24 Jan Air PlayAir Fierce 1
AIR FIERCE 1
By Catherine Vanesse
24 January, 2017
Considered as the equivalent of Formula 1 racing in aviation, the Air Race 1 has just taken its first Asian flight by holding an inaugural event at the U-Tapao International Airport near Pattaya in November 2016.
In 2017, Thailand is indeed preparing to join the Air Race 1 World Cup circuit which is a must for air motor sports. On November 19 and 20, the first competition was therefore organized in the Land of Smiles in Pattaya, constituting a kind of test that the kingdom passed with success.
The Air Race 1 consists of a race of only two kilometers, at a speed of nearly 450 km/h. Eight pilots compete in single-seater aircrafts, about ten meters above the ground. The first aircraft to cross the finish line after eight laps wins the race. The planes are specially designed for this type of competition and they are built by the pilots themselves.
Roots and Wings
This highly specialized sport originated in France, and the first-ever air race in the history was contested on May 23, 1909: the Prix de Lagatinerie, at the Port-Aviation airdrome, about twenty kilometers away from Paris. Since then, competitions have been continuously organized in Europe and the United States as the aeronautics evolved. Today, these races are becoming more
and more popular, and this was proven by the 30,000 spectators that was seen at U-Tapao in November for the first Air Race 1 gathering in Asia.
This championship had its first edition in 2014 in the United States and since then it has been already held in Spain and Tunisia.
In U-Tapao, only six Swedish, French and American pilots competed. It was a smaller version for which the CEO of Air Race 1, Jeff Zaltman, referred to as a pre-event. “Airplane races are a very technical competition. The pilots who participate are the best in the world. This weekend allows us to better understand the conditions, especially in terms of safety. It was also an opportunity to introduce this sport to a new audience and to compare our knowledge in aeronautics with the one of the host country. The event clearly reveals a success and the appointment is now taken for 2017,” he explained with satisfaction.
As for the aviators, the trip to Thailand has proven to be an interesting experience and even if the local circumstances have offered some challenges to the pilots, they have been reassured in regard to the quality, as revealed by Frenchman Stanislas Damiron: “The track is in great condition, which is a guarantee of safety for us. The reception in Thailand is incredible. And above all there is a very good responsiveness to each of our requests, which goes beyond all the countries where I have already been. The competitions are quite similar from one place to another, but here we must be even more careful to ensure that the engine temperature does not go up too high. Physically also, you have to be careful and stay hydrated before the race, because once in the air, there is neither room in the cockpit nor time to drink!”, Stan said with a smile, a few minutes before getting into his cockpit.