Kirby having a blast flying for the USPA National Contestants at Skydive Arizona in Eloy! Kirby said, “Wow, so nice to fly at Skydive AZ, not to mention, close to home!” Photo courtesy of Kirby’s GoPro Hero4!
What a fantastic week in Querétaro, Mexico!
Kirby and the team had a blast catching up with friends from around the globe, some of which they haven’t seen in over a year! Team Technician, Jason Resop, even had a chance to set down the tools and join Kirby in an action packed duo!
The team will continue its adventures in Mexico for one more week, moving to Puebla. While a short break will be taken from the airplanes, there will be no absence of Team Chambliss in the skies! They plan to spend most of the week under canopy with local friends at Skydive Puebla!
The weather today at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a bit of a challenge. Intermittent rain and rapidly changing wind conditions proved to increase course difficulty. An incorrect level in the Round of 14 brought the 2015 race season to an early close for Team Chambliss.
“As far as my day went, it’s not my best day. I made a small mistake and it cost me. We didn’t advance to the Super 8 which we were really looking forward to. I put down a pretty good qualifying time yesterday and I knew I could do it, but again, just a silly mistake.”
Despite the discouraging last race, the team is already excited about the 2016 season. The race plane is evolving and the winter break will allow for fine tuning of its new features! The team is also using new methods to analyze and optimize the course path in collaboration with Microsoft. Everyone is confident that 2016 will be a fast year for the team and N14KC!
For further race information, visit www.redbullairrace.com!
The weather was much better than forecasted, creating a nice day for the final training session and Qualifying round! Kirby placed third in the last training with his fastest time yet of 49.407 seconds! During the qualifying round, he lost just over two tenths of a second and placed seventh with a time of 49.627 seconds.
“Were going to go back and look over the numbers tonight in effort to find a spot where I can pick up a little more time. I’d like to close the one second gap between my place and first. Since we’re here at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, I’m sure most can understand when I say ‘Ricky Bobby, man. First or last, baby!’”
In tomorrow’s Round of 14, Kirby will go head-to-head against Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic.
For more information on qualifying day, visit www.redbullairrace.com.
A minor mechanical issue postponed the arrival of N14KC on day one, which kept events low. However, everything was fixed by early afternoon and Jason made the flight from Chandler to Las Vegas. Before day’s end, Kirby moved the plane to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ready for training on day two.
Training rounds on Friday were greeted with turbulent conditions and light, scattered rain. Pylon hits and incorrect penalties from many pilots proved that this increased course difficulty. Despite the conditions, Kirby was in good spirits! With a full Microsoft team on site, Team Chambliss is prepped and ready for a fast day of flying in tomorrow’s Qualifying round!
The final race of the 2015 Red Bull Air Race Season is just around the corner this upcoming weekend! With the race plane undergoing a lot of modifications over the previous couple of weeks, we thought it would be a great time to get to know the man behind the maintenance – long time technician Jason Resop.
Q: How long have you worked for Team Chambliss?
JR: Twelve years now!
Q: Were you originally hired on as a team technician?
JR: No, when I was hired on, I was hired strictly as a ferry pilot.
Q: What made you want to be a mechanic? How did you make the transition from strictly a ferry pilot to the team technician?
JR: Anytime the planes were being worked on I was just always out there with everyone else constantly learning. About six years into it, they required the technicians to have an A&P. By that time, I had accrued quite a bit of hours working on them so I went and applied for my A&P and became certified.
Q: What are your main duties in your current position with the team?
JR: I am in charge of all of the airplanes, not only our working airplanes but a couple fun ones as well. There’s about eight of them now. I make sure that they are mechanically sound and move them around the world to wherever they need to be.
Q: What is it like working on planes in different parts of the world? Any complications when doing the Red Bull Air Races?
JR: Yeah, being on the road is always harder than being at home because you can bring everything and you always don’t have something! It’s much easier to get certain things at home than anywhere else.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of maintaining the race plane?
JR: The modifications are definitely hard. Trying to make the plane faster while being ahead of everyone else is tough because it’s never home. That’s the hardest part. We don’t have much time with it so the time we do have is really valuable.
Q: Going back to your ferry flights, what do you do to the plane to transition it from race mode to flying cross country?
JR: The main thing I do is make sure that the fuel tanks in the wings are hooked up. Sometimes I disconnect them during the races and take the sumps out to make the plane more aerodynamic. I also remove the telemetry system to make room for luggage, but that’s really about it. There’s not a whole lot to change.
Q: What is in your ferry flight kit?
JR: I can almost take the entire airplane apart with my ferry flight kit. Aside from really big parts, I have just about anything I would need. I’ve bee stuck before and there’s no one there to help you.
Q: Do you have a tool that you can’t go anywhere without?
JR: Screwdriver, for sure!
Q: Do you have a favorite plane to work on out of Kirby’s fleet? If so, why?
JR: I’d have to say the airshow plane. Why, I’m not sure! I just really enjoy it.
Q: You’ve been with the team for twelve years now. How many hours have you spent flying in the edges?
JR: I have a lot! I’d say upwards to 2000 hours in twelve years! [That’s about 83 straight days of flying!]
An incorrect level penalty ended the day for Team Chambliss in the Round of 14, where Kirby faced Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic.
“I was really happy with the run overall, minus the incorrect level. It was a silly mistake I made because there wasn’t any reason to turn through that first gate, but the net time was the fastest I’d run in all the training sessions. Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. Today the bear got us,” explains Kirby.
Moving forward, Kirby and the team plan to push even harder and hope for a podium in Vegas. The plane will look much different and hopefully be noticeably faster. Spectators can expect to see a new canopy, cowling, and turtle deck at the final race of the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship!
For further information, visit www.redbullairrace.com
It was a warm day full of training at the Texas Motor Speedway! Although the heat felt like home, it didn’t stop the team’s enthusiasm for the use of new winglets in the track. Of course the biggest question of the day was, “is the plane faster?”
“In a sport where first and second place can be the difference of a hundredth of a second, it’s difficult to say yes, they make the plane faster. That being said, I’m really happy with them at this point. They definitely don’t seem to be any slower. We plan to use them for qualifying and race day here in Fort Worth,” says Kirby.
In addition to racing with winglets, the team is feeling an advantage in having a full Microsoft team of four at this location. Pictured below (left to right), Ashish is a Machine Learning Expert, Michael brings his knowledge of aerospace engineering, Dey is a Roboticist, and Sudipta focuses on Computer Vision. Each member’s area of study has dialed in different analytical focal points of the sport, and Team Chambliss is very excited about the work the group is accomplishing.
Moving to the physical track, there have been a few changes since last year and it is proving to be a bit more challenging.
“I would say this track is a bit more difficult than last year’s. It isn’t super technical, but the turn from the last main gate back to the finish gate is going to make or break your times. If you pull hard and make it, you’re going to be fast. If you don’t make it, you’re going to hit a pylon and it is really going to hurt your time,” remarks Kirby.
Kirby found a great line through this new track today, finishing with a best time of 56.877 seconds. Paul Bonhomme of Great Britain set the track record with a time of 56.166 seconds. By flying clean and consistent, Kirby is determined to close the gap between his placement and first in tomorrow’s qualifying round.