Red Bull Air Races; photo credit Joerg Mitter / Air Race Newsroom.
Fifteen pilots, including three from the United States, are ready to begin the Red Bull Air Race World Championships starting April 17 in Abu Dhabi.
The race series, conducted over a tight, low-altitude racing course marked by inflatable 60-foot-tall pylons, consists of six races at locations worldwide. The pylons are designed to come apart when an aircraft hits them.
The race comes to San Diego on May 9 and 10. The 2009 series will conclude Oct. 3 and 4 in Barcelona. The races generally draw hundreds of thousands of spectators, and in 2006 the Barcelona race drew one million fans.
The race will be shown on the Fox Sports Network in the United States, and also shown on television in 40 countries.