Austrian race pilot and extreme sports athlete Hannes Arch was remembered as a “life-loving adventurer” and a world class athlete, both in the cockpit of high-performance aerobatic airplanes and in the mountains he loved, lived in, and worked in throughout his life. Arch, 48, was killed Sept. 8 while flying a helicopter in the Austrian Alps, flying a customer of his transport company from one of the high-altitude locations Arch specialized in serving. AOPA joined the air sports and airshow community mourning the loss of Arch, who left friends around the world reeling in shock.
The multi-talented Arch was raised in mountains of Austria and first gained world attention as a BASE jumper and mountain climber. He combined his passions in creative ways, including a high-speed slalom run through an Austrian wind farm that was filmed by Red Bull and posted on YouTube.
Red Bull, the energy drink giant with which Arch had a relationship spanning more than 25 years, was among the first to eulogize the fallen pilot. Arch, Red Bull said, lived for new challenges. The 2008 Red Bull Air Race champion, Arch was also the inventor of another Red Bull event, the X-Alps, which combines mountaineering and paragliding.
“His passion made him a role model for many, while his decisiveness enabled him to write sporting history and his determination turned him into a world champion,” Red Bull wrote in an online tribute. “We salute this outstanding athlete and sadly say: Rest in Peace, Hannes. We'll sadly miss your warmth, your sense of humour and your almost limitless energy.”