Red Bull Air Race


The first official Red Bull Air Race World Series was launched in 2005 with 7 races around the globe and 10 competing pilots. So the Air Races are rather new. The Race format was already tested in 2003, at the Airpower show in Zeltweg, Austria, in front of several hundred thousand spectators. Developing safe and sturdy pylons that form the gates where pilots have to fly through, seemed to be the biggest challenge. In 2002 the first prototypes were designed and tested, with a cylindrical inflatable pylon as result. Two years later, new cone-shaped Air Gates were introduced. These proved to be far superior to the original cylindrical designs. The cone-shaped pylons are sturdy enough to remain stationary in all weather conditions, including stormy weather and strong winds.

The most developed and adjusted part of the Air Race are certainly the airplanes. Today there are 3 different types used: the Extra 300SR, the Edge 540 and the brand-new MXS. During a steep turn, both pilot and plane are subjected to forces which can reach up to 12 g, meaning they are twelve times their normal weight. Therefore these planes have to be extremely light and it’s not just because of the high G-forces. Their light weight combined with a highly efficient steering system results in agility that normal aircraft, even modern fighter jets, cannot match. They also have a high power to weight ratio and the lowest drag possible. Among the few aircraft that are suitable for racing, there are differences in engine power and flying performance that can have an influence on the pilot’s chances of winning. But the pilot's skill remains the most important factor to win the race!

The Planes

The Edge 540 from Zivko Aeronautics is small one-seater airplane (a two-seater version is also available) and is as precise and controllable as it is aggressive. The Edge is a ‘Shoulder Wing’ plane with extremely stiff wings. The use of a steel tube frame with composite fairings results in an extremely light, durable and stable fuselage. The Edge 540 has the highest aerobatic thrust to weight ratio of any competition aircraft. The Edge 540 is used by 9 pilots.

Edge 540 BonhommeEdge 540 Peter Bensenyei

The design of the Extra 300SR made by Extra Aircraft in Germany, pays special attention to an aerodynamic wing optimized for low drag and high lift. Overall weight was drastically reduced within the technical boundaries for safe operation. The result is a plane capable of flying in a wide speed range, giving the pilot the option of flying very sharp turns at relatively low airspeeds. This reduces track length on one hand and also minimizes the exposure to g-effects acting on the pilot. This is considered an important contribution to flight safety. There are only 2 Extra 300SR in the world. Ivanoff is the only pilot who uses this aircraft in the Red Bull Air Race.

Extra 300SRExtra 300SRExtra 300SR

The MXS, developed by MXR Technologies from the USA, is a new kind of aircraft representing the latest in state of the art design and technology. The plane was designed using advanced computer solid modelling with emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency. The MXS stands alone in that it is constructed entirely of “Aerospace” grade carbon fiber which provides superior strength and durability never before seen in an aircraft of this type. The technologically advanced MXS is expected to set a new standard in overall aircraft design for the Red Bull Air Races. It is extremly good in u-turns, like those performed when flying through the quadro (see below). Nigel Lamb and Maclean use the MXS.


The Race Format

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship revamped its race format in the 2009 season as part of its quest to perfect scoring and also to accommodate the largest expansion ever in the field to 15 pilots from 12 in 2008. The new format features a Qualifying Day with all pilots racing to be one of the ten fastest to take them directly through to the Top 12 session on Race Day. For the first time ever, Qualifying will also be a race for one championship point which will be awarded to the pilot with the best time in Qualifying.

A Wild Card session will open Race Day with the five slowest from Qualifying getting a second chance by battling it out for the final two spots in the Top 12. The fastest eight from the Top 12 advance to the Super 8 and the four fastest go all-out against the clock in the Final 4 – with the fastest pilot being declared the winner.

As part of the natural progression of the sport as it enters its fifth championship season, race organisers have also decided to make some adjustments to the scoring system. The race winner collects 12 championship points, second place gets 10 and third 9 points – a system that goes all the way down to 1 point for 11th place. On top of that, this year the winner of the Qualifying session will pick up the one additional championship point, a change that will undoubtedly make Qualifying even more intense for the front-runners than in the past. If, for example, the race winner also wins Qualifying, he would collect a total of 13 points.
-> View the new race format

This yearthe Red Bull Air Race 2010 touches down in the following cities:
~ Abu Dhabi; Perth; Rio De Janeiro; Windsor (Canada); New York; Lausitz; Budapest; Lisbon ~

It is not yet confirmed, but normally the Belgian broadcaster VT4 will show the Red Bull Air Races, like they did the past two years. In the Netherlands, RTL 7 will normally show the Air Races. (Please check the websites from your broadcaster).

More information and latest news:
All pictures used with permission of the Red Bull Air Race.

Race Track Rules

Blue Gate Level flying through Air Gates marked in blue (also known as a horizontal passing).





Red Gate

Knife flying through Air Gates marked in red (also known as a vertical passing).





QuadroKnife flying through the Quadro. The Quadro consists of four pylons positioned in a square (marked in red).






Slalom flying through the Chicane (marked in red). The Chicane consists of three or four single pylons positioned in a line. Pilots can choose to fly narrow or wide through them (knife or level flying not mandatory).




Half CubanThe 'Half Cuban Eight' is a turning manoeuvre used in the Red Bull Air Race. From level flight, 5/8s loop to the inverted 45° line, 1/2 roll to erect down 45° line, pull to level flight.





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