Category Archives: Airshow News Air Sports

New airshow-based air racing series to begin in 2020

A new air racing series is to make its debut in October 2020, with a full calendar of races expected in 2021, JLC AirShow Management have said.

The Air Show Racing Series (ARS), developed by JLC AirShow Management, will see pairs of pilots race simultaneously along two identical chicane courses, marked by inflatable pylons. The planes will be lead into the track by a pace aircraft, before weaving between ten inflatable pylons around 180 metres apart, at a height of less than 75 feet. They will then execute a half-cuban manoeuvre and fly through the course once more, before a final half-cuban and a sprint to the finish line.

Each race will include two classes – Super Sport and Extreme Sport – with eight pilots in each class. The pilots will compete in a series of knock-out heats, with the winner of each class decided on the day.

In a press release, the company said ARS is “the newest and one of the most exciting additions to the air show industry” and describe the series as “a show within an air show”. John Cudahy, president of ICAS, praised the series as “compelling entertainment” and a “huge step forward” for the airshow industry.

The inaugural event is scheduled for Wings Over North Georgia in October 2020, with a full series to follow in 2021. This will take the ARS to multiple locations, with pilots accumulating points over the season to decide a winner for each division at the end of the year. JLC AirShow Management say that the ARS can form part of an existing airshow, or act as a standalone event.

John Cowman president of JLC AirShow Management, said that the sport has been under development for two years, with FAA certification coming in October 2019. Competitors in the series will be selected and invited by ARS management based on their airshow certifications and experience.

JLC AirShow Management are the organisers of the Wings Over North Georgia airshow, which began in 2012.

XtremeAir XA-41 and XA-42 banned from flying aerobatics

HECKLINGTON | Aircraft from the XtremeAir XA-41/Sbach 300 and XA-42/Sbach 342 family have been banned from aerobatic manoeuvres by the aircraft’s manufacturer.

Photo: James Connolly

XtremeAir GmbH placed restrictions on the highly advanced aerobatic aircraft family in a Service Bulletin on Monday 23rd September, which said both the left and right hand diagonal struts of the engine mount had been found to have separated during a routine inspection of an XA-42. The bulletin bans all aerobatic manoeuvres with immediate effect and requires a placard reading “AEROBATIC MANOEUVRES PROHIBITED” to be placed in the cockpit, in view of the pilot.

The manufacturer also says a ten-minute visual inspection of the engine mount must be completed before each flight. This inspection was previously required only once every ten aerobatic flights.

EASA published an Emergency Airworthy Directive the following day, which said cracks had been found on the engine mount, which “could lead to in-flight detachment of the engine, possibly resulting in loss of control of the aeroplane”.

Photo: Jim Lucas

The XA-41 and XA-42 are popular with airshow and competition aerobatic pilots, and are also used by aerobatic teams including Team Xtreme from South Africa, the Flying Bulls of the Czech Republic and the UK’s Matadors Aerobatic Team.

The aircraft had already been under the spotlight after cracks were detected in the engine mount during a separate inspection last year.

Matt Hall is crowned World Champion in final Red Bull Air Race

CHIBA | Australian pilot Matt Hall finally achieved his dream of being the Red Bull Air Race World Champion as Yoshi Muroya enjoyed a third emphatic victory at his home race.

Three times the runner-up, Hall soared to victory by claiming third place at the final race of the season, just behind home hero Yoshi Muroya and Kirby Chambliss. Muroya had a challenging day, losing his Round of 14 heat against Ben Murphds by 0.015 seconds, but progressed as the fastest loser and won every subsequent heat he flew.

RACE RESULTS

Race finish Pilot Country Race points Final time Penalties Quali finish
1 Yoshi MUROYA JPN 25 0:58.630 5
2 Kirby CHAMBLISS AUS 22 0:59.601 14
3 Matt HALL USA 20 1:00.052 7
4 Pete MCLEOD CAN 18 1:04.028 +5 11
5 Nicolas IVANOFF FRA 14 0:59.096 13
6 Mika BRAGEOT FRA 13 0:59.731 +1 9
7 Francois LE VOT FRA 12 1:02.936 +5 3
8 Ben MURPHY GBR 11 1:04.248 +5 10
9 Michael GOULIAN USA 5 0:58.032 8
10 Juan VELARDE ESP 4 0:58.180 1
11 Cristian BOLTON CHI 3 0:58.252 12
12 Matthias DOLDERER GER 2 0:58.409 4
13 Martin SONKA CZE 1 00:58.808 +1 2
14 Petr KOPFSTEIN CZE 0 00:59.774 6

2018 world champion Martin Sonka lead the title chase into the final race, but was knocked out in the Round of 14 heat against Nicolas Ivanoff when he picked up a one second Over-G penalty. He ended the season in third place overall. Ben Murphy, the latest pilot to join the tour, stunned with a fourth-place finish in only his second season.

CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Position Pilot Team Country Total points Change
1 Matt HALL Matt Hall Racing AUS 81
2 Yoshi MUROYA Team Falken JPN 80
3 Martin SONKA Red Bull Team Sonka CZE 68
4 Ben MURPHY The Blades Racing Team GBR 48 =
5 Kirby CHAMBLISS Team Chambliss USA 48
6 Pete MCLEOD Cashback World Racing CAN 48
7 Nicolas IVANOFF Team Hamilton FRA 47
8 Mika BRAGEOT #11RACING Team Eyetime FRA 44 =
9 Michael GOULIAN Team Goulian USA 42
10 Juan VELARDE Team Velarde ESP 39
11 Francois Le Vot FLV Racing Team 12 FRA 34
12 Cristian BOLTON Cristian Bolton Racing CHI 27
13 Petr Kopfstein Team Speilberg CZE 10 =
14 Matthias Dolderer Matthias Dolderer Racing GER 6 =

Earlier this year, Red Bull announced they would be ending their support for the series, which began in 2003, due to lower than expected interest. The race organisers shortened this year’s series from eight to four races, and announced the series would not return in 2020.

Red Bull pulls the plug on the Red Bull Air Race

The Red Bull Air Race will wrap up for good after an abbreviated 2019 season, it was announced today.

In a surprise announcement, the Air Race said that “Red Bull has decided not to continue the Red Bull Air Race World Championship beyond the 2019 season.”

They added: “The Red Bull Air Race provided sports entertainment of highest quality but did not attract the level of outside interest as many other Red Bull events across the world. Red Bull thanks the pilots, their teams, partners, the host cities as well as the Red Bull employees for all they have done to make these enjoyable and memorable events.”

Just four of the eight planned races will go ahead this year: the Abu Dhabi round, which has already been staged, Kazan, Russia June 15-16), Lake Balaton, Hungary (13-14 July) and Chiba, Japan (7-8 September). Planned races in the USA and Saudi Arabia have been dropped.

Confirming the American race had been cancelled, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said they and their fans would be “disappointed” not to host the air race again. “We enjoyed watching the pilots navigate the unique course over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds,” they said. “We were especially excited to see American pilot Michael Goulian celebrate a well-earned victory last year.”

Customers who have already purchased tickets will receive a refund.

Martin Sonka, the 2018 World Champion, was the first pilot to comment online, describing the announcement as “really sad news” and indicating he had only heard of the decision earlier that day.

In a statement, Matt Hall Racing said: “While disappointed that a sport, which had significant potential to succeed, will be no longer, Matt Hall Racing express their gratitude to Red Bull for the opportunity to compete at the top level of aviation for the past eight seasons.”

The unique motorsport, which began in 2003, sees a selection of elite pilot flying highly-modified raceplanes around a course of inflatable pylons. More than 90 races have taken place around the world, in locations as diverse as Longleat in the UK, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the USA and the Swan River in Perth, Australia.

Goulian, Chambliss & Ivanoff to retire from Red Bull Air Race

SALZBURG | Three of the biggest names in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship will retire at the end of the 2019 season, it was announced today.

Kirby Chambliss is currently the last remaining pilot who has been with the sport since its inception in 2003. The 59-year-old Texan was World Champion in 2004 and 2006. His aggressive flying style saw him struggle for form in more recent years, but he finished fourth overall in 2017 and sixth last season.

Chambliss is also an active airshow performer in the United States, flying both solo aerobatic displays and performances with other Red Bull-sponsored displays.

Michael Goulian, the second American pilot in the Championship, is also set to retire. The 50-year-old aerobatic ace joined the competition in 2004. He achieved his first race win, but had to wait until 2018 for his second first place finish. Last season was his best to date; Goulian took two race wins and three other podiums, finishing third overall.

Frenchman Nicolas Ivanoff also joined the tour in 2004. Now 51, Ivanoff has struggled to keep pace with the competition in recent years and has been blighted by problems with his plane that saw him fly much of the 2017 season in a stock Edge 540 borrowed from the Challenger Class. His best result was in 2014, when he finished fourth overall.

There is no word yet on which Challenger Class graduates will replace the three outgoing pilots, but it is likely that Kevin Coleman of the USA will take over the Chambliss team.

The Red Bull Air Race 2019 season begins in Abu Dhabi next month.