Air racing is a motorsport that involves airplanes competing over a fixed course, with the winner either returning the shortest time, the one to complete it with the most points, or to come closest to a previously estimated time.
Red Bull Air Race World Championship Rules:
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an international series of races with the participation of at least eight pilots at each race. The objective is to navigate an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons in the fastest possible time incurring as few penalties as possible.
Pilots can win World Championship points at each race and the pilot with the most points after the last race of the season becomes the Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
For 2015, 14 pilots will take part in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Master Class pilots will have obtained their Unrestricted Superlicence, as issued by the Red Bull Air Race Committee.
New pilots who wish to participate in the World Championship must first fulfil the minimum criteria set by the Red Bull Air Race Committee, which include top achievements in international flying competitions organised by the FAI. They must also be active aerobatic air display pilots. Eligible pilots that prove their skills at the Red Bull Air Race Qualification Camp can achieve the Red Bull Air Race Restricted Superlicence. Once they have the Restricted Superlicence, they then qualify to take part in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the Challenger Cup.
The Red Bull Air Race consists of the following flying sessions: Training, Qualifying, Round of 14, Round of 8, Final 4. In all sessions, only one pilot races in the track at a time.
TRAINING: Takes place on the days preceding Qualifying Day.
QUALIFYING: Takes place on Qualifying Day, the day before Race Day. It includes two mandatory qualifying sessions. Best time counts. Results of the qualifying session determine the order of racing on Race Day.
ROUND OF 14: Takes place on Race Day. This flying session is completed in head-to-head heats; the seven winners plus the fastest loser move forward to the Round of 8. The head-to-head pairings are based on the qualifying session results.
ROUND OF 8: Seven winners from the Round of 14, plus the fastest loser, race in head-to-head heats again. The four winning pilots advance to the Final 4. For the losing pilots, their time in the Round of 8 will determine 5th to 8th place race positions.
FINAL 4: Four fastest from the Round of 8 compete in the Final 4 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place race positions. The slowest winning pilot from the Round of 8 will fly first in the Final Four. They race individually and victory is based on the quickest time recorded for the session.
The winner is the pilot who is ranked number one in the final flying session.
RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPION
The Red Bull Air Race World Champion is the pilot who achieves the highest aggregate score in the given Red Bull Air Race World Championship season. The winner is crowned Red Bull Air Race World Champion at the last stop in the World Championship.
THE CHALLENGER CUP:
The Challenger Cup is a second competition category in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. The Challenger Cup pilots compete in simplified or adapted tracks in an Extra E-330LX as provided by the Red Bull Air Race. Unless otherwise specified, racing rules that apply to the Red Bull Air Race World Championship Master Class also apply to the Challenger Cup category.
The Challenger Cup pilots will have two training sessions two days before Race Day (one of which is compulsory), and one training session on Qualifying Day. The Challenger Cup races will take place on Qualifying Day, after the training session. Pilots complete two laps, with only the best time counting for the final ranking.
The Challenger Cup pilots must compete in at least three races throughout the season, but are able to participate in more races if preferred. In the case of pilots taking part in more than three races, only the best three scores will count for the final Challenger Cup ranking.
The Challenger Cup gives Challenger Class pilots the opportunity to work towards acquiring the Unrestricted Superlicence that is needed to be able to fly in the Master Class of the Red Bull Air Race. Challenger Cup pilots have to obtain a Restricted Superlicence in a Qualification Camp before taking part in the Challenger Cup.
CHALLENGER CUP PILOTS
The Challenger Cup pilot who achieves the highest aggregate score in the given Red Bull Air Race World Championship season is awarded the Challenger Cup World Champion title at the last stop in the World Championship.
PLANE SAFETY INFORMATION:
All race planes are fitted with a 7-point system, consisting of a 5-point seat belt system and a ratchet system. Both the seat belt and ratchets operate on a quick release system for unstrapping in the case of emergency bailout.
All pilots wear special helmets (most of them with a visor), G-Race suits, flying gloves and parachutes. The canopy can be jettisoned for a bailout if needed. Over water, pilots will also wear a water survival vest, which can be activated to inflated if needed after a bailout over water.
All aircraft are equipped with spare air and an oxygen mask. The pilot can use the bottle in case of a ditching situation in the water.
All pilots have undergone water survival training, which includes underwater rollover training.
SAFETY ON STANDBY
A helicopter, speed boats with rescue divers, and a flight surgeon are all on standby during every flying session of a Red Bull Air Race.
For the 2014 season, the pylons retain their iconic cone shape, but with marked safety improvements. They now stand 25m high, 5m taller than those used in the 2010 Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
The one-sided, asymmetrical pylon cones have a straight inner edge with an inclined outer edge, creating a perfect rectangular flight window between the Air Gates. The change in pylon height has elevated the flight window by 2m overall from the ground – improving the overall flying safety of the racetrack.
1909:The invention of air racing came in August, 1909, at Reims. France, just a few tens of miles to the northeast of Paris. It was the Great Week of the Champagne, where vineyards for that classic beverage stretch to the horizons. Until then, few people had seen an airplane on the ground, let alone in the air, and so hundreds of thousands descended on what had been a large vacant field for as long as anyone could remember.
1910: The next year saw air racing come to the USA for 10 days—January 10 to 20, at Dominguez Field, outside Los Angeles. Despite efforts by the Wright Brothers to interfere via legal actions claiming patent infringements, the event went off well, attracting hundreds of thousands to the first public airplane flights west of the Rocky Mountains. Pre-race ads trumpeted a total purse of $80,000.
1911:In the years before the First World War popular interest in aviation led to a large number of air races in Europe, including the 1911 Circuit of Europe race, the Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air Race and the Aerial Derby.
1912-1913: Jacques Schneider, a French financier, balloonist and aircraft enthusiast, in 1912, the competition offered a prize of approximately £1,000. The race was held twelve times between 1913 and 1931.
1919:On October 19, 1919, the Army Transcontinental Air Race began along a 2700 mile route from Long Island, New York to San Francisco, California and back which would see widespread carnage including 7 fatalities (2 en route to the race). Of the 48 aircraft that started, 33 would complete the double crossing of the continent.
1921:In 1921, the United States instituted the National Air Meets, which became the National Air Races in 1924. In 1929, the Women's Air Derby became a part of the National Air Races circuit. The National Air Races lasted until 1949. The Cleveland Air Races was another important event. In 1947, an All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race dubbed the "Powder Puff Derby" was established, running until 1977.
1934:In 1934, the MacRobertson Air Race from England to Australia took place with the winning de Havilland Comet flown by C. W. A. Scott and Tom Campbell Black.
1964:In 1964, Bill Stead, a Nevada rancher, pilot, and unlimited hydroplane racing champion, organized the first Reno Air Races at a small dirt strip called the Sky Ranch, located between Sparks, Nevada, and Pyramid Lake.
1966:The National Championship Air Races were soon moved to the Reno Stead Airport and have been held there every September since 1966.
1970:In 1970, American Formula One racing was exported to Europe (Great Britain, and then to France), where almost as many races have been held as in the U.S.A. Also in 1970, the California 1000 Air Race started at the Mojave Airport with a 66 lap unlimited air race that featured a Douglas DC-7 with one aircraft completing the circuit.
Women’s air racing:
Women’s air racing all started in 1929 with the First Women’s Air Derby. Twenty pilots raced from Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, OH, site of the National Air Races. Racing continued through the ‘30’s and was renewed again after WWII when the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race (AWTAR), better known as the Powder Puff Derby, came into being. The AWTAR held its 30th, final and commemorative flight in 1977. When the AWTAR was discontinued, the Air Race Classic, Ltd., (ARC) stepped in to continue the tradition of transcontinental speed competition for women pilots and staged its premier race. The Air Race Classic was reincorporated in 2002 into the Air Race Classic, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
Historical Championships Timeline:
Air racing has been part of the scene almost as long as airplanes have been flying. It has survived despite frequent and serious shortcomings and limitations because of its simple, obvious appeal. It is the simplest form of aerial competition (the pilot of the airplane in front is winning!), and is the fastest form of motor racing, in which the best racers whip around at double the speed of the fastest race cars.
The first heavier-than-air air race was held on May 23, 1909 - the Prix de Lagatinerie, at the Port-Aviation airport south of Paris, France. Four pilots entered the race, two started and nobody completed the full race distance though this was not unexpected as the rules specified that whoever travelled furthest would be the winner if no-one completed the race. Léon Delagrange who covered slightly more than half of the ten 1.2-kilometre laps was declared the winner.
First International Flying Event:
Some other minor events were held before the Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne in August 22–29, 1909 at Reims, France. This was the first major international flying event, drawing the most important aircraft makers and pilots of the era, as well as celebrities and royalty.
First Gordon Bennett Trophy:
The premier event — the first Gordon Bennett Trophy competition — was won by Glenn Curtiss, who beat second place finisher Louis Blériot by five seconds. Curtiss was named "Champion Air Racer of the World".
First Air race in the United States:
The first air race in the United States was in Los Angeles California in 1910. Pilots Roy Knabenshue and Charles Willard, the very first men Curtiss taught to fly, picked Southern California for their winter aerial demonstrations base and persuaded railroad magnate Henry Huntington to pledge $50,000 for the event.
Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, FAI:
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, FAI – The World Air Sports Federation, is the world governing body for air sports, aeronautics and astronautics world records. Its head office is in Lausanne, Switzerland.This includes man-carrying aerospace vehicles from balloons to spacecraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (such as model aircraft and UAVs). It was founded on 14 October 1905.
History of FAI:
The FAI was founded at a conference held in Paris 12–14 October 1905, which was organised following a resolution passed by the Olympic Congress held in Brussels on 10 June 1905 calling for the creation of an Association "to regulate the sport of flying, ... the various aviation meetings and advance the science and sport of Aeronautics."The conference was attended by representatives from 8 countries: Belgium (Aero Club Royal de Belgique, founded 1901), France (Aéro-Club de France, 1898), Germany (Deutscher Aero Club e.V.), Great Britain (Royal Aero Club, 1901), Italy (Aero Club d'Italia, 1904), Spain (Real Aero Club de España, 1905), Switzerland (Aero-Club der Schweiz, 1900) and the United States (Aero Club of America, 1905).
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Gordon Bennett Trophy (aeroplanes):
The Gordon Bennett Aviation Trophy was an international airplane racing trophy awarded by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the American owner and publisher of the New York Herald newspaper. The trophy is one of three Gordon Bennett awards: Bennett was also the sponsor of an automobile race and a ballooning competition.
Daily Mail aviation prizes:
Between 1907 and 1925, the Daily Mail newspaper, initially on the initiative of its proprietor, Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe,awarded numerous prizes for achievements in aviation. The newspaper would stipulate the amount of a prize for the first aviators to perform a particular task in aviation, or to the winner of an aviation race or event. The most famous prizes were the £1,000 for the first cross-channel flight awarded to Louis Blériot in 1909 and the £10,000 given in 1919 to Alcock and Brown for the first non-stop transatlantic flight between North America and Ireland.
The prizes are credited with advancing the course of aviation during the early years, with the considerable sums offered becoming a much-coveted goal for the field's pioneers.
The Coupe d'Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider, commonly called the Schneider Trophy or Schneider Prize (sometimes it is incorrectly referred to as the Schneider Cup, which is entirely different prize), was a trophy awarded annually to the winner of a race for seaplanes and flying boats. The Schneider Trophy is now held at the Science Museum, South Kensington, London.
King's Cup Race:
The King's Cup Race is an annual British handicapped cross-country air race, is run by the Royal Aero Club Records Racing and Rally Association and was first contested on 8 September 1922. The event was open to British pilots only, but that did include members of the Commonwealth.
The Thompson Trophy race was one of the National Air Races of the heyday of early airplane racing in the 1930s. Established in 1929, the last race was held in 1961. The race was 10 miles (16 km) long with 50-foot-high (15 m) pylons marking the turns, and emphasized low altitude flying and maneuverability at high speeds. As the race was flown around a closed course, crowds in the grandstands could easily see much of the spectacle.
The Bendix Trophy is a U.S. aeronautical racing trophy. The transcontinental, point-to-point race, sponsored by industrialist Vincent Bendix founder of Bendix Corporation, began in 1931 as part of the National Air Races. Initial prize money for the winners was $15,000. The last Bendix Trophy Race was flown in 1962.