By Harry Alexander / SoAzNewsX
Red Bull Air Race officials will make some changes to the rules regarding G Force limits for Master Class and Challenger Class pilots for the 2018 season.
Current rules say if a Master Class pilot pulls more than 10G for over 0.6 seconds, it results in an automatic “DNF” (Did Not Finish) for the run as a safety feature. The new rule will instead give the Master Class pilot a two-second penalty for exceeding 10G over 0.6 seconds. If the pilot reaches 12G, they will be get a “DNF.” Challenger Class pilots will also come under that rule but will only be allowed to reach 11G before facing a “DNF.”
Also in rule changes for 2018, Challenger Class pilots will switch aircraft from the Extra 330LX to the Edge 540 V2. The Edge 540 V2 is the same aircraft raced by the Master Class pilots. The Edge is a more powerful aircraft, so Challenger Class pilots have been at a number of training sessions to familiarize themselves with the Edge.
“This plane is amazingly fast. I quickly felt at home when I first tried it, and it almost made the track look like an easy ride due to its performance!” said Challenger Class pilot Daniel Genevey. “But make no mistake: it will push the limits further in the Challenger Cup, which will become even more thrilling to the public and demanding for the pilots.”
Challenger Class pilots will be flying at the same locations as the Master Class, but not every pilot in the Challenger Cup will race at every stop, according to Red Bull Air Race officials. In a format change for 2018, each pilot will fly a minimum of four (rather than five) races during the first seven stops of the season. Then, as in 2017, before the eighth and final stop of the competition, each pilot’s best four scores will be added together, and the top six pilots will be invited to fly in the final. The points of the final race will be added to each finalist’s existing four-race tally, and the pilot with the highest score will be crowned Challenger Cup Champion.
The Challenger Class was established in 2014 to bring forward the next level of air race pilots. Germany’s Florian Berger was crowned the 2017 Challenger Cup champion.
The 2018 Red Bull Air Race season gets underway in Abu Dhabi Feb. 2. Race highlights are televised on NBCSP (check your local listings) and are also available at the Red Bull Air Race website.
Tucsonan Kirby Chambliss be competing in the 2018 Red Bull Air Race season. In 2017, Chambliss finished in fourth place overall.
Harry Alexander is the Managing Editor of the Southern Arizona News-Examiner and an avid aviation enthusiast.
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