American pilots Michael Goulian and Kirby Chambliss have each been picked to have a strong Red Bull Air Race World Championship season, and much depends on how they fly April 15 and 16 in San Diego. AOPA members also have incentives to fly in.
Retired Red Bull champion pilot Nigel Lamb predicted both Goulian and Chambliss have top-three potential this season, though both will need to get cracking, having endured disappointing results in Abu Dhabi.
The fuel discounts (25 cents a gallon on avgas or Jet A) are offered to AOPA members who head to Crownair Aviation at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, where members also can look forward to complimentary soda, water, snacks, sunscreen and sun visors, free aircraft parking, and a free shuttle to the track or downtown hotel after arrival on Friday afternoon (April 14) or Saturday morning (April 15).
Qualification runs begin April 15, and Goulian and Chambliss will attempt to capitalize on their experience and home-field advantage, this being the first of two U.S. events on the 2017 calendar.
Those who snoozed on San Diego have already lost out on the sold-out AOPA hangar tour for 250 members who will get exclusive access and a chance to meet Chambliss, Goulian, and other race pilots after qualifying action Saturday that determines the initial head-to-head matchups for Sunday.
There is still a free T-shirt on offer for those who join or renew AOPA membership at the booth in the Activation Zone in Embarcadero South Park. California Aeronautical University, AOPA’s newest national supporting sponsor, will offer members and guests a chance to try out flight simulators set up inside the university’s mobile flight experience vehicle.
Race tickets were still available online as of April 10, and AOPA members can use the discount code rbarAOPA2017 to get 10 percent off ticket purchases.
Red Bull on April 10 posted playlists selected by Goulian and fellow American Kevin Coleman, who is flying his second season in the Challenger class, for fans inclined to sample tunes that get these pilots fired up. San Diego has a spirit of fun, and in that spirit, and in honor of April Fool’s Day, Red Bull also posted a job offering, of a sort, as an “official G-force tester.”
The season will conclude in Indianapolis Oct. 14 and 15, and AOPA will have a similar presence there, albeit not at a waterfront location: Guests will have to make do in the gorgeous luxury pagoda that towers above the Yard of Bricks at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.