Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)
Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)

Kyle Franklin Flies It Like He Stole It, Collects Bill Barber Award At EAA AirVenture 2017

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Kyle Franklin Awarded Bill Barber Award for Showmanship

Second generation airshow pilot Kyle Franklin was awarded the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship during an annual ceremony on Tuesday evening of EAA AirVenture 2017 in Oshkosh, WI.

The Bill Barber Award for Showmanship began in 1986, and is awarded to air show performers or teams that have demonstrated great skill and showmanship. World Airshow News magazine and the friends and family of the late Bill Barber present the award annually.

Kyle is now in his 20th year of performing in airshows. He got his start in the industry by wingwalking on his late father’s Waco biplane at age 17 – the youngest ever. He’s also known for being the first jet biplane wingwalker, creating his popular pirate-themed act “Pirated Skies,” and performing the motorcycle to airplane transfer act.

Today, Franklin flies his popular “Dracula” biplane performances and Super Cub comedy act at airshows across the nation. He performed his “stolen” Cub act twice during the week at AirVenture, and took one of our cameras along for a harrowing ride on Tuesday. Thanks to Chris Desmond for the help with the footage!

We also filmed Kyle’s act from the ground, where you can really see how much skill he has as he throws the aircraft all over the sky (and sometimes the ground) while remaining in complete control.

While accepting the award, Kyle remembered those who he grew up with in the airshow industry, including his parents and his late wife Amanda Franklin, and thanked them for their help in getting him to where he is today.

Kyle joins his father, Jimmy Franklin who was awarded with the award in 1989. Kyle and Jimmy are the second father and son to receive the Bill Barber Award. Bobby Younkin (2004) and his son Matt (2012) were the first.

Congrats Kyle!

Airshow Legend Sean D. Tucker To Retire From Solo Aerobatics In 2018

posted in: Aerobatics, Airshows | 0

Sean D. Tucker - Oracle Challenger III

An airshow legend is preparing to move into a new era in his career. Pilot Sean D. Tucker told the Dayton Daily News that he plans to retire from solo aerobatics after the 2018 airshow season. His famous red biplane, the Oracle Challenger III, will go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for permanent display. Sean has flown more than 26,000 hours over four decades of airshow appearances, and practices his hardcore aerobatic routine up to three times a day.

Sean D. Tucker - Oracle Challenger IIISean D. Tucker - Oracle Challenger III

Sean is far from done, however. He is looking to form a formation aerobatic team for future airshow performances. A team performance would be less physically demanding than his rigorous solo routine, an important factor for a 65-year-old pilot. He has previously flown team performances, most recently as part of “The Collaborators” alongside his son Eric Tucker, Bill Stein, and Ben Freelove.

In addition to his airshow flying, Sean is the chairman of EAA’s Young Eagles program that takes kids for airplane rides. He has been named one of the 25 living legends of aviation and won numerous other awards. We are excited to see what he comes up with!

Kyle Franklin Awarded 2017 Bill Barber Award For Showmanship

posted in: Aerobatics, Miscellaneous | 0

Kyle Franklin Awarded 2017 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship

Join us in congratulating Kyle Franklin, the 2017 recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship! The news announced tonight on his Facebook page.

Over his airshow career, Kyle has done it all – Wing-walking, motorcycle to airplane transfers, a comedy routine, stunt driving and high energy aerobatics. Today, he delights airshow crowds in his one of a kind biplane known as Dracula, an aircraft he and his father envisioned many years ago.

Kyle’s recognition comes 28 years after his father, Jimmy Franklin, received the same recognition. Kyle and Jimmy are the second father-son duo to receive the award; Bobby and Matt Younkin also have that honor.

Presented annually by World Airshow News and friends and family of the late Bill Barber, air show performer extraordinaire, the award recognizes an air show entertainer who has demonstrated superb showmanship ability. Past recipients compose the selection committee.

Previous award winners include:
2016 Manfred Radius
2015 Bob Carlton
2014 Greg Koontz
2013 Skip Stewart
2012 Matt Younkin
2011 Rich and Dee Gibson
2010 Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver
2009 Mike Goulian
2008 Bud Granley
2007 Dacy Family Airshow Team (Dave, Phil, Julia, and Susan Dacy and Tony Kazian)
2006 Danny Clisham
2005 Kent and Warren Pietsch
2004 Bobby Younkin
2003 Jim LeRoy
2002 AeroShell Aerobatic Team
2001 Northern Lights Aerobatic Team
2000 John Mohr
1999 Dan Buchanan
1998 Patty Wagstaff
1997 Gene Soucy & Teresa Stokes
1996 Wayne Handley
1995 Bob Hoover
1994 Bob & Annette Hosking (Otto)
1993 Red Baron Stearman Squadron (Steve Thompson, John Bowman, Sonny Lovelace, Randy Drake, and Jerry & Margaret Van Kempen)
1992 Sean D. Tucker
1991 Julie Clark
1990 Leo Loudenslager
1989 Jim Franklin
1988 No recipient
1987 The French Connection (Daniel Heligoin & Montaine Mallet)

The award will be formally presented in a special evening ceremony on Tuesday, July 25th at Theater in the Woods at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Share your congratulations message to Kyle on our Facebook page!

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

Red Bull Air Races Return To San Diego In 2017

posted in: Aerobatics, Air Racing, Airshows | 0
Kirby Chambliss - Red Bull Air Race San Diego
Kirby Chambliss flies over San Diego Bay, USA on 14 March, 2017. (Chris Tedesco / Red Bull Content Pool)

The annual international Red Bull Air Races are coming back to San Diego, California after having last visited the city in 2009! The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will feature Kirby Chambliss and the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, and lightweight racing planes, pilots navigate a low-level aerial track made up of air-filled pylons 82 feet high at speeds of up to 230 mph.

Red Bull Air Race San Diego 2017 Course
Courtesy of RedBullAirRace.com

French pilot Nicolas Ivanoff in his then-new Zivko Edge 540 took the win at San Diego last time. His victory was certainly well-earned, beating out Master Class pilot Paul Bonhomme by over a second.

Racing will take place in the skies directly over the San Diego Bay April 15 and 16 and spectators can watch the high-speed, low-flying action from the North or South Embarcadero Marina Parks. Tickets and additional information are available at RedBullAirRace.com.

Red Bull Air Race 2017 Schedule Announced – Two US Stops Included

posted in: Aerobatics, Schedules | 0

Red Bull Air Race 2017 Schedule

Red Bull has announced the 2017 schedule for their popular Air Racing series, with stops in at least six countries and three continents currently planned for the circuit.

The season will begin in early February in Abu Dhabi and wrap up at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October. A west coast United States stop returns to the schedule in 2017, with the addition of San Diego to the schedule in April.

Missing from the 2017 schedule is Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which has hosted a Red Bull Air Race since 2014 and served as the final race since 2015. This year, Indianapolis will assume the role of the final race with the series championship potentially on the line.

You may remember in previous years, the Las Vegas event has run into issues with winds and weather conditions. Hopefully, by moving the final race of the year to Indianapolis, Red Bull will have better weather.

2017 Red Bull Air Race Schedule:

Stop 1: Abu Dhabi, UAE – Feb 10-11th
Stop 2: San Diego, CA, USA – April 15-16th
Stop 3: Chiba, Japan – June 3-4th
Stop 4: Budapest, Hungary – July 1-2nd
Stop 5: Kazan, Russia – July 22-23rd
Stop 6: TBA – Europe – August 12-13th
Stop 7: TBA – Europe – September 2-3rd
Stop 8: Indianapolis, IN, USA – Oct 14-15th

Red Bull Air Race 2017 Schedule

Red Bull Pilot Hannes Arch Dies In Helicopter Accident

posted in: Aerobatics | 1
Hannes Arch - Red Bull Air Race
Photo Credit: Red Bull Air Race

Red Bull Air Race pilot Hannes Arch died last night in a helicopter crash in the mountains of his native Austria. Few details are available at this time, but the Red Bull Air Race Facebook page posted this tribute:

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of our long-time, close friend Hannes Arch in a private helicopter flight at Carinthia, Austria.

Hannes has been a Red Bull Athlete for over 25 years. The world mainly knew Hannes as an amazingly successful Red Bull Air Race pilot. This was only one of the ways in which his spirit found expression. In younger days he was ranked as one of the world’s leading mountaineers and climbers and was one of the first aerobatic paragliders.

We will miss his warmth, sense of fun and boundless energy. To his family and many other friends, we extend our deepest sympathy.

Hannes was actively competing in the Red Bull Air Race series this year, and holds third place in the 2016 rankings. There are two more races on the 2016 schedule, both in the United States. Both events are expected to go on as planned despite this tremendous loss.

Pilot Killed In Crash At Airshow Of The Cascades

posted in: Aerobatics, Miscellaneous | 5
Marcus Paine
Photo Credit: Marcus Paine’s Facebook Page

Pilot Marcus Paine was killed today when his Stearman biplane crashed during a performance at the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras, Oregon. He was the only person on board and no one on the ground was injured. Paine was reportedly performing aerobatics when he hit the ground. The remainder of the airshow was canceled following the crash, and the show was not scheduled to be held on Sunday.

A brief bio, from the Airshow of the Cascades website:

Marcus Paine brings the thrill of aerobatic flight from his hometown of Anchorage, where he has lived for more than 40 years. Raised on a homestead in Rabbit Creek, Marc has been a pilot for over 20 years and is a skilled instructor – teaching pilots of all skill levels new ways of thinking about the principals of flight. He is also a distinguished graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a former U.S. Army Special Forces Officer, Airborne Ranger, and Jumpmaster. He commanded a combat dive A Team and worked projects throughout the Middle East and South America. He’ll be thrilling our audience with his 450 Stearman!

Bearfeat Aerobatics Pilot Randy Harris And Passenger Killed In Crash Near Vance AFB

posted in: Aerobatics | 1

Randy Harris - Bearfeat Aerobatics

Aerobatic pilot Randy Harris, who performed under the label of “Bearfeat Aerobatics”, was killed yesterday when his Skybolt biplane went down near Vance AFB in Oklahoma. His passenger, identified as USAF T-38 instructor pilot 1st Lt. Dale Bryan Shillington, was also killed in the crash. The aircraft was reportedly flying aerobatics when it went out of control and crashed in a field.

Harris was set to perform at the Vance AFB 75th anniversary open house and airshow this weekend, and was giving media rides in advance of the show. Following the crash, the base announced that the show will go on with added tributes to the pilots.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of both men.

Greg Connell Killed in Plane Crash at 2016 Good Neighbor Day Open House Airshow

posted in: Aerobatics, Airshows | 1
Greg Connell
FILE: Greg Connell performing at the 2014 Ocean City Airshow in Maryland

A plane crash occurred at Saturday’s Good Neighbor Day Open House Airshow at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport, GA, killing aerobatic pilot Greg Connell. The crash happened just before 5pm, towards the end of the airshow. The airport, located northeast of Atlanta, was holding a one day airshow with Greg, Wildhorse Aviation, the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Larry King, and several other aerobatic performers.

Although the winds were gusty, the weather was clear at the time of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are on site assisting with the investigation.

A post on Greg’s Facebook page late Saturday night said, “Please keep Greg’s Family and Friends in your prayers. There are no words to describe what we all are feeling right now. God Bless & Godspeed Greg.”

AirshowStuff extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Greg Connell.

The airshow was only a one day event. Flags at the airport flew at half-staff Saturday evening to honor Greg.

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