Following a three-year hiatus the Red Bull Air Race World Championship returns to the skies as the series starts the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi at the end of February.
The series started in 2003 and features a course which is marked out by inflatable pylons that the pilots have to manoeuvre through at speeds well over 200mph at over 11G in some cases. The championship was put on hold at the end of he 2010 season after concerns about safety with the increasing speeds and high-G manoeuvres.
The twelve pilots entered for the 2014 season are made up of a mixture of past champions and competitors including two UK entries – 2009/10 World Champion Paul Bonhomme and Nigel Lamb who finished the 2010 season in third place.
2014 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Entry list
- 2008 World Champion – Hannes Arch – Austria
- 2009 & 2010 World Champion – Paul Bonhomme – UK
- 2003 World Champion – Peter Besenyei – Hungary
- 2004 & 2006 World Champion – Kirby Chambliss – USA
- 2009 & 2010 Competitor – Matthias Dolderer – Germany
- 2004-2010 Veteran (only one of eight pilots to win a stage) – Michael Goulian – USA
- 2009 Third Place Podium Finisher – Matt Hall – Australia
- 2004-2010 Veteran (Two time Stage winner) – Nicolas Ivanoff – France
- 2010 Third Place Podium Finisher – Nigel Lamb – UK
- 2009-2010 Competitor – Pete McLeod – Canada
- 2009-2010 Competitor – Yoshihide Muroya – Japan
- 2010 Season Rookie – Martin Sonka – Czech Republic
Speaking at the launch of the 2014 season Erich Wolf, CEO Red Bull Air Race GmbH. commented: “We’ve all worked very hard over the last three years fine-tuning some of the safety aspects and bring the sport to a new level.
“We never took our eye off the target and neither have these fantastic pilots or the great fans around the world. Their interest in the sport remained unbelievably high during these past few years. We can’t wait to get back in the air.”
Safety changes include:
- Standard engine in every aircraft: Lycoming Thunderbolt AEIO-540-EXP
- Standard propeller: Hartzell Claw counter-weighted
- Aircraft weight increased by 20 kg
- Maximum allowable G-force limited to 10g rather than 12g
- Pylon heights lifted by 15 feet
- Narrower altitude envelope to work with
- No more knife-edge gates
- Events now fully-ticketed rather than free entry, and the city has to pick-up some of the responsibility for running the event.
“I’ve missed the flying at the Red Bull Air Race because the competitive racing is just fantastic,” added pilot Peter Besenyei.
2014 Red Bull Air Race World Championship schedule
- Abu Dhabi (UAE) February 28 & March 1
- Putrajaya (MAL) May 17/18
- Gdynia (POL) July 26/27
- Ascot (UK) August 16/17
- Dallas/Fort Worth (USA) September 6/7
- Las Vegas (USA) October 11/12
- China (Location TBC) November 1/2