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Old 09-23-2007, 01:24 AM
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WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

The Red Bull Air Races are in the books. As most of you probably know by now, but for those that don’t, Paul Bonhomme is the Red Bull Air Race San Diego Champion. Today was an extra special victory for Bonhomme as it was his 43rd Birthday. The pilot he “edged” out was Kirby Chambliss, who was looking unstoppable all weekend long, by a mere 1.11 seconds on the final race. Chambliss’ modified Edge looks to be working really well for him and I’m sure with some more time flying it, he will improve with it. In 3rd place was Nigel Lamb with his MX-2 and looking more and more comfortable with it each and every round. I’m guessing that the Perth race is going to be every bit as exciting as the San Diego race was.



Today started off well as we “slept-in”… until 9am. Jeremy “Toro” Billeaudeaux showed-up to find a house of snoring Flying Giants members. After some scrambling to check weather forecasts and post reports, Max and Jeremy headed out to the race while Matt and I were finishing up things around here. We left about an hour after they did and before we reached the 5, Max called to warn us about the traffic. Well, after almost 3 hours of stop and go, some "making time" driving and of course lunch at In-N-Out, Matt and I showed up after the first elimination round. We used our proudly worn Press Passes to get to our parking spot up front and grabbed the equipment and rushed out to the media area. Max met us and took Matt and the video camera out to interview some of the general public in the area around the Jumbotron. I was able to watch the next few elimination rounds before getting to work. It was quite obvious that the top 8 were well practiced from the days before and with the break from the heavy winds, all times were in sub-1:30’s.



After the second round of eliminations, I had the opportunity to use the BIG 400 lense on Max’s camera. This is like compairing apples and bowling balls from my little Sony camera I normally use. Of course the pictures are also of poster quality as opposed to just 8x11 quality. The flying in the semis, at least from what I could tell, was just as intense, but the second pilot to run never knew what the previous pilot’s time was until AFTER they went through the course. I know the feeling it leaves getting ready to fly without knowing the score to beat, and it’s worse than butterflies. Everyone had clean runs and the winners of the rounds did so by just over a second and a half. Watching the racing while taking pictures was also different for me as I wasn’t watching for fun or picking up on the pilots little tricks, it was for what lighting would give me the best, brightest pictures. After looking at my pictures and going back to Brett “heydick” Bayless’ pictures taken on Friday, I have a lot more work to do. By the end of these eliminations, the boys were back and I was ready to relinquish the camera to Matt and take over on the video camera duties.



The consolation race and the finals race were certainly off the hook. In the first heat of the consolation race, Steve Jones was racing through the course like he was going for the gold. Unfortunately he had a 3 second cut that sealed his fate for fourth place unless Nigel Lamb did something similar. That wasn’t the case as Lamb took his MX-2 and put up a cut-free flight that finished 1.40 seconds ahead of Jones for 3rd place. Next up was Kirby Chambliss in the first heat of the finals race. Chambliss dove into the course and raced around like his tail was on fire and his mistake-free flight landed him a time of 1:24.69. Everyone, including Chambliss, thought this would seal the deal for the victory. Well Paul Bonhomme didn’t know what time Chambliss had turned in, but he did know that regardless of his placing, he was about to take over the lead in the Red Bull World Series. But that wasn’t enough for the birthday boy as he annihilated the course and posted a weekend best 1.23:80! What more could a pilot in this series want for his birthday…



I never imagined that this weekend would have been as fun and exciting as it was. I want to thank Max and Monica, Matt, Pedro, Brett and Jeremy for all the great times during and after the event as well as working with them to bring this coverage of the Red Bull Air Race from here in San Diego. We hope that you’ve all enjoyed the Flying Giants RBAR coverage and stay tuned for more photos and videos, including pilot interviews and more racing. Time for bed, tomorrow is Shootout training with Jeff Szueber and then Matt's gonna show me the ropes on a dirt bike...
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Old 09-23-2007, 02:35 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Thought I would post a few pics I managed to take with my little camera...

In-N-Out
Max enjoying his food at the party
Us working hard, Matt, Pedro and I
Pic of heli and Matt
Red Bull Tower
Max likes the 8K rental lense
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Old 09-23-2007, 02:41 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Tips and pants of the pros...
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Old 09-23-2007, 02:45 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Aaaaaal righty!!! MAN what a weekend this has been!!! If you've haven't had a chance to witness the Redbull Air Race Series, DOOOOO IT! There is always the question that we see alot around these parts -- is this a race, or an airshow? I will tell you without a doubt that these races are as competitive as it gets. Throughout the week, Pedro "Pablo" Brantuas, Jason Shulman, Matt Szueber, Jeremy Billeadeaux, Brett Bayless, and myself had the opportunity to learn a whole bunch about the planes, competitors, and the series. And I gotta tell you, this is as real as it gets, and it's off the hook.

With press credentials in hand, we had our FG Crew had the best seats in the house. On the South end of the course, we were about 100 feet closer to the course than the general spectatorship, and our 400mm Nikkor turbo zoom lens brought back some great shots.

Thursday morning we drove down to San Diego to find a mostly empty venue, today was the day the pilots would practice, and wring out the course. We also had the opportunity to get a good lay of the land, and see first hand what to expect during the actual race. We also got to see the Navy Seals practicing their water rescue demo routines. On Thursday, they were doing this VERY close to shore, and the blast from the rotor wash practically knocked us down on more than one occasion.














Credentials in hand, we were finally official.





For the first time, all of us had the chance to see the pylons blown up, and take shape in a site that we had only witnessed second hand. Man these things are big! The pylons are meant to self destruct in the event of collision with one of the race planes. While we didn't get a super close up look, it would appear that the separate sections are held together with some velcro-esq type of mechanism as to minimize damage to the planes. They also stood very, ahem, erect in the often times windy conditions.

















There a bevy of very impressive yachts that came through the harbor on Thursday, including this one. Go get 'em boys!






The Redbull AR control tower - there's some pretty impressive stuff going on in here including direction of all air traffic, and video feeds from the countless cameras around the race course.

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Old 09-23-2007, 03:03 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

The practice races on Thursday began with a balls to the wall course run by all the pilots. Seeing this for the first time is very amazing! I've been to many airshows in the past, seen the Reno Air Races on TV, but seeing planes hammer gates at 240+ mph pulling 10 g's 400 feet in front of you is simply NUTS!! The course was very challenging for the pilots, and during the practice runs, we saw Southern California local Mike Mangold get DQ'd for erratic flying. Hrm. Erratic flying seems to be required to fly any of this stuff, and we salute Mike's erratic-ness!

Steve Nelson, local San Diego uber big cheese at the FAA met us at the water front and gave us a great perspective into how the FAA helps keep the event safe, airspace restrictions, and more. Totally interesting conversation we had. Oh yeah, Steve is also an avid modeler, and IMAC friend in these parts.






After all 13 ran through, we packed 'er up, went home for some much needed relaxation in preperation for the next two days of the RBAR. Enjoy these shots, I'll get my Friday and Saturday perspective up soon. Some of the photos in the newly added FG RBAR Big Events Gallery are dark due to the location of the sun. Folks on the Coronado side had the advantage for photos.

Videos are burnin' as we speak folks, we'll have 'em all up by Sunday.














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Old 09-23-2007, 08:45 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Awesome pictures Max. Thanks for sharing. From the looks of Jason's avitar, He might have found more then just his lost hat .

My the way.....Why is Jason the only one with the pretty young ladies in the pictures?
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:12 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Is this going to be on tv?
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:27 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redneck Shaun View Post
By the way.....Why is Jason the only one with the pretty young ladies in the pictures?

Wait till you see the party "hosted by Red Bull" pictures.
I thought Jason wasn't going to make it out alive, and Matt put in an application to be part of the Red Bull traveling team. I believe there are 75 Red Bull girls at every race and they go everywhere together.
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:41 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

The attendance was awsome on Saturday.
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:28 AM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Shoot, Im ready to put my application in too, and leave my job!! It would be an awesome experience to travel with the RBAR, and associates
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:16 PM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Shulman and his freakin' In-n-Out Burgers...





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Old 09-23-2007, 12:26 PM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Some of my favorites from Thursday. Matt clicked away all afternoon.











The Redbull chase copter. This heli provided the best camera angles during the event, and was all over the place throughout the day! The pilot flew demo flights through the pylons, and pumped back live camera feeds to the jumbotron.

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Old 09-23-2007, 12:30 PM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Shulman practicing for the Redbull Girl tryouts..

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Old 09-23-2007, 12:49 PM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

LOL.... Sweet max!

Hey I'm new at this stuff. Do they clip those barriers very often?
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:50 PM
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Re: WRAP-UP 2007 San Diego Red Bull Air Races

Friday's shots -- GAME ON! Today was the beginning of the elimination rounds - it was very noticiable that the level of competition was very high! Today the wind was up to a pretty good tick, but this didn't stop any of the action. It actually added to it. Shooting from the South Embarcadero, we had a great vantage point on all the action. The pilots flew 4 rounds total which lasted about an hour and change for all 13 pilots. Klaus Schrodt was the lone cut pilot.






This is what happens when a pylon goes down. Boats jam out to the barge, and somehow they mystically pop up again in about 3 minutes. All in all I think we saw about 8 pylons taken down through the weekend.








Some of my favorite shots from Friday's flights:










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