Dreams are free!

Posted on: 15th Feb 2010

It’s incredible how things have changed in the Red Bull Air Race over the last few years. It all started with a group of experienced display and competition pilots bringing their aerobatic machines to a series of races with a part-time technician on hand to help with re-fuelling, polishing and do the fixing in the unlikely event of a snag. Nowadays, what we really need is at least one more race plane, two more engines and a lot more people and resources!This really does hit home when you’re immersed in your modification programme, the first race is not far off and some things simply are not going to plan. I am sure this is much the same for all the teams. Through 2009, we were planning our winter campaign and the implementation has gone well. What you can’t factor in is the time it may take to test, prove, quantify and perhaps re-modify some of the improvements. That’s why another aircraft would be ideal; one in the background for the testing process so that the successful modifications can simply be incorporated and you don’t have the worry of your new cowling not cooling the engine enough when the ambient temp is 30 deg C higher in race week. In addition, the wish list would have one engine in the plane, one spare (hopefully as powerful) and one being developed for the next season. Dreams are free!The emphasis of most teams for this season will be on engine power. We have been working with Barrett Precision Engines and just taken delivery of an engine built to the 2010 Technical spec. The engine will be installed this week ready for testing when I get back to England from one week of meetings and media work in Salzburg. We’ll have about 5 flying days to test the engine, some new wingtips and the final control set-up prior to delivering the MXS back to Targett Aviastion for final adjustments to the cowling which we’ve been hacking about for the last few weeks.The first week in March will be consumed by final adjustments and some media days before dismantling and shipping to Abu Dhabi. When we get there, we should be on the minimum weight with more engine power, better handling and enough aerodynamic drag reductions to make a difference.Will it be enough? Who knows but I am really looking forward to finding out!