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
The team saw some improvement from training rounds yesterday to qualifying day! Kirby gained a couple tenths of a second from his best time yesterday, 56.877 seconds, to qualifying today. His overall placement was fifth with a time of 56.603 seconds. In the Round of 14, Kirby will face Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic who placed with a time of 57.128 seconds. The fastest pilot, and also the new track record holder, Matthias Dolderer of Germany finished the day with a time of 55.584 seconds.
“Overall, I’m happy that I gained a little bit of time on yesterday’s training rounds, but I hope to find another second for race day tomorrow and end up on the podium again,” says Kirby.
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.
There has been a lot of talk about winglets and plane modifications for a couple of races now, and the team is excited to share that the first reveal will be in Fort Worth! Photos on social media have provided a sneak peek at what viewers can expect to see this Saturday and Sunday.
For the past few days, winglet testing has been in full swing! Kirby and Jason arrived early to spend extra time with the plane to get accustomed with the new look and feel.
“[The winglets] feel great; a little different than our previous wing tips, but nothing I can’t get used to!” says Kirby.
The final phase will be running them during training rounds at the Texas Motor Speedway. Check back tomorrow for further updates!
Red Bull Air Race, Spielberg, Austria! Kirby turns the challenging course into a positive with a third place finish!
It was a fantastic day in Spielberg for Team Chambliss! Kirby made the podium and the team couldn’t be happier!
In the round of 14, Kirby was set to fly first against hometown favorite Hannes Arch. Kirby’s goal was to fly clean, fly fast, and lay down a time that would put pressure on Arch. Finishing with a time of 58.876 seconds, it was a bit slower than the times he set in practice, but the weather was much breezier than before; would it be enough? Jason and Kayla watched anxiously as they waited for Arch to enter the track. Within seconds, it was confirmed that Kirby would go through to the round of eight as Arch clipped the start gate and proceeded to climb out of the track uncompleted.
“[The wind] basically blew me into the gate. From my calculations earlier I knew I wouldn’t be able to win, so I climbed out,” states Arch in response to the outcome of his flight.
Kirby took this advantage and pressed through to the Round of 8, where he faced Canada’s Pete McLeod. Keeping his line clean and consistent, Kirby beat McLeod by 0.654 seconds, with a final time of 58.258. This moved him to the final four for the first time this season.
Kirby took third in the Final Four with a time of 58.291, a close fight between him and Martin Sonka of Czech Republic who finished just behind Kirby. Matt Hall of Australia took his first career win at the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in an upset against Great Britain’s Paul Bonhomme, placing second.
This is an exciting time for the team. Our return to the podium has been a long time coming, and we are looking to carry this momentum into Kirby’s home town race in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas on September 26-27.
Qualifying day came to an end much earlier than all the teams had expected! While they had high hopes for a break in the weather, the skies never cleared. By noon, heavy rain and clouds forced the Race Committee to cancel qualifying all together. The team spent the remainder of the afternoon meeting fellow aviation enthusiasts and preparing for race day. All events are expected to continue as planned.
Because there was no qualifying round, the start list for the Round of 14 will be based on the current World Championship rankings as per the rules. This puts Kirby head-to-head against local pilot Hannes Arch of Austria. While he knows he may not have the fastest airplane, Kirby is looking forward to the challenge. His plan for tomorrow is to fly clean, fly fast, and lay down a time that will put the pressure on Arch!
The weather was forecasted to be rainy on day two in Spielberg, but the gloomy outlook never materialized. Instead, the pilots were greeted with a pleasant day of training back at the Red Bull Ring! Paul Bonhomme of Great Britain set the pace with a fast lap of 56.171 seconds. However, Kirby was close behind with his fastest time at 57.392 seconds. Placing fifth during training two and only 1.221 seconds behind the leading time, Kirby is within reach of the front-runners and will be looking to find a little more speed for the Qualifying round tomorrow morning!
Kirby and Jason arrived in Salzburg, Austria, a few days early to work on upcoming modifications. While they won’t be seen during the race in Spielberg, the team is working hard in conjunction with Microsoft and Kansas University to debut the new changes at Kirby’s home race in Ft. Worth, Texas. Due to the early arrival, Kirby was also able to take some time to tour of the countryside with local pilot Hannes Arch in his helicopter.
“I’ve always thought it would be neat to fly a helicopter, so it was good fun to take a ride with Hannes!”
The team then moved to Spielberg for the first official day of the race. The weather was forecasted to be quite rainy for day one, so they weren’t sure if it would be possible to ferry the race plane into the Red Bull Ring. Luckily, though, the weather cleared enough mid-morning and Kirby was able to bring it in! The remainder of the day was spent setting up the hangar and preparing the plane for training rounds tomorrow!
It was another beautiful day in Ascot, perfect for Race Day! Kirby spent his morning preparing for the Round of 14 against England’s local, Nigel Lamb. It was looking good for Kirby after Lamb received a 2-second penalty for flying too high through a gate five. With a clean run, Kirby would progress forward. The team watched anxiously as his sector times remained green, but Kirby finished just .543 seconds behind Lamb after he, too, received a 2-second penalty for flying too high through gate 11.
Kirby and the team have had a tough run this season, but are still moving forward. Talk of plans for airplane modifications have been circling for a while now, and the team is excited to share that those plans have progressed! Although there is still need for further testing, they are hopeful to debut new winglets in Spielberg, Austria, September 5th and 6th.
For a full list of race day results, see below:
- 1. Paul Bonhomme
- 2. Matt Hall
- 3. Yoshihide Muroya
- 4. Nicolas Ivanoff
- 5. Nigel Lamb
- 6. Peter Besenyei
- 7. Martin Sonka
- 8. Hannes Arch
- 9. Michael Goulian
- 10. Matthias Dolderer
- 11. Juan Velarde
- 12. Kirby Chambliss
- 13. Pete Mcleod
- 14. Francois Le Vot