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Air Race Rovinj, Day Five: Qualifying

The windy weather in Rovinj proved to add difficulty during the qualifying rounds, increasing the number of pylon hits and total track times by all. Kirby’s net time during flight one was actually faster than his second at 55.818 seconds, but a 2 second penalty for an incorrect level left a time of 57.818 seconds. Finishing 7th, he moves forward to the round of fourteen with a clean time of 56.098 seconds and will face fellow U.S. pilot Michael Goulian. Britain’s pilot Paul Bonhomme still holds first place with qualifying time of 54.226 seconds.

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Air Race Rovinj, Day 4: Training, Training, Training!

Day four was meant for training! As the pilots became more familiar with the course, overall track times continued to decrease. During training one on day three, Kirby’s fastest time was 58.710 seconds. By the end of day four, he was able to shave off 4.519 seconds, with a fastest time of 54.191 seconds! Kirby took the evening to rest and prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying round, working closely with Michael on course analysis.

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Air Race Rovinj, Day Three: On the Track

Today was the first day all pilots were able to practice in the racecourse, and it proved to be windy! Many pylons went down, including Kirby’s first hit of the season!

“Practice is when you are learning the track and figuring out what you are able to do. Better to hit a pylon in practice than during the race!” says Kirby.

The team also welcomed new member Michael Zyskowski of Microsoft, who works alongside Ashish Kapoor on technical planning and course optimization. After flying was over for the day, he was given a tour of the gates, both inside and out!

“They are so much bigger than I expected them to be!” exclaims Michael. Check out the photos below!

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Air Race Rovinj, Day Two: Test and Recon Flights

Day two at the airport was filled with flight! Kirby flew two test flights to make sure all was well with the airplane, followed by two recon flights over the beautiful city of Rovinj, Croatia, host to race three. He led fellow competitors Pete McLeod and Nicolas Ivanoff in the first flight, followed by Hannes Arch and Matthias Dolderer for the second. See some of the photos below!

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Air Race Rovinj, Day One: Assembly

With only five days between the end of Air Race Japan and the start of Air Race Croatia, everyone had just a few days rest! To the team’s excitement, there were no surprises on day one in Rovinj. The plane’s assembly was completed seamlessly, with additional help from team member Domingo. The team’s excited to get in the air tomorrow! Smoke on!

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Air Race Japan Day 6: Race Day!

The day everyone’s been waiting for has finally arrived! Kirby and our newest member, Ashish Kapoor, spent the morning studying the track to find the most optimal flight path prior to start time. It proved to work in the round of fourteen, where Kirby beat Juan Velarde by 0.135 seconds, with a final time of 54.106 seconds.

Moving forward to the round of eight, Kirby flew 0.745 seconds faster than the previous with a final time of 53.631 seconds. It was looking great for Team Chambliss, but Matthias Dolderer managed to fly 1.266 seconds quicker, leaving Kirby in seventh place overall.

“I’m not going to be happy unless I’m in first place, so I just need to fly faster when we move on to Rovinj,” says Kirby.

With the race in Japan now over, Team Chambliss has high hopes for Rovinj, Croatia, the third stop of the 2015 Red Bull Air Race Championship May 30th and 31st!

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Day Five: Qualifying!

Gray skies and trickling rain is what the team woke up to at the start of qualifying day, but thankfully the weather gave way for racing! The sold out event in Chiba, Japan, had over 60,000 spectators ready for action! It was the first day pilots were able to fly through the track, increasing difficulty due to lack of familiarity. Kirby’s best time in the training session was 54.603 seconds. In qualifying, he was able to knock off over two and a half seconds, with best time of 52.086 seconds! In his first round tomorrow, Kirby will fly head to head against Mr. Juan Velarde of Spain, whose qualifying time was 52.106 seconds.

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Day Four: In the Air!

With the plane together, the team was ready to fly! The morning was used for interviews with media partners and photographs in Kirby’s new flight suit. In the afternoon, the flying began! Kirby was able to get two test flights in before the day was over, and everything was in great shape! The team’s excited and ready for qualifying day tomorrow!

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Day Three: Assembly Complete

The weather was quite mellow compared to the previous two days, providing a perfect day for airplane assembly! On top of normal procedure, Jason took extra time polishing the new canopy for its debut in Japan. The team was on the verge of being done when some damage to one of the propeller blades was noticed, but the unexpected prop change didn’t slow them down!

With the team busy at the airport, Kirby spent his afternoon attending a Japanese blessing ceremony at an 800-year-old Chiba shrine.

“It was a great cultural experience for the pilots to be apart of. Everyone in Japan has been so welcoming,” states Kirby.

As day turned to night, the team turned in to rest for another day’s work, eager to fly!

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Pilot Bio

Kirby Chambliss
Kirby Chambliss
Years on Team: 20

History:

- Five time winner of the U.S. national aerobatic championship. - Current residence: Flying Crown Ranch, AZ - He is one of the best aerobatic pilots in the world. - One of only two American pilots ever to win the Red Bull Air Race world championship. - Flown more than 70 types of aircraft and logged over 26,000 hours ( that's three years!) in the air.