Douglas C-47 “Bluebonnet Belle” Crashes On Takeoff

posted in: Warbirds | 7

Douglas C-47 Skytrain "Bluebonnet Belle"

Shortly after 9:00 A.M. on Saturday July 21, the Commemorative Air Force’s Douglas C-47 Skytrain “Bluebonnet Belle” reportedly crashed during a takeoff at Burnet Municipal Airport in Burnet, Texas.

Video of the accident shows that the aircraft began to yaw during the takeoff roll. Shortly after lifting off, the left wing dropped and struck the ground. The aircraft then came down and rolled across the grass where shortly before coming to a rest, the aircraft caught fire.

**WARNING: Video contains strong language**
Facebook Video of crash

Of the 13 people inside, all were reportedly able to evacuate the aircraft. Seven are reported with minor injuries with one passenger needing to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. Fire fighters were able to extinguish the fire. Much of the aircraft has been burned away.

“Bluebonnet Belle” was an active part of the Highland Lakes Squadron CAF museum. Named after the city of Burnet, the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas, its history started as part of the Allied Lend-Lease Program serving the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and was most recently involved with the relief efforts of Hurricane Harvey last year.

New USAF Exercise “Mobility Guardian” Exceeds Expectations

posted in: Event Recap, Military | 0

C-17 Globemaster IIIs Joint Base Lewis-McChord Exercise Mobility Guardian 2017

Air Mobility Command has restructured their biennial exercise, formerly known as Air Mobility Rodeo (which last took place in 2011), into a new mission-focused exercise called Mobility Guardian. Originally a competitive event that challenged the best of United States Air Force and international teams in various mission-based competitions, Mobility Guardian has shifted to focus on training up new aircrews to be as versatile as other veteran forces. The event took place from July 31 to August 12, 2017 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, WA.

Fuerza Aérea Colombiana CASA 295 Mobility Guardian 2017Royal Australian Air Force RAAF KC-30 Voyager Tanker Mobility Guardian 2017

Mobility Guardian’s events are setup to be some of the most realistic, real-world, scenario-driven events AMC has undertaken yet. The exercise is designed to allow forces to develop and improve techniques and procedures that enhance air mobility operations and interoperability between US and allied forces. These include training for airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, and mobility support missions. This becomes especially important given that whether the nation is at war or in peacetime, the mobility units are constantly at work helping either the war effort or humanitarian missions, if not both simultaneously.

Lockheed C-130 Hercules Mobility Guardian 2017

In an article by the 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Mobility Guardian Director Lt. Col. Daniel DeYoung said “Mobility Guardian provides us an opportunity to ‘train like we fight’ alongside our joint and international partners.” “It is a completely new exercise meant to enhance mobility partnerships and test the full spectrum of capabilities Air Mobility Command provides the nation.”

“Whereas Rodeo incentivized units to take their best performers from across the Air Force Specialty Code spectrum—operators, maintainers, medical and support Airmen—and give them extra ‘top-off’ training to prepare for the competition, Mobility Guardian participants will by design be the ‘average’ Airman, who will be tested to employ his or her skills to accomplish the mission laid out in the exercise scenario.”

Fuerza Aérea Colombiana CASA 295 Mobility Guardian 2017Fuerza Aérea Colombiana CASA 295 Medical Litter Mobility Guardian 2017

Numerous nations came to observe and participate in the launch of this new exercise, with a handful bringing their own aircraft. The Royal Canadian Air Force dedicated a pair of their CC-130J Super Hercules’, while the Pāk Fizāʾiyah (Pakistan Air Force/PAF), Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and Luchtcomponent (Belgian Air Component) flew in their C-130 Hercules aircraft, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) brought their C-17 Globemaster IIIs and an Airbus KC-30A Voyager. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and Armée de l’air (French Air Force) both brought their latest aircraft, the Airbus A400M Atlas. Participating AMC units flew their C-130s, C-130J-30s, C-17s, KC-10 Extenders, and KC-135 Stratotankers from JBLM.

Pakistan Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules Mobility Guardian 2017Royal Air Force Airbus A400M Atlas Mobility Guardian 2017

Other US military units participated in the aerial refueling training. Those include A-10 Thunderbolt IIs of the 124th Fighter Wing, Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Idaho; US Navy E/A-18G Growlers of VA-129, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.; F-15C Eagles of the 142nd FW, Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon; F-16C Fighting Falcons and F-35 Lightning IIs assigned to Hill AFB, Utah; F-15E Strike Eagles of Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; and Air Force Global Strike Command B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers.

According to Team McChord’s summary article, aircrews flew roughly 1,200 hours in eight days, finishing nearly 650 sorties. Tanker aircraft offloaded roughly 1.2 million pounds of fuel, aerial port personnel processed 3,676 passengers and 4,911 tons of equipment; and crews airdropped 356 paratroopers, 33 heavy platforms and nearly 300 Container Delivery System bundles.

We’d like to thank Air Mobility Command, the 62nd Airlift Wing, and Capt. Jacob Bailey for allowing us to come and tour the exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Heads Up Display (HUD) in the cockpit of Royal Air Force Airbus A400M Atlas Mobility Guardian 2017

The 2017 Lethbridge International Air Show Was One To Remember

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap | 0

Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017

The biennial Lethbridge International Air Show returned in 2017 as a highlight worth catching in Southern Alberta and Western Canada. With a full list of performers of all types and a static display that was impressive to say the least, the July 15-16 weekend was well spent in Lethbridge.

Friday – Night Show

Friday’s schedule started late to allow for a twilight show, something which is thankfully becoming more common. The show began with the United States Army Golden Knights jumping in at the start of golden hour. Shortly after they landed, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds took to the skies for yet another excellent performance, even with one ship missing. With light fading, the Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III powered down the runway and bolted into the sky. Geoff Latter in his Nanchang CJ-6 “Nancy” followed, then the United States Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” mini-demo with some up-close and impressive pyro. Canada’s own Pete McLeod of Red Bull Air Racing fame tumbled through the sky just before Mark Peterson in his Dornier AlphaJet demonstrated how high-performance a non-afterburning jet can be. Greg “Wired” Colyer in his T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker II” kept it low and fast ahead of Jerry Conley in his beautiful de Havilland DH-115 Vampire “Vampy ‘Too’.” Just before the sun began to set, the Golden Knights fit in their full routine.

US Army Golden Knights - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017de Havilland DH-115 Vampire "Vampy Too" - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017

The highlight of the show was certainly the last demo, and one the crowds were waiting for: the CF-18 Hornet. The Hornet, with afterburners lighting up the runway, burnt a trail across the then night sky. Before finishing his routine, Bill Braack in the Smoke-N-Thunder Jetcar took to the runway and challenged the Hornet to a race, of which the outcome was undetermined by most spectators due to the enormous and impressive wall of fire that lit the grounds and sky as they crossed the finished line.

While the flying had finished and most were filing out of the show, a smaller, less-appreciated setting had been set on the static display. Folks on their way off of the airport were treated to the numerous aircraft on the static line lit up by large, portable lights, providing a unique and often unseen view as the last bit of light faded from the day into the dark.

CAF CF-18 Hornet - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017CAF Snowbirds - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017

Saturday – Full Show

This was the first and only day to show the full line-up of performers in the light of day. Attendance was noticeably high, despite the winds and approaching weather that persisted throughout the day. Nearly all performers were able to fit in their routines without issue. The Golden Knights were able to complete their first jump (which we were graciously allowed to observe from the aircraft), but unable to finish their second due to the winds. This prompted Transport Canada to monitor the approaching storm, and once it closed within 1 km, the show was postponed for a mandatory evacuation of the grounds. Shortly after, lightning struck the end of the runway. By then, the NOTAM set to secure the airspace for the performers was too near its end to continue the show, and the decision was made to cancel the remainder of the acts (CF-18 and Snowbirds).

Pete McLeod (Red Bull Air Racer) - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017Mustang High Flight - Dornier AlphaJet - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017

Sunday – Mini-Show

With the same hours as the full show, but with select performances, the mini-show was intended to give first-time attendees a taste of what an air show is like. The winds were still high throughout the day, resulting in the Golden Knights cancelling their demo that afternoon. The acts that did still take the sky included the CC-177, T-33, AlphaJet, Vampire, A-10, CAF Snowbirds, CJ-6, and CF-18.

RCAF CC-177 Globemaster III - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017

Statics

Certainly the aerial performers were worth the admission, but just as equally the static displays that attended proved worthwhile. All of the aircraft on the website’s listing of confirmed attendees showed up except the Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Dash 8. In a surprise filling of the Dash 8’s vacancy, a US Navy E-6B Mercury airborne command post and communications relay aircraft from Tinker AFB, Oklahoma came to the show. Additionally, a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 from 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron, nicknamed the “Cougars,” with a special 75th anniversary painted tail joined the many heavies on the line. The show had a total of three C-17s on display, with one from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Altus AFB, Oklahoma, and a CC-177 from CFB Trenton, Ontario.

USMC MV-22 Osprey on static - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017USN E-6B Mercury on static - Lethbridge International Air Show 2017

With a few hiccups throughout the weekend due to weather and other elements out of the show’s control, the 2017 Lethbridge International Air Show was able to impress with a stellar line-up of performers and a static display most shows would envy. We at AirshowStuff would like the thank the Lethbridge International Air Show Association and its volunteers for putting on this year’s show. We’d also like to thank Kim and Trina Tymko of Prime Rentals Ltd. for their sponsorship of the air show and help in coordinating our visit. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2019!

Look for much more coverage of this great event on our Facebook page and Youtube channel as we work through a mountain of content!

USAF Thunderbirds Soar Over Paris, Normandy Beach, And More In Preparation For Bastille Day Flyover

posted in: Jet Teams | 0
USAF Thunderbirds Over Paris, France - July 2017
Photos Courtesy of the USAF Thunderbirds

Members of the United States Air Force (USAF) Thunderbirds demonstration team are in Europe this week, preparing for their upcoming shows in France and England. The team is set to fly over the city of Paris, France on July 14 in celebration of Bastille Day, France’s La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) commemorating the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July, 1789.

The team flew a practice sortie over the city as well as the beaches at Normandy and Mont Saint-Michel. Check out these incredible photos!

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Mont. Saint-Michel

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Pointe Du HocUSAF Thunderbirds Over France - Normandy Beach

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Louvre

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Normandy Beach

This year, the traditional flyover of the parade through Paris will feature the Patrouille de France and a number of other aircraft from the French Air Force’s inventory, to include Dassault Mirage 2000s and Rafales. Following them will be the USAF Thunderbirds and a pair of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors. Much like the Patrouille de France’s American Tour earlier this year, the inclusion of the Thunderbirds in these festivities marks the 100th year since the United State’s entry into the First World War, signifying solidarity between the French and American forces.

Following their Bastille Day flyover, the team will be performing at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England July 14-16. Afterwards, they will depart Europe back for the US to fly at Flight Over the Falls in Great Falls, Montana on July 22-23.

To see where you can catch the USAF Thunderbirds this year, check out our post with their 2017 schedule!

New Military Performers Promise Action-Packed Weekend At Lethbridge Next Week

posted in: Airshows | 0

A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog)

We’ve teased you with information about the upcoming Lethbridge International Airshow, happening July 14-16 2017, and kept up with their exciting static announcements. Today, we’re here to tell you about two military acts that you won’t likely find together anywhere else this year that will be tearing up the skies over Alberta. The show has added a United States Air Force (USAF) A-10 Thunderbolt II demonstration to their roster, as well as a flight demo by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CC-177 Globemaster III from 429 Transport Squadron of CFB Trenton, Ontario.

A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog)C-17 Globemaster III

The USAF A-10s will be flying throughout the show weekend. Lethbridge will be one of the few places anyone will get a chance to see the A-10 perform anywhere in North America, and the only confirmed demo in Canada this year thus far. The Thunderbolts will be from the 303rd Fighter Squadron/442nd Fighter Wing of Whiteman AFB, Missouri. The CC-177 will be flying a demonstration showing off the capabilities of the airframe and its mission at 429 Squadron. The aircraft performing will be the same painted-tail Globemaster that will be featured on static display. These new performer additions add to an already stellar, jet-filled lineup featuring the RCAF CF-18 Hornet, a de Havilland Vampire, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Hurry to get your tickets before the show here!

For more information on the Lethbridge International Airshow, please visit their website.

V-22 Osprey And MQ-9 Reaper Make Historic First Static Appearance In Canada At 2017 Lethbridge Intl. Airshow

posted in: Airshows | 1

USMC MV-22 Osprey - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014

Some of the most advanced machines in modern military hardware are making their way to the Lethbridge International Airshow this year – their first static appearances in Canada. Both aircraft will be featured guests as part of the growing static display set to appear at the show July 14-16.

The innovative Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft will be coming from Marine Corps Air Station Mirimar in San Diego, California. The Osprey has the unique ability to transition from vertical flight to conventional flight via the rotation of its two large turboshaft engines and rotors. First fielded in March 2007, the MV-22 has seen extensive use on deployments with the United States Marine Corps.

USMC MV-22 Osprey - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014USAF General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper Static Display Aviation Nation Nellis Air Force Base AFB Creech

Accompanying the MV-22 on static display will be the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) from Creech Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, Nevada. Following the success and use of the now-dated MQ-1 Predator, General Atomics improved the airframe and capability to form the MQ-9. You will get a chance to see both the MQ-9 and MQ-1 on display together over the show weekend. As the face of the future in unmanned aerial systems, the Reaper UCAV will be an attraction all its own, amidst other exciting spectacles at this year’s show.

Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III Anniversary Paint 2017 429 Squadron
Courtesy of the RCAF

Equally as exciting, a specially-painted CC-177 Globemaster III from 429 Transport Squadron “Bisons” of 8 Wing in Trenton, Ontario will be attending the show. The squadron has painted the tail of their aircraft to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the unit’s formation and 10 years of the Globemaster III’s service with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Additionally, newly-confirmed aircraft to join the static display listing for the show include the US Navy’s P-8 Poseidon, C-2 Greyhound, and E-2 Hawkeye, and the US Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog,” C-17 Globemaster III, and C-5M Super Galaxy.

You can learn more about what else will be shown off at this year’s Lethbridge International Airshow at the event’s website .

Are you planning on attending the Lethbridge International Airshow this year? Join the conversation in our forums!

Canadian Snowbirds Debut Special “Canada 150” Paint Scheme

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0
RCAF Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor Canada 150 Paint Scheme
Photo courtesy of RCAF. Photo by Ken Lin.

The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds demonstration team are upping the festivities for the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation with a special paint scheme of their own. The new paint on their Canadair CT-114 Tutor features the Canada 150 logo on the nose and wings with the underside of the aircraft featuring 150 crimson maple leaves mixed with the traditional red/white/blue colors of the Snowbirds scheme. Yet again, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have outdone themselves with a stunning display of patriotism and creativity.

RCAF Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor Canada 150 Paint Scheme
Photo courtesy of RCAF. Photo by Ken Lin.

The first public appearance of the new paint scheme will be Saturday July 1, as the Snowbirds join the similarly beautiful CF-18 Hornet demonstration jet and multiple other aircraft for a mass flyover of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario as part of the Canada Day festivities. Should you miss that, the Snowbirds are next expected to fly at the Shoal Lake Airshow in Shoal Lake, Manitoba on July 12, followed shortly by the Lethbridge International Airshow in Lethbridge, Alberta.

We look forward to seeing this beautiful aircraft and commemoration on tour throughout the remaining show season!

Bombers Over Oshkosh! EAA AirVenture 2017 To Feature Triple Bomber Formation And Other Flybys

posted in: AirshowStuff, Military | 1

B-52 Stratofortress Bomber

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) annual AirVenture fly-in and airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is always a huge gathering of vintage and modern aviation. This year is no exception, especially now with the news that the United States Air Force is planning on a composite flyover consisting of the B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, and B-52 Stratofortress in one formation on Saturday, July 29!

B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber - Spirit of St Louis Airshow 2016B-1B Lancer Bomber

According to the article, the Saturday parade of modern bombers will be followed by both B-29 Superfortresses “Fifi” and “Doc,” two B-17 Flying Fortresses, several B-25 Mitchells, the A-20 Havoc, and “more yet to be announced.” We couldn’t agree more with the statement “If 2017 is the year of the bomber, then Saturday is bomber day.”

The bomber bash will kick off with a flyover of the B-1 on Monday, July 24. The Lancer flies again on Wednesday, July 26, following the Doolittle Raid reenactment. The reenactment will feature more than a dozen B-25s in the air. A B-52 will also be on static display throughout the week.

Additionally, both B-29s will fly together on Friday to commemorate the aircraft type’s 75th anniversary. Notably, AirVenture will be the first time the only two flying Superfortresses have shared the skies together.

B-25 Mitchell "Betty's Dream" - Texas Flying Legends MuseumB-29 Superfortress "Fifi" - Commemorative Air Force

We hope that many of you bomber fans out there can find your way to the show July 24-30th. We hope to see you there! For more information about what’s coming to AirVenture 2017, visit the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 thread on our forums.

2017 Lethbridge International Airshow Is Set To Stun

posted in: Airshows | 1

Canadian Forces Snowbirds

There are some exciting new changes coming to the Lethbridge International Airshow in Lethbridge, Alberta this July 14th-16th. With a number of jet performers and a night show added, Lethbridge is proving to be a show you won’t want to miss!

Show Weekend
An extra day has been added to bring more aviation fun to the weekend. The gates on Friday will open at 4:00PM with the new night show starting at 7:00PM, wrapping up at 11:00PM. The afterburners will be lit and the fireworks bursting as the night routines from the performer lineup light up the night sky!

For Saturday and Sunday, the gates will open at 9:00AM with flying starting at 1:00PM and closing at 6:00PM.

Ace Maker T-33 Shooting Star Smoke-N-Thunder JetCar Race Aviation Nation 2016 Nellis AFB Las Vegas NevadaUS Army Golden Knights

Performers
There will be plenty of action in the skies over Lethbridge this year. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are to take the stage once more, along with the absolutely gorgeous CF-18 Hornet Demo Team. A rare 1950s-era de Havilland DH-115 Mk.55 Vampire jet, Greg “Wired” Colyer’s T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker II,” and the Dornier AlphaJet of Mustang High Flight Aerobatics will round out the jet warbird lineup. Aerobatics from Geoff Latter in his Nanchang CJ-6A, Red Bull Air Racer Pete McLeod with his racing Edge 540, and Joe Shetterly’s RV-8 of Rifle Airshows are sure to impress throughout the show weekend. The US Army Golden Knights parachute team will also be in attendance, demonstrating that jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is just as exciting as flying one.

However, not all of the excitement will be in the air this year. Bill Braack of Smoke-N-Thunder will be there in his jet-powered car to challenge another performer to a sprint race, as well as Precision Exotics in their 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo and 2007 Ferrari F430.

Static Display
An ambitious and exciting list for the static display requested for the show has been published to the website, with new confirmed attendees coming in every week. Currently, a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-146 Griffon, United States Air Force (USAF) C-130J Super Hercules, Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance de Havilland/Bombardier DHC-8 Dash 8, and the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) Arizona Airbase North American B-25J Mitchell “Maid In The Shade” are set to appear this year. Potential static displays at this time include exciting features such as a USAF AC-130 Spectre gunship, US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey, RCAF CC-177 Globemaster III, and a new US Navy P-8 Poseidon. Stay tuned as more static displays are confirmed!

USN P-8 Poseidon Navy NAS Whidbey Island Washington WA Static DisplayCC-115 Buffalo Static Display Abbotsford International Airshow 2015

With some fresh faces and valued old friends coming to the Lethbridge International Airshow this year, it promises to be one of the must-see shows of the season. You can go to lethbridgeairshow.ca for more information about the event and follow us here at AirshowStuff as we work with the show to bring you some amazing coverage!

Red Bull Air Race: San Diego – Muroya Emerges Victorious In 2017

posted in: Aerobatics, Air Racing, Event Recap | 0

Red Bull Air Race World Championship - San Diego 2017

In mid-April, the famed Red Bull Air Race World Championship returned to San Diego, California. Racers from all over the world descended on Browns Field and San Diego Bay for a chance to claim a win in the second race of the 2017 season. For many, the weeekend would be filled with one upset after another as pilots broke in new aircraft and faced fierce competition.

History of Red Bull Air Race World Championship

Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship celebrated its landmark 75th race at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi back in February. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best aerobatic race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision, and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, and lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 230 mph while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 82-foot-high, air-filled pylons. From 2011-2013, the annual races were on hold as new safety improvements were put into place. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.

Red Bull Air Race World Championship - San Diego 2017 - Breitling MXS-R - Mikael BrageotRed Bull Air Race World Championship - San Diego 2017 - Nicolas Ivanoff - Edge 540 V2

Race Format

Typically flown on weekends, the event begins with a training day where pilots are required to fly two training flights through the course before the knock-out style races begin. This not only gives the pilots an introduction to what flying the course will be like, but the times set by each racer in the last training session determine the order in which they will fly during the qualifying races the following day,a sort of pre-qualifying. The order begins with the slowest pilot and ends with the fastest.

In qualifying, the racers are given two flying sessions to place for the finals. The best overall time of the two sessions is counted towards Race Day.

On race day, all racers go through another two sessions and the times from those determine the 14th through 9th placings. The remaining eight top placing racers then advance to the finals the next day.

The finals begin with the Round of Eight that determines the 8th through 5th placings. The four fastest racers then go on to duel for the 4th through 1st positions.

At the end of each race event, Championship Points are awarded to the pilots based on their placings as such:

  • 1st – 15 points
  • 2nd – 12 points
  • 3rd – 9 points
  • 4th – 7 points
  • 5th – 6 points
  • 6th – 5 points
  • 7th – 4 points
  • 8th – 3 points
  • 9th – 2 points
  • 10th – 1 points
  • 11th – 0 points
  • 12th – 0 points
  • 13th – 0 points
  • 14th – 0 points

Red Bull describes the race course setup in this way:

As many of the stops on the World Championship calendar are classed as exotic, pilots often have to battle against the elements, with extreme heats, shifting winds and harsh storms always a possibility. As a result, no two Red Bull Air Races are ever the same.

On average, the racetracks measure approximately 6km in length and are marked by race-bespoke Air Gates. The unique inflatable pylons, which form the Air Gates and define the racetrack, were first developed in 2002 and have evolved year-on-year into the sophisticated design currently used.

When the track is designed it consists of the Start/Finish Gate, three or four two-pylon gates, which the pilots have to fly straight and level between and a chicane that comprises of three individual pylons that pilots will have to bank around. At one end of the course a Vertical Turning Maneuver is included. This is where the pilots have to fly through the gate, then turn as quickly and efficiently as possible without pulling more than 10G in their raceplane and then fly towards the next gate. On average there will be five straight and level gates (where up to two could be for Vertical Turning Maneuvers) and a three-pylon chicane.

Deviations from these requirements result in time penalties of varying severity. More serious infractions result in Did Not Finish (DNF) or disqualified (DQ) scores. Penalties are categorized as:

One Second Penalty

  • Insufficient/no smoke

Two Second Penalty

  • Flying too high, through or over an Air Gate
  • Incorrect level (at an angle) crossing through an Air Gate

Three Second Penalty

  • Hitting a gate (1st time)
  • Hitting a gate (2nd time)

Did Not Finish

  • Deviating from course
  • Exceeding 200 knots (370 km/h; 230 mph) when crossing the Start Gate
  • Aircraft weight below 698 kilograms (1,539 lb) after the race
  • Exceeding 10G for more than 0.6 seconds
  • Exceeding maximum load factor of 12G
  • Hitting a gate (3rd time)

Disqualification

  • Uncontrolled movements or flight
  • Close to ground pull-up from descent
  • Crossing safety line
  • Negative G-turn around a pylon
  • Flying below 49 ft. (15 m.) between Air Gates
  • Flying into clouds
  • Entering course at an angle exceeding 45 degrees
  • Ignoring Race Director commands
Red Bull Air Race World Championship San Diego 2017 Matt Hall Edge 540 V3Red Bull Air Race World Championship San Diego 2017 Edge 540 V2 Cristian Bolton

San Diego Races

More than 20,000 spectators lined San Diego Bay on Saturday, April 15 as the reigning Red Bull Air Race World Champion battled with two fierce opponents – the man who currently leads the standings and an American in his home race ­– for the top spot in qualifying at the second stop of 2017. As the pilots raced at speeds of 230mph, American Michael Goulian (58.978) was right on the tail of defending titleholder Matthias Dolderer of Germany, who came out on top with a time of 58.332. Czech Republic’s Martin Šonka (58.980) finished in third. In the Challenger Class, one of the youngest pilots in the history of Red Bull Air Race, American Kevin Coleman, topped the timesheet at 1:09.905.

Dolderer was the dominant force of the 2016 season, winning the second stop of the year and going on to clinch the championship even before the season finale. But it was Šonka who claimed the race win at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi to put himself at the head of the overall standings for the first time in his career. Goulian, whose last win was in 2009, seems to be flying with renewed confidence this season. Another American, two-time titleholder Kirby Chambliss, was sixth in San Diego qualifying.

On Sunday April 16, the final races took place and one upset followed another. Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya of Japan was the only pilot with the consistency to reach the top of the podium with a time of 58.529. Peter Podlunšek from Slovenia stunned the field in capturing second place in his first-ever Final 4, two seconds behind Muroya at 1:00.454. Dolderer was third after a pylon hit, and American Kirby Chambliss finished fourth.

Earning 15 World Championship points with the victory, Muroya jumped up 10 places in the overall standings, to third behind Šonka (21 points) and Dolderer (16). The result was especially meaningful because the next stop of the season is in Muroya’s home skies of Chiba, Japan – where he earned his first Red Bull Air Race win in 2016.

“I’m quite happy. We had a very hard time at the season opener in Abu Dhabi, and we’ve been working really hard for months,” said Muroya, who had an over-G penalty at the 2017 kickoff. “My crew and my family have been helping a lot to help us get more stable and consistent, and I thank them. The next race in Japan is going to be a big one, and it’s an important step forward to win here as I head to my home country. It’s a huge crowd and pressure for me, but I will have fun there.”

In the day’s earlier action, 2016 Challenger Cup winner Florian Bergér of Germany earned his first Challenger Class win of the season.

The rankings following the San Diego races are as follows:

Master Class

Challenger Class

Tickets for the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship – including the third stop, an exciting return to Chiba, Japan on 3-4 June, are on sale now. For more information on tickets and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com.

We at AirshowStuff would like to thank Lora Bodmer of Deep Communications for Red Bull in San Diego for allowing us to cover these exciting races and Red Bull GmbH for putting on this incredible series year after year!

Red Bull Air Race World Championship - San Diego 2017 - Trophy

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