Thursday, November 01, 2007

Red Bull Air Race: Calm Before The Storm

Call it the Hangar Walk; which is equivalent to the glamorous Pit Lane Walk in F1 racing, minus the pit babes. The whole Perth and Jandakot community were abuzz with the upcoming penultimate Red Bull Air Race. This final race is also to be the championship title decider. Jandakot airport plays host to the race teams; whereby we provide the hangar and runway for the teams to setup and test the planes. We have the chance to be up close with the planes; the Edge 540, Extra 300 and MX2. Tiny little planes they are. But under the hood, they pack a monstrous powerplant that makes even the fastest F1 car looked like an amateur. With top speed of 265mph (426kmh), it can fly all kinds of maneuvers that we can dream of. Best of all, it can also achieve a feat which birds can't; a sustained inverted flight.

In conjunction with this, the Royal Aero Club based in Jandakot organized an open house for the public with static displays of some of the Red Bull planes. They also roped in local Jandakot aerobatic teams of Fighter Combat and Attitude Aerobatics for live aerobatic stunts in the air.

The Stearman PT17 WW2 planes started the show rolling with low level flybys; but were cut short due to noise abatement issue with nearby neighborhoods. That was absurd as the airport has been here long before the houses started to creep in. Nevertheless, they managed to recreate a nostalgic WW2 feeling with their low engine humming, just like scenes from the movie Pearl Harbor.

Next up was the small little bi-plane named Eagle if i'm not mistaken. It was fast in the air! Looping and turning effortlessly, like a ballet dancer in the sky.

Chinese made Nanchang fighter planes took up next. Did a few flybys with a beautiful breakaway turn at the final run.

The Red Bull TV coverage chopper looks like a goldfish with nothing interesting to note. But once in the air, it pulled insane stunts that not even my Cessna172 can achieve. My eyes were popped out.

The final show of the day was a Tiger Moth. The slow and clumsy plane literally owned the sky once up there.

Stay tuned for more action on race day...

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