The Red Bull Air Race World Championships
On May 9th and 10th, over 55,000 spectators gathered at the Marina in San Diego, to watch 15 of the world's best pilots navigate though obstacles in fast, lightweight planes, at speeds of up to 270mph, in a quest to win the Red Bull Air Race Championships.
The competition was the 2nd in a series of six that the pilots have to race, to win the championship. The next event, scheduled for June 13th and 14th, will take place in Windsor, Ontario. Other venues include Budapest, Porto and finally Barcelona.
The competition in San Diego was won by Nicholas Invanhoff from France, putting him in second place, behind Austrian pilot Hannes Arch, who is still in the lead by two points. Arch, who won the first championship of the series held in Abu Dhabi in April, had a small mishap in San Diego, after a pelican collided with his plane, distracting him and costing him some valuable points.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship has often been compared to Formula One Car racing, except that the competition takes place in the skies. First held in 2003, the championship was created to develop a totally new kind of aviation race that would test the skills of the world's best pilots for not only speed, but also precision and skill.
In order to compete, pilots must first fulfill some minimum qualifications and then prove their skills at a qualifying meet. The day prior to a competition, finalists undergo another qualifying round, where the bottom five get eliminated. The top ten then proceed to battle for the title on the day of the actual event. Points are allocated to competitiors for speed, accuracy and height. Pilots also get points deducted for flying too high or too close to the obstacles. The pilot with the highest number of points at the end of the entire series, earns the prestigious title of 'Red Bull Air Race World Champion'.
To read more about the San Diego event and follow the rest of the series, check out http://www.redbullairrace.com.