Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text JUSTIN S. ROSS
Photo Assistant ALEX KUEPER
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Top Gun, a movie that inspired a whole generation to imitate the effortlessly cool Aviator look spawned by Tom Cruises’s character in the film, 4SEE revisits the classic aviator look by visiting competition pilots from Red Bull and Breitling who take to the skies in impressive vintage aircraft.
There is a glassy, modern hangar, tucked away in the mountains of Austria, and filled with prime examples of the gorgeous airplanes that have lifted humans into the skies over the past century of aviation. In this little-known world, passionate pilots are pushing their limits every day to make aviation impossibilities possible.
These pilots are part of the Red Bull Flying Team, appropriately called “The Flying Bulls.” With their unparalleled enthusiasm for airplanes and the graceful art of flying, these ‘aerobatic’ pilots remind us of the proud traditions of aviation and the absolute miracle of humans taking flight in beautiful flying machines crafted out of heavy metals.
Of course no pilot would be comfortable taking to the skies without a completely reliable set of instruments to help guide his flight and keep him oriented before returning safely to the ground. That is where Breitling comes in.
The heritage Swiss watchmaker built its reputation for absolutely reliable timepieces and beautifully crafted wristwatches. In the early twentieth century, Breitling began using its industry-leading technologies to create the most reliable flight instruments for civilian and military aircraft alike. In the 1950s, these two applications merged with the introduction of the Navitimer wrist chronograph.
Today, this association continues with Breitling supporting its own air show team called the Breitling Jet Team—and, of course, a pilot’s look isn’t complete without a sturdy, reliable, and multifunctional companion timepiece from Breitling.
Just like the exquisite vintage airplanes that these teams fly, quality in craft and superb design never goes out of style. As their name suggests, Aviator glasses have a long history of utilization in the aircraft industry, by both military and civilian pilots and air crew. Their unique shape with wide, tapered lenses actually cover a larger area of the eye and minimize the effects of wind and light hitting the ocular area. This aerodynamic effect has a huge advantage for pilots in that it protects their eyes and prevents blurred vision from teary eyes. They also provide maximum coverage to ward off glare from reflections and sun beams.
The Breitling-Jet-Team flies in formation with L-39C Albatros Jets. In 2016, the pilots demonstrate their skills from September 23rd to 25th at the Miramar Air Show, California, USA, during the San Francisco Fleet Week from October 8th to 9th, as well as at the Huntington Beach Air Show, California, USA from October 22nd to 23th. For more information visit:
These aviator style sunglasses look right at home next to the awe-inspiring aircraft flown by pilots of the competition air teams from Red Bull and Breitling. Today, these teams regularly fly in competitions. Not only to challenge the pilots, but also to maintain the vintage aircraft, celebrate the history of aviation, and thrill crowds of onlookers.
Ultimately, our admiration for brave pilots and their intrepid style fuels our love of the aviator style. The sleek style lines of pilot’s uniforms are echoed in the thin metal frames of Aviator glasses today. Evoking both a commanding sense of style and an adventurous, jetsetting lifestyle, Aviator glasses have become a timeless classic, and an emblem of cool that makes us want to take to the skies ‘Top Gun’-style.
The spectacular Hangar-7 near the Salzburg Airport houses the Flying Bulls’ airplanes. The aviation museum is open everyday from 9am to 10pm with free admission. Do not miss the restaurant IKARUS. By the way — guests arriving by plane pull in directly in front of Hangar-7.