Niki Lauda’s preference for Bombardier-built business jets led to him becoming a brand ambassador for the company. He took delivery of his first Global Express, a 6000 variant, in February 2015. BOMBARDIER

Keith Otto recalls the life and airlines of Niki Lauda, the Formula 1 legend who swapped pitstops for cockpits to found and run several airlines during a four decade career in the aviation industry.

Over the past 100 years, the commercial aviation industry has provided a wealth of interesting characters, whether entrepreneurs seeking out new markets, pioneers keen to push the boundaries or innovators exploring the latest available technology.

One of the most charismatic and colourful was Formula 1 world champion turned airline executive Niki Lauda. Known for his unparalleled determination, despite suffering severe burns and lung damage in a horrendous crash at the Nürburgring race circuit, in August 1976, which almost cost him his life, he returned to racing just six weeks later.

Lauda had long held an interest in aviation, learning to fly at a young age.

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