Kirby Chambliss reported after assembly and testing in Abu Dhabi, “We’ve used test flight days to ensure our plane is in great condition, as well as fine-tune some of our new mods.
Along with new winglets and wheel pants, we’ve switched back to our small tail this year. Slight alterations were made this off-season to increase its stability and control. So far, so good!”
Pete McLeod, a man of few words, tweeted from his hangar at the first Red Bull Air Race of the season, “Getting a feel for the track – will start training flights tomorrow!”
Mike Goulian seems happy with conditions saying, ” Can’t be much better for flying around some pylons! Great 1st day in the track for us! Training different racing lines and modes. Last Training today, Official Practice tomorrow.”
The standardised propulsion package – a high-performance, race-tuned standardised engine and standardised propellers – remains for 2017.
Since the 2014 season the teams were given a standardised engine, which put greater emphasis on aerodynamics, pilot skill and race strategy. With teams level on power, it gave the competition a whole new dimension on the racetrack. All the Master Class racers are being powered by a race-tuned Lycoming Thunderbolt AEIO-540-EXP. The engine has been customised to Red Bull Air Race’s exact specifications and built in Lycoming’s Advanced Technology Center.
All testing was performed to factory specifications, which ensures that the engines are operating reliably at peak and consistent performance.
Lycoming says, “For the pilots, the engine specifications and the subsequent consistent testing results data means that from a power plant perspective, all competitors will start the season on par. And with the supply of the reliable and powerful standardised racing engines and propellers forming part of the rules and regulations, the technical focus has shifted.” Since the introduction of the standardized engines pilots and their technicians have been turning their attention to perfecting airframe aerodynamics, as well as pilot skill and ability.
In the USA, NBC Sports will broadcast the action from Abu Dhabi across its digital and television platforms Friday, February 10th (Qualifying Day) and Saturday, February 11th (Race Day). The Qualifying round will be available for viewing LIVE on NBC Sports digital streams Friday, February 10th, at 7am EST. Cable subscribers should be able to access the stream from their NBC Sports App (iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple TV) or on nbcsports.com/live. Saturday’s race will be broadcast on cable television on Saturday night, February 11th, at 9:30 PM (EST) on NBC Sports (NBCSN). Please check with your cable service provider to make sure you have NBCSN! Please visit NBCsports.com or Red Bull Air Race’s tv listings for more details.