Monday, October 3, 2016

Red Bull Air Races

Yesterday was the first time for the Red Bull Air Races in Indianapolis, I was more excited about this than the 500. It would be a lot less people and basically all seats would be fairly equal. I first saw the Red Bull Air Races on TV about seven years ago, not something I would go out of my way to watch but it was entertaining and the venues provide very interesting backdrops.

To promote the race Red Bull put out a video shot with this years Indy 500 winner Alex Rossi and two time Red Bull Air Race World Series Champion Kirby Chambliss.

We found some residential parking (free) about five blocks west of turn four, our tickets were for seats on turn three. Attendance was obviously much less than the 350k+ for the 500, they estimated it just over 40k. The majority of those 40k were in turn three and four, all the other stands were closed for safety reasons including the short chutes between turns three and four.

Below is a layout of the course, the aircraft took off from the road course and immediately entered through the starting gates. After two timed laps they would circle off track while the next competitor did their run. When the next competitor finished their run the previous one would land. The timing of all of this was very well orchestrated.

At first it didn't appear the weather was going to cooperate. It rained off and on during qualifying the day before, and yesterday the ceiling was less than their minimum 1k feet. This delayed the start of the races by an hour during which they had motorcycles performing stunts on the track and an aerobatic paraglider performing stunts over the track.

This was a view of the finish gate from our seats in turn three. None of my pictures a very good for the day, the weather combined with the distance and speed of the aircraft were greater than my abilities as a photographer.

Here are some various shots I took during the day.

The last two shots were taken at over .5 mile distance. The first shows a track worker zipping in a new section of pylon, they are wearing black and yellow shorts and their legs are sticking out of the top of the pylon. This was the first set of air gates after the start gate, the wind was blowing the southern pylon towards the northern causing it to be clipped six or seven times during the day. Generally the workers had the pylons on the course repaired and back up within 3-4 minutes.

This is the B-17 Yankee Lady that did a flyby.

We had a great time and I hope they come back again next year.

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