12 Jan 2016

Red Bull Air Race 2016: Melanie Astles makes history as she joins Challenger Cup

 

The 2016 Challenger Cup promises plenty of surprises for 2016, with three new contenders in the eight-pilot field. New for 2016 are Mélanie Astles, a five time French aerobatic champion who has earned top ten rankings at World and European levels. She is the first woman ever to compete in the sport.

Astles will compete against fellow debutants Ben Murphy and Kevin Coleman. The UK’s Ben Murphy is a former Commanding Officer and team leader of the RAF’s Red Arrows display team.

Kevin Coleman, a flying prodigy from the US Advanced Aerobatic Team is the first American to join the ranks of the Challenger Class and will be the youngest competitor this season. 2016 will also see the return of Luke Czepiela, an accomplished Polish aerobatic pilot who competed in the 2014 season.

Mélanie Astles said, “I will mostly enjoy the tremendous opportunity of sharing my passion with the crowds. I can’t hide the fact that for me it’s a real dream to join the 2016 Challenger Cup, I’m really looking forward to that great challenge.”

Ben Murphy also spoke of his delight about joining the Red Bull Air Race, "I've been lucky enough to have done some amazing flying in my career so far, but the Red Bull Air Race remains the ultimate challenge for me. The precision, skill and teamwork needed to succeed in the Master Class is second to none, and the Challenger Cup competition will give me the chance to build the experience required to compete at that level.”

The new pilots will be making their debut at the Red bull Air Race World Championship in Abu Dhabi on 11/12 March.

EVENT NAME PLACE DATE  
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) 11 Mar to 12 Mar 2016 Information
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Spielberg (Austria) 23 Apr to 24 Apr 2016 Information
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Chiba (Japan) 04 June to 05 June 2016 Information
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Budapest (Hungary) 16 Jul to 17 Jul 2016 Information
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Ascot (United Kingdom) 13 Aug to 14 Aug 2016 Information
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Lausitz (Germany) 03 Sep to 04 Sep 2016 Information
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Indianapolis (USA) 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016 Information
2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Las Vegas (USA) 15 Oct to 16 Oct 2016 Information

FAI and Red Bull Air Race

FAI and Red Bull Air Race World Championship signed an agreement including the provision of FAI medals especially designed for the Red Bull Air Race, the inclusion of all races in the FAI Events Calendar, and the official approval by the FAI of the race Rules & Regulations. Furthermore, the FAI provides a delegate who attends all events to supervise safety aspects.