Sunny weather made for a pleasant ferry flight from Graz to the Red Bull Ring today! Although this was the only flying that occurred, it gave Kirby and Paulo plenty of time to review video and prepare for the training rounds tomorrow. Jason spent his day finalizing maintenance on 14KN, including an oil change and replacing spark plugs. The team is feeling great about being back in Austria and can’t wait to train!
It was an overall quiet day for the team. Kirby was able to complete a couple more test flights at the airport before moving back to the hotel to prepare in other ways. While he focused on the track, the rest of the team decided to get into the racing mindset in their own way – go karts! What a fun way to end the day! Tomorrow they will move from Graz to the Red Bull Ring, venue of Spielberg!
Team Chambliss is excited to be back in Austria, the home of Red Bull! The team had their first podium finish of the 2015 season at the Red Bull Ring, and they have high expectations for Spielberg 2016! With assembly complete, the team has spent the last two days focusing on test flights and data analysis. Jason and Paulo have made a few adjustments to the aircraft to ensure optimum configuration for race day. They are looking forward to training at the race track!
A large thank you to everyone who made it out to Luke Air Force Base this past weekend to show support for the aviation industry! One of our favorite parts of being at Luke is performing for our home crowd. It turned out to be a fantastic weekend! We saw many familiar faces and made new friends as well!
The team is gearing up for the Sun ‘N Fun International Fly-In and Expo this week in Lakeland, FL. Along with their routines, Kirby and Michael Goulian will demonstrate a Red Bull Air Race for spectators by flying through an abbreviated race track. Don’t miss it!
For entry tickets or more information on Sun ‘n Fun, visit www.sun-n-fun.org.
Kirby Chambliss, during a training run in Abu Dhabi! The Red Bull Air Race season opener was full of surprises!
Photo by Joerg Mitter
After failing to post a time in yesterday’s qualifying round, Kirby knew he’d have to be fast in order to put the pressure on Australia’s Matt Hall. First to fly, Kirby became the only pilot to complete the course in less than a minute with a time of just 59.864 seconds. The team watched as Hall gained on Kirby during his first lap of the track, but a three second penalty for a pylon hit ultimately pulled him out of the race.
“We knew it was going to be tough. Matt has been consistently fast, so our goal in the Round of 14 was not only to fly fast, but more importantly, fly clean. That’s exactly what we did and it pushed us through to the Round of 8,” said Kirby.
Moving on to face Nicolas Ivanoff, Kirby flew another sub-minute track time but finished just behind.
“I heard his time on the radio before entering the track and knew I would have to really go for it. I did what I could do but he still got me by 0.65 seconds. I’m not super happy with fourth place. I’d rather be on the podium, but from where we were yesterday after qualifying, I am really happy with the improvements made. We still have some work to do but we are headed in the right direction.”
It might not have been a first place finish, but it is a great start to the 2016 season!
For a full list of the results, visit www.redbullairrace.com.
The day didn’t play out quite as the team had hoped. During his first pass in qualifying, Kirby exceeded 12 G’s and was pulled from track, unable to post a time. Because 12 G’s is considered an airplane limit, the plane must be inspected to ensure no damages occurred.
“It’s super frustrating because I was on a really good line. I went in and tried to lay down a fast time on the first run. I should have flown a little more conservatively, but being too conservative can cost you a few seconds. It’s a very thin line,” says Kirby.
Unfortunately, this mistake has been far too common amongst the master pilots here in Abu Dhabi.
“In the training right before qualifying, six pilots exceeded 12 G’s. I didn’t at that time. Now I wish I would have done it during practice instead of in qualifying. It just happens so fast that we don’t even see it. It’s a fraction of a move on the stick. I hit 12.1 G’s for two tenths of a second, but if I had only pulled 11.9, I’d be a hero.”
In the first heat of the round of 14, Kirby will go head to head against Australia’s Matt Hall.
“Matt is going to be quick. To make the podium in Abu Dhabi this year, there can’t be any mistakes.”
The remaining line up for tomorrow’s Round of 14 is as follows:
- Martin Sonka vs. Nicolas Ivanoff
- Petr Kopfstein vs. Yoshihide Muroya
- Juan Velarde vs. Hannes Arch
- Francois Le Vot vs. Michael Goulian
- Pete McLeod vs. Nigel Lamb
- Peter Podlunsek vs. Matthias Dolderer
The sun finally made an appearance in Abu Dhabi, and just in time, too! With only one day before qualifying, all teams were anxious to train! Kirby was able to complete three training session which allowed him to fly the course only six times. Paulo and Jason worked against this short time to make the appropriate adjustments to 14KN. Although Kirby didn’t run the fastest time, the day was still a success in the team’s eyes as they have fine-tuned the airplane to ensure that Kirby is ready for tomorrow’s qualifying round.
Another day of rain in Abu Dhabi! Who would have thought? Much to the team’s despair, all training sessions were cancelled and the airport was closed for the safety of all crew. All teams retreated to the hotel as severe thunderstorms overtook the city with winds reaching up to 100 kph! A break in the weather allowed technicians to return to the airport in the early evening. Team Chambliss is happy to announce that 14KN suffered no damages. The team is ready for these unseasonal storms to make an exit and look forward to some forecasted sun tomorrow!
Day five was a day of “hurry up and wait”! The team expected an exciting day of training in the track, but the weather had other plans in store. What started as light showers turned into a downpour! Rain was definitely not a thought when Team Chambliss packed for Abu Dhabi… With no rain gear, many spent the day with wet clothes and squishy shoes! Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed for some better flying weather tomorrow!