airport. Stunning views!

Flying over the city of Innsbruck.

Flying over the city of Innsbruck.

To wrap up

I could ramble on for days about this first Epic Innsbruck episode. It was most definitely epic and I hope you feel the same and saw the Innsbruck region and surrounding areas like never before. Make sure you share it with your mates.

All of the pilots did a perfect job, especially because filming needs a lot of organising and setting up. Even more so when filming in and from a small plane. They definitely deserve the Top Gun status.

You can try it yourself, check out their website or just send them an email and book the next available flight: info@extra-g.com

Or if you have an event you would like to book them for or even sponsor the plane, feel free to get in contact with them.

All photos © Ashley Wiggins, unless otherwise stated.

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