The “Red Bull Air Race World Series”

The "Red Bull Air Race World Series" features the world’s best pilots in an air race competition based upon speed, precision and skill.  Using only the fastest, lightweight and most agile aircraft each pilot must navigate an aerial race track marked with air-filled pylons (this is a good thing, as you will see later!).  The aircraft reach speeds upwards of 230 mph while the pilots must endure g-forces in excess of 10 gs!

In 2008 the races will take place in the following cities:


  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • San Diego, CA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • London, England
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Spain (location to be announced)
  • Perth, Australia

Each Red Bull Air Race is unique whether in the heart of a city or over the open countryside, the race occurs in spectacular backdrops with jaw-dropping action guaranteeing spectators will see one of the most innovative and exciting air races anywhere in the world today!

This is the fourth year for this race series and consists of the following flying sessions:


  • Training
  • Qualifying
  • Point One
  • Super Eights
  • Semi Finals
  • 3rd Place Flyoff
  • Finals

Pilots fly a maximum of three flights per day to avoid fatigue but still giving spectators a chance to see every pilot during race day.  Qualifying takes place the day before the race.  Each pilot competes in two qualifying sessions and the best result determines the lineup for race day where the slowest pilot flies first.  Red Bull Air Race Aircraft Hits Pylon

The last four pilots in qualifying go through the "Point One" session to win one crucial World Series point and an overall 9th place position for the race.  The fastest 8 pilots in qualifying advance to the "Super Eights" to compete for a place in the Semi Finals.


The Air Race Classic

The "Air Race Classic" represents 79 years of women in flight and traces its beginnings to Amelia Earhart.  In 2008 the race finished in Massachusetts for only the second time in the last 30 years.  In 2008 the race started in Bozeman, MT and covered approximately 2400 statute miles. Airraceclassic

The Air Race Classic is the only all-woman transcontinental air race today.  Air racing for women started in 1929 with the Women’s Air Derby when twenty female pilots raced from Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, OH and the site of the National Air Races.

After World War II the Powder Puff Derby came into existence, but came to an end in 1977.  The Air Race Classic Ltd. was formed to continue the tradition of a transcontinental race for women pilots and became the premier race for female pilots.  Current routes are staged over 2,400 statute miles which must be flown in four days using visual flight rules (VFR) during daylight hours to reach the finish line. Each aircraft is handicapped for speed and the goal of the race is to attain an actual ground speed as far over the handicap speed as possible.

30 aircraft with two woman crews participated in the 2008 race which was won by the team of Dene Chabot-Fence and Gloria May in a close race.

Way to go gals!

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


Current Air Races in the United States

Today there are really only three air races which are run on a regular basis:Spitfirecloseup

  • The Air Race Classic
  • The Red Bull Air Races
  • The Reno Air Races

Of these the best known are the Reno Air Races which happen each September in Reno, Nevada.  This event takes several days and provides plenty of excitement for aviation enthusiasts.  I has six classes of aircraft which compete for the trophy for their class.

The Red Bull Air Races have become much more popular in recent years, and are bringing more and more people to see the races and introduce them to the fabulous world of aviation.  Small aircraft maneuver over water near large cities racing around pylons and performing aerobatic maneuvers.  These races put a great strain on pilots and spectators alike.

The Air Race Classic is the survivor of the original "Powder Puff Derby" in that it continues the tradition of teams of women navigating large distances to display their aviation prowess.  The skills to complete this cross country race are considerable, and women consistently show they have what it takes.

Although no longer being held, the Cleveland Air Races helped bring aviation forward by encouraging the development of ever better air foils and engines, speeding the advancement of aviation and preparing the United States for the challenges of the air war during World War II.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!