The Red Bull Air Race is a global air competition started in 2003 by the Austrian company that produces the Red Bull energy drink, Red Bull GmbH. Pilots are on time to fly and maneuver in turns called Air Gates. The races usually take place on natural wonders, in airports and on water bodies near the cities. The race takes place during a weekend with the first day in qualifying and the next day in the final. After the finals, the race is preceded by air shows. The race is divided into master class and challenger class, and this is based on the type of aircraft used in the race. Challenger class riders compete using an Extra 330LX while those in the Master class have several acrobatic aircraft at their disposal. The championship is usually widely attended.
Evolution over the years
The Red Bull company has a unit responsible for coming up with new sports all over the world, and the team designed the air race in 2001. The goal of the race was to test the speed, skill and precision of the pilot. An aerial path with obstacles was ready to be built. In 2002, the Air Gates builds started and the pilot Peter Besenyei from Hungary was the first to test the gates. The first air tender was held in 2003 in Zeltweg, Austria, the second in Budapest, Hungary, in the same year. There were three races held in 2004; in Reno, in the United States; Budapest, Hungary; and Kemble, in England. In 2005 the air regatta became a world series with seven races and ten drivers competing that year. The 2011 to 2013 tenders have been canceled to allow for restructuring and
Qualifications and the race
In the years up to 2006, the fastest time during the two qualifying races started last, and the actual race took two turns with the winner being the pilot with the most points. A few days before the race, the drivers are offered four training sessions divided into two days and to participate in the actual race a pilot music participated in at least two training sessions. The qualifying races take place one day before the real race and are two races with the riders with the fastest qualifications. The actual race takes place in three phases, which include the round of 14, the round of 8 and the final 4. The pilots pilot a 3.1 on a 3.7 mile long fixed track through the air gates.
One or two 82-foot tall and 33-to-49-foot pylon indicators make air gates. Martin Jehart, an Austrian engineer with Bellutti Protection Systems, made the first air gates. The first gates were cylindrical and were made with ripstop nylon, and this would have broken out when hit by an airplane. Air Gates should be able to tear themselves up when hit by an airplane and also be sturdy enough to withstand extreme weather conditions like strong winds and storms. In 2004, the cylindrical doors were changed into the conical ones which turned out to be more stable. Pylons today are composed of six connected sections that make them easier to repair if hit by an airplane.
Most of the participating pilots who participated in the qualifications were from Europe and the United States. Some Asian countries such as Japan and China have also taken part in the races. The current holder of the title of the master class is Cristian Bolton from Chile and in the Challenger class is the French Melanie Astley.