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EAAers Compete at Windsor Red Bull Air Races

Photo and story by H.G. Frautschy

Red Bull
Kirby Chambliss confidently roars past the final chicane pylon on his way to a third place finish.
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June 10, 2010 — Scruffy gray skies didn’t dull the enthusiasm for the third Red Bull Air Race to be held in the Detroit, Michigan, Windsor, Ontario area. The twisting, turning 5-kilometer race course, straddling the United States/Canada border on the Detroit River, was peppered with 9 gates created with 15 air-inflated fabric pylons. Fifteen pilots race against the clock while weaving and turning tightly through the low-altitude course. The series has proven popular with the public at events held around the world, with two of the races held in North America during the 2010 race season. The second race on the continent will take place over the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey, centered around Liberty State Park.

EAA lifetime member Michael Goulian (EAA 25938, IAC 11878) and his aircraft technician Dennis Sawyer (EAA 99436) had to make a quick engine change just prior to the practice sessions when the Lycoming AEIO 540 EXP in his Edge 540 developed a serious internal problem. The problem proved to be significant enough to require fellow American Kirby Chambliss (EAA 261512, IAC 12086) and his technician Jason Resop (EAA 734766, IAC 431585) to also change the engine in Chambiliss’ racer. With the primary engines relegated to the overhaul stand, both pilots were dealing with aircraft that didn’t have the power they expected. Still, Chambliss flew a pylon-hit free during the races and had a podium finish in third place behind winner Hannes Arch and 2nd place finisher Paul Bonhomme.  Goulian added six world championship points to his total by coming in sixth. After the Windsor race, the championship leader is Paul Bonhomme of Great Britain with 41 points, followed by Hannes Arch of Austria with 39 points, Nigel Lamb of Great Britain with 37 points and American Kirby Chambliss with 26 points.

Bonhomme, who was the 2009 Red Bull Air Race Champion, has been taking advantage of the knowledge gained in racing aerodynamics by none other than Jon Sharp, EAA 239592, of Team Nemesis, who helped refine some of the shapes of key drag reduction items such as the main landing gear fairings.

The New York/New Jersey race is the fifth race of the eight race series. After New York, the race series will move back to the European continent, with a race over the famous EuroSpeedway Lausitz, in Germany, then over the river in Budapest, Hungary, concluding over the harbor in Lisbon, Portugal in early September.

For the first time, the Red Bull Air Race New York will air live on FOX Television Networks and will be immediately re-broadcast on Fox Sports Networks on Sunday, June 20. Check local listings for air times. For more information about the sport, visit www.redbullairrace.com, or to view each TV episode of the 2009 season, go to www.hulu.com/redbullairrace.

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