Red Bull Air Race World Championship pilots’ falcon inspiration
When it comes to pilots of the world’s fastest motorsports series, a break from flying needs to be worthwhile. That’s why the 2014 season start in Abu Dhabi saw pilots put to use their break time well. On the day, it was a trip to a hospital that cares for the fastest birds in the world, falcons. The visit was instructional and,as you can guess, inspirational.
Falcon’s are important in UAE where falconry has long been a national sport. Race pilots not only checked hospital facilities, but were in awe of a demonstration of falcons in flight. German pilot Matthias Dolderer used the opportunity to feed a falcon perched on his arm. Falcons can dive at 320 kph / 200 mph, so, the immediate connection between pilots and them isn’t lost as the athletes deal with speeds of 370 kph / 230 mph and force of as much as 10 Gs on the racetrack at Abu Dhabi’s Corniche.
Canadian Pete McLeod, the 30-year-old (youngest-ever Red Bull Air Race pilot when he joined the competition 5 years ago) said, “I appreciate the strength and precision and speed that these birds use to get the job done – like we do on the track. The falcon has a very strong presence and shows that, like our planes, you don’t have to be huge to be powerful.”