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Red Bull Air Race in London

Flying out of the squareI had never even heard of the Red Bull Air Race before and since it doesn’t go to the same city each year, I figured I should check it out. For those that don’t know, it is an obstacle course for small planes to fly through and the pilot with the quickest time through the course wins. A few interesting stats:

1. The pilots can hit up to 10Gs on the corners at the ends of the course and can fly up to 400kph (almost 250mph)
2. The planes are built for racing and often have little modifications to make them quicker to turn and to go faster. Apparently this often makes them a bit unstable, but helps win the race if the pilot can handle the plane.
3. The planes have glass at the pilots feet, including the cockpit top, so the pilot can see in front, to the side, and below them. 
4. The pilot knows to hit the course when the announcer says "smoke on": the pilot then turns their smoke trail on so we can see their trail through the course.  
5. Red Bull invented the race and the "cones" for the planes to maneuver around. These things can get hit by a plane, tear apart, and the plane won’t crash. A pilot can hit one without receiving a penalty (I saw that happen), but if they pop the cone (or shred it), then they get time added to their overall time.  
6. You have to fly through some cones horizontal, others perpendicular (one wing towards the sky, one towards the river), and others you just have to fly around like when on a water ski course.
7. The youngest pilot is 39 years old…. so there is hope for me yet, if I ever get a pilot’s license. smile_regular 

Click on the photo to see more photos I took, in addition to the video below.

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