Texas Motor Speedway

What it’s like inside the cockpit of a Red Bull Air Race plane? “I wouldn’t recommend it”

Being in a dryer.

That’s how Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage described his experience of flying in the passenger seat of a Red Bull Air Race plane.

“I wouldn’t recommend it,” Gossage said, laughing. “You’re jerked this way and that way and down. These pilots, the human element, the G-force they’re battling, the precise movement … just astonishing.”

Yours truly experienced it first-hand on Friday and it is quite the ride. The pilots fly the planes as low as 50 feet off the ground to navigate air-filled pylons, and every maneuver in the air requires precision. Fans can witness it all this weekend as TMS is hosting the season finale of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship on Saturday and Sunday.

The track hosted previous events in September 2014 and 2015, but this marks the first time for the finale to take place here.

“When you explain the Red Bull Air Race, it’s both difficult to comprehend and easy to get,” Gossage said. “The thought of an airplane race inside the track’s footprint is one of those things that baffles the imagination. But when you see it, it makes total sense. We’re thrilled to host it a third time. It’s an honor.”

Red Bull Air Race general manager Erich Wolf said the high-tech and aviation industry prevalent throughout the Dallas—Fort Worth area makes it an attractive market.

“A lot of fans here are going to come watch the race,” Wolf said. “It’s also a beautiful location and amazing and challenging race track.”

The course is a low-level, slalom track featuring 82-foot-high, air-filled pylons that pilots must navigate through while reaching speeds of 230 mph.

The biggest challenge will be the cooler temperatures this weekend, as well as a forecasted change in wind direction between Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s going to be very difficult because of the weather,” said pilot Michael Goulian, the points leader going into the finale.

“The wind will switch 180 degrees, so you’ll learn the track Friday and Saturday and then have it change on Sunday. That’s Texas.”

A fan favorite for the local fans will be pilot Kirby Chambliss, a Corpus Christi native. The Texan who now calls Arizona home has been competing in the sport since 2003. He has two world titles and 10 race victories.

“Anybody can win this race,” Chambliss said. “I’ve got a lot of experience, but so does everybody else. These guys are hard to beat.”

Wolf might’ve put it best, saying: “We’re in for an epic weekend of races.”

Fans interested in attending the air race can purchase tickets at www.redbullairrace.com. Grandstand tickets for both days are $59 for adults and $20 for children. Single-day tickets for Saturday are $29 for adults and $10 for children, and on Sunday are $39 for adults and $10 for children.

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