Airshow Report – Red Bull Air Race Budapest, 20.08.2009.

By Boran Pivčić
All photos author

Finally succumbing to the mass of enthusiastic photos and texts about the RB Air Race, I decided to finally sit in the car and go see it – especially now that it was on it’s closest approach to Croatia, 350 km away in Budapest. Given that most facts about the whole event are well known – we all know the efficiency of Red Bull’s PR department – and the fact that I’ve been studying meteorology like mad for the past month and am not poetically inclined right now, I’ll just shut up and let the photos do the talking for now :).

Coinciding with St. Stephen's Day every year, the Air Race normally kicks off with some non-racing airborne festivities. First on the scene was the airforce, with this Mil Mi-8T flying the national flag
Coinciding with St. Stephen's Day every year, the Air Race normally kicks off with some non-racing airborne festivities. First on the scene was the airforce, with this Mil Mi-8T flying the national flag
Right on its tail were two - more aggressive - Mil Mi-24V gunships, flying the NATO and EU flags
Right on its tail were two - more aggressive - Mil Mi-24V gunships, flying the NATO and EU flags
Interestingly, having checked their codes in my photo database, all the helos appear to be regular participants at other airshows in Hungary, most notably Kecskemet
Interestingly, having checked their codes in my photo database, all the helos appear to be regular participants at other airshows in Hungary, most notably Kecskemet
In a bout of recessionism, the traditional Malev flyby had been downgraded from a 767 to a 737-700
In a bout of recessionism, the traditional Malev flyby had been downgraded from a 767 to a 737-700
Possibly having more fun than the race participants themselves was this media Bo.105CBS. Operated by Red Bull but owned by Skymedia from Switzerland, this helicopter - equipped with a Cineflex V14 HD turret cam - was tasked with providing real-time upclose video footage of the race
Possibly having more fun than the race participants themselves was this media Bo.105CBS. Operated by Red Bull but owned by Skymedia from Switzerland, this helicopter - equipped with a Cineflex V14 HD turret cam - was tasked with providing real-time upclose video footage of the race
Held on the banks of the Danube river in the center of Budapest, the Race would feature some amazing backdrops - the most prominent of which was the Parliament building, located on the Pest side of the river
Held on the banks of the Danube river in the center of Budapest, the Race would feature some amazing backdrops - the most prominent of which was the Parliament building, located on the Pest side of the river
Clipping the wavetops, Yoshihide Muroya, flying Zivko Edge 540 Race Number 31, zips under the Lanchid bridge. With only 10 meters of clearance between the river and the bridge, this is one of the best start gates in the whole race
Clipping the wavetops, Yoshihide Muroya, flying Zivko Edge 540 Race Number 31, zips under the Lanchid bridge. With only 10 meters of clearance between the river and the bridge, this is one of the best start gates in the whole race
Rocketing along the tightest and one of the most difficult tracks of the whole Air Race season
Rocketing along the tightest and one of the most difficult tracks of the whole Air Race season
Pete McLeod of Canada, flying the Edge 540 Race 84. This guy is my hero - as tall as I am and just one year older, now flying with the best of them :)
Pete McLeod of Canada, flying the Edge 540 Race 84. This guy is my hero - as tall as I am and just one year older, now flying with the best of them 🙂
"Grandpa" Nigel Lamb, 53 and flying the stunning MXR Technologies MXS-R Race 9, on the closest approach to the Paliament. Painted in a simple - but very effective - yellow/black scheme, Race 6 was by far the coolest looking aircraft on the track :)
"Grandpa" Nigel Lamb, 53 and flying the stunning MXR Technologies MXS-R Race 9, on the closest approach to the Paliament. Painted in a simple - but very effective - yellow/black scheme, Race 6 was by far the coolest looking aircraft on the track 🙂
In the interlude between races (the race is composed of the Top 12, Super 8 and Final 4 runs) a number of flying displays kept the adrenaline flowing. The Breitling Jet Team, flying their beautiful L-39s, were one of the highlights
In the interlude between races (the race is composed of the Top 12, Super 8 and Final 4 runs) a number of flying displays kept the adrenaline flowing. The Breitling Jet Team, flying their beautiful L-39s, were one of the highlights
Flying through their own smoke during a mass formation maneuver. The world's first all-jet civilian display team, the BJT is composed entirely of former French Air Force pilots - some with flight hours running into 5 digits
Flying through their own smoke during a mass formation maneuver. The world's first all-jet civilian display team, the BJT is composed entirely of former French Air Force pilots - some with flight hours running into 5 digits
One of the "big names", Mike Mangold flying Edge 540 Race 11, shows off the 540's insane 420 degree/sec roll rate
One of the "big names", Mike Mangold flying Edge 540 Race 11, shows off the 540's insane 420 degree/sec roll rate
The one picture that best summarises the air race: speed, some and insane action! Michael Goulian in Edge 540 Race 99
The one picture that best summarises the air race: speed, some and insane action! Michael Goulian in Edge 540 Race 99
Smoking like a missile, Paul Bonhomme in Edge 540 Race 54, enters the circuit in style
Smoking like a missile, Paul Bonhomme in Edge 540 Race 54, enters the circuit in style
A confusion of red and white as Bonhomme goes through one of the vertical gates
A confusion of red and white as Bonhomme goes through one of the vertical gates
Nicholas Ivanoff of France, piloting Edge 540 Race 27, seen low in front of the Parliament. Ivanoff would later be disqualified for a (if I remember correctly) too fast entry into the track (one of the new rules caps the entry speed at 370 km/h, going above which means immediate disqualification)
Nicholas Ivanoff of France, piloting Edge 540 Race 27, seen low in front of the Parliament. Ivanoff would later be disqualified for a (if I remember correctly) too fast entry into the track (one of the new rules caps the entry speed at 370 km/h, going above which means immediate disqualification)
Peek-a-boo! Oz bloke Matt Hall in the MXS-R Race 95, emerging from behind a pylon
Peek-a-boo! Oz bloke Matt Hall in the MXS-R Race 95, emerging from behind a pylon
As the afternoon progressed, the light just got better and better
As the afternoon progressed, the light just got better and better
Hannes Arch of Austria (Edge 540 Race 28) was one of the favourites. Always very stable and precise, he nevertheless missed the podium by less than half a second
Hannes Arch of Austria (Edge 540 Race 28) was one of the favourites. Always very stable and precise, he nevertheless missed the podium by less than half a second
The man, the legend and the spiritual father of the Air Race - Peter Besenyei in MXS-R Race 4
The man, the legend and the spiritual father of the Air Race - Peter Besenyei in MXS-R Race 4
A small, but none the less interesting, closing act - the Flying Bulls from Czeczhia
A small, but none the less interesting, closing act - the Flying Bulls from Czeczhia
Sliding into formation under the expert hand of team leader(ess) Radka Machova :)
Sliding into formation under the expert hand of team leader(ess) Radka Machova 🙂
One, two, three, four...
One, two, three, four...
A negative G formation loop... niiice :)
A negative G formation loop... niiice 🙂
The Flying Bulls' trademark maneuver - a barrel roll around the mirror flight duo
The Flying Bulls' trademark maneuver - a barrel roll around the mirror flight duo
You gotta love city centre airshows... the Flying Bulls solo pulling up just above me
You gotta love city centre airshows... the Flying Bulls solo pulling up just above me
And what Red Bull event would be complete without a flyby of RB's "dreamfleet" from Hangar 7?
And what Red Bull event would be complete without a flyby of RB's "dreamfleet" from Hangar 7?
This shot simply made my day :)
This shot simply made my day 🙂
A new dish is being served - shishAH1Cobra :)
A new dish is being served - shishAH1Cobra 🙂
DC-3 Power! The world's only airworthy Lisunov Li-2 - a DC-3 built under licence in the USSR - in retro Malev colours going at max power (meaning slow :) ) above the Danube
DC-3 Power! The world's only airworthy Lisunov Li-2 - a DC-3 built under licence in the USSR - in retro Malev colours going at max power (meaning slow 🙂 ) above the Danube
Completing the Breitling offensive was their immaculate DC-3
Completing the Breitling offensive was their immaculate DC-3

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