I’ve followed the Red Bull Air Race World Championship loosely over the years but had never been to one in person. When Red Bull asked me to come check out the race in Dallas, I was pretty excited. Then they told me I’d get to fly in a two-seat race plane and I was all in.
From my history in aviation, I’d bumped into a couple of the pilots and witnessed some of the tremendous capabilities of their aircraft during air show performances, but nothing prepared me for the extreme spectacle I beheld watching these guys fly on the ragged edge just feet above the ground.
After watching the pros take to the course that was set up inside the Texas Motor Speedway, I was driven a short hop over to Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, where they had a flight suit waiting and an extra set of inflatable Air Gates that I’d get to fly through.
My pilot was actually a competitor in the Challenger Class who would be off to qualifying just after our flight together. During a brief chat before the flight, I somehow convinced him to let me take the controls. Not only did he let me take the stick, but I flew pretty much the entire damn time. I only relinquished controls long enough for him to demonstrate how to fly upside down.
If you want to know the entire story, check out my complete write-up and be sure to check out the last race in the championship this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live Sunday on FOX Sports 1 at 5 pm ET.