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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