Plane & Pilot
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Crewing For Red Bull, Down Under

Race pilots fly an awe-inspiring competition, but they can’t do it alone

red bullAt the closing ceremonies of each Red Bull Air Race, there’s always a jubilant atmosphere. Pilots douse each other in champagne, confetti fills the air, everyone cheers and countless autographs are signed. The racers have worked hard and deserve such a moment. But away from the fanfare, crew members have just as much reason to celebrate. Mechanics, ferry pilots and managers have given their all to help the pilots succeed and have also earned the right to be proud. “Our pilots represent us,” says Lance Winter, mechanic for the 2006 series winner, Kirby Chambliss. “If they do well, we have done well.”
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Day In The Life
We trailed Jason Resop, Crew Chief for Kirby Chambliss, to see what a typical race day entails for a crew member.
0800: Report to the Temporary Runway; begin prepping the airplane 1430: Assist with media interviews and demo flights
0930: Pilot briefing with Red Bull Air Race officials 1600: Take care of any problems with the airplane
1100: Preflight checklist 1700: Tie down plane for the evening
1300: First round of racing—last-minute tweaks 1730: Catch a quick dinner
1310: Spot competitors 1830: Review videos of the day’s flights
1320: Debriefing with Kirby 2000: In bed ready for the next day
1330: Tweak airplane; cool down engine  

Check for updates as the competition steps up a notch.

What can fans look forward to from their favorite team? I asked Lance, but I suspect all teams would have the same answer: “First place!”

Photo Gallery:

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