Welcome to O’Brien’s Flying Circus
Renowned aviator and airshow commentator Brendan O’Brien has formed his own Flying Circus. Using his considerable showmanship and flying skills he has created a versatile act that will wow the crowds at displays throughout the UK and Europe.
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 on the world’s smallest runway! The Flying Circus will also include additional acts incorporating a wealth of new aviation talent.
2016 saw OTTO the Helicopter join O’Brien’s Flying Circus. OTTO has been a legend of the North American airshow industry in the hands of Roger Buis, Craig Hosking and Bob Hosking. As well as traditional daytime displays, OTTO also performs amazing evening displays with spectacular pyrotechnic effects
Brendan’s ancestry in Ireland goes back to the seventeenth century with Huguenot immigration from France. Although his formative years were spent in London in a quiet family environment, everything changed dramatically when he was orphaned in his early teens and began a life of travel and adventure.
As a child he had been fascinated by birds and perhaps flying was in his blood from birth. Not surprising then that the world of aviation beckoned initially with ballooning and gliding before being seduced by powered flight.
Now, more than forty years later Brendan has over thirteen thousand hours on over three hundred plus types of aircraft and holds a licence to fly every kind of flying machine.
He holds in excess of two hundred aviation world records ratified by the FAI in Paris. He is a CAA display authorisation holder/examiner, test pilot and medallist of the Royal Aero Club and has flown on every continent in the world including Antarctica.
Brendan is also a professional airshow commentator and presented his own TV show for Discovery Wings, which was syndicated globally.
Brendan also trained as a civil and military parachutist and has taken part in several international para-military expeditions including the famous Trans Americas crossing of the infamous Darien Gap.
He has been a keen mountaineer and is an all round naturalist with a particular interest in the fauna and flora of the Polar Regions.
From the awe inspiring moment of his first loop in a glider Brendan developed a fascination for aerobatics which was to become one of the strongest motivational forces in his future flying career.
Though never attracted by airline flying Brendan flew as a single crew commercial pilot for several years in the early days of the UK oil boom in Scotland with such wonderful machines as multi-engine De Havilland Heron and flew that same type on oil support in the Persian Gulf. It was with another DH aircraft, the Twin Otter, that he had the privilege of experiencing the glories of Antarctica.
He has ferried aircraft, many of them single-engine over all the great oceans of the world.
However it was in airshow flying, and in particular “flying circus,” that Brendan was to find his forte and make his mark.
He formed and led the renowned Fournier RF4 Duo aerial ballet flown to the music of the Pink Floyd (whose members he had taught to fly), with his colleague John Taylor.
He brought the amazing “Truck top Landing” to UK and led the first team of wingwalkers in Europe and in the process flew the first inverted wingwalk on that continent with Helen Tempest.
He is also a highly experienced flying instructor/examiner on fixed wing and rotary aircraft, Microlights and gliders and delights in enthusing others to become part of the wonderful world of aviation.
Display pilot, Man Friday and all round good guy. I first met Brendan having been given a Tiger Moth flight on my 21st birthday. I caught the flying bug and went on to complete my PPL training with Brendan and was introduced to the world of display flying by traveling around with his flying circus. I fly a variety of aircraft, including tailwheel vintage types . I am also a flying instructor and recently authorised by the CAA as a display pilot. I’m looking forward to displaying the Cub with pyrotechnics!
When I’m at home I enjoy walks in the countryside and working on my vintage tractor & motorbike
Providing operational support will be Team Manager Tom Turner. Tom was introduced to the world of Airshow’s from a very early age. Started flying when he was only thirteen years old and is now an experienced pilot.
When not flying, Tom works in an ‘Air Traffic Service Unit’ as a Training Officer / CAA Examiner
Tom says “Working with Brendan and the team is one big adventure from start to finish. Exciting times lie ahead!!”
OTTO the Helicopter
OTTO has been a legend of the North American airshow industry in the hands of Roger Buis, Craig Hosking and Bob Hosking. In the capable hands of Roger Buis, OTTO has entertained airshow fans all over the US, the UAE, Mexico, Canada and Australia. Now based in the UK, OTTO has continued the legacy set in the USA displaying across Europe with unique and entertaining displays suitable for events large and small. As well as traditional daytime displays, OTTO also performs amazing evening displays with spectacular pyrotechnic effects.
OTTO is a Schweizer 300C helicopter. With its fully articulated, three bladed rotor system OTTO is ideally suited for our sensational rotary displays.
OTTO is an incredibly nimble helicopter and performs some enthralling “chopperbatics” complete with his awesome smoke system. OTTO can perform at venues of all sizes and comes into his own at restricted venue as OTTO doesn’t need large areas to turn.
OTTO’s Fireworks Spectaculars
OTTO can bring any event to a close in spectacular style with his unique fireworks spectacular. All manner of pyrotechnic effects are fitted to OTTO who will fill the sky with light, colour and noise to ‘WOW’ the crowd
Piper J3 Cub G-BPCF
O’Brien’s Flying Circus headlines with a routine that Brendan developed during the late 1980’s 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 has continued to develop his highly popular “night” shows to an even greater level with a combination of lights, lasers and pyrotechnics, filling the sky with a blaze of aerial thrills!
Our J3 Cub is for sale. View our actual aircraft offer
2021 Display Season
Last updated: March 20, 2021 at 10:05 am
We will post details of our displays here when they are fully confirmed.
Please Note: Please check with display organisers before travelling an event. All displays are subject to weather, serviceability and operational requirements.
Fri04Jun2021Sun06Jun2021Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, B49 5NJ
Midlands Air Festival
Previous Display Events and Locations
- Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow, East Sussex
- The Atomic Vintage Festival, Sywell Aerodrome, Northamptonshire
- Biggin Hill Festival of Flight, Kent
- Blackpool Airshow, Lancashire
- Bath Pageant of Motoring
- Bray International Air Display, Ireland
- Bournemouth Air Festival, Dorset
- RAF Cosford Airshow, Shropshire
- CarFest South, Laverstock Park Farm, Hampshire
- Cotswold Airshow, Kemble, Gloucestershire
- Clacton Airshow, Essex
- Dunsfold Wings and Wheels, Surrey
- IWM Duxford Events, Cembridgshire
- Midlands Air Festival, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire
- Old Buckenham Airshow, Norfolk
- Oostwold Airshow, The Netherlands
- Shoreham Airshow, West Sussex
- RAF Odiham Families Day, Hampshire
- RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day, Somerset
- RNAS Culdrose Air Day, Cornwall
- Rhyl Airshow, Denbighshire
- Rougham Air Display, Suffolk
- Sanicole International Airshow, Belgium
- Scottish Airshow, Ayr, Ayrshire
- Shannon Airport Anniversary Event, Ireland
- Southport Airshow, Lancashire
- Texel Airshow, Netherlands
- Throckmorton Airshow, Worcestershire
- West Suffolk Country Fair, Rougham, Suffolk
- Weymouth Carnival, Dorset