Posts Tagged 'Red Bull Air Race'

Michael Goulian Wins Red Bull Air Race 2009 Budapest

It was a real surprise for Budapest, Hungary to see 41-year-old US Michael Goulian winning the Red Bull Air Race in Budapest.

He was eleventh in the championship before the race arrived in Budapest, thus it was a little bit surprising that he flew the best time among the top four.

Red Bull Air Race - Budapest

Michael Goulian

20th of August is a national holiday in Hungary. Traditionally this holiday welcomes tens of thousands watching planes flying over the river Danube in downtown Budapest on the riverbanks. The first Red Bull Air race took place here on this day some six years ago. Founder of the race, Hungarian Peter Besenyei finished 8th today.

Besenyei with the Parliament in the background

Besenyei with the Parliament in the background

This day is also remarkable as old MIG fighter planes (MIG-29s) said goodbye to the Hungarian audience as they will get retired from serving in the Hungarian Air Force. They have been replaced by Saab Gripens.

Another highlight of the day was that rally driver Sebastian Loeb flew a Red Bull Air Race plane over Budapest.

Loeb in an Air Race plane

Loeb in an Air Race plane

More news on the Red Bull Air Race on the official website.

(more pictures are coming soon)

By Szafi


4 New Pilots In Red Bull Air Race 2009

Four new pilots from four continents will join the world’s fastest growing technical sport: Red Bull Air Race. The four pilots are all ambitious and they are all willing to take first places in the race’s hall of fame next year.

Four pilots from four countires from four continents – according to the official press release of Red Bull Air Race, the year 2009 will be even more exciting than this year’s series.

2008 was the year of 41-year-old Austrian pilot Hannes Arch. Peter Besenyei, the founder of the race was 5th in the championship. In 2008 eight cities hosted the series, more than 3 million spectators on site and more than 500 million following the events on TV. (See our previous posts on some of the highlights)

The scenes of the race for 2009 are not published yet, but we will see the following new faces:

4 new pilots in Red Bull Air Race 2009

4 new pilots in Red Bull Air Race 2009

The pilots in the order of thw picture are:

Pete McLeod, 24, Canada

24-year old Pete McLeod of Canada will be the youngest ever pilot in the series.

Yoshihide Muroya, 35, Japan

Japanese Yoshihide Muroya will be the first Asian pilot joining the air race team.

Matt Hall, 37, Australia

37-year-old Matt Hall is an Australian Air Force fighter pilot.

Matthias Dolderer, 38, Germany

Germany’s Matthias Dolderer is willing to put back Germany on the map again after the retirement of original air race pilot, Kluas Schrodt.

Enjoy the spectacular race with us next year and if you live close to any of the scenes, don’t miss the chance to go and watch it live. Nothing compares to the sound of these planes!

By Szafi

Red Bull Air Race 2008 Budapest – The Race

The race day was even more attractive than the qualification. Besides the race itself we could again see the B25 and the Corsair planes plus 2 helicopters making extreme maneuvers.

The race was amazing, Hannes Arch won, Steve Jones was the second and Paul Bonhomme became third. Peter Besenyei came in only as 5th.

Unfortunately I left the memory card from the camera in the card reader and I noticed it only when we got to the scene, so I could not take any pictures of my own, but I collected the best photos from

You can take a look at the pictures here or by clicking the image below:

Red Bull Air Race 2008 Budapest

Red Bull Air Race 2008 Budapest

By Szafi

Red Bull Air Race 2008 Budapest Qualification – Photos

Air Race started from Budapest and naturally this year again the show is here in the capital of Hungary again. Today the qualification has been on over the Danube right in the middle of the city, among thousands of spectators. Hungarian fans are enthusiastic, they are proud of their great stunt flier world champion, Peter Besenyei, who actually invented this race. Here is my personal summary of the qualification from Budapest. You can view all my pictures here.

As we could get used to it during the days, the air race is not just about those stunt fliers and the race itself, it is always a kind of a celebration of flying. During today’s qualification we could see the following shows:

– a motorized glider flying through pulling a 300 m long plastic bandin the three colors of the Hungarian flag: red, white and green. It circled around the scene a little bit threatening the crowd of stumbling into its own “dragon tail”. It was really fantastic.

Glider over Budapest

Glider over Budapest

Glider over Budapest

Glider over Budapest

– a stunt flying show performed by one of the former air race team members.

Heart made of smoke

Heart made of smoke

– the most spectacular performance was the synchronized stunt flying of the Breitling Jet Team with 6 albatros fighter planes maneuvering in perfect harmony and extreme precision.

Stunt flying fighter planes

Stunt flying fighter planes

Breitling Jet Team

Breitling Jet Team

– after the first qualification series the next big thing was a B-25, a US World War II aircraft, which is very rare nowadays, so it was a special occasion we could see such a plane over Budapest.

B-25 over Budapest

– unfortunately I missed a special plane, a Corsair F4U, again a World War II aircraft manufactured originally in the US.

F4U over Budapest

F4U over Budapest

The result of the qualification is:

1st: Paul Bonhomme

2nd: Hannes Arch

3rd: Peter Besenyei (well done, Peter!) 🙂

The only special event during the qualification was when Alejandro hit one of the balloons that had to be rebuilt. See special pictures of the reconstruction below.

Read more about the qualification here.

Rebuilding the balloon gate

Rebuilding the balloon gate

Rebuilding the balloon gate

Rebuilding the balloon gate

Rebuilding the balloon gate

Rebuilding the balloon gate

Photos: Szafi, Red Bull Air Race official website

By Szafi

Red Bull Air Race 2008 – Abu Dhabi

Red Bull Air Race is the most well known stunt flying competition in the world. It started in 2001 based on the idea of the Hungarian pilot Peter Bessenyei, who is still among the racing pilots and we at Airline World Blog keep our fingers crossed for him. 🙂

The race is always a spectacular show for fans of stunt flying. The series consist of 10 different races. This year the scenes are the following:

  1. Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
  2. San Diego – USA
  3. Detroit – USA
  4. Stockholm – Sweden
  5. Rotterdam – The Netherlands
  6. London – UK
  7. Budapest – Hungary
  8. Porto – Portugal
  9. Spain (exact location not clarified yet)
  10. Perth – Australia

Red Bull Air Race World Series 2008

Each race lasts 2 days and includes the following sessions:

  • Training
  • Qualifying
  • Point One
  • Super Eights
  • Semi Finals
  • 3rd Place Fly off
  • Final

In 2008 this means that all pilots can fly on both days, but only 3 times a day, which is necessary for their safety as such an 1 – 1,5 minutes flight is very tiring and requires huge concentration. Thus the first three events take place on the first day – for all pilots, and the last 4 events on the second day – for the 8 quickest pilots.

Air Race - Abu DhabiAir Race - Abu Dhabi

There are air gates – blown up balloons that define the track of the race. Thus this is a kind of a figure flying race.

The first race this year took place in Abu Dhabi. Here are the results and the total points of the pilots so far:

  1. Paul Bonhomme (GBR) – 9 points
  2. Hannes Arch (AUT) – 8 points
  3. Mike Mangold (USA) – 7 points
  4. Peter Bessenyei (HUN) – 6 points
  5. Kirby Chambliss (USA) – 5 points
  6. Alejandro Maclean (ESP) – 4 points
  7. Steve Jones (GBR) – 3 points
  8. Nigel Lamb (GBR) – 2 points
  9. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) – 1 point
  10. Sergey Rakhmanin (RUS) – 0 point
  11. Michael Goulian (USA) – 0 point
  12. Glen Dell (AUS) – 0 point

See a video of last year’s race in Abu Dhabi:

You can read more about the race on the Red Bull Air Race website.

By Szafi


Mike Mangold Wins 2007 Red Bull Air Race in Budapest

“You are cleared into the Track, SMOKE ON!!” – this is the tower command to the pilots before they enter the airspace of downtown Budapest and begin their Red Bull Air Race lap by flying under the Chain Bridge – which was actually the first stone bridge above the Danube river in the capital of Hungary, handed over to the horse carriages and pedestrians in 1849. In average the Air Race participants pass under the bridge with a speed of about 380-390 km/h, and this weekend they were usually closer to the river than the bridge, by having about 6 meters to the bridge and about 2,5 meters to the river. One of the pilots that flew the lowest was Péter Besenyei, who was only 1,9 meters above the water surface (which is actually less than my own height…).

The 20th of August is a national holiday in Hungary, to commemorate the establishment of the Christian State in the year 1000. But for a few years now, it has also been the “traditional” date of the Hungarian round of the Red Bull Air Race World Series, which in return can be attended by a large number of Hungarians as they are having a holiday. 🙂 Hungarians tend to look at this race as one of their own events, especially as Péter Besenyei – the multiple time world champion of stunt flying – is one of the “fathers” of the Air Race. He came up with the idea of having to fly through gates around a lap, to bring stunt flying physically closer to the spectators. His idea was very much welcomed at Red Bull who became the title sponsor and organizer of such a race. It began as a single event 6 years ago, and has grown to a world series by 2007, with having 10 races this year from the US to Abu Dhabi, from London to Istanbul and “of course” in Budapest (for the fourth time). This year however has brought a new race order, first there is a pre-qualification round for all 13 planes, and based on their times, the top 12 take part in the qualification, from where the top 8 pilots advance to the semi-finals. Following the pre-qualification, Nicolas Ivanoff hurt his neck so today we saw only 11 of them competing for the top 8 places. Those 8 then compete in pairs (1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 5) where the winner advances to the next round. So the top 4 will fly on the “circuit” 4 times during the day (qualification, semi-finals, knock out for the final and third place/final). The Budapest circuit is one of the most spectacular ones in the season as it is located in the real heart of a metropolitan city, between the Chain and the Margaret Bridges, where planes fly in front of the Castle hill, the Academy of Science, the Hungarian Parliament and of course the famous Chain Bridge. It is for the Air Race series, what Monte-Carlo is for Formula-1! The gates are placed on swimming platforms in the river drawing the path to fly.

Red Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race Budapest


Red Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race Budapest

The event itself is really something to see. This is the kind of thing that I would call “breathtaking”, especially when you see these planes fly with such high speed among such beautiful buildings, turning around, passing some of the gates sideways, crossing under the bridge twice in every lap and doing a few stunt movements at the end of each lap to “wave goodbye” to the crowd. Talking about the crowd: according to the organizers, this year there were around one million people watching the race on location!! Even if the reality was only half of that estimated number, it is still a huge crowd cheering for these guys!

I will not comment on the pre-qualification, qualification and the semi-final rounds, except that Mike Mangold really scared me once, when just after entering the circuit, he turned between gates 1 and 2, with his right wing almost touching the water. I could really see for a second that he hits it and crashes his white plane… But he didn’t, he was about 40-50 cms from the water, but it was amazing to see it right in front me, as I was standing in between those two gates on the Buda side of the river.

The top four pilots in Budapest in 2007 were Péter Besenyei (HUN), Mike Mangold (USA), Paul Bonhomme (GBR) and Kirby Chambliss (USA). Unfortunately Péter collected the only one, 3 second penalty of the day for flying too high in one of the gates when competing with Mangold, so he did not get in the final. On the other path Kirby was quicker than Bonhomme, so the finals were held between the two US pilots. For the third place Péter lost 0.21 seconds against Paul, so the winner of the first two races this year (Abu Dhabi and Rio de Janeiro) did not get on the podium on his home race. Péter has later told the press, that his engine had some problems, as the RPM could not go to the maximum, it stopped at about 100 rates lower for his last two flights today, which makes a difference in speed. On the other hand, Mr. Bonhomme, has been on the podium for 13 consecutive Air Races, which is a record on its own, and has lost his lead in the championship this weekend. In the final, Mike Mangold has won over Chambliss, with a very impressive lap, that timed at 1:12.85. This was the third victory for Mike this year so far: Istanbul, London and Budapest are his trophies from 2007.

The next round will be held in Porto, Portugal in only 11 days.

by balint01

Red Bull Driving and Flying Circus in Budapest

Budapest is hosting the 11th round of the 2007 Formula-1 Championship this weekend. This will be the 22nd Hungarian F1 Grand Prix. This weekend’s events took off with a small parade in the city center. As you all know Red Bull is the main sponsor of the Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso teams. Red Bull on the other hand also sponsors the so called Red Bull Air Race. The idea of this air race came from a Hungarian pilot, Peter Besenyei. He has been world champion in stunt flying several times and probably he found it boring just to fly around, so he came up with the idea of this race. Besides pilots, we spectators enjoy it, too and downtown Budapest has been a traditional venue of the Air Race World Championship as well, on August 20th, every year.

The aircraft of Mr BesenyeiRed Bull Toro RossoThe aircraft of Mr Besenyei

So the point in the parade today was that we could see an F1 car and a stunt flight meeting up at the famous Chain Bridge in Budapest. Meeting up meant that Mr Besenyei flew through under (!) the bridge, while the Red Bull F1 car drove over it.

Besides this weird randez vous, there were several other interesting participants of this short parade today. Actually there was more action and more vehicles on the ground than in the air, but for us, airline world bloggers, the air stunts were more a bit more eye catching, even though we loved the cars as well. So besides the Edge 540 stunt plane of Besenyei, we saw the following cars: the Official safety car of the F1 Championships: a Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG, several participants of the Dakar rally (Hungarians and Red Bull associates), the current Red Bull Renault RB3 and Toro Rosso STR-02 F1 cars driven by Mark Webber and Vitantonio Liuzzi, and then came some historic F1 cars (McLaren MP4 from 1987 driven by Gerhard Berger, two old Tyrells from the early 1970’s and a red-and white 1971 Surtees).

As you may know Red Bull is an Austrian company and as Hungary is a neighbouring country, they tend to consider the Hungarian GP as their “closest to home” race each year. Gerhard Berger has always admitted that he loves Budapest and feels home over here, especially as when he was still racing, many of his home fans came to cheer him over here. Now he’s a team owner but still likes this event very much, that’s why accepted the invitation to drive an older F1 car on the streets of Budapest after so many years of not driving.

And here are the pictures:

By balint01 & Szafi

Blog calendar

October 2019
« Apr