Date: October 10, 2013

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 2014, 12 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, Top 12, Super 8, Final 4. In all sessions, only one pilot races in the track at a time.

Takes place on the days preceding Qualifying Day. There are two Training Days for all Master Class pilots, each consisting of two mandatory training sessions. Time of the final training session (Training 4) determines the starting order for 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.

TOP 12:
Takes place on Race Day. This flying session is completed in heats; the six winners plus the two fastest losers move forward to the Super 8. The heats pairings are based on the qualifying session rankings.

Six winners of the Top 12 heat, plus the two fastest losers race individually to determine their ranking. The fastest four pilots advance to the Final 4. Results in the Super 8 determine 5th to 8th place race positions.

Four fastest from the Super 8 compete in the Final 4 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place race positions.

The starting order is the order in which the pilots will race in each flying session. The starting order for Training is defined by the results of the current Red Bull Air Race World Championship standing. The highest ranking pilot starts first, new pilots start at the end. If there is more than one new pilot, the starting order of these new pilots is determined by a draw.

The starting order for all sessions on Race Day is determined by the results in Qualifying. The order is reversed so that the slowest pilot from Qualifying starts first.

The winner is the pilot who is ranked number one in the final flying session.

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.

World Championship points are awarded after each race, and will decide the Red Bull Air Race World Champion at the end of the season. The points system is as follows:


  • 1st: 12
  • 2nd: 9
  • 3rd: 7
  • 4th: 5
  • 5th: 4
  • 6th: 3
  • 7th: 2
  • 8th: 1
  • 9th 12th: 0

Engines:         Back to Top
The engines and propellers have been standardized for all teams. The Lycoming Thunderbolt AEIO-540-EXP (300 HP) engine and the Hartzell 3-bladed 7690 structural composite propeller are the standards.
Though the engines are all 300hp, there could be small technical variations of up to 2 percent as it's technically impossible to fabricate engines that are 100 percent identical. These differences are minimal and will not affect the results of the races.

Planes:           Back to Top
Facts and stats about the three race plane types currently flying in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship


The Edge 540, manufactured by Zivko Aeronautics, is as precise and controllable as it is aggressive. The small, one-seater aircraft is a favourite amongst Red Bull Air Race pilots, largely due to its fuselage.

The computer optimised, steel tube frame makes the Edge 540 an extremely light, very durable and easily repairable plane.

Using an unconventional straight-edged wing, the Edge 540 sparked much interest in flying circles around the world, particularly after Kirby Chambliss began using it for aerobatic competitions. The plane has since evolved into the highly refined and technologically advanced version of the original prototype, with the radical wing now acknowledged as a pioneering feat of design.

  • Edge 540 V2
  • LENGTH: 6.3m (20.67 ft)
  • WINGSPAN: 7.44m (24.41 ft)
  • ROLL RATE: 420/sec
  • CLIMB RATE: 3,700ft/min
  • TOP SPEED: 425.97kph (230kts) (264.68 mph)
  • MAX G: +/-10G
  • WING DESIGN: Symmetric, carbon fibre
  • V2 PILOTS: Bonhomme, Goulian, Ivanoff and Muroya
  • V3 PILOTS: Arch, Chambliss, Dolderer, McLeod and Sonka

For 2014, a number of the pilots have upgraded to the race-bespoke Edge V3. The V3 is different from the 540 in various ways:

It has an increased tolerance of G-loads. The body has been finely tuned to increase aerodynamics and reduce drag. Modifications range from a sleeker canopy design and improved exhaust, wing root and rear wheel fairings to enhanced winglets, shorter landing gear legs and upgraded cowlings

The MXS-R represents the latest in state-of-the-art design and technology. The 'Edge beater', as it's been named due to being a worthy match for the Edge 540, was designed using advanced computer solid modeling with an emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency. As a result, it has already gained much respect in the racing arena and is considered a work of art among pilots due to its graceful, flowing lines. What makes the MXS-R a stand-alone plane is that it is constructed entirely of aerospace-grade carbon fibre, which gives it superior strength and durability unlike any other.

  • LENGTH: 6.51m (21.36 ft)
  • WINGSPAN: 7.32m (24.02 ft)
  • ROLL RATE: 420/sec
  • CLIMB RATE: 3,500ft/min
  • TOP SPEED: 425.97kph (230kts) (264.68 mph)
  • MAX G: +/-12G
  • WING DESIGN: Symmetric, carbon fibre
  • PILOTS: Hall and Lamb


Designed in 2007 by Andras Voloscsuk and the Hungarian University of Aviation specifically for Peter Besenyei, the Corvus Racer 540 is a relatively new plane on the block. Despite only debuting during the last World Championship, the aircraft has already attracted attention from other race teams, including Team Bonhomme. Built using chrome-molybdenum tubes in a TIG welded construction, the plane is a high-performance rocket. The wing, empennage and fuselage covers are high-strength composite parts primarily composed of carbon fibre.

  • LENGTH: 6.57m (21.56 ft)
  • WINGSPAN: 7.4m (24.78 ft)
  • ROLL RATE: 440/sec
  • CLIMB RATE: 4,300ft/min
  • TOP SPEED: 444kph (240kts) (276.19 mph)
  • MAX G: +12G/-10G
  • WING DESIGN: Symmetric, carbon fibre
  • PILOT: Besenyei

Pilots:         Back to Top

October 10 - 11, 2014, Las Vegas, NV

I had been watching Red Bull Air Races (RBAR) for about 5 years and really enjoyed the airborne road racing aspect of this sport.  I looked at the 2014 schedule and noticed that RBAR was coming to Las Vegas Speedway in October 2014.  I talked to my wife and she said we should make reservations and buy tickets to the races, so I did.  We sat in the top rows of the Earnhardt stands in front of turn 3 of the auto race track.  We had a perfect view of the entire raceway and especially the air race course.  On Saturday, October 10th, was practice and qualifying for the Master Class and practice, qualifying, racing for the Challenger Class.  Sunday, October 11th was the final races for the Master Class.  As in the rules, 12 fly with the 8 fastest moving into the next race.  The Super 8 race with the fastest 4 racing in the Final Four race with the fastest three on the podium.  Saturday, we watched about 50 runs through the course each flown a little bit different as the pilots where trying to figure out the fastest time.  They also had a couple of acrobatic pilots doing some really great flying.  From about 10 AM until 5 PM, nothing but flying entertainment.

Sunday, started out with light winds and the first 11 of the 12 pilots flew the course.  During those flights, the winds kept increasing and the pylons on the course were starting to fall over and they had to delay racing waiting for the winds to decrease.  The 12th pilot, Pete McLeod, who was airborne and waiting for permission to run the course, called race control and said he was landing as the course had become unsafe due to the high winds (25 to 30 Knots) causing the pylons to fall over and/or collapse.  After about 2 hours of waiting for the winds to die down, the called the race off as the winds increased to 30-35 knots.  The winners of the race were determined by their qualifying times from Saturday.  

The video is a compilation of several that I took on both days.   Hope you enjoy.

Ron Rueter